Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Q.E.D.: Chickpeas with Kale and Mango

Time for a Q.E.D. healthy meal!

Notes: Mangos aren't quite in season yet, so roasting them helps to bring out the natural sweetness. Plus, sauteed fruit can fall apart too much in the pan.

This dish turned out great, but it didn't make a big batch. You can easily double the size of you need to feed more people: just add an extra can of chickpeas and an extra mango.

1 15 oz. can chickpeas
1 bunch kale
3 cloves of garlic
1 mango
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of honey

Directions: Heat the oven to 400.

Dice the mango and lay it on a baking sheet. Roast it for 10 minutes.

Rinse and drain the chickpeas. Slice the kale thin and mince the garlic. Heat the butter in a skillet on medium-high. Add in the kale and garlic and saute for about a minute. Season with cumin, cinnamon, salt, and pepper. Add in the chickpeas, put a lid on the pan, and turn the heat down to low. When the mango is done, add it to the pan and stir everything together.


Chia Oat Pancakes with Pistachio Honey Butter

Cooking breakfast for people might be my favorite way to entertain. There's nothing like enjoying a relaxing morning with a hearty breakfast and a cup (or four) of coffee.

Notes: Pancakes are delicious, but can run out on you energy-wise. But mix some oats in the flour and you'll have something a bit more substantial.

I have joined the chia bandwagon. Why, yes, I do mean the seeds that you use to grow those humorous grassy pets. It turns out chia seeds are a superfood: they have tons of calcium, iron, zinc, and potassium. That's a lot of vitamins! They don't really taste like anything and you can add them to anything you make. I put them in my museli in the morning.

My BFF who was enjoying pancakes with me has never been a fan of maple syrup. I decided to whip up the honey butter as a topping replacement.

Pancakes (makes about 10 pancakes):
3/4 cup quick oats
3/4 cup of "instant" pancake mix (recipe here)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 egg
1 cup of milk
2 tablespoons butter plus more for the pan

Pistachio Honey Butter:
2 tablespoons of butter
1 tablespoon crushed pistachios
1/2 tablespoon honey

Directions: Melt the two tablespoons of butter for the pancakes and allow it to cool completely. Mix it with the milk and beaten egg in one bowl. Add the pancake mix, oats, chia seeds, and cinnamon in another bowl. Mix the wet ingredients with the dry. 

Heat a skillet and rub it with butter. Wipe the excess butter off. Ladle the batter into the pan. When large bubbles rise to the surface and burst, flip the pancake over. Cook for about 30 more seconds. 

For the pistachio butter, allow two tablespoons of butter to soften. Mix crushed pistachios, honey, and butter together in small bowl. 

Photograph by Shelly!

Serve and enjoy!

Snack Supper

My biggest guilty pleasure is eating snack food as a meal. I especially love nachos for dinner when I'm at a bar. Nachos are my weakness!

No nachos here, but I have lined up a few items that you can use the next time you need party food. My BFF Shelly was visiting, so we decided to have a snack supper one night.

Homemade Tortilla Chips:
10-12 flour tortillas
2 tablespoons of olive oil, divided

Directions: Heat the oven to 400. Cut the tortillas into triangles (like slicing a pizza). Toss the triangles in a large bowl with the oil, salt, and pepper. Lay the triangles on a baking sheet. Don't let them overlap -- you'll probably have to do two batches. 

Bake the chips for 7 minutes on one side. Flip them over and bake for 6 minutes on the other side. Serve them with any dip you like, such as spicy black bean humus.

Crostini with Goat Cheese:
1 small baguette 
5-8 oz. of goat cheese
Olive oil
Salt Pepper

Directions: Heat the oven to 400. Slice the baguette and lay the slices on a baking sheet. Drizzle the slices with olive oil and season the with salt and pepper. Bake for 4-5 minutes

Spread goat cheese on the toasts while they're still warm. We found some honey goat cheese in the store, but you can just use plain goat cheese and drizzle it with honey.

Roasted Pineapple Kale Salad (makes two salads)
4-6 large kale leaves
2 cups of pineapple chunks + pineapple juice

Directions: Heat the oven to 400. Reserve the juice from your pineapple. Lay the pineapple on a baking sheet and roast it for 10 minutes. Slice the kale in thin ribbons, divide it, and add it to the salad bowls. Pour the juice over the kale, season it with salt and pepper, and massage it into the leaves. When you pineapple is finished, put the pieces on top of the kale. Serve while the pineapple is warm.

Enjoy and happy snacking!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Quinoa, Black Bean, and Pumpkin Burritos

It's been probably three years since I've had decent mexican food. Despite Louisiana's proximity to Texas, Lake Charles only has a handful of not-so-authentic places. I suppose the place we used to go in Urbana wasn't exactly the real deal, but it sure was better than anything in LC.

I've been wanting to try my hand at burritos. I saw a recipe for pumpkin and black bean soup and thought it might work as a filling. Boy did it ever.

Notes: This dish can only be described as "crazy delicious." It has exactly the right amount of heat for me, but if you want it milder, I'd use one rather than two chipotles. This dish has a lot of steps and it violates my "use fewer dishes rule," but it was so good, I got over it. If you wanted to make it for a dinner party, you could make both the quinoa and the black bean mix the day before. Just store them in the fridge and assemble everything when you're ready to bake.

For those who don't know, chipotles are smoked jalapenos. They come canned in adobo sauce. You can usually find them in the mexican food aisle or wherever your other canned chiles are. They are soft, so if you want to remove the seeds, just lay them on a cutting board, open them up, and scrape the seeds out with the tip of your knife.

If you want a thicker bean mixture, you can always add more pumpkin.

I do not have a foolproof or even good method for rolling burritos. I just try to keep everything from falling out. There are videos all over YouTube, if you are so inclined. But if you're lazy like I am, just use the "tuck and roll" method from the egg post.

1 15 oz. can black beans
1/4 cup of canned pumpkin puree
1 onion
5 cloves of garlic
1 bell pepper
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 chipotles in adobo, seeds removed
1 teaspoon adobo sauce
1 cup quinoa
2 cups (plus 1/2) water
Grated monterrey jack cheese
Large flour tortillas
Fat of choice (I used butter)


Heat the oven to 350.

Start by prepping your veggies. Chop the onion, mince the garlic, and chop the bell pepper. Add your fat of choice to the pan and turn it to medium-high. Once it heats up, add the veggies and saute while you do everything else.

Add your quinoa and 2 cups of water to a sauce pan. Bring to a boil and then turn to a simmer. Let it simmer for 10-15 minutes until the water is absorbed.

While the quinoa is cooking, rinse and drain the canned beans. Pull our your chipotles, take out the seeds, and mince the peppers. Add the beans, chipotles, adobo sauce, and pumpkin to your pan with the veggies. Use a potato masher or a fork to mash some of the black beans. Add a 1/2 cup of water and turn the heat down. You just want it to simmer until your quinoa is finished.

While the quinoa is finishing, grate your cheese. Once everything is done, assemble the burrito. Put a large spoonful (like a serving spoon size) of quinoa in the middle of the burrito toward the bottom. Put the same size spoonful of the black bean mixture on top of the quinoa. Leave yourself enough room to fold it over. Tuck in the sides, roll the filling over, tuck in the sides again, and then roll once more. Put the burrito seam-side down into a glass baking dish. Repeat with the rest of the tortillas until you have the desired amount of burritos.

Sprinkle the cheese on top of the burritos and bake for 10-12 minutes until the cheese is melted.

Serve with your favorite garnishes and enjoy!