Saturday, September 24, 2011

Red and White Hearty Chili, Red Cabbage and Jicama Slaw, Greek Tomato Salad, and Classic Cornbread

Claire and I both had chili on our minds, with handfuls of veggies thrown in and turkey instead of beef.  We made two delicious versions, one white and one red. They both came together really quickly, which gave us time to come up with a few side dishes. Generally when Claire and I cook, we look through our refrigerators and our conversation goes something like  I've got red cabbage. I've got a lot of tomatoes.  I've got 1/2 a thing of jicama. We could make a red cabbage slaw.  Ok, what about tomato salad? That sounds good. I've got a little bit of feta cheese.  What about Greek tomato salad?  I have a recipe I've been meaning to try.  That will go great with chili.  Should we make cornbread too? I don't know if I'm a huge cornbread fan- the stuff from the box has that weird aftertaste. I have a from-scratch recipe.  Then we discuss our timing- this week for instance, we had a 1 1/2 hour window interrupted by various kid drop-offs and a teacher conference. So if the ingredients sometimes seem a little random, you might be onto something...

Served with Kale Chips. The phrase "Eat your colors!"
comes to mind, doesn't it?

Hearty Turkey Chili
Hearty and heart-healthy.  Unless you serve it with the homemade cornbread posted below, which you should.  Don't be nervous about the quantity of zucchini and mushrooms.  They cook down, and we didn't need to add water.  The mushrooms also gave the chili some depth, while the tomato paste also added a lot of flavor.  We chopped the carrots so finely that you couldn't even tell they were there.  I like putting carrots, pureed or diced into tomato-based soups/sauces because it adds a little sweetness and cuts the natural acidity of the tomatoes. 

1 lb ground turkey, browned
1 onion, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c diced carrots (very fine)
2 c diced mushrooms
3 c diced zucchini
2 x14 oz cans of diced tomatoes
3 T tomato paste
1 T chicken base
1 dash Worcestershire sauce
1 T red wine vinegar
1 T smoked or Hungarian paprika
2 T chili powder
1 T coriander
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp salt (to taste)
1 T honey
1/2 c frozen corn
2 cans white kidney beans, liquid included

Brown the meat, and add the garlic and onions.  Saute together, and add carrots.  Add the zucchini and mushrooms, saute and let them cook down for a few minutes.  During this time, add the tomatoes, tomato paste, chicken base, Worcestershire sauce, red wine vinegar, honey, and spices.  Add the frozen corn and the beans. Salt to taste, let it simmer for about 20-30 minutes. Garnish with Greek yogurt, cheddar cheese, green onions, cilantro if desired. Serve with cornbread.  And hot sauce!

Hearty White Chicken Chili
This white chili, also known as stew, has three different types of meat in it, but it's PACKED with veggies and might even be, dare I say, healthy? Feel free to vary the vegetables.  I used a lot of what was leftover in my fridge from other meals- my baby carrots were on their last legs, and crying to be tossed in a soup. Top it with nonfat Greek yogurt instead of sour cream, and don't forget the cilantro like I did.

1 lb. chicken sausage
4 slices turkey bacon
1 can white chicken breast, or 1 c leftover shredded rotisserie chicken
2 cans white navy beans (rinsed and drained)
1/2 c diced carrots
1/2 c frozen corn
1 medium zucchini, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 c spinach, chopped
3 c cabbage, shredded
1/4 red pepper, diced
1/2 large onion, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp cumin
6 c water or broth
(salt to taste, but the sausage and bacon may have plenty, so taste first)

In a large stockpot, heat 1 tsp olive oil and add garlic and onions. Saute until translucent. Add the sausage and bacon, cook until the sausage is done.  Next add carrots and celery and saute for a few minutes, adding a little water if the pot starts to scorch. Add the canned or rotisserie chicken, followed by the cabbage, zucchini, and corn. Add the beans and the water, followed by the spices. Let the chili simmer on medium heat until it reduces, about 20 minutes. Add the spinach and red pepper about 10 minutes before serving.

Red Cabbage and Jicama Slaw
This is great as a stand-alone side dish, but also works well with pulled pork or BBQ chicken.  I had some on a slice of toast with Chevre cheese.  It was so tempting that a co-worker asked to try it.  Besides, how can you resist the beautiful color? Don't be worried about the quantity- it will reduce as the dressing sets in.

1/2 head red cabbage, thinly sliced with mandoline (about 4-6 cups)
1 jicama, julienned (about 1 1/2 cups)
This is even more vibrant the next day.
4 green onions, sliced thinly on the diagonal.

1/3 c red wine vinegar
1/3 c olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T honey or agave nectar, or 2 tsp sugar
pinch of dried oregano
pinch of dried basil
sea salt to taste
pepper to taste
2 T water
1 T Dijon mustard

Toss the veggies with the dressing and let it sit for at least 20 minutes.

Greek Tomato Summer Salad
This was a huge hit with Claire's family.  She thinks the feta cheese was what roped them in.  The dressing has fantastic flavor and would be good on a regular salad if you're sick of balsamic and olive oil. 

4 c chopped tomatoes
1 chopped bell pepper
1 cucumber, seeded and chopped
2 oz feta cheese, crumbled

1/2 c red wine vinegar
1/2 c olive oil
2 pinches dried oregano
6 basil leaves, sliced
1 T honey
salt and pepper to taste

Toss veggies with dressing, and let sit for 30-45 minutes. Add the feta cheese before serving.

Claire's Classic Cornbread
This is really good.  It is sweet, but not cloyingly so.  And it doesn't have that weird aftertaste that the box mix has. Claire had tried many different homemade cornbread recipes, and adapted this one from Martha Stewart's Everyday Food, adding a little more moisture and frozen corn as well.  I agree that cornbread should have real corn in it for added texture and sweetness.  The kids loved it, especially the twins.

1/2 c unsalted melted butter
1 1/2 c lowfat buttermilk
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
6 T sugar
1 1/2 c fine cornmeal
1 c flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 c fresh or frozen corn

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Butter an 8 x 8 inch baking pan. Combine the dry ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.  In a large bowl, mix the wet ingredients. Whisk the melted butter together with the buttermilk, eggs, sugar, and corn. Gradually incorporate the dry ingredients.  Mix until just combined, being careful not to overmix. Pour the batter into the baking pan. Bake for 23-28 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

Let us know if you try our recipes, what worked, what didn't... We love hearing your comments. 

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