Tuesday, December 20, 2011

White Bean and Chicken Chili

Chicken chili is a comforting cold weather meal.  Most recipes call for milk and cheese to achieve the desired creamy consistency.  In my recipe I omit the dairy products and use white beans to accomplish the same texture.  Not only does this substitution lower the fat of the chili, it also adds a lot of protein and fiber from a plant-based source.  Instead of topping the chili with shredded cheese and sour cream I use diced avocado and fresh tomato salsa.  You don't even miss the dairy when dunking your tortilla chips!  This recipe could easily be adapted to a vegan bean chili by simply omitting the chicken and using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.  When I make soups I tend to go big because I like to freeze the extra in individual serving bowls for a quick lunch in the future.  This recipe will serve 8.

In a medium sauce pan add 1 1/2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breast
to 1 quart of chicken stock and simmer over medium heat for 15 minutes or until just done.

While the chicken is cooking chop 4 medium yellow onions.

Heat 5 Tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a large soup pot.

Add the onions and cook for 8 minutes.

Ever since I burned my eyeballs when taking out my contacts after working with jalapenos,
I put my hand in a ziploc bag when handling them.
It can be a little awkward but well worth avoiding the burn.
Cut and seed 2-4 jalapenos, depending on your heat preference.

I have a Norwegian husband and 2 school age daughters so I just use 2. 

Dice the jalapenos.

Add to the onions.

Mince 4 garlic cloves.

Add to the pot and cook and additional 5-10 minutes.

When the chicken is done place it on a plate and let cool for 3-5 minutes.
Reserve the cooking liquid.
Using 2 forks shred the chicken.

Set shredded chicken aside.

Add 2 teaspoons salt, 2 Tablespoons cumin and 1 teaspoon white pepper to onions.

Mix well and cook for 2 more minutes.

Add the cooking liquid from the chicken and 2 cans of cannellini or great northern beans.
Cook for 10 minutes.

Ladle the soup into a blender to puree or use an immersion blender.

Rinse out the pot and return the soup back to the pot.

Stir over medium heat.

Add chicken stock to thin the soup to desired consistency.
I use about 2 cups. 

Add the shredded chicken.

Add 2 cans of cannellini or great northern beans drained.
Cook for another 5 minutes or until hot.
Adjust seasoning to taste. 

Top with generous spoonfuls of diced avocado and fresh salsa.
Serve with tortilla chips.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Kale and Apple Smoothie

Kale is an amazing super food known for its wonderful anti-cancer agents that help your body detoxify and remove carcinogenic compounds.  It is also filled with vitamins A and C which help make it a great immunity builder.  This smoothie is one of my favorite breakfasts.  The lemon cuts the bitterness of kale and the little bit of agave adds just the right amount of sweetness.  Kale is tough and full of fiber so it is best to use a vitamix or high-speed blender to break it down.  Either way it is still a little chunky towards the bottom of the glass so I usually add a little water or use a spoon to finish it off.    
In a Vitamix or other high-speed blender place 3 cups of fresh kale,
2 apples, cored and quartered, 1 lemon, peel removed, 8-12 oz water and 1 tsp agave.
Blend well on high.

Makes 24 oz.