Saturday, June 07, 2008

Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili

I have a slow cooker I don't use very often. A neighbor gave it to us as a wedding gift several years ago, and each time I get inspired to use it, I start searching for recipes on the Internet, ending up discouraged when all the recipes seem like they're about hearty American fare I'm not always interested in eating, such as Brunswick stew. But I do like the idea of throwing a bunch of things in a pot and having them simmer slowly over a couple of hours, even if I'm still not convinced that a regular pot-on-stove couldn't do the same thing. Nonetheless, I tinkered with this easily adjustable vegetarian chili recipe from the Food Network and came up with the following. You could easily substitute other things you have on hand-- corn, different types of beans, eggplant or green pepper instead of zucchini, etc. With all the spices, this ends up being pretty flavorful.

Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili

1 14 ounce can diced tomatoes (you could use Mexican-flavored)
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can red kidney beans, rinced and drained
1 zucchini, chopped into small pieces (could substitute red or green pepper here)
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, pressed
1 tablespoon minced pickled jalapeno (from can or jar) and/or canned chipotle pepper
1/2 cup portion butternut squash or sweet potato puree (optional)
1 Tblsp chili powder (I've been using Penzey's medium hot chili powder lately and it's sooo good)
1/2 Tblsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. Tabasco sauce

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Your favorite cheese, shredded (sharp cheddar, mont. jack with jalapenos would be good)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Put all ingredients up to Tabasco in slow cooker. Cook on high for 3-4 hours, low for 6-8 hours. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add more water if necessary. Just before serving, stir in cilantro. Serve with grated cheese on top, cornbread on the side, and if you like, a dash of sour cream.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Favorite Coffee Cake

I've been making this recipe for a while now, and it deserves to be recorded. Depicted here is a double recipe I made for some friends-- and people always eat the whole thing. Great for company, great for weekends, and not bad for you, either-- this is a Cooking Light recipe, adapted slightly. The sour cream makes it incredibly moist.

Favorite Coffee Cake

1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 large egg whites
1 cup low-fat sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease an 8x8 baking dish.
Combine first 3 ingredients; set aside.

Mix granulated sugar and butter with a mixer until well blended. Add egg whites, beat in sour cream and vanilla.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture; beat well. Spread half of batter into baking pan, top with half of walnut-brown sugar-cinnamon mixture. Spread remaining batter over this. Top with remaining walnut-sugar mixture.

Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool the cake on a wire rack.

12 servings, 243 calories each.