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Mexican

Winter Vegetarian Chili

Vegetarian Chili

We got our first snowstorm here in Philly last weekend. Everyone say hey to Jonas, which called for a snow-day Saturday chili cook-off session.

With plenty of time to slow down and savor, into the pot went every veggie and spice that makes chili shine, and onto the timer went plenty of minutes.

Vegetarian Chili

Snow brings time to chill. Time to chill brings patience. And patience brings flavor-making magic.

If you’ve got the minutes to spare, let this merger of ingredients mix and mingle for at least 45 minutes. The more time you give it, the more infusion of flavor in every bite you’ll receive.

In fact, it probably reaches its best not the night upon serving but in your bowl the next day.

Patience is a delicious virtue.

Vegetarian Chili

Serve over brown rice with some cheddar, on the sharp side, and/or fresh herbs. And if you seek to level up the whole experience, add a square of warm, buttered cornbread on a plate to its side.

We’ll thank Jonas for this one.

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Sweet Potato, Greens and Beans Burrito

Sweet Potato, Greens and Beans Burrito

What do you get when you ask three healthy food bloggers to tell you their #1 fall veggie? Too many answers to count. So, Philadelphia Magazine’s Be Well picked the produce (sweet potatoes) for us, and tasked two friends of mine and I to come up with an accessible way to use it.

The results: three kick-butt recipes that’ll make you mash what you think you already know about cooking sweet potatoes.

Sweet Potato, Greens and Beans Burrito

I chose to create a rendition of burritos with a healthy beans and greens twist. Like sweet potatoes, it’s hard to go wrong with bringing burritos to the dinner table.

Sweet Potato, Greens and Beans Burrito

I love how sweet potatoes compliment the earthiness of young fall greens. In this recipe, these two star ingredients are given the majority of the attention so that the preparation of the beans can remain quick and simple. Spices infuse the veggies, while the beans are simply tossed with a spritz of citrus to complete a weeknight meal that comes together in no time.

Head over to Be Well for the recipe, where you’ll also find a Sweet Potato Falafel (!) and a hearty Sweet Potato, Kale, and Wild Rice Soup!

Simple Mexican Stuffed Baked Potatoes

Mexican Stuffed Baked Potato

Let’s wipe out time. Watches, they can stay. I like how they look on the wrists of both men and women. But time, that can go away. If time went away, so would 99% of my stress, and probably yours too.

Deadlines. And bedtimes. And meal times. And making time. If there’s one thing consistent in my life, it’s running out of time. If that whole concept could just be gone, then we’d all be breathing a whole lot easier. Is anyone listening to me? Does anyone have time to read this? Does anyone have time to find me a solution?

In the meantime, I’ve been fitting in a lot of simple meals like this. Who says you need bunches of minutes to make something delicious?

It’s hard to get tired of Mexican. I know people that consume tacos as least 3-4 times a week. While this is a little much for me, I can endorse the fact that the combination of avocado, salsa, and cilantro is one that rarely ever gets boring.

Wraps, I will often eat as many as four days per week. From hummus to breakfast to tacos, tortillas are the easiest way to bundle up ingredients into a delicious, portable package. However, I don’t always want to be eating them for breakfast, lunch and dinner, which is how this baked potato idea was put into action.

Wanting to avoid duplication from a prior lunch, I created a taco in potato form. It’s one of the simplest meals you can make. I leave the ingredient amounts up to you so the meal can be tailored to your own personal preferences. For me, that means heavy on the avocado.  I’d love to hear your potato toppings suggestions too.

Click here for recipe…

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

Tortilla Soup

I get an email from my mom earlier this week relaying my grandpa has the flu, my grandma is about to undergo surgery, and that I should probably find a new spot to purchase avocados. It’s good to hear my grandma’s surgery is not considered high risk, though it’s possible my avocado buying is. Also good to know my very first blog reader is still tuning in, one that’s looking out for me, too.

You see, after my mom got around to reading my last post containing avocadoes, she wanted to let me know $2.00 was a crazy price to pay when she was at home getting the green gold for 88 cents a pop. Unfortunately, her go-to grocery store doesn’t exist in Philadelphia, and I’m stuck paying the price of a whole happy meal nearly every time I need to indulge in an avocado. Yes, my mom’s right. One avocado for $2 does seem a bit ridiculous. But the thought of putting that money towards a McDonald’s burger doesn’t even cross my mind. At least I can be fully satisfied with my double dollar purchase every time it goes towards quality food.

I guess there weren’t enough guac-makers this Super Bowl season because right after the occasion, every store I walked into held a doorway display of avocadoes. Of course I couldn’t walk by without grabbing few, which ultimately triggered this recipe. Avocadoes are a perfect and necessary tortilla soup topper.

Tortilla soup is light and brothy. It’s the kind of meal that will be there for you when you need a little detox. However, it’s certainly not a meal deprived of flavor. Lime, cilantro and jalapeno team up to create one invigorating bowl of soup. The avocado and cheddar cheese toppings add just a touch of richness, and with the crunchy tortilla strips, pack each bowl with satisfaction.

If you can dedicate the avocado, this should rank high among your other soup recipes this season.

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Mexican Brownies with Espresso Glaze

So, this definitely isn’t my best attempt at photographing a brownie. I’d like to say sorry to the brownies for not giving them the time or flattering light they deserved. However, despite a forced pre-dawn photo debut, a glance at these chocolaty squares still makes my mouth water.

Although, there might be a chance that’s because I already know what they taste like. And what they taste like is good.

In fact, these were so rich and chocolaty that this sleepy photographer devoured two of them for breakfast before walking out the door with the remainder—of which got quickly eaten at a work party that night.

I planned my first open house party for my new job, and ended up giving it a Mexican food theme. What Mexican had to do with the event mattered little to me. What really mattered here was getting an extra large bowl of guacamole on the table and pairing it with the quesadilla platter of my dreams. I’m pretty sure the office agreed that this was a win for everyone. I think the guests conquered.

But of course, as a cook and food blogger, I wasn’t going to let the entire party pass by solely on catered food. I don’t care how delicious that guacamole was, a touch of F-F-F was a mandatory part of the table spread. Leaving dessert out of the catering menu, it was easy to decide what I’d contribute. But deciding on exactly which sweet item to make wasn’t such an easy task.

Mexican desserts aren’t really in my repertoire and when I reached out on F-F-F’s Facebook page for some help, it became clear this was probably true for many of my fans, too. (Though correct me if I’m wrong. I’d love to hear of your ideas and recipes.) After browsing the internet for ideas, I came back to the idea of brownies, a classic party option, loved by all, that can easily be considered finger food.

Cinnamon and espresso give these brownies their flare, and a touch of cayenne adds a small kick to their fancy, but not too schmancy glaze. Rich, fudgy, and a touch of spicy, peppy personality, it’s hard not to love this homemade option on the party table.

As a note, this is not a healthy brownie. But sometimes good health calls for moderation of indulgence. Especially after the stress of your first month on a new job. For an occasion like that, these will hit the spot, all in good health I assure you. Cheers.

Click here for recipe…

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