Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Southwestern Chili with Corn

I found this recipe in a Real Simple cookbook and it lives up to the name. It's simple, fast and really tasty.  It was originally a beef chili, but I tweaked it to make it meatless.  I'll include the meaty directions so you can decide how you want to make it.

1 T olive oil
2 carrots, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 can kidney beans, drained & rinsed
{1/2 pound ground beef, omit kidney beans}
2 T tomato paste*
2 cans black beans, drained & rinsed
1 T chili powder
3 cups vegetable or beef broth {or water}
kosher salt & black pepper
1/2 cup corn kernels

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over meduim-high heat.  Add the carrots, onion, and peppers and cook, stirring, for three minutes.  {Add the beef and cook, breaking it up with a spoon until no longer pink, 3 to 5 minutes.}  Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, until it is slightly darkened, 1 minute.  Stir in the beans, chili powder, broth {or water}, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.  Simmer over medium heat until the vegetables are tender, 8 to 10 minutes.  Stir in the corn.  Serve, {topping with shredded cheese and diced scallions.}  We love this with Pancheri cornbread.

*I used to hate using only a few tablespoons of tomato paste, because I usually ended up throwing the leftovers away. It finally dawned on me that I could freeze the extra in silicone ice cube trays.  I do that until they're solid, then throw them in a freezer bag in the freezer.  It works perfectly to throw into soups later. I just wanted to pass along my a-ha! moment*

Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

Since I am soy-free, dairy-free these days, I am always on the lookout for new dinner recipes that are tasty, healthy, and don't make me feel deprived.  Enter this recipe, yet another from Brooke.  I'm in love.

1 fresh butternut squash
1 T Earth Balance
1 cup almond milk
1 tbsp flour
5 T nutritional yeast
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp kosher salt  
ground black pepper
8oz whole wheat elbows
green mix-ins (spinach, kale, collards, etc)

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Cut butternut squash in half and peel.  Scoop out seeds with spoon.  Place cut side down in a 9x13 pan.  Add about 1/4-1/2 inch of water.   Bake for 45-60 min.  Once done, puree in food processor.*  

Meanwhile, prepare the cheese sauce in a pot on the stove top. Add Earth Balance over low-medium heat.   In a bowl, whisk together milk and flour until clumps are gone. Add into pot and whisk. Stir in nutritional yeast, Dijon, garlic, and salt & pepper and whisk over low heat until thickened, about 5-7 minutes.

Cook your pasta according to package directions.

In a blender, blend the sauce with 1 cup of roasted squash. {I added a little more than 1 cup, and it made it extra-saucy & creamy. Yum.}

Add cooked, drained, and rinsed macaroni into pot, along with cheese sauce & mix-ins. Heat through and serve.

*A 3.5 pound squash makes about 5 cups cooked squash – I froze my leftovers in silicone ice cube trays and will either thaw to use as baby food or throw them in green smoothies.*

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Un-refried beans

I don't remember where I printed this recipe from, but man alive, are they good.  They're so simple and cheap and I had a hard time not eating the whole batch with a spoon right out of the crock pot. These are great on tostadas, in bean burritos, as a side dish, or any other way you can imagine them. 

1 lb. dry pinto beans, picked through and rinsed
1 medium onion, diced
1 jalapeno, diced
1 T garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
10-15 cranks cracked black pepper
1-2 tsp salt
6 cups water

Place onion, garlic, jalapeno, cumin, chili powder and pepper into crockpot.  Add the sorted and rinsed beans and the water.  Stir everything well to distribute seasoning.  Cook on high for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low.  After cooking, remove as much water as possible, saving it in a bowl.  Mash the beans {I used my potato masher}, adding in just enough reserved water to get the consistency you want.  Season the mashed beans with salt.  I would start with 1 tsp, taste, and add more if needed.

This recipe ends up making about six cups of refried beans, so I took the leftovers and divided them into two-cup batches in ziploc freezer bags. Cool completely in refrigerator, then transfer to freezer.  To use the frozen beans, you can just put them in the fridge in the morning and they'll be thawed by dinner.  Or, if you're like me and can't seem to plan that far in advance, you can always put the whole ziploc bag into a bowl of warm water and they thaw in no time.

testing, testing

Does anyone still read this thing? I have several new recipes that I love and will add if anyone is interested.  Otherwise, I'll just keep them to myself ...