Pizza, chicken wings, pretzels, potato chips and dips are often consumed by people watching the football game at home.

However, according to Essentia Health, these popular convenience foods are packed with saturated fat and are over the top in sodium.

The following recipes are for anyone interested in living a heart-healthy lifestyle and were shared by Essentia from their Jan. 26 virtual cooking demonstration.

In addition to serving healthier entrees, consider having a fruit tray, lower-sodium nuts and chips, vegetables, beans and whole grains on the menu on hand for the big game.

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Italian Sausage Pizza

Soft corn tortillas (about 10 mg of sodium each) or Whole Grain Golden Home brand pizza crust (45 mg sodium per 1/4 of crust)

Heart healthy pizza sauce (see recipe below)

Fresh vegetables of choice such as chopped onions, chopped peppers or sliced mushrooms

Heart healthy Italian sausage (see recipe below)

Paul Prudhomme's Pizza & Pasta Magic to taste with 0 mg sodium

Reduced-fat shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place tortillas or pizza crust on a pizza pan or cookie sheet. Top with the low-sodium pizza sauce, fresh vegetables of choice and pieces of the cooked Italian sausage.

Sprinkle with Chef Paul Prudhomme's Pizza & Pasta Seasoning. Top with reduced- fat mozzarella cheese and bake in a 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes.

Heart-Healthy Pizza Sauce

2 tsp. olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 cup onion, finely chopped

1 tsp. dried oregano

1 tsp. dried basil

1/4 tsp. black pepper

8-oz. can no-salt-added tomato sauce

2 tsp. tomato paste

In a medium saucepan, sauté the garlic and onion in olive oil until tender. Add the oregano, basil, and black pepper and continue cooking a few more minutes. Stir in tomato sauce and then the tomato paste. Simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes.

Heart Healthy Italian Sausage

1 lb. ground lean turkey (90-95 percent) or ground pork sirloin

2 tsp. dry oregano

1 tsp. dry basil

1 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. sugar

1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper or 1/2 tsp. Tabasco sauce

1/2 tsp. fennel seed or 1/4 teaspoon fennel powder

1/4 tsp. anise seed

Mix all ingredients. Brown sausage until no longer pink over medium heat. Freeze unused portions or make Italian sausage burgers. Grill, but don’t overcook. Works great on

homemade pizza.

Margherita Pizza for One

Choose one of these crusts: whole wheat English muffin, thin sandwich bun, 2 La Fortunitas corn tortillas or Golden Home pizza crust for one

1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp. minced garlic

2-3 large basil leaves torn apart

1 small tomato sliced thinly or diced

1/4 cup reduced-fat shredded mozzarella cheese

Pepper to taste

Crushed red pepper flakes to taste

Paul Prudhomme's Pizza & Pasta Magic to taste

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Drizzle olive oil over the pizza crust and spread to cover.

Top with minced garlic. Spread mozzarella cheese over muffin or tortilla. Place sliced tomato over the pizza. Add black and red pepper or pizza seasoning. Top with chopped fresh basil. Bake for about 8-10 minutes until browned and cheese is melted.

Pasta Pizza Soup

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 lb. 90-percent super-lean ground beef

8 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced

1 medium onion, chopped

1 celery stalk, thinly sliced or chopped

1/2 cup red or yellow pepper, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

2 cups water

1 can (14-1/2 oz. ) no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained

2 medium carrots, shredded

4 cups unsalted beef broth (sodium less than 200 mg/cup; equal to 1 box Kitchen Basics unsalted beef broth)

1-1/2 tsp. dried oregano or Chef Paul Prudhommes’s Pasta & Pizza seasoning

1/2 tsp. turmeric (optional)

1/2 tsp. pepper

2 cups cooked whole wheat pasta (equal to 4 ounces of dry pasta)

12 tablespoons parmesan cheese

In a large stockpot over medium heat oil. Add beef, mushrooms, onion, celery, pepper and garlic and cook until meat is no longer pink.

Stir in water, tomatoes, carrots, broth and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 45-60 minutes or until carrots are tender. Stir in pasta and heat through. Serve with 1 Tablespoon parmesan cheese (optional; may be omitted to further limit sodium).

Readers are invited to submit four to five of their favorite recipes to enjoy, along with a note about what makes them special. Send recipes to or by mail to the Park Rapids Enterprise, 203 Henrietta Ave. North, Park Rapids, MN 56470 and they may appear in a future issue.