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Baked Chicken Burritos with Sour Cream-Poblano Sauce
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baked burritos with sour cream poblano sauce

I start off most of my mornings with a cup of coffee.  Sometimes I make it at home.  Sometimes it’s on the run on the way to work or on the way home from the gym, which happens before work and usually involves a LOT of rushing around.  But it’s part of my routine and even though I look like a whirling dervish most mornings on my way out the door (like this morning when I dropped my laptop in an effort to muscle my way through the door at 6:30am with my purse, work bag, gym bag, and laptop bag strung over my arms), I’m happy with my little routine.

Baked Burritos with Sour Cream-Poblano Sauce

My afternoon routine is much more serene.  Come home, make dinner, relax…except on Tuesdays and Thursdays when I meet with my trainer at 4:00.  By the time I pull myself into the house, it’s all I can do to move.  She’s insane.  So it’s those nights where throwing a simple meal together or reheating leftovers works best.  These baked burritos serve both purposes.  On the table in about half an hour and filled to the brim with Tex-Mex-y ground chicken and black beans, this meal rejuvenates my weary body.  The sour cream-poblano sauce is spicy and cool at the same time and it’s a genius sauce since it reheats perfectly for leftovers.  And speaking of leftovers, these burritos reheat like champs.  The recipe yields 4-5 large burritos so you can bake all of them then reheat leftovers quickly in the microwave and throw them in the oven to crisp up the tortillas.  It’s pretty much my favorite meal from over the past few weeks and  I may even make a big batch this weekend to have in the freezer at the ready on those crazy kinds of days.

Baked Chicken Burritos with Sour Cream-Poblano Sauce

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 4-6 servings

Ingredients

    For the burritos:
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • ¼ cup water or beef broth
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1 ½ tsp chili powder
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese
  • 4-10 whole wheat tortillas, depending on size (4 for burrito-sized, more for soft taco or fajita sized)
  • Cooking spray
  • For the sour cream-poblano sauce:
  • 2 poblano peppers
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2/3 cup chicken broth at room temperature
  • ½ cup sour cream (light is fine) or non-fat Greek yogurt
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400º F and spray a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. To make the burritos: Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and then add the oil. Once hot, add the onions and cook for 3-5 minutes until they begin to soften. Place the ground chicken in the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until well browned. (At this point, drain any excess fat if necessary/desired). Stir in the garlic and tomato paste and cook for 30-60 seconds before adding in the beans. Add the water or broth, cumin, oregano, chili powder, cayenne, brown sugar and salt to taste (about 1 teaspoon). Reduce heat and simmer until most of the liquid has been absorbed.
  3. Place 2 tablespoons of the cheese at the end of each tortilla (depending on size) and then spoon some of the beef and bean mixture over the top. Fold the left and right sides of the tortilla in, and then roll the tortilla up, from the end closest to you, to the top. Place seam-side down on a baking sheet and lightly spray the tops of the burritos with cooking spray. Bake for about 20 minutes, until tortillas are golden brown and crispy.
  4. Meanwhile, make the sauce. Place the poblanos directly over a gas burner. Using tongs, turn occasionally until skin is blackened on all sides. Place in a bowl and top with plastic wrap or a clean towel, until cook enough to handle. (Alternatively, you can roast the peppers under the broiler until all sides are well-charred.) Peel the peppers, remove the stems and seeds, and dice them.
  5. Heat a small saucepan over medium heat and melt the butter; stir in the flour and cook for an additional minute, stirring constantly. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth and then the diced poblano; continue to simmer, whisking frequently, until thickened. Stir in the sour cream/yogurt and warm through. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve the sauce over the baked burritos.

Source

adapted from Elly Says Opa

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http://www.smells-like-home.com/2012/05/baked-chicken-burritos-with-sour-cream-poblano-sauce/

The Ultimate Veggie Burger
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The Ultimate Veggie Burger

Sometime around 1999, I tried a veggie burger for the first time.  It was frozen, from the grocery store, and not as horrific as my little brother proclaimed it was.  Actually, I kind of liked it but then proceeded not to eat another one ever again.  And for no specific reason, just that beef [or chicken or turkey] burgers made more sense to me.  Flash forward to 2012 where about 50% of our meals each week are vegetarian.  This time, I have specific reasons: increasing the number of [oftentimes] lower caloric and nutrient-rich veggie-packed meals we eat, lowering our carbon footprint, saving a few bucks on meat that seems to be ever-so expensive these days, and do I even have to mention pink slime?  (Whole Foods in Danbury, CT, please hurry up and get built!!!)

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For at least a year now, I’ve been wanting to make veggie burgers at home and I’m so, so glad I finally did because I totally fell in love with them.  Earthy and deeply, almost roasted flavored from sautéed vegetables and mushrooms, these burgers are a meal by themselves.  Primarily held together by a mixture of lentils, black beans, bulger, and panko breadcrumbs, the texture is decent – definitely not cardboard-esque like those which hail from the freezer section but more like that of a crab cake: light, soft, and a little messy (though not messy to cook, just a little messy to eat).  Grilled or pan-fried, served atop some homemade buns with your choice of toppings and a little garlic aioli, and you’ve got yourself a hearty and completely satisfying meatless burger.  The only downfall to this recipe is that it isn’t a quick one.  I felt like I used every pan and bowl in my kitchen that night last week and from start to finish, these burgers took me about an hour to make.  The good thing is that the recipe yields 12 large burgers (there’s no harm in even making them a little smaller) and you can freeze the uncooked remaining veggie burger patties.  For this I’m ecstatic because now I’ve got an instant and fabulous dinner ready for when we’re ready to fire up our new grill!

Vegetarian Lentil and Black Bean Soup
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Is your pantry as neurotically stocked as mine is?  I’ll bet some (most?) of you always have some type of canned tomato, canned or dried bean (which may or may not be stored with the popcorn), 3 or 4 different types of vinegar (I compulsively keep 7), and too much dried pasta to feel like you’ll ever use.  However, when it really comes down to it, you know that pulling together a meal directly from the pantry isn’t ridiculously out of the question.

For us, these past few weeks have been about our household economy.  We’ve been scrimping and saving during the past 4 years and especially in the past few months to put the finishing touches on our new house…so we can install things like this in our kitchen:

And so to keep our grocery bills way down, most of our meals have been planned around what’s in the freezer and pantry.  This lentil and black bean soup is the perfect example of one of said meals.  While you could certainly use chicken broth or stock, I opted for veggie broth.  At $2 per quart, I figured I’d splurge at little :), considering I already had all of the other ingredients in the house already.  I am always looking for new lentil soup recipes and this one, with the addition of black beans, hit the nail on the head.  We truly adored this soup and with its thick and almost chili-like consistency, it’s a filling and healthy meal that will continue to stick around on our menu long after we move in (and you know, rebuild our savings account).

Spicy Bean Burritos
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For the past couple of months, we’ve been eating more vegetarian meals each week than I ever expected to see on my menus.  And coincidentally, in the spirit of saving money on groceries when the new house budget is our first priority, these vegetarian meals oftentimes come in comparatively less expensive than non-veggie meals.  I think this has helped get Kyle on board with eating less meat but honestly, he’s been really impressed with the meals I’ve been making, these spicy bean burritos being one of them.

We all know that beans are cheap but these burritos weren’t completely about eating on the cheap.  They were about amping up the flavor of canned beans (pantry staples) with garlic, cumin, chile powder, and pickled jalapeños (more pantry staples) in a healthy way.  I liken the bean mixture in these burritos to a cross between two of my favorite Tex-Mex side dishes, refried beans and Elly’s world famous black beans (but without the bacon)…which means that I totally loved these burritos.  Actually, we both did and there was so much leftover filling that we each had lunches for the next few days covered.  I certainly didn’t hear any complaints about this vegetarian meal, and in fact, Kyle commented how these burritos were almost exactly like the ones he orders from the Mexican food truck for lunch on Fridays.  Sounds like a winner to me!

Red Chile Chicken with Rice and Black Beans
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red chile chicken with rice and black beans 1

I’m sorry I’ve been holding out on you for so long.  I’ve been making this Red Chile Chicken with Rice and Black Beans for well over a year and I’ve not once had the opportunity to take a photo.  Actually, I’ve probably had many opportunities but I can’t say that I’ve had the desire to have to wait to eat this meal while I take photos.  It’s just too good.  You see, it’s a simple one-pot meal of rice, black beans, chicken, chicken broth, and some spices.  And somehow, these very basic ingredients are magically transformed into this amazingly comforting meal as they simmer together.  A little smoky undercurrent of heat from the ancho chile powder (my favorite chile powder) sears into the chicken then infuses the chicken broth and rice and leaves you with an unforgettable meal.  We sometimes serve this with some sour cream and a little shredded cheese on top but toppings certainly aren’t necessary.  Mix-ins are good too – I had an ear of corn hanging out in the fridge and I sliced the corn off the cob and threw it in at the end – lovely!  And if you consider serving this to company, which it would be perfect for on a crisp fall weekend night or for a game day Saturday or Sunday, I think some jalapeño cheddar cornbread or chile cheese bread would be great accompaniments.  Regardless of how you decide to serve it, make this soon and thank me later.

Black Bean and Beef Chili
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Black Bean and Beef Chili

With Fall on the doorstep, the morning temperatures here have been dipping into the 30s and honestly, it’s been lovely!  This weather has also got us craving (and I mean craving) cold-weather foods and I’m the first one to say, “Bring on the chili!”  Actually, when I was making up our menu for this week last Friday morning, I sort of had an epiphany when I realized, with my winter slippers already on and a hot cup of coffee sitting next to me, that it’s time for cozy food again.  What an exciting moment in a Fall-favoring foodie’s life!  So this black bean and beef chili made it to the menu and the weather hasn’t disappointed us yet this week.  It seems as if Fall is the only season that “knows” it’s place here in New England – Winter lasts well into Spring, sometimes it feels like we miss Spring and jump directly into Summer, and Winter often feels like it starts in November.  Fall…you’re right on time!

Black Bean and Beef Chili

We made this chili once last winter and decided that it deserves a place of honor next to my turkey chili.  It’s really fantastic…for a beef chili.  Believe it or not, this was our first beef chili – it’s been one of Kyle’s long-standing, yet never-fulfilled requests and I can assure you that he is a happy camper with this recipe.  I was mainly afraid of beef chili being greasy but the use of very lean ground beef in this recipe remedies this issue…which made me a very happy camper.  What’s so cool about this recipe is that you’ll purée one can of the black beans with the tomatoes and this mixture will thicken the chili as it cooks.  The chili ends up thick and hearty without too much heat despite the various types of chile powders.  I can’t think of a better meal to welcome in my favorite season…and paired with a few scoopable Fritos, I’d say it’s pretty darn close to perfection.

Foil-Baked Halibut with Chile Compound Butter and Black Beans
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Foil-Baked Halibut with Chile Compound Butter

Growing up in a coastal community on the south shore of Long Island, you would think that my fish knowledge would be abundant.  No so, unfortunately.  As a child, I turned my nose up at virtually any kind of fish and now as an adult, I’m cursing myself for this ridiculous behavior because I love fish!  So the recipes I use now (and I almost always use a recipe because I’m not that confident without one) come from some of my favorite and reliable sources.

When I saw my pal Josie post this recipe a few weeks back, I immediately added it to my list.  What could be easier than schmearing a compound butter over some fresh fish and laying it on top of black beans to bake up in a foil packet?  Truth be told, this recipe was that easy!  Inside of 10 minutes, the fish was in the oven (perfect for when rain prohibits grilling!) and inside of a total of 30 minutes, Kyle and I had an amazing fish dinner on the table.  The ancho chile butter leaks down through the fish, flavoring it on the way, and allows the black beans to cook in the butter and fish juices.  It’s a truly delightful meal on it’s own or with a side salad and either way, it’s one we’ll continue to keep in our menu rotations.

Foil-Baked Halibut with Chile Compound Butter and Black Beans

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Compound butter is a mixture of softened butter at least one other ingredient. Some ideas for compound butter are: herbs, spices, citrus zest/juice, honey, fresh mint, soft cheeses (like goat, feta, or blue), fresh or dried peppers, and nuts...you get the idea - this list could be endless!

Ingredients

    For the halibut:
  • 4 skinless white fish fillets (6 to 8 oz each), 1-inch thick
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tsp ancho chile powder, divided in half
  • 1 tsp grated orange zest
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (16-oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • ½ red onion, minced
  • 2 scallions, minced
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided
  • Lemon wedges, for serving

Instructions

  1. Adjust the oven rack to the lower-middle position and preheat to 450° F.
  2. Pat the fish dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Using a fork, mix together the butter, 1/2 tsp ancho chile powder, orange zest, half the garlic, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper in a medium bowl until well-combined. Spread butter mixture over the fish.
  3. Combine the beans, onion, scallions, 2 tablespoons of cilantro, lemon juice, remaining garlic, remaining ancho chile powder, scallions, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a bowl.
  4. Lay four 14-inch lengths of foil on the counter and divide the bean mixture evenly in the center of each piece of foil. Top with fish, and fold the foil over the fish, folding the edges to seal.
  5. Arrange the packets in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until the fish is just cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes. Carefully open the packets and sprinkle with remaining cilantro. Serve with lemon wedges.

Source

source: adapted from {The Best Simple Recipes|http://www.amazon.com/Best-Simple-Recipes-Americas-Kitchen/dp/1933615591/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1306895119&sr=8-1] by America's Test Kitchen, via Pink Parsley

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http://www.smells-like-home.com/2011/07/foil-baked-halibut-with-chile-compound-butter-and-black-beans/

Crockpot 3 Bean Turkey Chili
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Who knew that after finally trying a new chili recipe recently, that I would be motivated to try others as well?? I came across this one looking for more WWPoints recipes and knew just by looking at it that I needed to give it a shot.  Plus, it’s a crockpot recipe so I found it terribly difficult to pass up. I did find I had to add a few things to the recipe after it had cooked all day because the amount of flavor I expect from a chili just wasn’t there.  Not a huge deal though and you’ll see my adapted version below.  With my additions, I have to say that I adore this recipe.  I’ve never made a chili with tomato sauce and I was a little worried about it being too soupy but I was really pleased with the overall consistency (nice and thick).  And if you’re a big fan of beans in all shapes and sizes like we are, you’ll definitely find pleasure in this meal. With regards to the WWPoints, as Gina wrote the recipe, it was 3 Points, but because I added dark turkey meat, my version yielded 5 Points/serving. Oh and PS – I still can’t figure out how 20 oz of meat could possibly feed 12 people as stated in the original recipe.

Chicken Chili
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It’s been a while since the Barefoot Bloggers have done a Bonus Recipe Challenge (BRC) and during that downtime, I’ve been working up a big new BRC.  Based on my Week with the Barefoot Contessa I did last year, I wanted to expand the challenge to the whole group.  There are no set posting dates for the five recipes I chose, just that they are posted between November 2-6, and this is my first of the week. So over the course of this week, check back daily for a new Ina Garten recipe that I’ll add to the 70+ Ina recipes I’ve already posted about here!

So the first recipe of the week brings us Chicken Chili.  After having made my favorite chili recipe more times than I can count and after having won my department’s chili cookoff with the recipe last year, I’m finally trying a new chili recipe. Although, I guess you could say that I have been making a different recipe during the past year since discovering Penzey’s Chili 3000 but the recipes only differ by the spices. We’re totally in love with Chili 3000 by the way!

That said, I was looking forward to this recipe.  I’d been itching to try a chicken chili recipe and I certainly wasn’t let down by this one.  While the chili was a little on the soupy side (which can be easily fixed next time since we’re thick chili fans) the flavors were spot on. I loved the big chunks of peppers and chicken (which I grilled rather than roasted – you’ll see my changes below) and with the my addition of black beans, this chili was a hearty and satisfying meal on an unseasonably cold October night here in CT. Go ahead and give it a try for yourself!!