Chick’n-y Green Beans and Carrots

I made this dish for my family, and it went over well with myself and my kids. So I made it for my omnivorous, Standard American Diet extended family, and they loved it! Even my 1-year-old nephew gobbled it up.

First I took the ends off of about 10 oz fresh green beans (local farmer’s market!) and broke into bite size pieces. Then I sliced about 6 oz organic carrots (I buy them from Walmart for less than $1 a pound and slice them into coins or sticks for dipping). I throw that into a frying pan over high heat with about and inch of water and mixed in about a tablespoon Better than Bouillon, imitation chicken style. Once the water boils down, I remove from heat and sprinkle on garlic powder and Chipotle Chili Power (more like hot Ground Red Pepper than Chili Powder; the right kind is important!). The Chipotle Chili Powder gives a very spicy, smoky flavor and is pretty hot, so go easy on it.

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Veggie Chili

This tasted a little more like a soup than a chili, so call it Black Bean Veggie soup if you want :-D. I didn’t measure the spices, so just taste as you go (without burning yourself!). It makes 6 generous servings.

Spices:
Smoked paprika
Chipotle sea salt
Ground cumin
Cilantro

Ingredients:
400 grams (measured dry) black beans
1 15-oz can corn
4 mini sweet peppers, sliced/chopped
4 carrots, chopped
1.5 tablespoons minced garlic
255 grams chopped onions (frozen)
1 cup TVP
3 beefsteak tomatoes
1 tablespoon vegetable bullion (better than broth–beef would have been best but I only have veggie)
2 tablespoons coconut oil

For serving:
Caulirice
Daiya pepper jack shreds
Salsa

Instructions:
Soak, drain, and rinse beans. Cook, then drain the liquid and reserve for another use.

While beans are cooking, cut stems off tomatoes, chop (if your blender or food processor requires it), and puree. Simmer over medium heat with bullion and a little water.

Meanwhile, preheat coconut oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until translucent. Add garlic. Continue stirring often until they start to brown. Add spices, carrots, and peppers. Stir and cook a few minutes, then add corn (drained). Once oil is absorbed and veggie are browning, add to tomatoes. Add beans to tomato puree when they are cooked and drained. Once everything but TVP is in one pot, the chili should be more watery than desired. Rehydrate TVP with only .5 cups hot water (season with the spices) or broth, then add to chili and simmer longer.

To make caulirice, place cauliflower pieces in a food processor and process until each piece is about the size of rice, or use a shredder.

Serve with pepper jack and salsa mixed in. Pour the hot chili over raw caulirice and let the heat cook the rice slightly and the dish to cool just a bit. Yum! I made this for all 4 kids, me, and one more adult. I was the only one that added salsa, and the kids did dairy cheese instead of Daiya. Everyone said it was good, and the little ones requested seconds.

I haven’t tried freezing it yet, but I did eat it for lunch the next day. Chili/soup generally tends to freeze well, so this is a great recipe to make ahead of time in a huge batch.

PB&J wrap

Once upon a time, I went to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch. We didn’t have my favorite low-calorie bread, but we did have my favorite low-calorie tortillas. I compared labels, and realized the tortilla was a better option than the bread. I still made my kids the sandwiches, and instead of making mine “quesadilla-style”, I decided to be adventurous and throw some baby spinach in there, then eat it like a wrap. Adding fruit bulks it up, too, and it travels well–I like to wrap it in foil and keep it in the fridge at work until I’m ready to eat. I think my favorite way to go is plenty of almond butter (just almonds or almonds + coconut oil), blueberries, strawberry preserves, and baby spinach. For low-calorie, try using PB2 and skipping the fruit spread. All ingredients can easily be substituted, so play around with it!

1 tortilla

2-3 tablespoons nut butter

1-2 tablespoons fruit spread (optional)

handful/about an ounce or two berries or chopped fruit such as grapes, oranges, pear, nectarine, kiwi, etc.

20-30 grams fresh spinach or kale

Spread nut butter on tortilla, then fruit spread. Add greens and fruit. Wrap it up. Eat!

Ok, so it’s not technically PB if you use almond butter. And if I use fruit spread, it’s 100% fruit preserves, not jelly. So more like a ABF&G (almond butter, fruit, and greens) wrap…but that just doesn’t have the same ring to it!

Let me know in the comments if you make this, and what you used!

Portobella Marinara Caps with Balsamic Baby Spinach

Mushrooms are such a controversial food. I rarely hear of people that think they are mediocre. It’s always “Yum!” or “the most disgusting food ever!” I fall into the former camp. Hunny Bunny loves them, just like me. Catboy officially hates them, but I’ve managed to make a veggie burger recipe with ground dried shrooms that he enjoyed, and he liked it when I hid minced shrooms along with lentils as the fake meat in an enchilada casserole. My mom would literally get sick if I tried to sneak mushrooms into her food.

Anyway, today I made this separately, just for me. I used 2 large portobella caps, total of 6 oz. I never bother removing the stem; they are edible but I see many recipes that say to discard them for some reason. I pricked the smooth edge with a butter knife before I put them in the pan.

I used cast iron, and put a little coconut oil in first. Once that was heated, I put the mushrooms in and cooked on both sides, loosely covering with a lid. Then I added marinara sauce (I like Hunt’s Garlic and Herb pasta sauce, but any would work, I’m sure) to the gill side. Cook a little longer, turning over when it gets watery.

I let those cool on my plate (smooth side down) as I cooked the spinach (about 60 grams) in the same pan with a few tablespoons balsamic vinegar. After most of liquid was reduced, I piled the spinach atop the shrooms and sprinkled with dried basil. I bet they would make good burgers, between a hearty bun, but I ate with fork and knife. Yum!

Do you like mushrooms? Do you know of anyone that feels apathetic about them, or is everyone you know pretty passionate about loving/hating them?

Spaghetti with Avocado Cream Sauce

For dinner, I went with Vegan Yak Attack‘s Avocado Mac‘s sauce (no elbows or bacon). I realized I only had 88 grams of avocado in the freezer to use (I had 3/4 avocado, not 3/4 cup). According to my web search, 3/4 cup avocado would be 112.5 grams. So I looked around and decided on peas to make up the rest of the weight. Peas are a good source of protein, so they’d cut back on the calories from fat while still being a substantial sauce. I also used apple cider vinegar, red miso, soy sauce instead of aminos, and 1 teaspoon mustard powder instead of 2 teaspoons Dijon.

The sauce was super easy to put together. All I had to do was throw everything in my blender. I used the single serve cup from my Ninja and it was perfect. I didn’t defrost the avocado or peas all the way, but it did fine. I thought it tasted great; Catboy did not and Hunny Bunny reported disliking it before she even tried it. Catboy described it as too tangy, sour, and bland. I liked the tangy, slightly spicy, creamy flavor. I think it would be good with some diced or sun-dried tomatoes.

I had it over spaghetti squash; whole wheat noodles for the kids (they had both noodles together). I pierced and oven roasted the spaghetti squash hours ahead of time, then carefully sliced it open and let it cool for about an hour before removing seeds and serving. I think this works really well, if I’m able to plan ahead and be home for it. It would probably work to do it days ahead of time and keep it in the fridge before de-seeding (seeding?) and scraping out the noodles.