TVP Chili

“What the heck is TVP?” Direct quote from my mother.  Yes, it sounds more like an ingredient in fixing car engines and less like a vegan protein source.  The only ingredient listed on the package (I use Bob’s Red Mill) is “defatted soy flour.”  The jury is out on whether this is a healthy product or not.  I like it because of its high protein, fiber content, and chewy texture. Some argue that it is highly processed, lacks nutritional value, and should be left alone. I’ll let you make up your own mind.  If you’re interested in learning more, Google it. For now, I’ll treat it as a processed product that I’m ok eating now and then as an easy meat substitute.

Ok that being said… Let’s get down to this chili!  I was inspired by the recipe on the bag of TVP and decided to give it a few tweaks and try it out!

Texturized Vegetable Protein. Friend or foe, you decide.

Texturized Vegetable Protein. Friend or foe, you decide.

After prepping and chopping all my veggies and gathering ingredients, it was time to play with this new ingredient.  In order to use the TVP, you have to rehydrate it.  It comes in dry, hard little pellets that smelled a bit like a grain or flour, a bit nutty, a bit sweet.  Rehydrating is where the flavor infusion occurs.  I threw it in a bowl, dolloped some ketchup on top, and poured boiling water overtop per the bag instruction.  Immediately, it started to soak up and disappear into the TVP and it almost resembled the cooking of quick oats.  After letting it soak, the spices go in- I included a picture of this step because it looks like a LOT.  You’re going to think you’re overdoing it, but consider that this is where all of the spices for the entire pot of soup come from.  Don’t be shy about really dumping it in.  Once that’s been seasoned and fluffed with a fork, this looks a lot like you run-of-the-mill chili recipe.

Dry TVP with big blogs of ketchup ready to be rehydrated.

Dry TVP with big blobs of ketchup ready to be rehydrated.

After the boiling water was dumped over.

After the boiling water was dumped over.

Told you it looks like a lot of spices….

Told you it looks like a lot of spices….

Once mixed and fluffed it takes on the texture and flavor of ground beef!.. Almost.

Once mixed and fluffed it takes on the texture and flavor of ground beef!.. Almost.

Get the veggies sautéing in a large pot or dutch oven to cook them down.  Once the onions are translucent, just dump everything else in!  Then pop the lid on and simmer it for about 30-45 minutes.  Stir in the frozen corn and cook for about 15 minutes more or until the corn is cooked through.  That’s it!  This makes about 16 cups of chili which is  TON, so I recommend freezing half if you don’t think you can eat it all in a week. I somehow managed to devour all of it.  But you might not be a crazy soup fanatic like myself.

TVP may not be a perfectly whole, unprocessed food but in my opinion, it beats ground beef in the health department any day!  Plus it’s delicious, chewy, and easy to work with!  Win win win!

Finished product served up with my favorite multigrain chips!

Finished product served up with my favorite multigrain chips!

TVP Chili
Recipe Type: Soup
Cuisine: American, Mexican
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 16
TVP acts as a substitute for ground beef in this hearty, yet super low-fat, chili!
Ingredients
  • 2 cups TVP (Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 2 Tbs ketchup
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 jalepeño, seeds and ribs removed, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbs chili powder
  • 2 Tbs cumin
  • 2 Tbs ground oregano
  • 1/2 Tbs Adobo seasoning, optional
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 15oz can dark red kidney beans, not drained
  • 1 15oz can low sodium black beans, not drained
  • 4 14.5oz can petite diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 1-2 cups water, depending on desired consistency
Instructions
  1. Add TVP and ketchup to a bowl and pour two cups of boiling water over. Let soak 5-10 minutes then fluff with a fork.
  2. Add spices to TVP mixture and mix well.
  3. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat and add onion, peppers, and garlic. Stir for about 4-5 minutes, until onions are mostly cooked.
  4. Add TVP mixture to pot and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add beans, tomatoes, and water and simmer covered for 45 minutes.
  6. Add corn and stir, then simmer another 15 minutes until corn is heated through.
  7. Serve in bowl with chips or crackers. Enjoy!
Serving size: 1 cup Calories: 150 Fat: 1.2g Carbohydrates: 24g Sugar: 7g Sodium: 250mg Fiber: 8g Protein: 11g Cholesterol: 0

 

Thanks for reading! Enjoy!

A Few of My Favorite Things

Well, I think we’ve reached that point in our relationship.  You guys are SO supportive and I love you all SO much that I think the time has come.  We’re ready for the next step…

Hehe ok so I’m just being silly!  But seriously, I’m so grateful for all of the support I’ve gotten and I really want to share my favorite recipe EVER with you!  I’m ready to take that plunge! It’s call “Butternut Squash Enchilada Skillet” and, although I can’t claim the rights on inventing the concept, it’s my personal best recipe. This is the dish I make when I want to completely spoil myself.  And I mean that in both ways- treating myself to yummy food AND treating my body right!   You already know how I feel about Mexican cuisine and enchiladas.  Plus I top this off with avocado.. So there’s that. And it’s delicious and decadent and warm and spicy and cheesy and ohhh man.. I better stop.  How about we get down to what you really want to hear- how to make it!

This recipe contains butternut squash.  In case you weren’t aware, this is among some of the most delicious foods ever.  However, breaking down one of these bad boys takes a significant amount of elbow grease and for that reason, I’m going to give you a tutorial of how I slaughter, I mean chop, mine. If you’d rather not go through the effort- and it’s a lot, I always break a sweat- a lot of grocery stores sell it pre-cubed for your convenience.  Personally, I just do the hard work on a Sunday and have it ready to go for whatever night I want to cook it!  Ok, here it goes…

Start by cutting off the top and bottom of the squash.

Decapitated squash? Check.

Decapitated squash? Check.

Then peel all of the off skin using a peeler or sharp knife.

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Cut the squash in half, separating the base from the “neck”.

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Both of these need cut in half now.  You’ll find that the base is full of seeds and stringy which are easy to scoop out.  The seeds are delicious roasted!  But that’s a recipe for another day…

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All cleaned out!

Once you have four big pieces, break those into stick-like shapes about an inch wide, preparing them for super easy chopping.

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Then just take a few at a time and cube them up! Your hand will be sore here.  Hang in there, the worst is over!

Looks like cheese hehehe

Looks like cheese hehehe

Voila!  Cubed squash!  That wasn’t too terrible right?! 😉 Throw it in an airtight bag in the fridge for later or get ready to use it in the following recipe!

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Alright.  So calling this “enchiladas” may seem confusing because there’s no filling, wrapping, rolling, stuffing, or any of that.  However, you’ve got all your basic enchilada components.  Black bean, squash, onion, and pepper “filling”.  Corn tortillas are sliced and mixed in rather than used as a wrap.  And of course sauce and cheese to top everything off!

Everything you need!

Everything you need!

Once your ingredients are together, grab the largest sauté pan you have and turn on your oven’s broiler.  This is a BIG recipe so I like to use one with a lip around it to avoid spilling and mess- which usually happens regardless…  Get your olive oil heating in this pan over medium-high heat then add the onions and jalepeño and cook until they’re softened.  Then add the cubed squash and spices and sauté until tender.  Now, this is where the real flavor profile of this dish comes from.  I adore cumin in cooking and chili powder brings such a good heat.  Use more or less of that depending on your spice tastes.  Sautéing all these ingredients smells divine and I always find myself taking more than necessary samples to check for flavor and “doneness”.  Once the squash is fork-tender (but not completely falling apart), it’s time to add the beans, tortillas, and sauce.  Make sure your tortillas are cut into thick strips that can be easily mixed in.

I'm not sure why my cuts look so strange but you're just going for big strips/ pieces.

I’m not sure why my cuts look so strange but you’re just going for big strips/ pieces.

Once you’ve got those in there, mix in half of the cheese (1/2 cup) and reduce the heat to medium- low and simmer for a few minutes to get everything soaked in sauce and yummy gooey!  Now here’s the fun part, sprinkle on the remaining cheese and pop the whole pan under the broiler!  The cheese will bubble up and some of the tortillas get crispy in places and is literally SO GOOD.  This only takes a few minutes, which is lucky because I have a really really hard time waiting even a few minutes to eat this- the smells are unreal!

Look at that bubbly, cheesy top!

Look at that bubbly, cheesy top!

There ya have it!  My all time, absolute favorite recipe!  I promise this recipe is worth the work of butchering the giant butternut squash.  Or just cheat!  I won’t tell!  Either way, enjoy!

Finished product!  Served up with avocado, cilantro, and steamed broccoli.

Finished product! Served up with avocado, cilantro, and steamed broccoli.

Butternut Squash Enchilada Skillet
Recipe Type: Main
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6
My favorite dish EVER! Top this off with some avocado and cilantro- more of my favorites. This recipe is healthy and delicious- an all around winner!
Ingredients
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 large butternut squash, cubed (about 3-4 cups from a 2 lb squash)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 jalepeño, seeded and diced
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp chili powder (or 1 if you prefer less heat)
  • 1 15oz. can low sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 8 small yellow corn tortillas, sliced into thick strips
  • 16oz. red enchilada sauce (two packs of Frontera is what I use)
  • 1 cup reduced fat Mexican shredded cheese
  • Cilantro, avocado, or 0% Greek yogurt for topping
Instructions
  1. Heat olive oil in large sauté pan over medium high heat.
  2. Add onions, garlic, and pepper and sauté until onions are translucent, 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add butternut squash, cumin, chili powder, and season with salt and pepper. Cook until squash is fork-tender, 8-12 minutes.
  4. Add sauce, beans, and tortilla strips and mix to coat everything in sauce.
  5. Reduce heat to medium-low and stir in half the cheese (1/2 cup), letting everything simmer for a few minutes.
  6. Turn on broiler and pop the whole pan in the oven for 2-4 minutes until the top is bubbly and starting to brown.
  7. Remove from heat and serve piping hot! Enjoy!
Serving size: 1/6 of recipe Calories: 333 Fat: 7g Saturated fat: 2.6g Carbohydrates: 50g Sugar: 6g Fiber: 9g Protein: 17.5g Cholesterol: 10mg

 

 

Chickpea Curry

Ohmygoodness! It’s been two weeks since I posted!  Please don’t hate me for not supplying a steady flow of recipes and filling you in on the RIVETING retails of my wildly exciting life.  Kidding, obviously.  I can’t say I have anything super interesting to report.  I did get a new car!  A really, really pretty new car from my parents that I was totally not expecting but my little old junker exhaled it’s final fumes and it was time for an upgrade.  Exciting right?! Well then today, 4 days later, I got rear-ended on the highway by some ass-hole (yeah, I said it) who decided to drive away.  Just drove away.  Life’s a roller coaster I guess!

So it’s  just been a bit of a normal grind..  5 exams last week also meant that my mom banned me from the kitchen.  Not because she doesn’t like my cooking… (Or at least I hope not)  but she wanted me to focus on school.  She knows I’m fully capable of “procrastibaking” and never getting any homework done.  Per usual, she’s right.  But.  Never fear.  I was able to sneak in a few delicious weeknight dinners this week that I will share this weekend!

The first yummy meal I’m going to share is sort of a best-of-both-worlds type deal.  It’s Indian-influenced so there’s that fun, exotic side to it…  But it’s so so so SO easy.  I’m talking 20 minutes tops easy.  I think we see an ethnic recipe and naturally think there’s some amount of skill involved because they’re unfamiliar.  But people are busy in every culture, and anything is easy with a little practice.  I do want to add, however, that I’m not guaranteeing any amount of authenticity to the “Indian-ness” of this recipe…  But it’s called Curry right?! 😉  Taste for yourself and decide.

I don’t have a ton of pictures- well, I barely have any at all- and this recipe is so easy so this will be a short post!  I’m sure you don’t mind me skipping all the yammering… So here we go!

Such a terribly dark picture… But, this is literally all you need!

Such a terribly dark picture… But, this is literally all you need!

Gathering these ingredients is a snap.  A few pantry staples: crushed tomatoes, canned chick peas, onion, and brown rice (use boil-in-bag for an even quicker meal!)  Some grocery items: baby spinach, nonfat plain Greek yogurt, and fresh cilantro.  And spices: I used garam masala and vindaloo, both curry mixes, but either will do!

Cook your rice however you prefer, or according to package directions.  Or use leftovers!  Then the only real prep work was chopping he onions, for which I admittedly sometimes use that weird “Slap-Chop” thing that usually just collects dust in our kitchen…  So do what ya gotta do, but chop those bad boys up.  Throw them in a pan with a hefty spray of cooking spray and about a teaspoon of olive oil.  Cook those down over medium for about five minutes until they’re translucent and really starting to get a nice brown.  It’s totally ok if some get a little crispy- more flavor!  Then add your spices and stir for about 30 seconds, you’re really going to smell some wonderful things here.  This is a flavor base for the dish and personally, I think these smell divine.  Then just dump in your chick peas, crushed tomatoes, and spinach.   It’s going to look like a ton of spinach but it cooks down like crazy so don’t worry.

Side note on canned crushed tomatoes.  I can NEVER find them in a 15 oz can.  Ever. Anywhere.  It always comes in the most absurdly huge can.  If this same trouble befalls you, no worries- 15 oz is just shy of two cups.  So measure it out and turn the rest into marina sauce.  Yum!!  🙂

Anyways… Once you’ve got the beans, tomatoes, and spinach in there you’re practically done!  Just let it simmer for about two minutes until that spinach has cooked down and is no longer taking over your pan.  Then pull it off the heat and mix in the greek yogurt and salt.  This is when you’ll really see it come together as the lovely, smooth, creamy dish that it is.  This is so great straight from the pan over rice and topped with fresh cilantro.  However, I’m possibly the world’s biggest leftover fan and this dish is divine the next day.  There’s something about letting the flavors and spices really come together that I think makes any dish better overnight, especially when you’re not relying on any crispy texture like with this dish.

So that’s it!  Super easy, so quick, and really really delicious!  Fresh cilantro brings a great brightness on top of this dish and I like to add a little (LITTLE) Sriracha for a kick of heat.  Give it a whirl!

Served up here in a bowl over brown rice with some broccoli, sriracha, and cilantro!

Served up here in a bowl over brown rice with some broccoli, sriracha, and cilantro!

And the recipe!

Chickpea Curry
Recipe Type: Main
Cuisine: Indian
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 5
An easy, delicious, and healthy weeknight dinner! Try something different with some Indian spices! Serve over brown rice (not included in nutritional data).
Ingredients
  • 2 15oz. cans chick peas
  • 1 15oz. can crushed tomatoes (no salt added)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 6oz. package fresh spinach
  • 1/2 cup 0% fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala
  • 1 tsp Vindaloo
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • Chopped fresh cilantro, optional (but recommended!)
  • Sriracha, optional
Instructions
  1. Spray a dutch oven or medium pot liberally with cooking spray, add olive oil, and heat over medium heat
  2. Add onions and cook approximately 5 minutes, until clear and browning
  3. Stir in spices for 30 seconds
  4. Add chickpeas, tomatoes, and spinach and cook for 2-3 minutes, until spinach is completely wilted
  5. Remove from heat and stir in Greek yogurt and salt
  6. Serve over rice with cilantro and hot sauce
Serving size: 1 cup Calories: 207 Fat: 3.3g Carbohydrates: 33g Sugar: 6.4g Sodium: 400mg Fiber: 9.7g Protein: 12.6g

Enjoy!

PS.  Happy late Valentines Day!  It sort of slipped my mind since John is out of town and we are celebrating next week…  Hope you all felt extra loved!!  🙂