Monday, November 21, 2011

Caesar Roasted Tempeh Pizza

It has been a while since I cooked tempeh and I was struggling with coming up with a new way to do it.  Now you may be asking, why not do it a way you know? Well, I asked myself that too and it mostly came from already being in sweat pants and not wanting to go to the store.  I also needed a new blog recipe.

Anyway, long story short, the Caesar tempeh is really nice.  It would be great in its namesake salad, on a sandwich, or served plain.  I was looking to stretch it into a few meals so I took the pizza route with it, and the tempeh was a nice substitute for meat when used like this.  Also of note, the tomato/garlic/mushroom/parsley mixture would be wonderful as a bruschetta topping or added to a soup.  It is sharp and garlic-y and can be made year round.

That brings me to a dirty secret this week...I like canned mushrooms.  Not all the time, but on pizzas there is something about the texture that just works for me.  You can use fresh or sauteed if you so choose.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Recipe: White Chicken Chili

I've been on a chili/soup kick lately, most likely a result of it getting colder here in Iowa and the need to stock my freezer before finals arrive.  This is a great, and pretty easy, chili to throw together.  All the ingredients work nicely together and lime is a revelation when combined with the slow burn heat of the poblanos.  I used 3 different types of beans because the store had them, but using 3 cans of Great Northern beans would work just as well.  One step in this recipe is mashing half of the beans used, and this would be a great way to involve kids in the kitchen if you have them.  I used chicken breasts for this recipe, but shredding a rotisserie chicken is an easy swap to simplify this even more.  If you are one of those who cannot stand cilantro substitute it for fresh flat leaf parsley.

You will need:
3 chicken breasts, seasoned with salt and pepper, cooked and shredded
2 poblano peppers, seeded and chopped
1 onion, chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
32oz Stock (I used a no-sodium chicken stock)
1 lime, zested and 1/2 juiced
1 can navy beans, drained
1 can white kidney beans, drained
1 can great northern beans, drained
4oz can chopped green chilies
1 Tablespoon Cumin
1.5 Teaspoons Coriander
1 Teaspoon Ancho Chili Powder (or chili powder)
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
Olive Oil
Red pepper flakes (optional)

Start by prepping all of the vegetables.  Chop the poblanos (and then wash your hands with warm soapy water), the onion, and garlic.  Open and drain the beans and mash half of them either with a potato masher or by hand.  You will have time while the chili is simmering to cook the chicken, but I found it easier to cook the chicken first so it could cool before I shredded it to add.

In a large pot add a glug of oil and heat over medium high heat.  Add the onion and the poblanos and cook for 5-6 minutes until soft.  Add the garlic and green chilies and cook for 1-2 more minutes.  Add salt (if using regular chicken broth, add just a sprinkle until you taste later), pepper, cumin, coriander, and chili powder.  Cook for another minute so that the spice flavors can bloom, and then add the chicken stock.

When the stock has come to a simmer add the lime zest, juice, and the mashed and whole beans.  Stir to combine and cook at a simmer for 20-25 minutes.  About half way through give the broth a taste and adjust salt and pepper to your liking. If the heat needs to be adjusted, use the red pepper flakes.  Add the shredded chicken and cook just until it is warm.  Stir in the chopped cilantro and serve.

Garnishes could include: Cheese, sour cream, red pepper flakes, sliced avocado, diced tomato, tortilla strips.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Recipe: Cheap and Easy Chicken Noodle Soup

This weekend I just needed some soup. Using some leftovers and things I had lying around, I threw together this simple and delicious take on chicken noodle soup.  If you have low/no sodium chicken broth, it is great here, especially if you are combining it with bouillon, which I had to do.  I also used some leftover rotisserie chicken, though you could use any leftover cuts of chicken.  What really makes this soup special is the red pepper flake, which adds a subtle heat to the soup.  For the pasta, I took the very easy way out and just boiled it in the stock.  The bouillon is probably less salt than I would use in a normal pasta pot but it worked out fine.  Feel free to cook the pasta separately if you choose. This pot would serve 3-4 depending on how hungry people are.

You will need:
4-5 cups of liquid (Stock or water with bouillon)
1/2 box of whole wheat spaghetti
~1.5 cups shredded chicken
~1/2 cup grated carrot
Garlic Powder
Red Pepper flakes
3 Tablespoons chopped parsley, 1 Tbsp. for garnish

Bring the liquid to a boil.  When it is boiling take bunches of the pasta and break into about two inch pieces.  Cook for 7-8 minutes, until the pasta is very close to done.  Add the shredded chicken, grated carrot, a shake of garlic powder, and a large dash of the pepper and red pepper flakes.
With a soup like this, it is easy to add a bit at a time and taste it until it is too your likely.  In the last minute, add 2 tablespoons of the parsley.  Use the remaining parsley to garnish.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Love Thy Leftovers: Black Bean Chili Stuffed Peppers

I love stuffed peppers.  Not only are bell peppers a tasty and healthy alternative to a bread bowl, but they can also be used to hold so many different things.  I used some of the leftover black bean chili, but you could also use any leftover regular chili, taco meat, thick beef stew, a layer of mashed potatoes topped with a stew, etc etc etc.  If the bell peppers are large or won't stand up on their own, slice them length wise.  If they are small, slice off the top of the pepper and then fill them up.

You will need:
2-4 green bell peppers (either one small one per person, or 1/2 large one)
A few cups of leftover black bean chili (recipe here) or other filling
A few handfuls of your choice of cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Chopped parsley to taste

Start the leftover chili warming on the stove, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  As it warms, wash the peppers and then cut them either 1) length wise, leaving the stem on the pepper so the filling won't fall out, or 2) cut off the top of the pepper as close to the stem as you can.  Clear out the ribs and seeds from the peppers and put a pinch of salt and pepper into the bell peppers.  Once the chili is warm, taste it and adjust the seasonings as necessary.  Add a small handful (about 1/4 cup) into the chili and stir until it melts.  Cover a cookie sheet in foil, and place the peppers on top.  Fill each pepper to the top with the chili mixture.  Cook for 25 minutes.  After the 25 minutes, cover the tops of the peppers with a small handful of cheese and cook 3-5 more minutes until the cheese has melted.  Remove from oven and let sit for a few minutes before serving.  Top with chopped parsley if desired.