“Our state fair is the best state fair — don’t miss it, don’t even be late.”
Unfortunately, we have to miss out on all the fabulous state fair festivities due to the effects of COVID-19. However, that doesn't mean we can’t reminisce about the way food is consumed while walking around the fairgrounds — on a stick.
One delicious bite after another, try some of these unique sandwiches that’ll be just the ticket to take you to fair memories of the past. From wacky food combinations to melt-in-your-mouth meals, your Hy-Vee dietitian encourages you to bring the fair food home.
Italian club sandwich: The crunchy baguette gets the blue ribbon with this stick. Simply drizzle a little Italian salad dressing over each piece, and alternate the baguette slices with low-sodium Di Lusso ham, cherry tomatoes, torn lettuce leaves, and provolone cheese. Serve with a side of baked veggie tots and — bam! — you’ve got a fair-tastic meal.
Meatball sub: Your whole family will never want to eat this popular sub on a hoagie bun again. Heat up some Italian meatballs and thread them onto a skewer. With a strip cut from refrigerated pizza dough, wrap around each meatball. Add a mushroom to each end, and brush your masterpiece with marinara sauce. Bake, and your typical sub may taste better with this new linear look.
Chicken Parmesan: Rather than dirtying a dish, just dirty a napkin or two. This satisfying stick creation alternates between fully cooked cubed chicken breasts, garlic breadsticks, and half-slices of zucchini. Drizzle with marinara sauce, top with mozzarella cheese, and bake until cheese melts and your mouth is watering. When a meal covers three food groups, you know you’re in for a filling treat.
Philly cheesesteak: This skewer is stacked with sirloin steak strips, onion wedges, bell pepper pieces, and cubed hoagie buns. Grill to your liking and add a slice of provolone cheese at the end of cooking. No need to wait in long lines under the blazing sun for this one — enjoy a finger-licking skewer without the heavy feeling you’d expect from your favorite fair vendors.
Fruit kabob: The grand finale is dessert, and — get this — you can even eat the stick with this one. Simply thread your favorite fruits onto pretzel rods and dip in vanilla or strawberry yogurt. Cleanup is simple, and the natural sweetness from the fruit won’t even make you miss the funnel cakes (well, for a little while, at least).
Truth be told, people don’t actually go to the fair anticipating healthy options galore, but with little tweaks here and there, you can make celebrating the typical end-of-summer event a little lighter without limiting flavor.
Blue Ribbon Pizza Sticks
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon dried oregano
Pepper to taste
1 (13.8-ounce) can refrigerated pizza dough
1 (6-ounce) package turkey pepperoni
3 bell peppers, seeded and cut into chunks
1 cup shredded Italian cheese blend
1 cup pizza sauce
Crushed red pepper, for garnish
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil; spray with nonstick spray.
Combine butter, garlic, oregano and pepper. Unroll pizza crust on a lightly floured surface. Brush dough with half of the butter mixture; cut into six strips.
Alternately, thread pepperoni and bell pepper onto each skewer. For each pizza stick, skewer one end of dough strip and wrap around the pepperoni and bell peppers.
Arrange skewers on prepared baking sheet. Brush with remaining butter mixture.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until light golden brown. Spoon pizza sauce on skewers and, if desired, garnish with crushed red pepper.
Nutrition information (per serving): 490 calories, 30g fat, 15g saturated, 1240mg sodium, 40g total carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 9g total sugars, 16g protein.
Recipe source: Hy-Vee.com
Emily McMillan is a registered dietitian for Hy-Vee stores in Rochester. This information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.