Lighter & Healthier

Green Chile Chicken & Quinoa Stew

For the last three weeks, the majority of our meals have come from either the hospital vending machine, a Chick-fil-A drive-thru, or Disney World.

Talk about extremes. (And my favorites were obviously from Disney World!)

After getting back from our trip this week, I spent most of yesterday limping around the kitchen for some make-ahead meal prep. I whipped up a big batch of quinoa to be used in stew and for a winterized version of our favorite salad, shredded a massive amount of chicken portioned in half-pound baggies for the freezer, and popped open the jar of Cookwell & Company Two-Step Green Chile Stew that came with this month’s HEB Primo Picks.

Green Chile Chicken & Quinoa Stew

Because a girl can only feed her family Funyuns and waffle fries so many times before feeling a little like a terrible person. And a girl only needs to hear her 3.87 year-old say, “Momma, I can have broccoli for a treat today?” once before really feeling like a terrible person.

But I actually had a plan for the post-vacation and post-vending machine detox. A quick-fix green chile stew beefed up into a healthful, hearty one-bowl meal with shredded chicken, navy beans, quinoa, pico de gallo, and a dollop of fat-free Greek yogurt on top.

Green Chile Chicken & Quinoa Stew

It’s healthy, delicious, and just a hint of some low-grade heat from the green chiles. Minimal prep time – admittedly not as fast as swiping a card and punching D12 – but maximum nutrition. And that’s just something you can’t get out of a vending machine or from a drive-thru window.

Green Chile Chicken & Quinoa Stew

Ingredients

  • 32 oz jar Cookwell & Company Two-Step Green Chile Stew
  • 8 oz "leftover" chicken, shredded*
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 can navy beans, rinsed and drained
  • For serving:
  • 3 plum tomatoes, diced
  • 1 small jalapeno, seeded (or not) and diced
  • 1/3 cup chopped red onion
  • Juice from 1/2 lime
  • Salt
  • Handful of cilantro
  • Sour cream or plain yogurt
  • * I make "leftover" chicken in the oven in a foil pouch - 2 breasts per pouch at 425 for 20 minutes.

Instructions

  1. In a medium/large pot, heat the green chile stew over medium heat.
  2. Add the shredded chicken, cooked quinoa, and navy beans, simmering until heated through.
  3. Stir together the tomatoes, jalapeno, red onion, cilantro, lime juice, and salt and set aside.
  4. Ladle the soup into bowls, top with a generous scoop of pico de gallo and a dollop of plain yogurt or light sour cream.

Notes

Yields: ~6 servings

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 30 minutes

This recipe was developed in conjunction with H-E-B and I was provided ingredients as well as compensated for my time. Messy fingers, stretchy-waisted pants, and baby-Elmo-clogged-toilets are all mine. You can find H-E-B on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. And if you’re as lucky as we are, 4 locations within a 5 mile radius.

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Gyro-Stuffed Bell Peppers with Quino & Feta

When Jason and I met, I was living in this tiny, dirt cheap apartment with my fluffy white kitty, Shasta. Shasta & I had accidentally stumbled across the greatest deal in the entire city. We had million dollar houses, the city’s nicest park, running trails, a golf course, and gorgeous green space at our front door. At our back door? Legit crack houses. But not for long.

The area was seeing major regentrification. Just 2-3 years before, if you’d asked anyone “Hey, I’m on Washington – what should I do over here?” They would have screamed “GET DOWN AND CALL 911!” But even at that point, it was only half-sketch. Plus, the million-dollar-homeowners across the street paid for fancy private security to roam the neighborhood. We had security-by-proximation. (And to be fair, crack-house-by-proximation.)

New fences went up weekly, flanked by construction signs and “Coming Soon!” banners. But none of those new places would ever top Bibas.

Gyro-Stuffed Bell Peppers with Quino & Feta

Bibas was a 24-hour Greek diner on Memorial that promised two things: the world’s fluffiest pita bread and fabulously accented late-night conversations from owners who seemed to never take a break, much less a day or night off. Throw in a plate of dolmades and you had one of the best ways to unwind after a play-hard downtown Saturday night.

Then I met a guy who didn’t eat Greek food, Bibas closed down, and I moved to the suburbs.

But 8 years later, that guy didn’t protest when I dragged him down to the Greek Festival. Mostly because after 8 years of all the life changes that come with being an adult, he knew that our Friday nights could very likely otherwise involve a super unsexy trip to the home improvement store for a plunger.

Related: That age where they outgrow flushing things down the toilet? Not here yet.

Gyro-Stuffed Bell Peppers with Quino & Feta

To the Greek festival we went, sampling dolmades and baklava and souvlaki and tiropita. The light in a person’s eyes when he realizes that a “scary” word like souvlaki means manly grilled red meat on a stick? Beats any look of joy and magical wonder on Christmas morning :)

True story.

Gyro-Stuffed Bell Peppers with Quino & Feta

This month’s HEB Primo Picks showed up with a couple of pantry staples that I regularly buy:
Central Market’s Quick Cooking Quinoa
HEB Basting Oil (a garlic & herbed oil that’s great for dipping pita bread and cooking and sauteeing and drizzling over just about everything)

Along with the black olives, I whipped up some Greek-style stuffed bell peppers to serve along some pita and tzatziki sauce.

The first time I ever made stuffed peppers, I got the expected nose-wrinkling “Why’d you ruin perfectly good food by shoving it in a bell pepper that hasn’t been sliced and grilled and served next to fajitas?” look while poking at the pepper to confirm that it was, in fact, not going to leap off the place and whack him on the head.

But the first time I made a Gyro-inspired stuffed bell pepper on “Greek night,” I got the expected mouth-full mumble, “Th2diy so3048x Greek dhdslkashd” head-nodding approval.

The rambly lesson here? Stuff it in a pepper, call it Greek food. Everyone is happy.

Gyro-Stuffed Bell Peppers with Quinoa & Feta

Greek-style bell peppers stuffed with quinoa, ground beef, feta, and black olives.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Central Market Quick-Cooking Quinoa
  • 2 cups chicken stock (or water)
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 2 Tbsp oil, divided
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 chopped HEB Black Olives
  • 15 oz can fire-roasted tomatoes, drained
  • 2 tsp greek seasoning*
  • 4 oz crumbled feta, divided
  • Small handful of cilantro and/or parsley, chopped and divided
  • 6 large bell peppers
  • HEB Basting Oil, for drizzling
  • Tzatziki sauce, for serving (purchased or homemade)
  • *This was a purchased mix of dried herbs: oregano, parsley, basil, marjoram, garlic, and onion. A mixture pretty decently wingable at home.

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 and lightly grease a casserole dish.
  2. Take a thin sliver off the rounded edges off the bell pepper "feet" so the peppers stand on their own.
  3. With the tip of your knife, poke 1-2 small holes in the bell pepper bottom - just deep enough to create an opening for any excess liquid to drain. Soggy stuffed peppers are no fun.
  4. Heat 2 cups of water or chicken stock and cook quinoa according to package directions. Set aside.
  5. Heat large saute pan over medium-high heat and brown the ground beef.
  6. Transfer the cooked meat to a colander to drain.
  7. Add the cooking oil and heat, then cook the onions 3-5 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and stir, cooking another minute more.
  8. Return the ground beef to the pan along with the cooked quinoa, olives, tomatoes, Greek seasoning, 3 oz of the crumbled feta, and most of the parsley/cilantro (reserving a couple of pinches for garnish).
  9. Mix well and taste for seasoning.
  10. Spoon the filling into the peppers, lightly drizzle with basting oil if using, and transfer the dish to the oven to bake ~15 minutes.
  11. Top with remaining feta and garnish with chopped herbs before serving.
  12. Reheat foil-covered leftovers in a small baking dish until heated through.

Notes

Yields: 6 servings

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 45 minutes

This recipe was developed in conjunction with H-E-B and I was provided ingredients as well as compensated for my time. Messy fingers, stretchy-waisted pants, and baby-Elmo-clogged-toilets are all mine. You can find H-E-B on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. And if you’re as lucky as we are, 3 locations within a 5 mile radius.

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Black & White Tacos

There’s bar food. And then there’s post-bar food. Those tacos, those fell into the latter category.

After college, I predictably kept the safety-net low-paying, entry-level job as a drone at SkyNet that I used to pay my some of my way through school to work for a bunch of people who undervalued me only slightly more than I undervalued myself. I was quiet, reserved. I did what I was told, showed up when I was supposed to, and somehow managed to fill out a weekly to-do list with the fluffiest of fluff – always leaving off the biggest accomplishment of the week. Smothering another section of my soul.

Black & White Tacos

I missed the smell of old books and desperation while cramming in the library before a Histology or Virology exam. I missed the crazy, passionate look in Professor Ds eyes as she lectured on the physiology of the nasal passages of dessert mice and urinary tracts of frogs. (And really, how awesome is a person who can get excited over frog kidneys?)

I missed the quiet. I missed dreaming about the future, what I was going to be when I “grew up.” Being an adult sucked. And the second the clock on my very-closely-monitored-as-if-I-were-a-criminal PC clicked over to 5:00pm, I was running out the door to the half of an apartment I shared with the anti-Shawnda in a transitional area of town that was half pouring-distance-to-great-night-life and half lock-yourself-in-after-dark.

You had to prioritize.

Black & White Tacos

Anti-Shawnda & I had tons in common: we both could afford only half of the rent and we both drove Dodge Rams. (And sweet Jesus, are Texas boys seriously weak when it comes to the whole girls-who-drive-trucks thing.) (And we totally knew it.)

Most weekends, she felt it was her mission in life to liberate me from the spinster-in-training delivery Star pizza and a game of Madden to bounce between douchey clubs full of douchey poeple, all vying for the chance to pour another round at the drop-dead-gorgeous brunette, and by association, the blonde bored-as-hell-and-kinda-bitchy-and-angry-at-the-world friend (as many a wingman would describe) next to her. Rule #1: Guys who didn’t want to – or worse, couldn’t - talk football with a girl didn’t get to talk about anything else with the girl.

More than once I went to the bathroom with the intention of hopping into a cab cab to drive me back home after making a pitstop at Chacho’s.

Black & White Tacos

Now that was truly worthy of putting on pants and eyeliner after 8pm. Chacho’s was where the real party was. A few texts and a cab ride later, a few fellow spinsters-in-training and I would converge to celebrate escaping another wingman who had no respect for personal space with tortillas so fluffy and thick, you’d be hard-pressed to pass them off as tortillas.

Call ‘em what you want, but they served as the perfect vehicle to The Black & White: a burrito loaded with black beans, white cheese, sour cream, and then the predictable burrito white noise of shredded lettuce and tomatoes.

You ordered it as a half or you had them cut a whole one to split with a spinster-in-training. Like the Texas Teas at the Marquis II, you didn’t tackle a whole one by yourself and remember enough about it to be able to brag the next day. But those Tuesday half-price teas are a story for another day.

Today the story is a decently fulfilled, happy-with-life, still-LOVES-to-talk-football, non-spinster blonde whipping up a more manageable version of the black & white for her husband and daughter.

Black & White Tacos

Black beans, Monterrey jack cheese, and sour cream (or Greek yogurt) make for a fantastic meatless taco worthy of reminiscing about the old days.

Ingredients

  • Black beans (you can used rinsed canned beans or use these leftovers)
  • Flour tortillas
  • Grated Monterrey Jack cheese
  • Sour Cream (I use 2% Total Fage Yogurt)
  • Pico de gallo
  • Lime wedges
  • Sliced jalapenos

Instructions

  1. Top warmed tortillas with 1/4 cup of black beans, a generous pinch of cheese, pico, sliced jalapenos.
  2. Squeeze a lime wedge over top before dolloping yogurt/sour cream and rolling.
  3. Happily reminisce about the old days.*
  4. *Your experience may vary.

Notes

Yields: Servings vary

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride, Inspired by Chacho's

Estimated time: 20 minutes

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Black Beans with Hatch Chiles, Chicken Sausage, and Quinoa

I was just not cut out to be a hoarder. I try – like really try – but in the end, neurosis kicks in and my priorities immediately shift to depleting the mountain of whatever I just bought “because it was such a great deal!” as quickly as humanly possible.

Obtaining things – not hard. But REtaining them? Completely impossible. Except toothpaste. Good Lord, do you know how long 12 tubes last?!

I had nearly 20lbs of hatch chiles in the freezer at one point. Now? Not even close. Why buy 20 lbs in August when I know I can get them canned year-round? Maybe because for a few short weeks, I happily submit to the hype and convince myself that it’s not quite the same making Pepperoni & Hatch Pizza in September with fresh chiles as it is in April with canned chiles… but we’re all adults here and we know it’s close enough that it won’t matter.

{Also, the little Fage Total yogurts were BOGO this week! Guess who has 18 now 15 containers of Greek yogurt in her fridge? And guess who eats like 2 a day?}

{Also, Target has Clif bars 6/$5 this week! Guess who will never have to buy another Clif bar again?}

So Mission:Empty The Freezer of All Signs of Hatch Chiles continues with this week’s favorite dinner to loudly protest and pout about before even taking a single bite: beans, sausage, and rice.

Black Beans with Hatch Chiles, Chicken Sausage, and Quinoa

Why’d you type it like that – “beans, sausage, and rice.” You always say “red beans & rice.” Sausage is a given. And you didn’t say “red.” Why are you being so vague? WHAT ARE YOU EVEN DOING OVER THERE?!

Simmah down, na’! Your red beans are actually black and loaded with hatch chiles. The sausage is made out of chicken and stuffed with cheese and hatch chiles. And no, the rice isn’t really rice. It’s quinoa.

Man, you just can’t slip anything by anybody over GChat in this house :)

Black Beans with Hatch Chiles, Chicken Sausage, and Quinoa

I took a page out of my mom’s playbook (probably called Live Free and Crock Hard) (God, I hope that doesn’t means something gross in Urban Dictionary) (I’m totally not looking – and don’t you dare tell me if you do!) and made a giant vat of beans in the crockpot so I’d have lunchable leftovers for the week in the form of Black & White tacos.

If you’re going stove top method for the beans, you’ll need to decide if you’re going to overnight soak or quick soak (check your pack of dried beans for instructions). If you’re going canned, your house won’t smell awesome all day long… but you also won’t have to run the dishwasher a second time to avoid handwashing the crock.

But seriously, go make this and put a dent in your hatch chile stash. You can’t mess it up, whatever route you take.

Black Beans with Hatch Chiles, Chicken Sausage, and Quinoa

Chicken sausage, quinoa, black beans, and hatch chiles make for a healthier - and spicier - twist on beans & rice.

Ingredients

  • For the beans
  • 1 lb dried black beans
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 medium white onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 slices of thick bacon, diced
  • Salt
  • 6 hatch chiles, roasted, seeded, and chopped (directions here)
  • 1 lb sausage, cut into ~1/3-inch rounds*
  • 3 cups cooked rice or quinoa (1/2 cup per person)
  • *I used HEB Hatch Chile & Cheese Chicken Sausage; it wasn't precooked so I just cooked it separately.

Instructions

  1. Put rinsed and picked-over dried beans in the crockpot with 8 cups of water, bay leaves, onion, garlic, bacon, and a couple of generous pinches of salt.
  2. Cook on low for 8 hours.
  3. Add the chiles and sausage to the crockpot and let stand on low to heat the meat through, ~20 minutes.
  4. Serve a generous scoop of beans & sausage over 1/2 cup of cooked rice or quinoa.

Notes

Yields: 6 servings, with leftover beans

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 8 hours

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