Instead of using added fats and sugars in my meals, I love cooking with fresh herbs and dried spices to flavor my dishes. The packets of seasonings that you can find in the grocery store seem very convenient and can certainly add tons of flavor to your dish (especially if you are unfamiliar with what spices go well together), but I avoid them. Why? I don't like to add unnecessary amounts of sodium and additives that are common in the packets. Many companies use flavor additives like MSG, fillers like potato starch or anti-caking chemicals like silicon dioxide. As a clean eating cook, I just don't want to take chances with my family's health since I'm unfamiliar with how these additives affect the body long-term.
Rather than participate in a food science experiments, I have taken to creating my own spice mixes to have on hand, for simplicity and ease in quick weeknight meals. Here is my favorite blend for seasoning my favorite Tex Mex meals like burritos, tacos and the Wake Up Your Palate recipe of the week, Chicken Meat Ball Chili.
Money saving tip: purchase the main ingredients chili powder, paprika, garlic powder and ground coriander at a bulk supply like they have at locally in Alpena at Neiman's Family Market or Gordon Food Service. You'll use them up (especially if you cook many of the Wake Up your Palate recipes) and save yourself money in the end.
Kelly's Tex Mex Seasoning Blend
2 TBSP chili powder1 TBSP ground coriander2 TBSP paprika1 TBSP garlic powder1 TBSP Kosher salt1 TBSP ground oregano2 tsp. Ground cumin1 tsp. black pepper1 tsp. cayenne powder1 tsp. crushed red pepperBlend well in a small bowl and transfer to one of those old Parmesan cheese containers (if you have) or anything air tight. Stores great at room temperature, but try to keep moisture out of the container.
MY GIFT TO YOU!My fiance, Jody, wanted to call this Chicken Burrito Soup since it has many elements of our favorite weeknight meal, but after seeing the blend come together, we agreed it certainly looks and eats a bit more like a chili. It's great the same night you cook it, but really blends together so well the longer it marinates. Enjoy!
Chicken Meatball Chili
1 ½ lbs. ground chicken
2 TBSP oil, divided
1 large onion, chopped
32 oz. unsalted chicken stock
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed well (feel free to sub in your favorite bean)
1 can of pinto beans, drained and rinsed well
½ cup frozen corn kernels
1 TBSP of Kelly's Tex Mex Seasoning
1 pint of cherry tomatoes
1 small can of tomato paste
1 bag of spinach, chopped
1 cup of cilantro, chopped
Greek yogurt, for garnish
Lime wedges, for garnish
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Roll ground chicken into small meatballs, about ½ inch in diameter, so they are bite sized. Place on a cookie sheet and drizzle 1 TBSP of oil over the meatballs. Add to the warm oven and bake for 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large pot heated over medium heat, add the chopped onions. Stir frequently to avoid burnt edges. After about 5 minutes, add the seasoning to the pot, stir well and heat for about one minute to infuse the flavor of the spices. Add the chicken stock, tomato paste, cherry tomatoes and corn. Turn the heat up to bring the mix to a slow boil and cook for about 15 minutes or until the meatballs are finished baking. Add the chicken meatballs, cilantro and spinach to the mix. Stir to combine and wilt the greens. Remove from heat and serve 1 cup per person. Garnish with a squeeze of a lime wedge and a dollop of Greek yogurt if desired.
Administration Director & BAC Foodie :)Bay Athletic Club
Monday, February 24, 2014
Monday, February 17, 2014
Monday, February 10, 2014