Wednesday, October 23, 2013

More Game Food!! White Bean Chili

This is the best time of year for sports!!!  The Red Sox are in the World Series and game one is just around the corner!!!  Football is in full swing and while the Pats aren't looking their best, they do have a decent record and the games have been action packed and awesome to watch! With all these great games to watch you don't want to spend your time fussing about the kitchen slaving over a stove at meal time. You want something healthy that tastes good, is ready when you're hungry and is quick and easy to throw together. I've got just the right thing!!!

I will take NO credit for this recipe other than finding it on the internet.  I was watching a cooking show and Paula Deen shared this gem of a dish--White Bean Chili.  Quick, easy and yummy!  Here's what you'll need:

1 pound dried navy beans
5 cups chicken stock
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
1 tablespoon minced garlic--(I like garlic, I used 4 large cloves)
3/4 cup diced onion
1 1/2 cups chopped green chiles (fresh or canned)--(I just used 4-5 jalapenos)
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, finely chopped
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 to 2 teaspoons white pepper (black pepper is fine)
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1/2 bunch of cilantro leaves, chopped

You'll see that I did alter the recipe slightly to suit my families tastes.  I have kids so the chili can't be too "hot" or they won't eat it.  I used jalapenos and only 4 or 5 of them which is far less than the recipe calls for.  I also took the seeds out to reduce the overall heat of the dish.  I did not use the red pepper flakes--again, to control the heat.  I do want to note that if you've never used cilantro before you will want to be careful.  While cilantro has a wonderful and distinct flavor, if you use too much it adds a "soapy" flavor to the dish (any dish, not just this one).  Odd, I know, but true.  Careful on the cilantro.  Add a bit and taste a bit, that's the way to go.

My final note concerns the healthiness of this dish.  Yes there is butter in it.  If you consider a portion size and that there are 4 tablespoons spread out over every single portion then the amount of butter you are actually getting is negligible.  Having said that, if you are concerned over saturated fats feel free to substitute a monounsaturated fat like olive oil instead of the butter.

Here's how you do it:

Rinse the beans well, cover with cool water and soak for 2 hours (this step can be omitted if you use canned beans). Drain.  Put the beans in a large pot with the chicken stock and bring to a boil over high heat. 

In a saucepan, heat the butter over medium heat.  Add the garlic, onion, and chiles and saute for 5 minutes.  

Add chile mixture to pot with beans.  Add the chicken, cumin, oregano, pepper, white pepper, red pepper flakes, and cilantro. 


 Lower the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, for approximately 1 1/2 hours.  You can also just throw it all in a crockpot on high at this point and it will be ready in the same amount of time.

Hope you enjoy it!  Happy Game Day!


+My Baked Stuffed Life
+Michelle Morrissette Cucchiaro

Monday, October 21, 2013

I Love Food

It was Sunday morning and I woke early to an alarm that was purposely set for 4:45am.  I'd had overnight guests who were hitting the road early and I'd wanted to see them off.  Hugs, kisses and well wishes were over rather quickly and I was wide awake.  Sunday classes don't start until 8am so I had quite a bit of time on my hands.  That's a switch.....Rising early for my morning exercise routines has been getting harder and harder lately.  Staying faithful to healthy eating has been a struggle as well.  It wasn't until recently that I tied those two facts together.  

When I started this journey back in May I was faithful to plan eating and faithful to exercising 4-6 times per week at 4am.  I've battled with food all summer long and now that fall is upon us things are no different.  I dropped 10 pounds.... then as much as 19 but I'm back at that point where I need to lose that last 10.  My exercise routine has not wavered.  It's the damn food.  I love food.  I love to cook and I love to eat.   
I don't eat a lot of food but what I do enjoy eating is bulky carb-filled foods.  There's nothing leafy or green about it.  It's starch and gravy and bagels etc.  Having said that it's not that I've even gone overboard with it, it's the fact that when I eat even one portion of the wrong kind of food it really creates havoc in my body such that I'm not hungry for the next meal or even the one after that.  I'm busy too so if you add not being hungry to a busy schedule what you get is meal skipping.  When you skip meals your metabolism shuts down.  That's me in a nutshell.  I went from 5 small healthy meals a day and 3 litres of water to maybe one or two meals a day and lots of coffee.  Not good.

I told my trainer, Chris Engel, about my battle.  She got right on it.  We have fairly consistent conversations about it.  She draws me in to conversations about what workouts we'll do, what I feel I need to fine tune on my body, etc.  We talk about recipes and meal planning.  It may sound crazy but I needed to be reprogrammed.  It happens to the best of us.  Your body is a machine, a mind driven, fuel consuming muscle machine.  If your head isn't in the game, the machine can't run efficiently.  If you don't put fuel in the engine, it just doesn't run.  It's really that simple. 

This battle isn't new to me and it certainly isn't over.  Thankfully I've never been obese but I have always struggled with 10, 15 or 20 pounds.  It could just as easily be 100 pounds.  The battle is the battle and you approach it the same either way.  One day at a time, one meal at a time and one workout at a time.  You just have to keep going and that's exactly what I'm going to do.


+My Baked Stuffed Life
+Michelle Morrissette Cucchiaro