Winners! America’s Healthiest Big Game Recipe Challenge

We had a great time cooking up the recipes that earned 3 stars for “best nutrition”, and we enjoyed several team meals together sampling the fare. As promised, below are the names of the grand prize winner and the five second prize winners, along with the recipes themselves. Try these delicious 3-star recipes with your family, friends and even co-workers. Congratulations to all our winners. Go Team!

First Place

Baja Barley Salad
Mindee Curtis
Omaha, NE


1/2 cup pearl barley, prepared according to package directions
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and 1/2-inch diced
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained (no salt)
1/2 cup small diced red onion
2 oz. fresh baby spinach, julienned
1 tablespoon minced jalapeno peppers, seeded
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lime zest
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (2 limes)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
2 ripe Hass avocados, seeded, peeled, and 1/2-inch diced


Cook the barley according to package directions and cool completely. When cool, combine the barley with the tomatoes, yellow pepper, black beans, red onion, spinach, jalapeno peppers, and lime zest in a large bowl. Whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, salt, black pepper, and garlic and pour over the vegetables. Toss well.

Just before you’re ready to serve the salad, fold the avocados into the salad. Check the seasoning and serve at room temperature.

Second Place

Pepper and Bean Salad (or Rainbow Salad)
Amanda Noll
Belvidere, NJ

Serves: 10 (3/4 cup servings)


1 green pepper
1 yellow pepper
1 medium red onion
1 box of grape cherry tomatoes
1 16 oz. can black beans, drained (no salt)
1 16 oz. can kidney beans, drained (no salt)
1 bunch of cilantro
1/4 c. olive oil
2 tbs. lime juice
1 tbs. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tbs. chili powder
salt and pepper
† tortilla chips (optional)
† Guiding Stars recommends Frito-Lay Baked! Tostitos® Scoops® or Bachman MultiGrain – both receive 2 Guiding Stars


Wash and chop all vegetables small. Slice cherry tomatoes in half. Wash and chop cilantro. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Chill and serve in small bowls with a tortilla chip garnish. (This recipe also happens to be vegan!)

Crispy Broiled Black Bean Chimichangas
Kimberly Hammond
Kingwood, TX

Serves: 8


2 – 15 oz cans black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups cooked brown rice
1 cup kernel corn
1 cup green onions, greens and whites chopped
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
8 whole wheat tortillas, burrito size
1 tablespoons olive oil


Preheat oven to Broil. In a large mixing bowl, stir together beans, rice, corn, green onions and 1 cup fresh cilantro (reserve remaining cilantro for garnish). To assemble chimichangas, scoop 1 cup of bean filling into center of a tortilla. Fold in both ends of the tortilla. Then, roll up tortilla from one side to the other, locking the ends inside. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Place chimichangas seam side down on the cookie sheet. Brush tops of chimichangas with olive oil. Broil on middle rack of oven for 5 minutes, until crisp and lightly browned. Place chimichangas on dinner plates. Sprinkle chimichangas and plates with fresh cilantro. Serve with salsa and guacamole†.
† Guiding Stars recommends Wholly Classic Guacamole – 2 Stars

Note: This is a great use for left over rice!

Everybody’s Favorite Game Day Chili
Suzanne Banfield
Basking Ridge, NJ

Serves: 6-8 large bowls


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 sweet red pepper, cored, seeded and finely chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
4 cups fat-free, low sodium vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups peeled, cubed sweet potato
1 can (14.5 ounces) no-salt-added, diced tomatoes in juice
2 cans (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained (no salt)
1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels (or canned, no-salt-added, drained)


In a large sauce pan or Dutch oven, warm the oil over medium heat for 1 minute. Add the onion, red pepper, garlic, chili powder, cumin, thyme and oregano; cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or until onion and pepper are softened. Add the broth, sweet potato, tomatoes, beans and corn; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes or until sweet potatoes are tender.

Smoky Spiced Roasted Veggies
Trisha Kruse
Eagle, ID

Serves: 6-8


1 small butternut squash, cubed
2 red bell peppers, seeded and diced
1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
3 Yukon Gold potatoes, cubed
1 red onion, quartered
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon minced chipotle chili in adobo sauce (from 6 ounce can)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 475 degrees and line 2 rimmed sheet pans with foil. Spray with non stick cooking spray and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the squash, red bell peppers, sweet potato, and Yukon Gold potatoes. Separate the red onion quarters into pieces, and add them to the mixture. In a small bowl, stir together paprika, chilies, olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Toss with vegetables until they are coated. Spread evenly on a large roasting pan. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes in the preheated oven, stirring every 10 minutes, or until vegetables are cooked through and browned.

Pasta Explosion
Danica Rosenthal
Freeport, ME


¾ lb of thin spaghetti pasta (Smart Choice brand or Whole Grain)
1 can of drained garbanzo beans (chick peas)
4 cups fresh spinach leaves
1 medium yellow summer squash – washed and diced
2 medium cloves garlic – diced
½ lb ground turkey meat (93% lean or better)
10 oz. package of sliced baby bella mushrooms
¾ cup lemon juice
3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and pepper to taste


Cook pasta as directed on box. Sauté turkey meat and garlic until browned (on high). Lower cooktop heat (to low), add squash, garbanzo beans, spinach, and mushrooms to turkey and continue to sauté. Cover and let simmer for 5 minutes. When spinach is wilted, squash is starting to soften, and mushrooms are cooked; add lemon juice. The beans should start to soften and have a ‘creamy’ texture. Add salt and pepper to taste, mix in cooked pasta and olive oil.