Better Than Butter

Bold claim right?!  How can something be better than butter??  It’s America’s favorite ingredient!  I have to say, in my humble opinion, roasted garlic rivals it.  If you’re never roasted garlic before drop everything and try this right. now.


It starts with just a plain old head of garlic.  Just chop off the top and husk some of the outer papers, leaving enough intact so it’s not falling apart. You may have to cut down a little lower on some of the outer cloves to be able to see their middles.  You want to be sure that when you drizzle olive oil over it (about a Tbs or so) the oil reaches almost every clove.

Then wrap the whole thing up in a layer or two of foil and pop it straight into the oven at 400F. Be. Patient. I’m telling you this process takes a while.  You’ll start to smell the wonderful aroma after about 30 minutes and want to take it out and rub it all over your body eat it but trust me, just wait.


Not done yet.  We’re starting to see a little of that golden caramelization but this baby hasn’t reached potential yet.


Now THAT is what I’m talking about.  See how it’s all wilty and soft and mushy and golden?  That’s the good stuff.  And trust me, you’ll smell it.  This is about 50 minutes after I put it straight on the rack in the oven.

All that’s left is to squeeze the head from the bottom and let all the “meat” of the garlic ooze out.  Your fingers are going to smell the rest of the day.  You won’t be sorry.


Voila! Roasted garlic!!

The reason I post this is because I use roasted garlic in just about everything!  Its rich, nutty flavor is much less sharp than the uncooked bulb and lends itself well to toast, soups, and any dish that calls for garlic!  My favorite is to spread it on a piece of my favorite homemade, nutty bread.  Garlic is a great sub for butter in this case because not only is it more flavorful, but it is way healthier!  Garlic has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and is naturally fat-free.  Can’t beat it!

Give this a try today, I like to roast 4-5 bulbs at a time to have on hand in the fridge.  Be on the lookout as I’ll definitely be using this in future recipes!  And let me know, is it better than butter?!?

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!
  • 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
  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.


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


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…


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.


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!


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!
  • 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
  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