Beans

Lighter Sloppy Joes

My posts have been few and far between lately. I can’t explain it. I’m busy, I spend too much time on the computer already, I have other things I want to do, blah blah blah. The thing is, I still cook every weekend and make the food I plan on posting. I just don’t get around to writing up these posts. Honestly, my life is boring lately. I don’t really have anything to say. My life consists of work, cooking, eating and doing puzzles. Oh, and trying to get in a daily workout. But who wants to hear about all of that? It’s life after all and we all have one. Not to mention that I’ve been struggling with what to make lately. I’m trying to eat healthy and make food that is easy to portion out. Because I am one of those people who will have just one more bite, okay one more spoonful, okay one more helping. Portion control for me is key. These Lighter Sloppy Joes are a good dish to portion out so they make for a quick go-to lunch or dinner.

Ground turkey is cooked with onion and spices before settling into a smooth tomato sauce. Mashed up chickpeas are added to the mixture which gives an additional nutritious boost that blends right in. I’ve been pretty into sloppy joes lately and this unique kind is a new favorite. I’m a firm believer in the benefits of beans so this sandwich is a winner in my book. I topped this with some spicy banana peppers instead of pickles and now I’m hooked. I may never go back to regular pickles again. Especially on my sloppy joes.

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Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion; sauté 4 minutes or until almost tender.

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Add turkey; cook until browned and no longer pink, stirring to crumble. Stir in chili powder, sugar, and salt; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.

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Add 1/4 cup water and tomato sauce; reduce heat, and simmer 2 minutes or until thickened.

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Place chickpeas in a bowl; partially mash with a fork or potato masher. Stir chickpeas into turkey mixture.

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Spoon about 1/2 cup turkey mixture onto bottom half of each bun; top each with pickles or banana peppers and top half of bun.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions:

  • Ground turkey
  • Banana peppers

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Cooking Light magazine

Edamame Hummus

I haven’t been very good at going to the gym lately which is making feel pretty bad about myself but I have been doing some workouts at home that are leaving my body SORE. But as we all know, it’s a good sore. Why is it so hard to stay motivated? I was doing great at being in a routine and eating so well but then a work trip and a few frozen pizzas sent me spinning out of control. Well, here we go again, me being a broken record, concentrating on eating well. I have a lot of traveling coming up over the next month so now is the time for me to get it together. I’ll need as much willpower as I can get when faced not having my own kitchen. Until I head out, I’m doing some healthy snacking with this Edamame Hummus.

Thawed frozen edamame is whirled in a food processor with garlic, olive oil, lemon, and tahini until smooth and thick. If you like edamame and you like regular hummus, you’ll like this version. The result is a fresh and vibrant hummus that is perfect with fresh veggies or chips. I really loved this. I used a fraction of the oil that the recipe called for (only 2 tablespoons) so use your judgment on how much you want to use. Making this edamame takes two seconds so if you think you have that kind of time, give this a try. Especially if you love hummus.

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Add garlic, edamame, extra virgin olive oil, 1/4 cup water, lemon juice and tahini into the bowl of a food processor; puree. Season generously with salt.

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Serve with chips or veggies.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Like It

Source: Everyday with Rachael Ray magazine

White Bean Spread

When you are eating healthy, you need healthy snacks, right? So you buy some baby carrots to have on hand to snack on here or there but after a while you just want to dunk it into some creamy or cheesy dip. Carrots are my quickest go-to when it comes to quick-grab veggies but sometimes, I just can’t eat another one plain. And since I hate cooked carrots more than anything and don’t particularly care for light dressings, I’m left to find myself another way to eat these little guys. Luckily for me, I usually have cans of beans on hand so when I came across this recipe for White Bean Spread, it was like an aha moment.

Canned cannellini beans are whirled together with nothing more than lemon juice, fresh thyme, salt and pepper, producing a fiber and protein-filled snack. This vegetarian dip is simple but complex in flavors and one of the easiest things you can make. The lemon juice gives it a real vibrancy and the thyme shines through subtly. I didn’t process the beans all the way so I could have some chunky bites here and there (for those of us who like lumpy mashed potatoes) which made this feel more like a small meal than a snack. This dip is thick and only gets thicker if you put it in the refrigerator but can easily be thinned out with water or additional lemon juice. If you are sick of hummus, give this fresh dip a try.

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Combine beans, oil, lemon juice, thyme, salt and pepper in a food processor.

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Process until smooth.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Like It

Source: Family Circle magazine

Lime-Spiked Black Bean Dip

It’s Cinco de Mayo so what are you planning on eating today?  Burritos?  Enchiladas?  Fajitas?  Tacos?  Mexican food is so good but can be really terrible for you, especially because so much of the Americanized Mexican food available to us is loaded with ooey gooey melted cheese.  But the good thing is, Mexican food can easily be made low-fat at home by substituting low-fat cheese, low-fat sour cream, healthy beans and lots of veggies.  As tempted as I was to make a big Mexican meal, I decided to keep things a little simple with an easy bold and healthy dip.  This Lime-Spiked Black Bean Dip is a healthy way to enjoy some Mexican food on this Cinco de Mayo without a)breaking the bank or b)spending hours on the elliptical machine working it off.

Canned black beans are whirled in a food processor until smooth (but not too smooth – chunks of beans make for awesome texture) and combined with grated carrots, fresh lime juice, scallions, garlic, and cilantro.  A little salt and cayenne pepper add seasoning to beans which can typically be pretty bland (I used low-sodium black beans so I could control the salt content).  I really love the addition of the grated carrot because it provides a fat-free crunch while the scallion gives a fantastic mild onion flavor.  And the lime – it really brings this dip to life.  This is a thick dip, especially if it’s been in the refrigerator for a bit so add a little water or black bean juice if you ‘d prefer it to be more “dippy”.  If you don’t like cilantro, you can leave it out but it provides an herby flavor that is so good in Mexican food.  Serve with tortilla chips and you’ve got a healthy vegetarian snack or appetizer than would also be great folded into a tortilla for a light lunch.

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Place beans in a food processor, and pulse until almost smooth.

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Combine the beans, carrot, and the remaining ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring until well blended. Let stand 30 minutes.

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Serve with baked tortilla chips.

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Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:  None

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Cooking Light magazine

 

Tortilla Chip Casserole

Didn’t someone once say that casseroles are boring?  I guess casseroles used to primarily consist of some kind of leftover meat, mixed vegetables, maybe a pasta, rice or potato and some kind of creamy condensed soup…yeah…boring.  I wouldn’t want to eat that.  Well, unless I’m really hungry.  This Tortilla Chip Casserole is unlike any other casserole you’ve had.  If you are making this for dinner for guests or family, don’t even bother telling them you made a casserole because you’ll have them dreaming of Taco Bell right away.  Instead, tell them you have made the most flavorful, cheesy knock-your-socks-off dish and leave it at that.

Black beans, chicken and tortilla chips are nestled between layers of a spicy, cheesy milk sauce, and topped with enchilada sauce and cheese before being baked until melted and gooey.  Cumin and coriander are added to the milk sauce giving warmth to the already-bold flavors going on in the dish and cream cheese is also melted in making the sauce thick and rich.  Roasted red peppers, which are tucked away in the middle of the layers, add more flavor but sort of disappear in the end result so leave them in or leave them out, it’s up to you.  The best way I can describe this dish to say it’s like eating your favorite Mexican dip for dinner.  It’s creamy, it’s cheesy, it’s hearty, it has chicken, it has chips, it has spice.  It’s everything wrapped up in one little casserole bow.  Don’t let the lengthy list of ingredients deter you:  this will be the best dish you’ve made in a long time.  And no one will be dreaming of Taco Bell.

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The ingredients:

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Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; cook 6 minutes. Add garlic and flour; cook 2 minutes. ­Gradually add milk and stock, stirring constantly; bring to a boil. Remove from heat; stir in cumin, coriander, salt, pepper, and cream cheese.

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Spread 1/2 cup milk mixture over bottom of a broiler-safe 11 x 7-inch baking dish. Layer beans, 1 1/2 cups chicken, and 2 ounces chips. Top with 1/2 cup milk mixture. Layer 1 1/2 cups chicken, bell pepper, and 2 ounces chips; top with 1 cup milk mixture and enchilada sauce.

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Sprinkle with shredded cheese. Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes.

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Sprinkle with green onions, if desired.  (I was in such a hurry to eat this, I completely forgot the green onions!)

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Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:

  • Red enchilada sauce

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Cooking Light Magazine

Black Bean Salsa-Stuffed Peppers

As I write this I’m staring at my big orange suitcase, affectionately known as The Pumpkin, which is 99% packed for my annual girls trip to Vegas.  It can’t come fast enough.  By this time tomorrow morning, the first day of Spring (applause!), I’ll be on a plane trying to keep myself busy enough for the 5 plus hours to go by quickly so I can start gambling, sunning, drinking, betting, and overall partying.  In preparation for the trip and any decadence coming my way, my friend and I endured a week-long cleanse last week, which I won’t bore you with, and I have been super-strict since.  These Black Bean Salsa Stuffed Peppers were made before the cleanse but they are healthy enough to have anytime you are watching your waistline.  I kind of wish I had them now.

Black beans are mixed with fresh tomato, serrano chile, cilantro, oregano and extra-virgin olive oil and spooned into bright, crisp peppers.  The recipe ends there, suggesting to enjoy these stuffed peppers as a cold plate or appetizer with some chips.  But I took it a step further and threw those bad boys in the oven with a little water, covered in foil, and baked them at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.  How you choose to eat this is up to you but the cooked version made these feel more like a meal to me.  If you want to get even crazier, add a little ground meat with the beans or top them with a little cheese when baking.  This is a great dish for a vegetarian in your circle of peeps or just as-is for a healthy meal, cooked or not.

I won’t have another post this week due to my little vacay but I’m hoping to have some photos to share via Instagram here.  In the meantime, Happy Spring!

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The ingredients:

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In a medium bowl, combine the black beans, tomato, onion, chile, cilantro and oregano. Stir in the EVOO; season with salt.

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Slice off the top third of each bell pepper. Discard the stems and finely chop the remaining flesh from the tops; add to the bean mixture. Keeping the bell pepper bowls intact, discard the ribs and seeds.  Place the bell pepper bowls on a platter (trim a bit off the bottom if they’re wobbly) and fill with the bean mixture. Serve with tortilla chips, if desired, or bake at 375 degrees F for 30 minutes.

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Additions:  None

Omissions:

  • Red onion

Substitutions:

  •  Jalapeño pepper

Overall Rating:  Like It

Source:  Everyday with Rachael Ray magazine

Crunchy Chickpeas

For the second weekend in a row, I’ve gotten completely sucked into the 80’s miniseries North and South staring Patrick Swayze.  Last week was North and South Book 1 and yesterday was North and South Book 2 (based off of John Jakes’ book Love and War).  I remember watching both of these miniseries when I was a kid and have managed to get sucked right back into it all over again like I’ve never seen it.  I’ve always slightly been fascinated by the Civil War but it might be because I grew up in the Land of Lincoln, 30 minutes away from Springfield, Illinois where every field trip I went on in school was somehow related to Abraham Lincoln.  As if dedicating two Sundays in a row to the Civil War and Abraham Lincoln wasn’t enough, I proceeded to watch Killing Lincoln on Nat Geo last night before bed which let me tell you – was not a good idea.  At some point, I did manage to make myself a snack of Crunchy Chickpeas, to keep me going through hours of, well, death.  I guess it’s fitting since today is President’s Day, right?

I’ve seen these chickpea snacks nearly everywhere – in magazines, on Pinterest and in food blogs so I figured, why not give them a try?  They aren’t the simplest things to make but now I get the hype.  Canned chickpeas are tossed with garlic and seasonings and baked low and slow for a long time until crunchy on the outside but slightly chewy on the inside.  Sounds simple enough but the beans first have to be drained and de-skinned.  Hah..wahh?  I never really paid attention to the fact that chickpeas have skin but they do.  Lay them out on a paper towel, top with another paper towel and gently roll.  Yes, roll.  Those little pesky skins will slide ride off.  But take my word for it, do this process in batches.  Otherwise, you’ll be rolling and plucking skins all day.  My first bite of these chickpeas, I wondered what was so great.  But then, there I was, watching 80’s TV and popping these obsessively into my mouth.  I can’t explain it what it is about these snacks but they are slightly addictive.

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The ingredients:

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Wrap chickpeas in a towel; lightly roll to loosen skins. Discard skins.

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Combine chickpeas and remaining ingredients.

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Arrange on a baking sheet.

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Bake in a preheated 300°F oven for 1 hour and 40 minutes, stirring every 20 minutes.

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Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:  None

Overall Rating:  Like It

Source:  Cooking Light Magazine

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