Are you guys pumped as I am for the NFC and AFC championships this weekend?
I'm rooting for the Broncos this season since Giants didn't make it to the playoffs.
I adore Peyton too...so...GO BRONCOS!
Plus my beloved cousin Cristina is a die-hard Patriots fan (because she’s from Boston...I know, nobody’s perfect) and I think a little rivalry in the family makes it a little more fun.
[And for all of you that have no idea what I’m talking about, this is American football talk.]
So far the playoff games have been close and exciting, I’m sure this weekend Conference Finals will deliver.
Okay, enough about football for now, let’s talk about football food.
Nachos, dips, BBQ baked beans, pulled pork or chili, just to name a few.
But imho the official food of football is Buffalo wings (aka chicken wings).
Delicious chicken wings coated in a fingerlicking spicy sauce. Juicy, sticky and messy, oh, so messy.
Your face and hands get messy. If they’re spicy, there’s this element of heat as you wipe your mouth with the back of your hand.
And then you wipe the back of your hand on your shirt (or your jeans), because there are no napkins close to you and the kitchen paper roll is too far out of reach (actually it’s not that far, but moving your ass off the couch is not an option).
You can’t deny them the joy of Buffalo wings. It wouldn’t be fair.
Fear not people, I’m here to help.
Behold, I present you with Buffalo quinoa bites.
All of the flavors of a hot wing, exit the wing, enter the quinoa (and the mozzarella).
Easy to eat, healthy and super delicious. They give wings a run for their money.
As with wings the secret’s in the sauce. No really. That’s not just a cliché.
A really good Buffalo sauce needs to have flavor, not just heat.
The sauce can be as spicy hot as you want but it should deliver fabulous flavor. I have a favorite, Frank’s Red Hot, but another good one is Louisiana Hot Sauce.
What’s amazing about these bites is that the quinoa soaks up the sauce, and when you bite it bursts into your mouth. Not to mention the melting Mozzarella oozing out.
Makes about 30-32 quinoa bites
2 cups / 11 oz / 300 gr cooked quinoa (you’ll need to cook about 1 cup of quinoa)
4 free-range organic eggs, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup / 3.5 oz / 100 gr breadcrumbs (I used Gillian’s gluten-free breadcrumbs)
30 ½-inch cubes mozzarella
½ stick / 4 oz / 113 gr butter
½ cup hot sauce (I used Frank’s Red Hot)
Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Combine quinoa, eggs, tomato paste, salt, garlic powder, paprika, and black pepper into a bowl.
Add breadcrumbs and stir in well. Let mixture sit for a couple of minutes so that the breadcrumbs can absorb the moisture.
Scoop 1 heaping tablespoon of quinoa mixture and with dampened hands make quinoa balls - placing one cube of mozzarella into the middle of the ball and forming a smooth ball around the mozzarella. Repeat to form about all quinoa bites.
Place quinoa bites onto the lined baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.
In the meantime make the sauce. Combine the hot sauce and butter in a small saucepan on medium heat (or place in a microwave safe bowl for 2 minutes on high).
After 15 minutes, remove baking sheet from the oven, gently turn quinoa bites (they should have browned a little) and top with buffalo sauce.
Put back in the oven and bake for another 8 minutes.
Serve hot (with celery sticks and blue cheese dip if you want to be authentic).
One quinoa bite "dressed" yields 90 calories, 4 grams of fat, 10 grams of carbs and 4 grams of protein.