Anyone can get carried away with snacking on unhealthy foods while watching sports — especially March Madness. Here are a few healthier foods to munch on while keeping an eye on your bracket.

Addictive Crunchy Chickpea Munchies

1 drained can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
Fennel seeds
Cayenne peppers
Smoked Paprika
Oil for frying
Mixed nuts


  • Drain Can of chickpeas; rinse and pat very dry (use towels)
  • Toast fennel seeds in dry pan on stove top until brown a bit and fragrant
  • Mix flour with cayenne, smoked paprika, salt and pepper
  • Cut shallots, sliced very thin (mandoline), toss in flour. Fry in 350 degree oil. Remove with slotted spoon and drain well on paper towel.
  • Fry chickpeas in 350 degree oil until crispy and golden brown, 5 minutes.
  • While warm, dust with cayenne and smoked paprika, salt and freshly ground pepper. Toss with shallots.
  • Add variety of mixed nuts.
  • These will disappear


Vegetarian (you won’t miss the meat) Zucchini Quesadilla

1 lb roma tomatoes
1 onion
5 garlic cloves
1 7 oz. can Chipotle in Adobo
1/2 cup fontina or mozzarella cheese (or combo)
1 large or 2 small thinly sliced unpeeled zucchini
2-3 scallions
½ cup corn
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon honey or sugar
6-inch tortillas
Oil for frying/sauteing
pico de gallo or guacamole if desired


  • Core and half 1 lb roma tomatoes
  • Peel and quarter 1 onion
  • Toss in 2-3 tablespoons oil and place on baking sheet along with 5 garlic cloves and 1 (7 oz.) can Chipotle in Adobo
  • Roast 375 degrees, cut side up until, 15-20 minutes until softened (alternatively, place under broiler until charred, about 10 minutes until charred and soft)
  • Pulse tomato mix in food processor (keep chunky) with 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon honey or sugar and salt/pepper to taste (alternatively, chop tomato mix coarsely by hand)
  • Grate ½ cup Fontina and Mozzarella cheeses
  • Sauté briefly: 1 large or 2 small thinly sliced unpeeled zucchini, 2-3 scallions, cut on bias, ½ cup corn (frozen ok)
  • In large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil, lay 6 inch flour tortilla in pan
  • Sprinkle cheese on tortilla
  • On flat surface, spread some of tomato mix on second tortilla (it is spicy, use sparingly)
  • Spread zucchini mix on cheese; top with more cheese and place tomato spread tortilla on top. Press down.
  • Cook over medium heat about 2-3 minutes, until crisp on bottom. Flip the quesadilla and transfer to hot oven or cook on stove-top until cheese is melted, another 2+ minutes.
  • Transfer to cutting board; cut in 4-6 wedges. Allow to cool slightly
  • Serve with pico de gallo (diced tomatoes, red onion, peppers, lime juice and cilantro); guacamole (mashed avocadoes with a bit of pico de gallo); or simply hot sauce and cilantro

Susan Delbert joined The Fourth Estate Restaurant at the National Press Club as Executive Chef after working at The Old Ebbitt Grill in Washington, D.C. as Sous Chef for several years. Delbert has worked in several Washington restaurants, including The Oval Room, BeDuCi in Dupont Circle and Gerard’s Place. She started her culinary career as a Front of the House Maitre d’ in Clyde’s of Chevy Chase. She trained at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., where she graduated at the top of her class. She was an invited participant in an Italian regional cooking program sponsored by the Italian Trade Commission.


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