Sweet and Spicy Chorizo Chili

26 01 2015

Tonight’s dinner paired zesty chorizo with sweeter veggies like carrots and corn, along with ginger beer, creating a unique chili recipe that offers a sweet beginning with a spicy finish. I’m betting this will be equally delicious, if not better tomorrow after it’s had time to sit!

Sweet and Spicy Chorizo Chili

The following serves 4 (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

  • 1 cup dried red kidney beans
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 lb bulk chorizo
  • 1 bottle (12 oz) ginger beer (I used a low-calorie option)
  • 1 pint chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup reduced-fat, low-sodium chicken stock
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen corn
  • Lime wedges
  • Sour cream
  • Shredded Mexican cheese blend

Rinse the beans well, then add to a large bowl with 3 cups of water. Let the beans soak for 6-8 hours, or overnight. Drain the beans, rinse and add to a medium saucepan with 3 cups of water and a bay leaf. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce to low, cover and cook for 45 minutes to an hour. Stir occasionally. Strain the beans and discard the bay leaf, and set the beans aside until later.

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions and carrots and cook for 3-4 minutes until they begin to soften. Season lightly with salt. Then add the garlic, chili powder and cumin and cook for another minute, stirring to toast the spices. Deglaze the pan with a little of the ginger beer, one good turn of the pan, and cook for a minute or two. Reserve the rest of the beer for later. Next, add the chorizo and brown, breaking up with a wooden spoon into small pieces. Once the chorizo is cooked through, add the tomatoes, cooked beans, the rest of the beer and the chicken stock. Bring to a boil, reduce to low and cover. Cook chili for 1 to 1 and a half hours, stirring occasionally. During the last 20 minutes, add the corn and remove the lid. Let the chili stand for 5 minutes or so off the heat before serving.

Garnish with lime wedges, sour cream and cheese. If you like it spicier, just serve with some hot sauce as well.

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Roasted Cauliflower, Celery Root and Apple Salad

17 11 2014

This was my first time working with celery root, and I must admit I wasn’t sure how to feel about the funky looking veggie. But it pairs wonderfully with roasted cauliflower, fresh apple and a tangy vinaigrette! Thanks Fresh Fork Market, for continuing to introduce me to produce I wouldn’t otherwise buy.

Roasted Cauliflower, Celery Root and Apple Salad

The following serves 4 (adapted from Gourmande in the Kitchen):

  • Small head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • Kosher salt
  • Granulated garlic
  • 1 celery root, trimmed and cut into matchsticks (to trim, cut the entire rough outside off using a sharp knife, leaving just the white flesh of the inside)
  • 1 medium apple, cored and trimmed into matchsticks
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 3 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Fresh parsley, chopped
  • Pecans, halved and toasted

I recommend roasting the cauliflower ahead of time, or at least make sure you have enough time to cool it to room temp if you roast it the night you want to use it.

Preheat oven to 400. Toss cauliflower florets with a little olive oil, salt and granulated garlic to taste. Roast in a single layer on a baking sheet for 20- 25 minutes, or until beginning to brown, turning half-way through.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Either store the roasted cauliflower in a sealed container in the fridge, or move onto making the salad.

In a medium bowl, whisk vinegar, lemon juice, Dijon, olive oil and salt to taste. I give a range for the olive oil, use less if you don’t like dressing as acidic or use more if you prefer the vinegar flavor to be at the forefront (which is how I prefer it!). Start with less olive oil, taste, then add more if you like.

Add the apple and celery root matchsticks to the vinaigrette, along with the cooled or previously roasted cauliflower and toss well. Add the parsley and pecans and mix. Season with pepper before serving if you like.

Enjoy this salad for lunch, or serve along with a protein of your choice for a healthy dinner.





Buffalo Chicken Sweet Potato Bake

13 11 2014

Are you a sucker for cheesy fries or anything buffalo chicken? Who isn’t! Here’s a healthy rendition of a riff on both, featuring leftover chicken and sweet potatoes. Using Greek yogurt and reduced-fat cheese helps keep this dish lighter, while still offering the classic creamy flavors we all love in our less-healthy favs.

Buffalo Chicken Sweet Potato Bake

The following serves 2 (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

  • 2 large or 4 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Granulated garlic
  • Smoked paprika
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup buffalo hot sauce like Frank’s
  • 1-1 and 1/2 cups cooked shredded chicken
  • 1-2 small celery stalks, chopped
  • Reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Fresh parsley or cilantro, chopped

Preheat oven to 400.

In a medium bowl, toss cubed potatoes with just a little olive oil along with salt, garlic and paprika to taste. Toss well. Spread out in a single layer on a large baking sheet lined with a silpat or foil sprayed with non-stick spray.

Roast potatoes until browned, about 30-40 minutes, stirring once or twice.

Meanwhile, mix the yogurt and buffalo sauce together in a bowl. Add the chicken and mix well. Season lightly with salt to taste.

Remove the potatoes from the oven and cool slightly. Using your hands or a spatula, move the potatoes to the center of the baking sheet until they’re all touching. Top with celery, a little cheese and then spread the buffalo chicken mixture evenly on top. Finally, top with another layer of cheese.

Bake until hot and cheese melts, about 10 minutes or so. Remove from the oven and top with parsley or cilantro before serving. Garnish with more hot sauce if desired and serve with a side salad. Pictured above is shredded cabbage tossed with red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder.





Seared Pork and Apples With Chipotle and Caramelized Onion Squash and Brussels Sprouts

10 11 2014

Here’s a hearty and healthy fall dinner loaded with flavor. The smokey chipotle and caramelized onions add a unique flavor to butternut squash, which pairs well with sweet apples and seared pork. To make this on a weeknight, roast the squash over the weekend and store covered in the fridge until ready to use.

Seared Pork and Apples With Chipotle Squash

The following serves 2 (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

  • 1 small butternut squash
  • Olive oil
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 2 double-cut boneless pork chops
  • Kosher salt
  • Granulated garlic
  • Smoked paprika
  • 2 small apples, diced
  • 1/4 cup onion, diced
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup apple cider
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Baby Brussels sprouts, rough end trimmed
  • Low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 chipotle in adobo
  • Fresh parsley, chopped

To save yourself time, roast the squash in advance and store covered in the fridge. To roast, preheat oven to 350. Cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and stringing flesh with a spoon. Drizzle with a little olive oil and season with salt to taste. Roast on a baking sheet for 45-60 minutes, until you’re able to easily scoop out the flesh to turn into a puree. Remove from the oven and set aside until cool enough to handle. Scoop out the flesh, discarding the skin, and either store covered in the fridge, or move onto the next steps.

Preheat, or turn oven up to 400 degrees.

Heat a Tbsp or so of olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium-high heat. Add sliced onions and cook, untouched, until they start to brown on the bottom. Stir, and lower heat to medium-low and continue to cook and brown. After about 10 minutes, season with salt to taste and lower heat to low. Continue to cook until dark brown and caramelized, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, toss baby Brussels sprouts with a little olive oil and salt to taste on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes, or until well browned.

Meanwhile, season pork with salt, granulated garlic and smoked paprika to taste on both sides. Heat some olive oil in a cast iron skillet over high heat until very hot. Add pork and sear until browned, about 3 minutes. Flip and brown the other side another 2-3 minutes. Remove pork to a plate. Lower heat to medium-low, make sure to give the pan time to lower temp. Add apples and diced onions and cook for a minute or so, scrapping up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Season with salt to taste and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Deglaze pan with apple cider and cook for a minute. Add a splash of balsamic vinegar and bring to a bubble, stirring to combine. Nestle the pork back in the pan, cover with a lid and bake in the oven for about 10 minutes to finish cooking the pork. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, add the squash to a food processor along with 1/2 cup chicken stock, the chipotle in adobo, half of the caramelized onions and salt to taste. Puree until smooth. Add the pureed squash to the pan with the rest of the caramelized onions, stir to combine and heat through over medium-low heat. Add a little apple cider until you reach your desired consistency. Mix well, taste and adjust salt if needed.

To serve, dish out the Brussels sprouts and pureed squash, top with pork. Add a layer of apples and sauce over the pork and garnish with chopped parsley.





Sesame Chicken Lo Mein

4 11 2014

Here’s a super fast and flavorful Chinese meal that you can make at home in less time than it would take you to order and pick-up take out! This is also a good recipe to switch out different veggies for what you have on hand. For instance the original recipe called for bell peppers, but I used napa cabbage instead.

Sesame Chicken Lo Mein

The following serves 4 (adapted from Cuisine at Home):

  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 4 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 8 oz boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 cup halved broccoli florets
  • 1 heaping cup shredded napa cabbage or thinly sliced bell peppers
  • 3 Tbsp minced fresh garlic
  • 2 bundles of buckwheat noodles (from a 10 oz package, which typically contains 3 bundles)
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds

Cook noodles according to package directions and set aside.

Whisk together the broth, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, brown sugar and cornstarch in a large bowl. If you want it to have a little kick, add some chili flakes as well. Add chicken and chill 15 minutes.

Heat canola oil in a wok over high. Remove chicken from marinade; allow excess to drip off. Reserve marinade. Stir-fry chicken in batches, about 2 minutes per side; transfer to a plate.

Add broccoli, cabbage and garlic to wok. Stir-fry 2-3 minutes. Add marinade, cooked noodles and chicken, stir-fry until sauce thickens and chicken is cooked, about 3-4 minutes.

Garnish with sesame seeds before serving, and lime wedges if desired.





Chipotle Beef and Black Bean Chilaquiles

9 10 2014

Chilaquiles are a popular Mexican breakfast, great for using up day-old tortillas which are crisped up and tossed in sauce. But this spicy and bold-flavored version makes for a delicious dinner too! This meal is also great for using up overripe tomatoes too, because you’ll never know the difference once you quickly puree them. I love finding creative ways to use up ingredients that might otherwise get tossed.

Chipotle Beef and Black Bean Chilaquiles

The following serves 4 (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat and Everyday With Rachel Ray):

  • 1 cup dry organic black beans
  • Low-sodium, reduced-fat chicken broth
  • Ground cumin
  • Ground chipotle chile pepper
  • Granulated garlic
  • Ground coriander
  • 1 (4 oz) can diced green chiles
  • 6 whole grain small tortillas (or 3 large), quartered
  • Olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 chipotle in adobo, plus some of the adobo sauce (about 1 tsp)
  • 1 lb organic ground beef
  • 1 lb tomatoes, pureed in a Vitamix or high-powered blender
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • Cilantro, chopped
  • Green onions, chopped
  • Lime juice
  • Eggs, one per person
  • Reduced-fat, shredded Mexican cheese blend

Either the night before, or the morning you want to serve this, soak the dry black beans in 3 cups of water for at least 8 hours. Drain the beans and add to a medium pot. Add 3 cups of chicken broth and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add spices – about 1.5 tsp cumin, 1 tsp each of chipotle chile pepper and granulated garlic and 1/2 tsp of coriander. Mix well, cover and cook over medium for 60 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the liquid seems to be evaporating too quickly, just add a little bit more chicken broth. During the last 10 minutes, stir in the diced chiles.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350. Lay tortillas on a baking sheet in a single layer and bake until golden brown and crisp, about 10-15 minutes. You can use day-old tortillas here to help use up leftovers you may have. Once crisp, remove from the oven and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat a little olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute until soft 3-5 minutes. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, 30 seconds. Next add dry spices and let them toast. Add 1 tsp cumin and 1/2 tsp coriander. Next add the chipotle in adobo and the sauce. Mix spices together, breaking up the chipotle well. Next add the ground beef, breaking up with the back of a wooden spoon. Mix the spices into the meat well, and saute beef until browned and cooked through. Season with salt to taste and add pureed tomatoes. Mix well and bring to a low bubble, then reduce heat to low and cook for 5-10 minutes. You want the sauce to be on the loose side because you’re going to toss the tortilla into it, so if it looks to thick, add some chicken broth to thin out. Season lightly with salt to taste.

Just before you’re ready to serve, add the tortillas and stir into the meat sauce to fully cover the tortillas.

In another skillet with some oil heated, fry one egg per person until the whites are just set and the eggs are sunny-side up, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To serve, dish out some of the meat sauce and tortillas on each plate. Top with some black beans and garnish with cilantro and green onions. Squeeze on some lime juice, then top each plate with a fried egg. Garnish with shredded cheese and more cilantro and green onions.





Butternut Squash Penne With Bacon, Corn and Sauteed Broccoli Greens

6 10 2014

I can’t help but feel like I knocked dinner out of the park tonight with this luscious, Alfredo-like pasta dish that’s healthy to boot! I didn’t use cream, butter or flour – but still achieved the rich and silky consistency we’ve all come to love from Alfredo, thanks to roasted butternut squash puree. I recommend making the puree over the weekend (it’s super easy, just will take an hour or so)…this way you can whip this meal faster during a busy weeknight.

Butternut Squash Penne With Bacon, Corn and Sauteed Broccoli Greens

The following serves 4-6 (adapted from Cuisine at Home):

  • 1 butternut squash, cut in half lengthwise and seeds removed
  • Olive oil
  • 8 strips of bacon, diced
  • Chopped broccoli greens from 1-2 heads of broccoli (alternatively, you could also use kale, about 1.5 cups worth or so)
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt
  • 13 oz whole wheat penne or fettuccine pasta
  • 2 ears of sweet corn, kernels cut off the cobs
  • 1/2 cup minced shallots
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup dry Marsala
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used skim, while the original recipe called for heavy cream – use what you have)
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup toasted chopped nuts like walnuts or hazelnuts
  • Grated parmesan
  • Chopped fresh parsley
  • Fresh ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400. Line a baking sheet or casserole dish with foil. Lightly coat the squash halves with olive oil on both sides. Place squash, flesh side down on pan. Add 1 cup of water to the pan. Bake squash until tender, about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Scoop flesh from the squash and puree in a Vitamix or blender, discard the skin. At this point you can cover and store the puree in the fridge until you’re ready to make this meal.

In a large non-stick skillet, cook bacon until crisp and remove to a paper towel lined plate. Discard most of the bacon grease, but leave a little in your skillet. Add the broccoli greens or kale and saute until wilted a few minutes. Season with salt to taste and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Remove to paper towel lined plate.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season liberally with salt. Boil pasta in salted water according to package directions, cooking to al dente. During the last 2 minutes of cooking, add the corn kernels. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water, then strain pasta and corn.

To the skillet you used to cook the bacon and greens in, add a Tbsp or so of olive oil and heat over medium-high. Add shallots and cool until soft, a couple of minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Deglaze skillet with Marsala and cook until nearly evaporated.

Stir in squash puree (about 2 cups worth, but no worries if you have a little less – the sauce will still be great). Next add the milk and broth, stir to combine and season with salt to taste.

Stir in the pasta and corn, along with 1/4 – 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water. Add a little at first, then more as needed to reach your desired sauce consistency. Toss the pasta and corn with the sauce over heat for a minute or two. Add sautéed greens and most of the bacon, reserving a little for garnish, and toss well. If your sauce seems a little loose, remove from the heat and allow it to sit for a few minutes which will thicken it up.

To serve, dish out the pasta and garnish with toasted nuts, parmesan, parsley and black pepper to taste.