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.

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Italian Sausage With Balsamic Caramelized Onions and Peppers

12 08 2014

Given my Italian heritage, I should be able to make you a sausage, onion and pepper dish in my sleep. And…I pretty much can! The best thing about this recipe is that you really don’t need a recipe, you can just wing it! As long as you don’t burn anything, this will turn out savory and delicious.

You’ll typically find sausage, onions and peppers on my family’s go-to party menu, but we don’t normally use as many ingredients as I have in this meal. But thanks to my CSA share from Fresh Fork Market, I had more produce to use up. So I threw in some extras like tomatoes and fennel fronds that I normally wouldn’t add. And that’s what makes this meal versatile. Add what you like, remove what you don’t – it won’t make a difference. Just get a nice caramelization on the onions and peppers, and you’re good to go!

Italian Sausage with Balsamic Caramelized Onions and Peppers

The following serves 3-4 (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

  • 4 Italian sausage links
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 small candy onions, or whatever onions you like, sliced
  • 2 bell peppers, whatever color you like, sliced
  • Kosher salt
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Granulated garlic
  • 3 small tomatoes, diced
  • Good handful of fennel fronds
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Reduced-fat, low-sodium chicken stock
  • Fresh basil ribbons

Preheat grill to medium, try to keep the grill around 300 degrees.

Preheat oven to 350.

Poke two-three holes in the sausages with a knife – don’t poke all the way through. Place sausages on the grill and close lid but keep it slightly ajar. Grill until brown all over, a few minutes on each side. Remove from the grill.

In a large non-stick oven-proof skillet, heat 3 Tbsp or so of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and saute until beginning to soften, tossing occasionally. Add peppers and continue to saute until onions start to brown and peppers soften, tossing occasionally. At this point add the tomatoes, fennel fronds and season with salt, red pepper flakes and granulated garlic – all to taste. The salt will help the onions and peppers give off some of their natural liquid. Saute for another few minutes.

Next, deglaze the pan with some balsamic vinegar, a good turn of the pan, about 2 Tbsp or so. Let the vinegar cook down, tossing with the onions and peppers. Next, add some chicken stock, just eyeball it, about 1/4 cup, and cook for another minute or two. You’ll notice the liquid start to thicken into a sauce. Remove from the heat.

Nestle the grilled sausages into the onions and peppers and cover the skillet loosely with foil. Transfer to the oven and bake 10 minutes. Remove foil and finish baking uncovered, another 5 minutes. Remove from the oven.

Serve sausages along with the onions, peppers and some of the sauce from the pan. Garnish with fresh basil. I like to enjoy this meal with a big salad of baby greens dressed in red wine vinegar, extra-virgin olive oil, salt, pepper and granulated garlic.





Kale, Corn and Tomato Salad With Basil Pesto Dressing

29 07 2014

This is a tasty and easy salad to help enjoy the bounties of fresh summer produce. Here I’m featuring kale, tomatoes, cucumbers and shallots from our Fresh Fork Market CSA share. Serve with whatever protein looks good to you and dig in. I love easy meals like this that allow me to spend more time enjoying the beautiful day, and less time in the kitchen!

Kale, Corn and Tomato Salad With Basil Pesto Dressing

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

  • 4 small to medium ears of corn, shucked
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 small cucumber, sliced in half moons
  • 1/2 cup sliced shallots
  • 1/2 cup basil pesto
  • 2 Tbsp champagne wine vinegar
  • 1 bunch kale, stemmed and chopped
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Salt and pepper

Preheat grill to medium-high.

Drizzle shucked corn with a little olive oil and grill until slightly charred all over, about 5-7 minutes. Remove corn from the grill and set aside until cool enough to handle. I picked the following trick up from Rachel Ray and it works like a charm – place a small bowl upside down inside a large bowl. Stand the corn up on the bottom of the small bowl and using a large knife, cut corn off the cobs. The kernels will easily collect in the big bowl. When all the kernels are cut off, remove the small bowl.

Add the tomatoes, cucumber and shallots to the bowl with the corn. Add the pesto and vinegar, and mix well to combine.

Add the kale to another bowl. Squeeze in lemon juice and a good drizzle of olive oil. Season lightly with salt and pepper to taste. Massage gently with your hands for a couple of minutes, ensuring the kale is evenly coated. Massaging the kale will help it break down a little and soften, making it easier to eat and enjoy, in its raw form!

To serve, divide the kale among plates. Slightly push kale to the sides, creating a hole in the middle. Divide the corn and tomato salad among plates, filling the kale hole. Serve with a protein of your choice. Pictured above is petite sirloin steak.





Chicken Cacciatore With Lemon-Herb Pasta

19 05 2014

Cacciatore refers to the way this chicken dish is prepared, which is typically braised in tomatoes, onions, peppers, spices and wine. In Italy, the wine used depends on the Region you’re in. The south uses red wine while the North tends to use white, making this versatile…and of course, tasty! Use the crockpot to help make Sunday supper or your weeknight dinners much easier.

Chicken Cacciatore With Lemon-Herb Pasta

The following serves 2-3 (adapted from Cuisine Slow Cooker Menus):

  • 2 whole pieces of quartered, bone-in chicken (leg/thigh), skin removed
  • Salt and pepper
  • Whole wheat flour
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, plus more for pasta
  • 3/4 cup dry wine, either red or white will work
  • 1 can (15 oz) crushed tomatoes
  • Handful of grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 package (8 oz) sliced baby bella mushrooms
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 Tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • Half a pound of whole wheat wide egg noodles
  • Lemon zest and juice
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter or butter substitute
  • Fresh herbs, such as parsley or oregano
  • Parmesan, grated

After removing the skin, season chicken with salt and pepper to taste. Dredge in flour, shaking off any excess. Brown chicken on both sides in 2 Tbsp hot oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat, about 8 minutes. Transfer chicken to a slow cooker.

Deglaze pan with wine, cooking until liquid is reduced by half. Transfer wine to the slow cooker.

Add tomatoes, onion, mushrooms, garlic, Italian seasoning and bay leaf to the slow cooker. Cover cacciatore, cook until chicken is tender 3 and 1/2 hours. During the last 30 minutes, add bell pepper, season with a little salt to taste and cover. Cook until pepper is tender.

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add noodles and cook to al dente, according to package instructions. Drain pasta, add back to the hot pot and toss with 1 – 2 Tbsp of lemon zest and juice, red pepper flakes, the butter, a good drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and chopped parsley.

Serve up the pasta with the chicken cacciatore and sauce on top. Garnish with more fresh herbs and parmesan.





Tabbouleh Salad With Farro and Grilled Portobello Mushrooms

28 04 2014

This is such a tasty meatless meal, packed with loads of flavor and healthy ingredients! Tabbouleh is a Lebanese grain salad typically made with bulgur wheat. I didn’t have bulgur so I improvised with the ancient grain farro, but kept the rest of the traditional ingredients the same with mixing in parsley, mint, cucumbers, tomatoes and dressing with lemon juice and olive oil. Heads up, there’s a lot of chopping to be had here, so grab yourself a sous chef to help!

Tabbouleh Salad With Farro and Grilled Portobello Mushrooms

Tabbouleh Salad With Farro and Grilled Portobello Mushrooms

The following makes 4 servings (adapted from Cuisine at Home):

  • 1 cup uncooked farro
  • Minced zest of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp minced fresh garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 package (10 oz) grape tomatoes, halved (you could also use a mix of tomatoes and chopped red bell pepper if you wanted)
  • 1 cucumber, seeded and chopped
  • 1 can chickpeas (15 oz) drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 cup sliced scallions or green onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1/2 cup pitted and sliced kalamata olives
  • 4 large portobello mushrooms (4-6 oz each) stemmed and gilled
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat, crumbled feta cheese

Cook the farro according to package directions. Allow to cool.

Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette. In a bowl, whisk together the lemon zest, juice, olive oil and garlic. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Reserve 3 Tbsp of the vinaigrette to brush on the portobellos.

Combine the tomatoes, cucumber, chickpeas, parsley, scallions, mint, olives, and cooled farro. Toss with vinaigrette and chill until ready to serve.

Preheat grill to medium-high. Brush grill grate with oil.

For the mushrooms, brush both sides with reserved vinaigrette and season with salt and pepper. Grill mushrooms, uncovered, until grill marks appear and mushrooms are softened, about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove from grill and transfer to a cutting board. Slice mushrooms into 1/2-inch-thick strips.

To serve, plate the tabbouleh salad, top with sliced mushrooms and garnish with feta.