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    Bringing back the lost art of home cooking.
    Feb 6, 2012 1:18AM

    Meatless Monday: The Ultimate Vegetarian Chili


    Meatless Monday is back baby!  It never actually went anywhere, I just kept forgetting to blog about it.

    In my quest to get healthy and lose a few pounds before my 20th anniversary trip in April, I have been testing out a plant based diet.  I keep going back and forth on whether I want to include fish in my diet.  I am thinking of limiting it to once or twice a month.    While I decide, I am loving some of the vegetarian dishes I have made.  For lunch yesterday I made a polenta pizza...a grilled slice of polenta topped with a slice of heirloom tomato, shredded mozarella, garlic and basil.

    This chili will knock your socks off. Not only is it healthy, it is a flavorful and spicy bowl of vegetables, beans, chiles, spices and wine.  You can easily serve this to the die-hard meat eaters in yor house, and it will be gobbled up.

    This chili is also vegan, which means it contains no dairy products.  If you are not into the vegan thing, feel free to top your bowl of chili with sour cream and sharp cheddar.

    The chili is quite spicy. As you see it has a jalapeño AND a chipolte chili. If you would like a more mild version, use half of the jalapeno with the seeds removed. Try not to cut back on the chipolte because it adds a deep, smoky flavor.


    recipe courtesy of Foodista

    10 ounces package firm tofu
    1/2 cup dry red wine
    1 1/2 cups liquid reserved from the cooked red kidney beans
    4 tablespoons olive oil
    2 onions chopped
    3 garlic cloves chopped
    2 teaspoons cumin
    4 teaspoons chili powder
    1 jalapeño chopped
    1 smoked chipotle pepper chopped
    1 can (5.5 ounce) of tomato paste
    2 cups chopped tomatoes
    2 bay leaves
    2 cups cooked brown lentils
    3 1/2 cups cooked red kidney beans
    1 large zucchini diced
    4 cups water (for flavour use reserved liquid from the cooked beans and some
    1 tablespoon salt</p>

    The night before, wash and soak the red kidney beans.

    Cook the beans which have soaked overnight in unsalted water (very important not to add the salt as it will slow the cooking process). Use enough water (about 8 cups) to cook the beans. This should give you enough liquid when cooled to soak the tofu (1 1/2 cup), and enough reserved liquid needed to cook the chili.

    In a bowl crumble the tofu into small pieces to resemble coarsely ground beef.
    Pour in the red wine and 1 1/2 cup of the liquid from the boiled beans. Allow to marinate approx 30-40 minutes.
    This will give the tofu some color and flavor.

    In a large Dutch oven heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil Add the onions. Cook for 4 minutes to allow to brown.
    Add the garlic, continue to cook for an additional minute.
    Stir in the cumin, jalapeño, chipotle and tomato paste.
    Add the chopped tomatoes, the red kidney beans, lentils, bay leaves and zucchini.
    Pour in the tofu and marinade, plus the 3-4 cups of reserved liquid and bring to a boil.

    Allow to simmer for 35-45minutes to allow the flavours to absorb and the chili to thicken.

    Add the salt near the end of the cooking process.

    0 Comments ~ Posted By Gwenn Weiss
    Filed in: vegetarian ~ Tagged with: Chipotle, beans, chili, vegetarian, vegan
    May 4, 2011 10:08PM

    Happy Cinco de Mayo!!! Buffalo Style Turkey Chili Bowls


    Happy Cinco de Mayo!  This may not be a 100% traditional Mexican dish, but it is definitely inspired by one of my all time favorite Mexican dishes....nachos.

    I have one word to describe this dish..... AMAZING!!!  Chili and nachos in one bowl?!?!?!  How can you go wrong?  Now sit down.  Are you sitting?  You won't believe this!  Wait for it...... these chili bowls are healthy!!!!  We have a lean protein, sauteed with a small amount of healthy fat and lots of veggies.  We then top it with a small handful of tortilla chips and a couple of ounces of cheese.  This is one of those dishes that prove to naysayers that you don't need to pile on the fat to add flavor to food.

    This is a recipe inspired by one of Rachel Ray's recipes.  Say what you will about her, but you cannot say her recipes do not deliver.  Not only is this meal healthy, it is inexpensive, easy to prepare, makes several generous portions and it is fast enough to prepare that you can get it to the dinner table in under an hour.  You all know I am a huge fan of Ina, but her recipes are sometimes complex, expensive, time consuming and I usually end up with a sink full of dirty pots and pans.  Rachel Ray is a little more conscious of saving time and money. In addition, RR has great tips and shortcuts that make getting a meal to the table quicker than ordering take-out.   I swear it is true, it just takes a little planning ahead to make a quick, delicious and healthy dinner.  Her pasta recipes are out of this world (look for her Spaghetti with Clam Sauce, Chicken Meatball Parm. Subs and Pasta Puttanesca recipes on the Food Networks website). Her family is Italian and her Italian recipes are fantastic!

    Everyone in my family raved over this Buffalo Chili dish.  One warning....this recipe is spicy.  Personally, I like it spicy, but if you want to cut back on the heat, there are a few ways to do it.  Obviously, you can leave the jalapenos off of the top.  You could also substitute cheddar cheese for the pepper jack cheese.  You could also cut back on the amount of chipoltes in adobe sauce that you add to the chili.  This final suggestion would be my last choice as a way to cut back on the heat, because the chipolte chiles add a ton of smokey, tangy flavor to the chili, that you won't want to miss.

    I would have definitely gone back for a second or third bowl if "sundress season" wasn't rapidly approaching us here in Atlanta.  Stupid warm weather and the sleeveless shirts that come with it!!!! I certainly enjoyed my one, guilt-free bowl for dinner that night and for lunch the next day.  Next time I will double the recipe, because we were all looking for leftovers two, three days later, but there were none.   I would say you will get four generously sized bowls out of this recipe with leftovers for two lunches.

    PS... Make sure to "Like" my new Cooking in Pajamas Facebook page!

    Buffalo Style Turkey Chili Bowls

    adapted from Everyday With Rachel Ray




    2 tablespoons EVOO

    2 pounds ground turkey (or ground chicken)

    2 carrots, chopped

    3 to 4 stalks celery with leafy tops, finely chopped

    1 onion, chopped

    4 cloves garlic, chopped or grated

    Salt and Pepper

    1 small can chipotle chile's in adobe sauce

    One 15-ounce can tomato sauce

    2 cups chicken stock

    A couple handfuls of thin blue-corn tortilla chips, such as Xochilt brand, lightly crushed

    1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese or shredded sharp cheddar

    3/4 cup blue cheese crumbles

    About a palmful pickled jalapeno chili pepper rings

    light sour cream

    6 green onions, sliced thin

    optional: sliced black olives


    Heat the EVOO, 2 turns of the pan, in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the meat and cook to brown, stirring to crumble. Add the carrots, celery, onion and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetable are softened, 10 minutes or so.
    Place the chipotle and adobe sauce in a food processor or blender and puree. Spoon 2 rounded tablespoons into a small bowl and combine with the tomato sauce to make a chipotle-infused tomato sauce.
    When the vegetables are tender, stir in the chili-tomato sauce and chicken stock. Simmer for a few minutes to thicken and combine the flavors.  THIS CAN BE DONE SEVERAL HOURS IN ADVANCE AND REHEATED BEFORE SERVING.
    When ready to eat, switch on the broiler and position a rack in the center of the oven. Arrange bowls on baking sheet and fill with the buffalo chili. Top with an even layer of tortilla chips, cheese and jalapeno rings. Broil for a couple of minutes to brown the cheese and crisp the chips!
    Sprinkle with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of green onions over the top.


    0 Comments ~ Posted By Gwenn Weiss
    Filed in: chili ~ Tagged with: jalapenos, nachos, turkey, cheese
    Jan 6, 2010 9:55AM

    The Best Turkey Chili....EVER!!!!

    If this doesn't warm you up on a cold winter night, I don't know what will!

    Souper Jenny is one my favorite lunch spots in Atlanta.  It is a cozy neighborhood cafe that serves homemade, fresh soups, sandwiches and salads at a very reasonable price.  The menu changes daily (you can have it emailed to you every morning), and each day there is something new and interesting on the menu.

    This is one of Souper Jenny's regular menu items...Her Dad's Turkey Chili.   It is a little spicy, a little sweet, a bit tangy and very hearty, delicious and filling.  As you can see from the recipe, it is loaded with lean protein, fiber, vegetables and each serving is virtually fat free.  It is a guiltless pleasure!  Also, it is so tasty, that the usually accompaniments that I serve with chili are not even needed (shredded cheese, sour cream, chopped onion).   I served Jenny's chili for dinner with a Greek salad and some crusty bread...YUM!


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    0 Comments ~ Posted By Gwenn Weiss
    Filed in: main dish ~ Tagged with: beans, chili, turkey, tomatoes
    Nov 15, 2009 5:54AM


    What is better than a bowl of chili when the weather starts to get cold (you thought I was going to say when the weather gets "chilly", right)?  It is hearty, filling, inexpensive and makes the house smell really good while it cooks.  It is very difficult to ruin a pot of chili.  The only time I remember an inedible pot of chili, was when a nameless member of my family, heard that some prize winning chili recipe had a secret ingredient.  The secret ingredient was chocolate.  Somehow, the proportion of the secret ingredient was completely wrong, and the chili tasted like chocolate flavored chili!  It was gross!  When I later saw the chili competition on Food Network, I saw the winning chili recipe get prepared.  The cook added one Hershey chocolate kiss, to a pot large enough to feed about 150 people!  Every once in a while I see a chili recipe call for unsweetened cocoa powder.  I always bypass that recipe.

    Although I have about five different chili recipes that I make (a vegetarian version, a turkey chili, a white chili, a chicken chili, etc.), this is a great basic starter chili from Jamie Deen (Paula's son).  I say it is a starter recipe, because chili can be adjusted for your own personal taste.  If you like it meatier, add more meat.  If you like it spicier, add more heat. For a vegetarian version, leave out the meat, and add some sauteed eggplant and chopped portobello mushrooms, etc.  You can throw practically any leftover into a pot of chili.   This recipe made a huge pot, so I served half, and froze half for another meal.  It requires 4 hours of simmering time.  I left it simmering on the stovetop, while I was home doing laundry on a stormy, rainy day.  Chili tastes great when it is made a day or two in advance, so plan ahead for the 4 hours of simmering.



    0 Comments ~ Posted By Gwenn Weiss
    Filed in: main dish ~ Tagged with: chili
    Apr 29, 2009 10:18AM

    Turkey Chili and Veggie Quesadillas

    Our pants are all a little tight after a week of feasting on delicious Tyler Florence recipes last week. Tonight, I decided to go for a light, yet hearty dinner of turkey chili and quesadillas, with lots of veggies. This is an easy meal to make early in the day, and no one realizes they are eating "light". The recipe for the turkey chili makes a very large pot, so I froze the leftovers for another time.


    Turkey Chili

    1T EVOO

    1 medium onion, chopped

    1 large red bell pepper

    1 jalapeno, minced

    1 1/2 # ground turkey

    palm full chili powder (3T)

    palm full cumin

    (3T) Franks hot sauce to taste (or any cayenne pepper sauce)

    1 bag frozen corn

    1 28oz. can crushed tomatoes

    1 8oz. can Rotel tomatoes

    1c chicken broth

    kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

    accompaniments: chopped scallions, shredded cheddar, sour cream, chopped cilantro

    Heat a large pot over medium high heat. Add EVOO and onion. Cook onion until it begins to carmelize (10 minutes). Add peppers and turkey. Cook, and break up turkey meat until turkey is no longer pink. Season with chili powder, cumin, hot sauce, salt and pepper. Add corn, tomatoes and broth. Stir well. Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking. Reduce heat to simmer and let hang out until it is time to serve.


    Veggie Quesadillas

    * the veggies I added to my quesadilla are what I had on hand...you could use almost anything - squash, zuchinni, corn, tomatoes, wild mushrooms, etc.

    6 (8inch) fat free flour tortillas

    butter flavored Pam

    3 portobello mushroom caps

    1 red bell pepper

    2T light balsamic vinaigrette

    1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

    1 4oz can diced pimentos, drained

    2 c shredded Mexican cheese blend (I used reduce fat)

    3 green onions, sliced thin

    1 bunch cilantro, chopped

    Serve with: salsa and sour cream

    Preheat oven to 400. Spray a large saute pan with Pam. Add mushrooms and peppers (any veggie you are using), and saute until tender. Add vinaigrette, beans and pimentos to pan. Cook another 1 - 2 minutes. Mash beans slightly with a potato masher. Spray a large cookie sheet with Pam. *This is the stopping point for making ahead. You can put aside the filling until right before dinner. Assembling and cooking the quesadillas will take 20 minutes.

    Place 3 tortillas on the sheet and do not overlap. Spoon 1/3 of the bean mixture onto each tortilla. Sprinkle over each tortilla 1/3 of the cheese, onion and cilantro. Place the remaining 3 tortillas on top of the bean mixture. Press down firmly. Spray the top of each quesadilla with plenty of Pam. This is going to make the quesadilla crispy when cooked. Place in the oven and bake 15 - 20 minutes until top is golden brown. Remove from oven, let cool for 2 minutes, then cut into wedges. Serve with salsa and sour cream.

    0 Comments ~ Posted By Gwenn Weiss
    Filed in: main dish ~ Tagged with: quesadilla, chili, turkey