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We’re in the middle of March Madness, and snacking is a big part of the game watching experience for many.

Often, people turn to unhealthy foods for game time but registered dietitian Kim Galeaz has put together a game plan for pistachio-filled party foods that are nutritious and great tasting.

Curried Popcorn with Dried Fruit and Pistachios

  • 10 cups popped popcorn
  • ¾ – 1 cup raisins
  • ¾ to 1 cup chopped dried mango (chopped raisin-size)
  • 1 bag (6 ounces) Wonderful Roasted & Salted Pistachios (about 1 1/3 cups pistachios)
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. garam masala
  • 1 ¾ tsp. curry powder
  • 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • Popcorn salt (optional to taste)

Make sure you have the ten cups of Popped Popcorn ready and set aside in a very large bowl. Combine raisins, mango, pistachios, sugar, garam masala and curry powder in medium bowl; stir well. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, then spiced fruit-pistachio mixture. Cook for 5 minutes over low heat, stirring frequently. Pour over popped popcorn and toss/stir well to coat all pieces. Enjoy immediately. Leftovers can be stored in a tightly covered container or zippered freezer bag and enjoyed within a couple days. Makes around 11 ½ cups curried popcorn.

Recipe by culinary registered dietitian nutritionist Kim Galeaz, RDN LD

Pistachio Crusted Chicken Tenders

  • 1 pound chicken tenders
  • 1 cup Wonderful Pistachios Roasted & Salted (Or Chili Roasted)*
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 ¾ tsp. dried thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp. dried rosemary*
  • ½ cup gluten-free measure-for-measure flour, all-purpose flour or coconut flour
  • ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large eggs

Heat oven to 350⁰F. (Kim prefers 375⁰F). Cover a large 18×13-inch sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside. In a food processor or blender, pulse Wonderful Pistachios a few times, until ground into a coarse powder. Add the Parmesan cheese, thyme, and rosemary or oregano then pulse again until finely chopped. Transfer mixture to plate or 9-inch pie dish. In another 9-inch pie plate, mix flour and pepper. In a third 9-inch pie plate, lightly beat/whisk eggs. (Line up pie plates in this order: flour, eggs, pistachio-cheese mixture). Dip chicken tenders in flour and roll to coat. Dip in eggs next, shaking off excess. Roll in pistachio-cheese mixture and place on baking sheet. Repeat with all chicken tenders.

Bake for 18 to 25 minutes, flipping once at 10-minute mark, until browned and cooked to internal safe temperature of 165⁰F. Avoid over-cooking. Enjoy immediately. Store leftovers in tightly covered container and enjoy within 3 to 4 days.

*If using Chili Roasted Wonderful Pistachios, use 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves instead of rosemary. *Kim always makes a double-batch of these tenders so there is plenty for the party!

Serves 4 (makes about 8 tenders but depends on cut size in your package.)

Recipe and photo provided by Wonderful Pistachios with recipe adaptations by culinary registered dietitian nutritionist Kim Galeaz, RDN LD

Chocolate Cherry Pistachio Clusters

  • 1 bag (12 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 ½ cups dried tart cherries
  • 1 bag (6 ounces) Lightly Salted Wonderful Pistachios (about 1 1/3 cups pistachios

Cover a large baking sheet with parchment or wax paper; set aside. Melt chocolate chips in double boiler over slightly simmering water. You can create your own double-boiler by using a small saucepan or heat-proof bowl over a bigger saucepan that contains the simmering water. (Or you can melt the chips in a large glass bowl in microwave.) Combine the dried cherries and lightly salted pistachios in a small bowl and stir well. Add to melted chocolate and stir to completely coat all ingredients. Using a measuring tablespoon, dip leveled clusters onto prepared baking sheet about 1-inch apart. They will look uneven and shaggy. Refrigerate 30 minutes or until clusters are hardened and set. Store clusters in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator. Serve cold or at room temperature. The clusters taste most flavorful at room temperature, however. Makes about 30 clusters.

Recipe by culinary registered dietitian nutritionist Kim Galeaz, RDN LD

Pistachio Pesto Potato Appetizers

  • ½ cup Wonderful Roasted & Salted Pistachios
  • 2 cups basil
  • 2 finely minced garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice*
  • ½ tsp. lemon zest*
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil*
  • Salt to taste
  • 16 to 20 tiny bite-sized yellow/gold, red or brown potatoes, cooked (microwave, stove-top or oven-roasted)
  • Chopped red, yellow, orange tomatoes (for garnish)
  • Toothpicks

Add Wonderful Pistachios, basil, garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest and Parmesan cheese to a food processor. Pulse until nuts are finely chopped. Stream olive oil through food chute and puree until smooth. Add salt to taste if desired. Serve immediately or store in refrigerator up to three days. Can also freeze pesto up to one month.

To make potato pesto appetizers, arrange cooked potatoes on a serving plate. Drizzle each potato with about 1 teaspoon pesto. Skewer with toothpick for serving. Makes 16 servings (1 teaspoon each pesto).

*Kim uses more lemon juice, lemon zest and olive oil for thinner pesto, but add what you prefer.

Pesto Recipe and Photo provided by Wonderful Pistachios Appetizer potato idea by culinary registered dietitian nutritionist Kim Galeaz, RDN LD