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34 Skinny, Guilt-Free Tailgate Recipes

Dig in to lighter sandwiches, dips and desserts while you wait for the big game to start.

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Buffalo Turkey Burgers Exps44917 Sd143205d01 28 4bc Rms 15

Buffalo Turkey Burgers

Celery and blue cheese dressing help tame the hot sauce on this turkey burger recipe. For an even lighter version, pass on the buns and serve with lettuce leaves, sliced onion and chopped tomato. —Mary Pax-Shipley, Bend, Oregon
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Avocado Salsa

I was planning a party and thought it might be fun to try a different kind of avocado salsa. This recipe was an absolute success. Scoop it up with chips, spoon it over chicken or steak, or eat it on its own! —Susan Vandermeer, Ogden, Utah
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Curry & Mango Chutney Chicken Wings

We have an annual cook-off at our cabin. One time the theme was wings and ribs, so I made wings with chutney, and everyone cheered. The flavors are refreshing on warm days. —Lori Stefanishion, Drumheller, Alberta
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Sweet Potato & Bean Quesadillas

Sweet potatoes and black beans roll up together for a quesadilla that’s easy, fast, fun and delicious. —Brittany Hubbard, St. Paul, Minnesota
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Roasted Vegetable Dip

While my children were always very willing eaters, I came up with this recipe to get them to eat more veggies and enjoy it. The dip doesn't last long in our house. —Sarah Vasques, Milford, New Hampshire
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Strawberry Pasta Salad

Bow tie pasta with strawberries makes a refreshing salad, especially with a little chopped mint. I multiply it for brunches, potlucks, even tailgates. —Barbara Lento, Houston, Pennsylvania
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Garbanzo-Stuffed Mini Peppers

Mini peppers are so colorful and are the perfect size for a two-bite appetizer. They have all the crunch of pita chips but without the extra calories. —Christine Hanover, Lewiston, California
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Football Fest Empanadas

Classic empanadas from South America are stuffed pastries of beef or chicken, usually fried. That doesn't mean "classic" never changes. Chicken goes well with black beans, corn and jalapenos in this baked version with a Southwestern spin. —Jane McMillan, Dania Beach, Florida
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Frozen Berry & Yogurt Swirls

I enjoy these frozen yogurt pops because they double as a healthy snack and a cool, creamy sweet treat. —Colleen Ludovice, Wauwatosa, Wisconsin
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Chicken Skewers with Cool Avocado Sauce

I’m always looking for lighter recipes to take on tailgate outings—and this one works fabulously for grilling. Just whip up the marinade, add the chicken and take it along to the pregame festivities. —Veronica Callaghan, Glastonbury, Connecticut
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Makeover Stuffed Potato Appetizers

We barely noticed the difference in this lightened-up version of our favorite dish. We tried it with friends and loved it. —Sonya Labbe, West Hollywood, California
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Tropical Guacamole

Fresh pineapple stars in this fruity guacamole that sure hits the spot! Both kids and adults have enjoyed it as a poolside snack or as a satisfying appetizer at a summer barbecue. —Sarah White, Salt Lake City, Utah
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Chicago-Style Hot Dogs

I decided to give a Chicago-style dog a healthy twist for my family. Our kids love it. You can use other fresh toppings to please just about anyone. —Gregg May, Columbus, Ohio
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Grilled Bean Burgers

These juicy veggie patties have major flavor with cumin, garlic and a little chili powder. They hold their own against any veggie burger you‘d buy at the supermarket. —Marguerite Shaeffer, Sewell, New Jersey
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Sparkling Fruit Salad

Pineapple chunks, mandarin oranges, strawberries and grapes are treated to a dressing of wine and sparkling club soda in this delightful salad. Serve in dessert dishes or set the whole bowl on the table for a fetching presentation. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Soft Zucchini Spice Cookies

These cookies are fantastic. They don't last very long at my house. Why don't you see how long they will last at yours? —Mili Seemar, Chatham, New Jersey
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Classic Texas Caviar

I adapted this texas caviar from one in a cookbook I received a long time ago, and now, I can't imagine a get-together at my house without this quick and healthy appetizer. —Becky Oliver, Fairplay, Colorado
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Feta Chicken Burgers

My friends always request these tasty chicken burgers. I sometimes add olives to punch up the flavor! The burgers are exceptional with the mayonnaise-cucumber topping. —Angela Robinson, Findlay, Ohio
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Party Pretzels

Not only are these a perfect mid-morning or afternoon snack at work, they're perfect for hungry kids just home from school. Plus, they make for fantastic party food! —Carrie Shaub, Mount Joy, Pennsylvania
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Cannellini Bean Hummus

My version of hummus features a delightful nuttiness from tahini, a peanut butter-like paste made from ground sesame seeds. The beans pack a lot of protein so it's a healthy snack for kids. —Marina Castle Kelley, Canyon Country, California
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Nutty Broccoli Slaw

My daughter gave me the recipe for this delightful salad. The sweet dressing nicely coats a crisp blend of broccoli slaw mix, onions, almonds and sunflower kernels. Crushed ramen noodles provide even more crunch. It's a smash hit wherever I take it. —Dora Mae Clapsaddle, Kensington, Ohio
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Chocolate Dipped Phyllo Sticks Exps Hrbz16 24367 D09 08 2b 3

Chocolate-Dipped Phyllo Sticks

Looking for a little something special to share with friends or family? Try these crunchy treats. They’re wonderful with coffee or a glass of milk. —Peggy Woodward, Shullsburg, Wisconsin
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Mini BLTs

Celery adds a nice crunch to these easy, delightful appetizers. They’re always popular at parties and get-togethers. —Elizabeth Borgemenke, Mason, Ohio
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Italian Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Enjoy all the flavors of Italian sausage sandwiches with this healthier alternative. —Lia Dellario, Middleport, New York
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Fresh Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Chips

Lime and basil really brighten the flavors in this colorful salsa. It's best when scooped up on a homemade cinnamon chip. —Navalee Hylton, Lauderhill, Florida
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Chili-Lime Roasted Chickpeas

Looking for a lighter snack that's still a crowd-pleaser? You've found it! This zesty, crunchy chickpea recipe will have everyone happily munching. —Julie Ruble, Charlotte, North Carolina
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Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

I was raised as a southern girl, with the love of barbecue built into my DNA. This slow-cooker recipe allows me to enjoy the flavors I grew up eating, while still following a healthy diet. —Heidi Mulholland, Cumming, Georgia
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Black Bean Brownies

You’d never guess these rich, velvety chocolate treats contain a can of black beans. Who would have thought black bean brownies would be so amazing? —Kathy Hewitt, Cranston, Rhode Island
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Strawberry-Citrus Freezer Pops

I knew that clementines and strawberries would create a luscious combination in a fruit pop, and I have to say these are delicious! —Colleen Ludovice, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Loaded Turkey Sliders

What these sliders lack in size they make up for in flavor! They're great for little hands and you can customize the toppings to suit kids' tastes. Serve them as an appetizer or as a main dish along with sweet potato fries and fresh fruit. —Kathy DeRousie, Port Angeles, Washington
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Spicy Grilled Broccoli

My kids eat this spiced broccoli without cheese; it’s that good. It transports easily to the beach, the park or tailgate parties and also works on an indoor grill. —Kathy Lewis-Martinez, Spring Valley, California
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Healthy Spinach Dip

I needed something healthy and low in fat to take to a get-together, so I experimented and came up with this dip. It's packed full of flavor and color. Served with assorted veggies, bread or crackers, it's always a hit. People ask for the recipe every time. —Noelle Myers, Grand Forks, North Dakota
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Nuts and Seeds Trail Mix

A filling blend of nuts, seeds, chocolate chips and dried fruit keeps you healthy by the handful. —Kristin Rimkus, Snohomish, Washington
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Frozen Chocolate Monkey Treats

Everyone needs a fun, friendly way for kids to play with food. These rich bites are nutty and yummy. Just coat bananas in chocolate and dip them into peanuts, sprinkles or coconut. —Susan Hein, Burlington, Wisconsin

Emily Racette Parulski
Emily Racette Parulski is a Senior Editor for Taste of Home, specializing in email newsletters. When she’s not writing about food, she’s baking something sweet to feed her chocolate obsession.

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