African Yam Stew ~ Amazing, Spicy, Sweet Peanut Buttery YUM!

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This is divine!  I made it two nights ago and was crazy over the depth of flavor it has.  The small amount of peanut butter truly added this whole level of yum, beyond the awesome spices it has.

I have to say the next time, I would half the recipe because it simply made too much for just the Mr. and myself.  The girls tried it and well… not so much mom!  Perhaps the flavors are just too grown up for them, yet.  Enjoy!

Two popular vegetarian soups of Central Africa were the inspiration for this stew. In this region, sweet potatoes, beans, chili peppers, onions, ginger, garlic and peanuts are common ingredients. The peanut butter makes this a creamy stew, but there is only a small amount per serving. To decrease the richness serve over a whole grain or use only ¼ cup of peanut butter. Feel free to kick up the heat by using jalapeno pepper or more red pepper flakes.

Forks Over Knives

http://www.forksoverknives.com/african-yam-stew/

Serves: 6-8

Ingredients:

• ½ cup water
• 1 onion, chopped
• 1-2 tablespoon(s) Anaheim or jalapeno pepper, minced
• 1 tablespoon ginger, ground
• 1 tablespoon garlic granules
• 2 teaspoons cumin, ground
• 2 teaspoons coriander, ground
• 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
• 6 yams, peeled and chopped
• 2 cups vegetable broth
• 24 ounces tomatoes, chopped
• 14 ounces garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
• 14 ounces black eyed peas, drained and rinsed
• 1/2 cup almond or peanut butter, unsweetened natural
• 1½ cup corn
• 6 cups collards, chopped

Instructions:

In a large pot, sauté onion and pepper with water for 5 minutes or until onions are translucent, stirring occasionally

Add ginger, garlic, cumin, coriander and red pepper.

Cook and stir for 1 minute.

Mix in yams, vegetable broth, tomatoes, beans and nut butter.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Stir in corn and collards and cook for about 10 more minutes, until yams and greens are tender.

Serve over brown rice or other whole grain.

Vietnamese Pork Pho Soup ~ Delicious, Healthy Love for Your Tummy!

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When the Mr. and I used to frequent Montreal for our weekend “adult” getaways, our favorite go~to hangover remedy, as with most other cultures was some sort of big, fresh vegetable, noodle and protein soup.

Thanks to many great reviews online from Montreal natives, we were lucky to find a lot of great restaurants that are “off the beaten path” of tourists, that have phenomenal cuisine at low prices!

So where is the best place to get pho?  A tiny hole-in-the-wall place in Chinatown, Cristal No. 1.

It was absolutely AMAZING!

http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/67/1548051/restaurant/Chinatown/Cristal-No-1-Montreal

The whole late night, post partying, healthy soup practice, seems to not have taken hold here in the U.S. as it has pretty much everywhere else.   That is, it’s probably unlikely that it will become popular, unless the Golden Arches start carrying it, anyway!

I’ve been making this soup at home for years in the chicken form.  Chicken stock and meat.   This past week I made pho with a lovely, tender pork loin and it was absolutely amazing.

Here is the recipe I used.  Feel free to add any variety of veggies on top that you have, the key is to add them AFTER the noodles, meat and broth.  The idea is to keep them fresh, vibrant and crispy.  The nice thing about this soup is it’s easily made ahead of time.  If you chop the veggies first and refrigerate till you’re ready, it’s only a matter of heating up the broth.  This means, healthy, quick dinner!

Here are some fresh / raw veggies I’ve seen on Pho:

Julienne carrots

Julienne cucumbers

Mushrooms

Cilantro

Sliced thin red peppers

Jalapeno thin sliced

Bean sprouts

Sliced thin read onion

Chopped mint

Chopped basil

Lime wedges

http://guiltykitchen.com/2009/10/14/daring-cooks-vietnamese-pork-pho/

And if you’re ever in Montreal, definitely check out Cristal No. 1.  It’s the best pho in Montreal!

Spicy Vegetable Chili Bean Burgers

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I love me a good veggie burger!  These sounds so easy and look delicious!

1 cup Fiber One® original bran cereal
1 can (15 or 16 oz) organic spicy chili beans in sauce, undrained
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
1/4 cup chopped green onions (4 medium)
1 egg, slightly beaten
1   1/4 cups washed fresh baby spinach leaves
5 slices tomato
5 whole wheat burger buns, split
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  1. Place cereal in resealable food-storage plastic bag; seal bag and crush with rolling pin or meat mallet (or crush in food processor).
  2. In medium bowl, mash beans with fork until no whole beans remain. Add crushed cereal, oats, onions and egg; mix well. Shape mixture into 5 patties, each about 3 1/2 inches in diameter.
  3. Spray 12-inch skillet with cooking spray. Add patties; cook over medium heat about 10 minutes, turning once, until brown.
  4. For each sandwich, place 1/4 cup spinach leaves and 1 tomato slice on bottom half of bun; top with bean burger and top half of bun.
Makes 5 sandwiches

Winter Chicken Salad with Walnuts and Dried Cherries

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Ingredients:
  • 3 large roasted chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces (about 3 1/2 cups)
  • 3/4 cup roasted chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 1 Belgian endive, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup roasted walnut oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked salt to taste
  • Frisée lettuce for serving
  • Method:

    Place chicken, walnuts, cherries and endive in a large serving bowl. In a small bowl, whisk the walnut oil into the balsamic vinegar and season with black pepper. Pour the vinaigrette over the chicken mixture and toss well to coat. Season the chicken with smoked salt and toss gently to combine all of the ingredients. Serve over a bed of frisée lettuce.

    Nutritional Info:
    Per Serving:Serving size: including 1/8 teaspoon finishing salt, 440 calories (270 from fat), 30g total fat, 2.5g saturated fat, 55mg cholesterol, 350mg sodium, 18g carbohydrate (3g dietary fiber, 11g sugar), 27g protein

Mexican Monday ~ Excellent Chicken Enchiladas

As we all know, it is hard to find the time to make truly healthy and delicious meals.  But, guess what… with a little bit of planning you actually can.

These enchiladas are easy, amazingly tasty and low cal!  Right-o… Low fat and low cal!

Using whole grain tortillas, low fat cheddar cheese and ground chicken, you will never… and I mean NEVER miss the ground beef or extra high calorie cheese.  You can adjust the spices if you have a family that cannot take a little heat on the back end or leave it full flavored to get that spicy Mexican goodness.  Just don’t leave out the cocoa powder.  It may seem strange but it is an amazing flavor, reminiscent of a good mole sauce.

If you are in a hurry, make up the spice blend ahead of time and you can even cook the chicken up first.

Come dinnertime, all you have to do is to assemble and heat.  It’s really that easy.

Add some yummy Mexican Lime and Cilantro rice (I’ll give you a good recipe for that later) a nice cool cucumber side salad and your good to go!

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons chili powder
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1 clove garlic crushed
pinch salt
1 teaspoon oregano
3 cups water
1- 8 ounce can organic tomato sauce
1 package lean ground chicken (I prefer free range if I can find it)
8 – whole grain tortillas
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese ( low fat is nice)

Directions:
Fully cook ground chicken as if you were cooking for tacos.  Set aside.

  • Combine all dry ingredients in a small bowl.
  • Stirring constantly, slowly add enough of the water to make a thin paste.
  • Pour into pan and add rest of water.
  • Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens.
  • Stir in tomato sauce.
  • The amounts on the ingredients are very flexible.
  • Don’t leave out the cocoa.  It really is the best part of the recipe!

Take half of the sauce blend and mix it into the chicken and then add 1 cup of cheese.  Mix well to blend all of the ingredients.

Here is where it gets messy!

Add a bit of the sauce into the bottom of a lightly greased 9 x 13 pan and then dredge each tortilla in the sauce so it’s wet.
Put a good amount of the chicken, sauce mixture into the tortilla and roll up.  Place seam side down in the pan and repeat until the pan is filled with wraps.
Cover with the remainder of sauce and then cheese.

Bake at 350 for approx. 30 minutes till nice and bubbly.