stuffed chicken breasts with orange-mustard sauce

DSC02054

Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Orange-Mustard Sauce

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Servings: 3-6

3 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
1 cup frozen spinach, slightly thawed
1/2 cup chopped bacon
Salt and pepper
1 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon Dijon grain mustard
4 cloves garlic, minced
Fresh ground black pepper

Preheat oven 350˚F.

Prepare the chicken. Trim the chicken breasts of excess fat. Split each breast in half horizontally so that you get two thin steaks about 1/4 -1/2 inch thick. Season with salt and pepper.

Cook the bacon. Fry the bacon in a small skillet until crisp. Remove bacon from rendered fat and let bacon drain on a sheet of paper towel. Don’t discard the bacon fat.

Fill the chicken rolls. In the middle of each steak, put about 1 tablespoon bacon and 2 tablespoons frozen spinach. Fasten with toothpicks.

Sear the chicken rolls. On medium high heat, lightly brown the chicken rolls in the bacon fat. Don’t discard the fat and brown bits in the pan. In fact, don’t wash it!

Bake the rolls. Put the rolls in an 8-inch baking pan and bake for 20 minutes or until the rolls are cooked through. If some rolls are small, test them with an instant read thermometer after 10 minutes. Test the larger rolls after 15 minutes. Cook for 4-5 minutes more until the temperature reaches 160˚F. Remove the toothpicks.

Make the sauce. Meanwhile in the pan in which the chicken was browned, add the chicken broth. I like to save time by using concentrated chicken broth paste. It’s very salty so there’s no need to add salt, but do use it sparingly. If it says a teaspoon, use half a teaspoon then add the water to the pan. Add the orange juice and the Dijon mustard and cook down until the liquid is thickened. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant.

Remember you have almost a full bag of frozen spinach left over? Well, cook it with salt and pepper.

Spoon sauce over each chicken roll,  add a generous spoonful of cooked spinach on the side, and eat! I also recommend serving these stuffed chicken rolls with roasted vegetables.

jerk pork tenderloin with mango-avocado-tomato salsa

jerk pork tenderloin with mango-avocado-tomato salsa

This juicy pork tenderloin recipe was inspired by Gina at skinnytaste. com.  To me it is mildly spicy, and the cool slightly sweet salsa accompaniment just soothes the tongue!
P.S. I wanted to add this note to anyone concerned about the safety of pink pork. Pork is safe to eat when the internal temperature rises to 150˚F. For more information visit this link by America’s Test Kitchen/Shine Food.

Jerk Pork Tenderloin with Mango-Avocado-Tomato Salsa

Prep time: 5 hours (or overnight) plus 15 minutes
Cook time: 25-35 minutes depending on the weight
Servings: 6-8 as appetizer, 2-4 as main course

Ingredients:
• 1 lb lean pork tenderloin, all fat and silver removed
• 3 cloves garlic, crushed
• 2 – 3 tablespoons Walkerswood Jerk Seasoning
• 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
• 1 lime, squeezed
• 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
• 1/4 -1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth

For the salsa:
• 2 Haas avocadoes, diced
• 1 tomato, chopped
• 2 large ripe mangos, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped
• 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped red onion
• 1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
• 2-3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
• salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

Combine the garlic, jerk seasoning, and salt, rub all over pork (wear gloves if you wish). Place in a 8 inch square pan, then pour the lime and orange juices over the pork. Turn so that the juices cover all the meat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 5 hours or overnight, turning pork occasionally.

The next day (or 5 hours later), preheat the oven to 350˚F. Remove pork from the marinade and discard the marinade. Bake the pork 25 minutes for 3/4 pound roast or up to 35 minutes for at 1 pound roast. When it has reached an internal temperature of 155˚F (check it 5 minutes before time is up), remove it from the oven and let it rest on the stovetop. The tenderloin should come to 160˚F during resting, about 5-10 minutes. Slice and serve.

Meanwhile make the salsa: combine all the ingredients in a bowl, season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate salsa until ready to serve.

turkey patty with broccoli, celery, and fennel

DSC01968

This is a great meal: turkey patty served on a bed of grilled iceberg lettuce, kale chips, and asparagus and tomato-olive dressing with Canadian bacon and onion. Putting broccoli and celery in the turkey patty adds moisture and also crunch–not to mention increasing your daily vegetable portion!

Turkey Patty with Broccoli and Fennel

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 4 minutes per patty
Servings: 5 patties

Ingredients
1 pound lean ground turkey (93% or higher)
1/2 cup broccoli stems, chopped
1/2 cup onion, minced
2 tablespoons celery, minced
1 tablespoon Trader Joe’s South African Smoke Seasoning Blend
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 egg, beaten

Preparation
Put all ingredients in a large bowl and combine. Cut a wide sheet of wax paper. Dip a 1/2 cup measure in water. Scoop up some of the turkey meat mixture and scrape off the excess. Empty the scoop onto the wax paper sheet and repeat. Press each patty to flatten slightly. This much seasoned turkey mixture yields  five patties.

Cook’s Note: Dipping the 1/2 cup measure in water helps to release the patty.

I used the George Foreman grill to cook these patties. It took just four minutes per patty. Patties can also be broiled or pan-fried in a skillet sprayed with cooking spray. Cook until each patty reaches an internal temperature of 165˚F.

asian grilled tofu triangles with thai cabbage salad

asian grilled tofu triangles

This recipe was inspired by the South Beach Diet Cookbook. That recipe originally called for tempeh but as I’m not a tempeh fan I decided to use its first cousin, extra firm tofu. This recipe takes longer to make because you need to press out the excess water from the tofu and then marinate it for at least 4 hours. After it was grilled, I was a bit disappointed in the taste–the ginger and garlic flavors were overshadowed by the sesame oil. Next time I make this I will increase the garlic and ginger by one tablespoon each.

Asian Grilled Tofu Triangles

Prep time: 40 minutes
Marinating time: 12 hours
Cook time: 12 minutes
Servings: 4

1 pound extra firm tofu drained and cut into triangles
1 tablespoon canola oil (can use peanut oil)
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons scallions sliced thinly on the diagonal for garnish (optional)

Press the tofu. Spread two layers of paper towels on a medium rimmed baking tray. Spread the tofu on top of the paper towels. Put another layer of paper towels on top. Cover the paper towels with a small rimmed baking tray. Place canned goods and or books on top to weight down the small baking tray. This will press out the water and flatten the triangles to about half the size when they were sliced. It takes about 20 minutes to remove the excess water.

Cook’s Note: The tofu may need a change of paper towels and an additional 20 minutes if the triangles have not reduced in size significantly.

Make the marinade. In a small bowl, whisk the oils, ginger, garlic and soy sauce until they emulsify. Put the pressed tofu in an 8” square pan and pour the marinade on top. With a pair of tongs, gently turn the tofu several times to coat. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least four hours. I let them sit overnight in the marinade.

Grill the tofu triangles. The next day, I heated up the George Foreman grill and grilled the tofu 4 minutes. That was enough time to cook them and also get that wonderful burnt grill lines. If desired, sprinkle sliced scallions on top. Serve at once.

Cook’s Note: Save the marinade as a dressing for the grilled tofu. The tofu turned out slightly sweet and with a delicate flavor.

To accompany the grilled tofu, I made my favorite coconut kale recipe (kale, coconut oil, pepper flakes and Maldon’s sea salt. Yum!) and tried a new recipe for Thai Cabbage Salad from epicurious. I adapted the measurements because there was enough to feed everybody at a pot luck supper and then some. I think I could even halve the recipe one more time.

Thai Cabbage Salad

Prep time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6-8

1/4 head each red & green cabbage (sliced thinly)
3 carrots grated
1 medium cucumber diced small
1 large red pepper diced small)
1/2 cup scallions (sliced thinly)
1/2 cup cilantro (chopped coarsely)

Dressing:
1/4 cup rice vinegar or mirin
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1-2 tablespoons sesame oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon chili garlic paste
2 Thai chilies (minced)
4-6 cloves garlic (minced)
2 tablespoons sugar (optional)
1/2 cup peanuts

Do ahead: make salad dressing in a large jar and store in the refrigerator up to one week

Toss all salad ingredients together. Twenty minutes before serving, add dressing to salad and toss. Let sit 20 minutes to let flavors develop. Sprinkle peanuts on top.

thai cabbage salad

bolivian spiced grilled pork cutlets with split peas

Now that Andy is here in New York, I am determined to make sure he eats healthy. Living on his own in Bangkok has led to all sorts of unhealthy eating habits–like eating ham hocks. I brought my South Beach Diet cookbooks when I came back from Bangkok in January, so I looked up interesting Phase One recipes. This one, to my astonishment, included a ham hock and pork loin chops. I decided I would make it without ham hock and pork chop. Though I knew that I could use lean pork tenderloin instead of pork chops there is absolutely no substitute for the meaty smoky flavor of the ham hock.  I had read about the concept of umami sometimes called the “fifth taste” that rounds out the four basic tastes: bitter, sour, sweet, and salty. Umami is savory. I decided to add powdered dry porcini mushrooms because it has an earthy savory flavor. To get back the smokiness I added a few generous twists of Trader Joe’s South African Smoke Seasoning Blend. It was perfect.

bolivian spiced grilled pork cutlets with split peas

Bolivian Spiced Grilled Pork Cutlets with Split Peas

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 60 minutes

Split Peas
2 1/2 tablespoons EVOO
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 large onion, chopped fine
1 parsnip, finely chopped
2 ribs celery, finely chopped
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon ground cumin
4 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon powdered dried porcini mushrooms
1 bay leaf
Trader Joe’s South African Smoke Seasoning Blend
1 1/4 cup split peas, rinsed

Pork Cutlets
Rub
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
3 teaspoons ground cardamom
3 teaspoons ground coriander
1/2 tablespoon red pepper flakes
zest of 1 lemon (about 3 teaspoons)
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper

1 pork tenderloin trimmed of fat and silver and cut into eighths

Make the split peas: In a medium saucepan over medium low heat, heat the olive oil. When it is hot, add the onion, celery, and parsnip. When it starts to sizzle, add the garlic. Cook until the vegetables become softened, about 3 minutes. Add the pepper flakes and cumin. Stir and add the chicken broth, umami, peas, bay leaf, and the Smoke. Let it come to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, and cook about 45 minutes or until the peas are tender. Remove the bay leaf and discard.

Make the pork cutlets: In a small bowl, combine the cumin, cardamom, coriander, pepper flakes, lemon zest, salt and pepper.  Pound each cutlet flat, about 1 inch 1/2 inch thickness. With your fingers, work a half teaspoon of the rub onto each side of one cutlet. Put the cutlet aside on a plate and repeat with the rest of the cutlets.

I grilled the cutlets in 3 batches for 4 minutes per batch in the George Foreman grill. Alternatively, you can cook the cutlets in a skillet sprayed with cooking spray until done. The cutlets are cooked when they reach an internal temperature of 165˚F. I served these cutlets with the split peas, Tennessee-style cole slaw, and tomato-avocado salsa.

sesame chicken nuggets with sweet and spicy dipping sauces

Sesame Chicken Nuggets with Sweet Potato Fries

Sesame Chicken Nuggets with Panko Breadcrumbs

Prep time: 2 hours 45 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Serves 4

For Chicken Nuggets
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/8 cup salt
Cold water to cover
1/2 cup olive oil
2 cups panko bread crumbs (can use whole wheat panko)
4 tablespoons cilantro, minced
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 teaspoon white pepper

Sweet Honey-Ginger Mustard Dipping Sauce
2 tablespoons honey (substitute: agave syrup)
2 tablespoons mustard
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
Juice of half a lime (substitute: lemon)

Nam Jim Spicy Thai Dipping Sauce
1/4 cup fish sauce
2 scallions, minced
1 chili pepper, minced
1 garlic clove, minced, or pressed through a garlic press
Juice of half a lime (substitute: lemon)

Preparation

1. In a large glass bowl, put the salt and fill 1/3 with cold water. Add the chicken breasts and fill with enough water to cover. Let the chicken brine for 2 hours. Meanwhile, make the dipping sauces and set aside.
2. Heat the oven to 400˚F. Line 2 large rimmed baking trays with sheets of aluminum foil. Spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
3. In a large pie plate, put the half cup olive oil and set aside. In another pie plate, put the breadcrumbs, cilantro and seasonings. Mix well. Set aside.
4. Remove the chicken breasts from the brine and slice into 1 1/2 inch cubes. Dip each chicken cube in the oil and then in the breadcrumb mixture. Lay each coated chicken piece in a single layer on the prepared baking trays.
5. Bake for 10-15 minutes. Serve at once with the dipping sauces. I recommend serving the chicken nuggets with a fresh salad and sweet potato fries.

low fat broccoli tomato fritters

broccoli-tomato-parmesan fritters

I had an indecent craving for shrimp fritters, a Jamaican-Chinese specialty, but I recoiled at the thought of using all that oil to fry them–up to a cup or more. However, I found this recipe for broccoli-parmesan fritters on the Smitten Kitchen blog and it satisfied my craving! After following the original  recipe straight through, I realized I could get away with making some changes.  First of all, I doubled the recipe because 9 fritters just wouldn’t be enough. Gotta have left overs too! Then I added a large chopped and seeded tomato to the batter, and a third cup of Romano cheese. The batter was a tad dry so I added up to a quarter cup of cream. But nonfat milk would do fine. You just need to add enough milk or cream so the batter clumps together. Lastly, I fried the fritters in cooking spray rather than in cooking oil to cut down the calories. The fritters came out luscious, moist and savory.

Low-Fat Broccoli Tomato Fritters

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Servings: 28 three-inch fritters (approximate)

16 ounces fresh broccoli (6 cups chopped)
2 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 large tomato, chopped and seeded
1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup finely grated Romano cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/4-1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes or several grinds of black pepper (add more to make it spicier)
1/4 cup cream or nonfat milk, or less as needed to add cohesion to the batter
Cooking spray

To prepare the broccoli, cut the florets from the stems. With a vegetable peeler, peel off the tough outer coating of the stems. Chop stems roughly into 1/2 inch pieces. Separate the florets into 1 inch pieces.

Fill a large pot with about 3 inches of water and bring to a boil. Add about a teaspoon of salt to the water. Add the broccoli. Cook 5-6 minutes or until tender. The broccoli will be a bright green color. Drain the broccoli in a colander and rinse under cold water to set the color and stop the cooking process. Mash the cooked broccoli coarsely with a potato masher. Broccoli should still be chunky and not too small.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Add the flour, tomato, cheeses, garlic, salt, and red pepper or black pepper. Add the mashed broccoli. Use a large wooden spoon to mix all the ingredients together. Add the cream or milk if the batter doesn’t cohere. It should clump together when dropped from a spoon.

Cook’s Note: The tomato not only adds a pop of color but it also adds moisture to the fritter—a neat little trick I learned from my cousin Cathy whose shrimp fritters are to die for!

Spray a large skillet with cooking spray. Heat the skillet on medium heat until the pan sizzles when a drop of water is sprinkled in it. Using a 1/4 cup measure or a cookie scoop, scoop up the broccoli batter and plop it in the hot skillet. Flatten slightly with a fork. Continue scooping, flattening, and frying fritters with cooking spray. Leave about 2 inches between each fritter. Each batch will include 6 fritters. Fry on one side 3-5 minutes or until golden brown, then flip, and fry 1-2 minutes on the second side.

Cook’s Note: Dip the 1/4 cup measure or scoop in water to ensure the batter releases as you scoop the batter into the skillet.

Transfer fritters to a serving plate. If the fritters won’t be eaten right away, they can be kept warm in a low oven. Serve these fritters with tzatziki sauce or lemon-garlic yogurt. To make lemon-garlic yogurt, to one cup of Greek style yogurt, add fresh lemon juice and lemon zest to taste. For a garlic flavor, add minced garlic. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

crustless spinach pie with feta cheese, broiled romaine, and roasted root vegetables

roasted veggies, broiled romaine, crustless spinach pie with feta cheese

This is a complete vegetarian meal. The spinach pie is made with fresh spinach and herbs. The root vegetables are broiled during the last 5 minutes of cooking while the romaine is in the broiler! The broiled romaine’s got crunch and the sultry flavors of Parmesan and Romano cheeses. I adapted it from Alton Brown’s grilled romaine with a red wine vinegar granita.

Roasted Root Vegetables
You can use any kind of root vegetables in any combination you like. Increase the amount of turnips or leave out the parsnips. Add a celeriac or celery root.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Serves: 2-4

3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced on the diagonal
1 medium turnip
2 medium parsnips
salt and pepper
olive oil
Cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Heat a large pot of water. When it is boiling, add the vegetables and cook 10 minutes or until just tender, about 10 minutes. When pierced with a fork, there is a little resistance. Remove vegetables from boiling water and spread on a tray lined with paper towels. Pat dry. Put the vegetables in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Toss to coat thoroughly. Line a baking tray with aluminum foil and spray it with cooking spray. Spread the vegetables in a single layer on the tray. Bake 35 minutes at 400˚F. For the last 5 minutes, broil the vegetables until lightly browned.

Crustless Spinach Pie with Feta Cheese (adapted from Skinnytaste)
Skinnytaste used a 10 oz package of frozen spinach for convenience’s sake. I like the fresh spinach, lightly sautéed until it turns bright green.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 28 minutes
Serves: 8

Ingredients:
1 large bunch fresh spinach, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil plus 1 teaspoon
1/2 cup scallions, chopped
2 tablespoons minced fresh oregano (or dill)
2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary (or parsley, thyme)
1/2 cup (2.5 oz) reduced fat crumbled feta
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese (or Romano, Asiago)
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour (Bob’s Red Mill)
1 tsp baking powder
2/3 cup fat free milk
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 tsp kosher salt
fresh cracked pepper to taste
cooking spray

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400°. Lightly spray a 9 inch pie dish with cooking spray.
Heat olive oil in a large dutch pot over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the spinach and cook it down until it is bright green and slightly wilted, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and drain any excess water. Chop fine.

Mix spinach, scallions, herbs, and feta cheese in a large bowl and set aside. Sift flour and baking powder in a medium bowl. Add remaining ingredients to flour mixture in the bowl. Combine flour mixture with spinach mixture, and mix well. Scrape into pie dish.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until a knife comes out clean when inserted near the center. Let the pie stand at least 5 minutes before serving.

Broiled Romaine (after a recipe by Alton Brown)
Alton Brown grilled the romaine but I found that most of the cheese ended up on the grill instead of on the lettuce. So I decided to broil it instead. Brown also froze red wine vinegar and then, like a granita, he scraped up a couple tablespoons of frozen vinegar with a fork and sprinkled it on top of the grilled lettuce. However, I found the red wine vinegar unpleasantly sour, so I left that out.

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 2-3 minutes
Serves: 2

1 head romaine hearts split vertically in two
olive oil
2 tablespoons romano and Parmesan cheeses

Brush cut side of the romaine with olive oil. Sprinkle cheeses on a plate. Press oiled side into the cheeses. Put the lettuce, cheese side up, on a broiler tray and broil 2-3 minutes or until browned and cheese has melted. Remove from heat and serve at once.

khao soi or chiang mai chicken curry noodles, low fat and low carb version

khao soi

This dish is the signature specialty of Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand. I made a few low fat/low carb adjustments to it like swapping chicken breasts for thighs and using whole wheat linguine instead of Chinese egg noodles. However, the key to this dish is the curry-flavored soup. For more authentic flavor, I used dried red Thai chilies although guajillo is recommended in the original recipe. I also used full-fat coconut milk because it is better tasting, but using “lite” coconut milk will surely lower the fat, carbs, and calories in this dish even more. The flavors in this soup should be predominantly coconut-spicy, but smooth; slightly salty, sour, and barely sweet, is my preference. Fish sauce will give it a hint of anchovy. Aroy.

Chicken Khao Soi (adapted from Bon Appetit, March 2013)

Prep time: 35 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Servings: 6-8

Ingredients:

Khao Soi Paste
4 -6 dried chilies, stemmed, halved, and seeded, if less heat is desired (or Mexican guajillo chilies)
2 medium shallots, halved
8 garlic cloves
1 2-inch piece ginger, peeled, sliced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro stems (save the leaves for toppings)
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon curry powder

Soup
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 14-ounce cans unsweetened coconut milk
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, halved lengthwise
1 pound Chinese egg noodles (or whole wheat linguine)
3 tablespoons (or more) fish sauce (such as Tiparos)
1 tablespoon (packed) palm sugar or light brown sugar, optional

Suggested Toppings
Sliced red onion, bean sprouts, cilantro sprigs, crispy fried onions or shallots, chili oil, crispy fried Chinese wonton noodles, and lime wedges

Preparation:

Make khao soi paste. Place chilies in a small bowl and pour boiling water over them. Let stand 30 minutes until softened. Remove the chilies and reserve the soaking liquid. If desired, remove the seeds to make the dish less spicy.

Meanwhile, boil a large pot of water to cook the noodles.

In a blender, purée the chilies, shallots, garlic, ginger, cilantro stems, coriander, turmeric, curry powder, and 2 tablespoons soaking liquid in a food processor. Add more by tablespoonfuls, if needed, blending until smooth. You can add up to 6 tablespoons total.

Make the soup. Heat oil in a large heavy dutch pot over medium heat. Add the khao soi paste, and cook, stirring constantly, until slightly darkened, 4-6 minutes. Add coconut milk and broth. Bring to a boil; add chicken. Reduce heat and simmer until chicken is fork-tender, 20-25 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate. Let cool slightly; slice meat into 1/4 inch thick chunks.

Cook the noodles according to package directions.

Return chicken to the pot, adding 3 tablespoons fish sauce, and sugar (if using) to soup. Taste and season with more fish sauce or sugar, if needed. Spoon soup and noodles into bowls and serve with toppings.

black and white bean chili

black and white chili with low fat scallion chili cornbread

I’m so sad. Winter is hanging on stubbornly, refusing to go. I can’t believe it’s March and I’m making chili. This recipe is surprisingly hearty and filling with just the right amount of herbs and seasonings. I did not have to add extra salt to this recipe. And I strongly recommend using fresh oregano as it made all the difference in the flavors of this chili. I chopped up two scallions and put them in the cornbread, for after all, what is a chili cornbread without a little green in it? Next time, I will chop up a couple of chilies or maybe add some corn niblets to the cornbread.

Black and White Bean Chili (adapted from Vegan on the Cheap)

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Serves: 4-6

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 small bell pepper, minced fine (use green pepper for contrast)
1x28oz can diced tomatoes with liquid
2×15.5 oz cans black beans rinsed and drained
1×15.5 oz can white beans or cannellini, rinsed and drained
2 chipotle chili peppers in adobo, chopped
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano (1/2 teaspoon dried oregano)
1 cup veggie broth or water
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon cornstarch, plus 1 tablespoon water (optional)

Preparation:
In a large Dutch pot, heat the oil over medium heat. When the oil shimmers add the onions and cook, covered, until softened and translucent, about 7 minutes. Add the peppers and garlic and cook for another minute.

Add the tomatoes, beans, chili peppers, chili powder, paprika, cumin, oregano, and broth or water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Simmer 45 minutes to develop flavors. Taste and adjust seasonings. The mixture should thicken after 45 minutes. Add cornstarch mixture if a thicker chili is desired. Serve with low fat chili-scallion cornbread.

Low Fat Scallion Chili Cornbread (adapted from a recipe by Fiona Haynes)

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Makes: 16 squares

Ingredients:
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup clabbered nonfat milk
1/4 cup plain nonfat yogurt
2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
2 scallions, chopped fine

Preparation:
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Generously spray an 8-inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.

To clabber milk, put 1 tablespoon white vinegar in a glass one-cup measure. Top up with non-fat milk and let rest for about 5-10 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine cornmeal, flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk egg, clabbered milk, yogurt, and oil. Add wet mixture to dry and stir with a fork until just moistened. Do not over mix.

Scrape batter into prepared pan. Tap pan lightly on the countertop to displace any air bubbles. Bake 25 minutes or until lightly golden or until the top springs back slightly when pressed. Cool 10 minutes in the pan, slice, then serve while still warm.