Tag Archives: beans

Pumpkin Chili

This dish combines some of my favorite fall foods: pumpkin and chili.

I write a weekly column for The Joplin Globe, Claremore Daily Progress, and Ottumwa Courier and this week’s theme was pumpkins.

I love everything pumpkin. From pumpkin patches to carving them to eating the orange globes.

That is why I came up with these pumpkin chili, which is filling and delicious.

pumpkin chili crock

My pumpkin chili is a hearty stew that gets a boost of fiber and Vitamin A from the pumpkin. Pumpkin is very healthy and ½ cup contains 50 calories, 3 gram of fiber and 280 percent of your daily Vitamin A needs. You can’t really taste the pumpkin in my recipe, but it bulks it up and gives it a velvety texture. I add a little cinnamon to compliment the pumpkin this dish.

I love using bison instead of beef in this recipe, but it’s more expensive and not as readily available. Bison is healthier than beef and we are big bison fans.

punpkin c

Fall is my favorite time of year and I feast on pumpkin. I actually bought six cans last week. In my recipes, I usually use canned instead of real pumpkin because most people don’t have time to roast and puree a whole pumpkin.

I hope you enjoy it.

Pumpkin Chili

Serves 6-8

2 cups chopped red onion

1 pound ground sirloin or some lean ground beef

2 heaping tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoon cumin powder

1 teaspoon cumin seed

½ teaspoon garlic salt

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon (or more to taste)

1 (6-ounce) can of tomato paste

1 ½ cups water or chicken broth

1 (14.5-ounce) can of diced tomatoes

1 ¼ cups salsa

2 cloves chopped garlic or 1 tablespoon dehydrated garlic

1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree

¼ cup chopped cilantro

1 (15-ounce) can chili beans

*1 (4-ounce) can green chilies (optional)

Shredded cheese, chopped onion, cilantro to garnish

*The green chilies make this dish spicy, so I skip those when serving my family.

Heat a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat and when hot, add onions and beef.  Cook for 3 minutes. Then add chili powder, cumin, garlic salt and cinnamon and cook until ground beef is cooked. If necessary, drain beef before going on (if you use lean beef you won’t have to drain it).

Next, add tomato paste and water and cook for 2 minutes until the paste dissolves into the water. Then add salsa, garlic, pumpkin, cilantro and reduce heat to a simmer for 30 minutes (the longer you simmer, the better the flavor). Add beans and cook 10 minutes before serving.

This chili is even better the next day, but some of the cinnamon flavor will fade because of the strong flavors of garlic, cumin and tomatoes. To combat this, I sprinkle plain cinnamon on a bowl just before serving for more emphasis on the cinnamon (you could also just double it in the recipe, but try the ½ teaspoon first because you don’t want to overwhelm the dish with cinnamon).

Advertisements

Celery Leaves have many uses. And what do you do when you over salt soup? Hump Day Hacks and Tips

It’s Wednesday, which I am calling  “Hump Day Hacks and Tips!” I am excited about this new feature on my blog that will appear every Wednesday.

Sometimes I share content I find, sometimes I share my own. Today, I share my own and I have two tips for you.

My parents used to live in the Dominican Republic and when I visited them (back in college), I discovered the beauty of celery leaves.

Most American cooks cut the leaves off and toss them– I used to do that–  but it’s a mistake. First, I am advocate of using as much of every food as possible. And second, the leaves are intensely flavorful and nutritious.

Celery leaves are high in iron, magnesium, and vitamins A and C.

In the Dominican, they used the leaves in marinades and that is a wonderful use, especially with chicken.

But I have lots of other ideas, too.

Celery leaves are great in stocks and broth. Because I have a ton of rotisserie chicken carcasses each week, I make my own stock. But on that rare occasion that I don’t, I still drop celery leaves, onions and bay leaves in commercial stock and boil for 10 minutes before I use the stock. I adds a lot of flavor. The more celery leaves, the better.

photo 1 (19)

Slice the leaves and use as substitute for parsley.

Toss chopped leaves into a salad to impart a celery flavor. It’s excellent. You can also add some to tuna salad or chicken salad. It adds extra flavor and nutrition. Mayo helps mellow out the celery leaf flavor.

salad

The leaves are excellent in homemade beans, both in the cooking process and sliced on top as a garnish.

photo 1 (20)

You can use them to garnish risotto or in rice pilaf or quinoa salad.

Use the leaves and a few stalks to infuse vodka for a fantastic Bloody Mary. Let’s see, it’s Wednesday, so go home tonight and add the leaves and stalks to vodka and Sunday morning, strain the vodka and enjoy a flavorful Bloody Mary. You can also add jalapenos if you like it hot.

photo 1 (6)

And save back a stem with some leaves on the top to garnish that Bloody Mary with olives. A thincelery stalk with leaves on top makes a great olive skewer.

Ok, I hope you never throw away celery leaves. There are too many reasons not to.

My second tip is a lot quicker.

I was at a friend’s house about a month ago and she over-salted her soup. I told her next time she does that, to place a few small potatoes or slice up a large potato, and put it in the broth as it cooks and the potato will extract some of the salt. You should peel the potato before you add them.

salt

You don’t want to cook the potato through and you may have to repeat the process, but it will help reduce the salt. Just think about how much salt potatoes need. It’s a great solution for over-salted stock.

That’s it for today. Join me all week for rotisserie chicken recipes and Hump Day Hacks and Tips on Wednesday.

I will start adding a weekly travel feature, too. I am thinking about Travel Tuesday or Travel Thursday. I have visited 57 countries, every continent and 45 states, so I have LOTS of travel tips and advice.

Thank you for reading today.

Chicken Tostadas with Lime Slaw

I became addicted to lime slaw on a trip to Nicaragua. They serve a lime slaw, like a salad, on top of yucca and topped with pork rinds. Sounds awful, but it’s really good. Anyway, the healthiest part of that dish was the lime slaw and I started using lime to dress cole slaw instead of mayonnaise and just use very little oil.

Tostadas traditionally have a fried shell, but I often just lightly pan fry the shell to make it healthier. I prefer corn tortillas, but if you want a faster assembly, just use premade tostada shells.

For the healthiest option, skip the sour cream and pan fry the corn tortillas instead of using tostada shells.

Chicken Tostadas with Lime Slaw

Serves 2

4 corn tortillas or tostada shells

¾ cup sliced, skinless rotisserie chicken

1 cup cole slaw mix

½ teaspoon cumin seed

1 teaspoon sugar

½ teaspoon canola oil

1 ½ tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Salt and pepper to taste

Refried beans

Sliced avocado

Salsa (red or green is good)

Sour cream

Tomato slices (optional)

Directions:

First, whisk together sugar, cumin, oil, lime juice and cilantro. In another bowl, add this mixture to cole slaw mix, stir to thoroughly coat slaw, and set aside.

Slice your chicken and set aside. Slice avocado and set it aside.

Place desired amount of refried beans, about 1 tablespoon per tortilla, in a bowl, cover and microwave for 20 seconds. Stir and heat more, if necessary.

If using corn tortillas, use a large non-stick skillet and head the pan over medium heat. Add cooking spray or a little canola oil. When hot, add tortillas and cook about 3 minutes per side.

Then assemble tostadas: spread beans on the shell, then chicken, salsa, slaw, sour cream and slice avocado.

I added tomato slices but it was more for the photo. With the salsa, you don’t really need more tomato.

Enjoy. Look how beautiful this is … They say you know you’re eating healthy, when you’ve got a rainbow of colors on your plate and you sure do here.

DSC_0746 (2)