tasty tuesday: shrimp etoufee

Etoufee Fin

Mardis gras… fat tuesday… tasty tuesday. Same thing.

Welcome to another installment of Alex making food New Orleans style, this time with local whole shrimp and a spicy bowl of goodness. Last time around we had some BBQ shrimp, and now its time for gumbo’s sophisticated brother etoufee. Etoufee is a creole dish (no tomatoes) made with a roux and the trinity of vegetables. Crawfish is a slightly more traditional ingredient, but shrimp is no pour substitute, especially when fresh from the GA coast courtesy of The Dirt Farmers. I might have cheated on the trinity of vegetables here, replacing bell peppers with jalapenos, but hey, I like jalapenos and spiciness and I do not like bell peppers. So there you have it.

Since it is Fat Tuesday, and on Fat Tuesday you tell the truth (usually due to insobriety, but hey), I should say that I really wanted to make etoufee because I’ve never had it before and it is embarrassing given that I was born in Jefferson Parish. Seems like I should have the taste of New Orleans seeped into my skin, but I suppose my moving to Georgia left me with more of a longing than a true appreciation. I like the place, haven’t spent a lot of time there, but like it. I like the food, though the over-reliance on bell peppers can be a turn off. Its a complicated tale filled with half-met expectations and continually growing curiosity.

But, as a dish to warm you up on a cold evening, Fat Tuesday or not, this etoufee is an expectation fully met that will leave you craving for so much more that you won’t mind missing whatever you are giving up for lent.

Shrimp Etoufee

1/2 stick butter
4 tbsp flour
Dash salt
1 large onion, chopped
2 jalapenos, seeded, ribbed, and chopped
2 stalks celery chopped
4 cloves garlic, pressed
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1/2 tsp alt, pepper, paprika, white pepper,
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 qt shrimp stock (vegetable stock simmered with shrimp heads)
1 lb whole shrimp, peeled (leave 4 behind with heads and shells on)
1 tbsp butter
1 cup brown rice, prepared in rice cooker

Head on Shrimp
2 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp red pepper flake
1/2 tsp garlic powder
dash canola oil
1 tsp vinegar
1 tbsp heavy cream.

Begin by making the shrimp stock. Cut the heads off all but 4 shrimp and add to 1 quart of vegetable stock. Bring to a boil then simmer for 10 minutes. If you are not using whole shrimp, follow the same procedure using the peels. Strain the stock into a bowl, making sure no peels/heads remain in the stock.

Shrimp Heads

Begin the rice in the rice cooker.

Begin making the roux by melting the butter in a dutch oven or heavy pot over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk into a thick paste. Lower the heat and cook at least 15 minutes until the roux has browned slightly and has an aroma like browned butter.

Stir in the veggies and cook about five minutes, until the onions begin to wilt. Add the garlic, parsley and spices. Cook an additional 2 minutes. Stir in the stock and raise the heat to medium high until the mixture begins to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 15-20 minutes until veggies are soft and the etoufee has a gravy like texture. Stir in the headless shrimp. Keep on heat for 2 minutes while stirring and kill the heat.

Etoufee Veggies

In a separate pan, add the butter, red pepper, garlic, and vinegar. Heat until butter is melted and add the shrimp. Heat 1 minute then flip and add the cream. Heat 1 more minute and remove from heat.

Plate by placing a small amount of rice in a prep bowl and flip into a pasta bowl. Ladle the etoufee around the rice and top with two of head-one shrimp and spoon some of the spicy sauce. Enjoy and worry not about lent!



lunchbox life: taco salad in jars

image1(8)Oops, I did it again.

I had such a great experience with last week’s salad in a jar that I decided to give it another go, but this time, with a Mexican twist. The combinations are seriously endless with this salad in a jar method, and the prep is super easy, too.

This jar includes, from bottom to top: a cumin lime vinaigrette, shredded carrots, a sweet corn-tomato-cilantro mix, seasoned ground turkey and onion, diced cotija cheese, romaine lettuce, and crushed blue corn tortilla chips. A super healthy meal, this lunch packs a protein punch with tons of flavor and fresh veggies.

Taco Salad in Jars

1 lb. ground turkey

2 tsp. olive oil

1 small onion, halved and sliced

2 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. chili powder

1/2 tsp. coriander

1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

2 tsp. salt

juice of 1 lime

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. cumin

1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

1 cup shredded carrots

1/2 cup halved grape tomatoes

2 ears of corn, kernels cut off

2 tsp. fresh cilantro, chopped

4 oz. cotija cheese, small diced

20 blue tortilla chips

In a large frying pan, heat the 2 tsp. olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, coriander, red pepper flakes, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Cook for about three minutes, then add the ground turkey, smashing to combine with the onion and spices. Heat until cooked through, then turn the heat to low.

In a small jar, shake together the rest of the cumin, lime juice, apple cider vinegar, salt, and pepper. In a small bowl, combine the corn kernels, sliced grape tomatoes, and cilantro.

Line up the five jars and evenly divide the ingredients in the following order: dressing, shredded carrots, corn-tomato-cilantro, ground turkey, cotija cheese, lettuce, tortilla chips.

meatless monday: saag paneer


How many people love Indian food? I know I go through fits where I can’t get enough. The delicate flavors matched with spice and fresh vegetables and superbly seasoned meat. Fantastic.

There’s one type of dish that always attracts my attention (whether on the buffet or the menu… yeah, I love an Indian buffet, whatever) and that is Paneer. Paneer is a sort of cottage cheese that’s simple, quick, salty, and gooey. It is usually found in cubes and can (allegedly) be found pre-made at the grocery. I made it fresh this time because I’ve always wanted to make cheese and the grocery didn’t have it. I think I will return to this treat again, maybe get a little more adventurous and make more complicated cheeses.

Saag paneer is a mainstay made with spinach and spices that make for a smooth dish that would almost fit in well on a country buffet. In fact, instead of traditional fenugreek leaves or celery leaves, I threw in some collards. They served mainly to fill out the spinach, but it is fun to know they are there.

All told this was a nice spicy something different for a meatless Monday that I know you will enjoy!

Saag Paneer

2 bunches spinach, chopped
1 bunch baby collards
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup minced onion
1 tbsp grated ginger
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp coridander
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 gallon whole milk (non-uht)
Juice of one lemon
1 tbsp vinegar
salt to taste

Begin by heating the milk in a large pan. Use a thermometer to make sure you do not overheat. The milk should come to a simmer around 200 degrees and get a little frothy. Remove from heat and add the juice and vinegar. It will begin to curdle right away. Let it sit 10 minutes. Stir to make sure the curds fully separate. Using a colander and cheesecloth, strain the mixture. The curds will stay in the cloth. Lift the curds with the cloth and squeeze to remove excess moisture. Open the cloth pouch and add salt to taste. Wrap again and place on a plate and shape into a loose square. Top with another plate and an addition weight (can, mixing bowl) and sit for 15 minutes minimum. The longer it sits, the denser the cheese will become. If you make ahead you can refrigerate for an even denser cheese.

cheese blob

While the cheese is setting, chop the spinach and collards. Heat a pan with olive oil and add the greens. Pour in about 1/2 cup of water and cover. Cook about 4 minutes and strain. Pulse about 5 good times in a blender or food processor.

In the original pan, heat some oilve oil and add the onion. Cook a few minutes and then add the garlic, turmeric, coriander, garam masala, salt and pepper. Let it simmer for about five minutes. Add the cayenne.

spice stir

Cut the paneer into cubes. In a separate pan, heat some canola oil and add the cubes. Roll then over a few times to brown slightly.

fry em

Then insert into the spice mix.

stir em

Finally, add the greens to the pan and stir. Add the cream and cover for 10 minutes or so. Serve with naan or rice.

Easy, flavorful, fresh Indian food at home. Happy Monday!

meatless monday: huevos rancheros with sweet potato cakes

FullSizeRender(1)I”ll be honest: I don’t know how, after almost two years of blogging, that neither Alex nor I have done huevos rancheros for Meatless Monday. It’s one of the meatiest meatless meals around! With beans and fried eggs, do you really need chorizo, stewed pork, or chicken? The richness of the egg and robust flavor and texture of the beans provide plenty of protein here, and the sweet potato is a fiber-filled, plant-based carb to round out the meal. Mine disappeared in record time tonight.

I’ve written my recipe to be pretty spicy, so if you’re not into lots of heat in your beans, cut out the cayenne pepper. The natural sweetness of the sweet potato, however, nicely balances the spicy beans. The egg yolk does its part, too. If like me, you like a runny yolk, do that. If you’re not like me, and you like a firm yolk, cook your eggs a little longer. Make it your dish.

Huevos Rancheros with Sweet Potato Cakes

Serves 2; double or triple to accommodate your table

1 medium sweet potato

1 15 oz. can black beans

2 green onions

4 eggs

1/4 cup all purpose flour

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

1/4 tsp. onion powder

1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

1/4 tsp. chili powder

1 Tbsp. olive oil

2 Tbsp. butter, separated

salt and pepper

Heat the oven to 400 F. Wrap the sweet potato in aluminum foil and roast in the oven for one hour. Take it out of the oven and set it aside.

In a small pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Thinly slice the green onions, disposing of the bulbs at the bottom. Add half of the green onions to the olive oil, stir, then add the cayenne, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, 1/2 tsp. salt, and a few grinds of black pepper. Next, add the black beans, stir, and bring to a simmer.

Go back to the sweet potato. Unwrap the foil and remove the skin of the potato. Dump the flesh of the sweet potato in a small mixing bowl and add 1/8 cup flour (reserve the other 1/8), half of the reserved green onion, 1/2 tsp. salt, and a few grinds of black pepper. Stir to combine. Form four patties from the sweet potato mixture and coat with the remaining flour. Heat 1 Tbsp. butter in a large, flat-bottomed pan. Cook the sweet potato cakes for about 3 minutes on each side, then set aside.

Next, go ahead and begin plating–you’ll want to fry the eggs at the last minute. In two wide bowls, divide the black beans. Stack two sweet potato cakes at the 12 o’clock marker on your bowls.

Heat the remaining butter in another pan over medium heat. In two small bowls, crack two eggs each, being careful not to crack the yolks. You’ll cook two at a time, so when the butter is melted, add one egg bowl (two eggs) to the butter. Top with salt and pepper (chili powder optional), then place a lid on the pan. Cook your eggs to your desired doneness, then slide the two eggs out of the pan and onto your beans. Repeat with the other two eggs. Top each bowl with the remaining green onions. Enjoy!

meatless monday: curried carrot and sweet potato soup, grilled sweet potato bread, Fu ManBrew from Monday Night Brewing



Happy New year, everyone! I know more most folks this was the first work day of the year (not for me!), so I wanted to treat you to a nice warm bowl of soup and a crisp, cold beer– the perfect combination for the weather today that looked like a spring day with the cold bite of winter.

The carrot and sweet potato soup here is inspired by the big box we received from The Dirt Farmers. Golden, Purple, and Orange carrots went with half of a giant sweet potato into this soup that was hit with curry flavors to give it a warm, spicy bite. The root veggies were perfect vehicles for the big spices. The other half of the potato made its way into a savory bread similar to banana or zucchini bread, but with a buttery taste (even if no butter was used). By grilling the bread, it became the perfect bread compliment for the spicy soup, with just a little sweetness and nice texture. Avocado provided a nice creamy note to counter the spice as well. The dish was very well balanced.

The Fu ManBrew was perfect compliment. A witbier from Monday Night Brewing, a star of the Peach State Ale Trail, this pairing added some crispness and ginger notes that meshed with curry and ginger flavors of the soup. The complimentary flavors let the beer pick up notes from the soup while being cooling, not jarring. Being a bright, crisp witbier, Fu ManBrew added needed lightness to the meal that would have been very heavy otherwise. I highly recommend it.

Curried Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup

2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped shallots
3 cloves garlic
1/2 large sweet potato, grated
Several sliced peeled carrots (about 2 1/2 cups)
1 tsp grated ginger
2 tsp curry powder (or mix of garam masala, turmeric, fennel, coriander, Cayenne, and pepper)
1 tsp red pepper flake
3 cups vegetable broth
1 dash rice vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup heavy cream

In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat and saute the shallot and onions about 3 minutes. Add the potato and carrot and saute for about five minutes. Stir in the spices and heat another minute. Pour in the broth and vinegar and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and heat another 20 minutes. Blend the mixture with an immersion blender until smooth. Finish by stirring in the cream.

Savory Sweet Potato Bread

1/2 large sweet potato (1 1/4 cups)
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 medium shallot
1 clove garlic
Olive oil to saute
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup suger
1 egg
2/3 cup canola oil
1 avocado
1/4 cup toasted walnuts

Grease a loaf pan and heat oven to 350.

Mix flours, baking soda and powder and salt.

Saute the shallot and garlic in oil for 2-3 minutes, allow to cool. Add to flour mixture

Grate the potato and stir in the egg, sugar and oil. Slowly mix in the flour until well mixed. Pour into the loaf pan and bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle can be cleanly removed.

Heat a grill pan over medium high heat.

Slice the loaf into 1/2 slices and place diagonally on the hot grill pan. Grill 4 minutes and rotate 1/4 turn and heat an addition 4 minutes.

Place the grilled bread in a shallow bowl and ladle soup around it. Garnish with sliced avocado and toasted walnuts.


Enjoy the warm flavors and happy new year!


lunchbox life: kale, roasted golden carrot, and chicken bowl with honey peanut sriracha drizzle

honey sriracha chicken

Happy New Year, readers! I hope you had a restful holiday full of friends, family, and relaxation. While some people returned to work this past Friday, many of us will make our triumphant returns tomorrow. Most of us have healthy eating on our minds, and while I hate to succumb to the early January health kick everyone seems to join, I offer a different view instead of eye-rolling or irritation: don’t we all want to correct our overindulgence from the holiday season? Isn’t that pretty normal? I think it’s pretty normal to consume a few extra snacks, desserts, and drinks in the month of December, just like it’s pretty normal to want to get back to healthy eating in January. So have no fear, healthy friends: I’m not judging you. I’m right there with you working to get back in my routine, and while I’m not jumping for joy to go back to work, I’m looking forward to getting back into my routines.

OK, sermon over. This week’s lunch shines with nutrition and is anything but boring. For the featured meal, I’ve relied on our awesome CSA box for inspiration. First, I was attracted to my favorite green, kale. I removed the stems, chopped up the kale leaves into bite size pieces and placed them in a bowl, drizzled it with about 2 tsp. olive oil, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. black pepper, then massaged the kale for about 30 seconds to help break down some of the fibrous leaves.

We also  received some beautiful golden carrots, and when I peeled them, a bright, happy yellow flavor appeared. I quickly diced about five of the carrots, drizzled a touch of olive oil, and sprinkled some big flavors onto the pieces: 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper, 1/2 tsp. chili powder, 1/2 tsp. onion powder, 1/2 tsp. garlic powder, 1/2 tsp. salt, and few grinds of black pepper. After roasting them at 400 F for about 20 minutes on parchment paper, I turned off the heat and left them in the oven to stay warm.

Next, I took two large chicken breasts and cut them lengthwise, about 1/2 inch thick, to create about 10 chicken breast “steaks.” I heat 2 tsp. canola oil in a large, flat-bottomed pan, then sprinkled one side of the chicken steaks with salt, pepper, cumin, and garlic powder (use as much/little as you like). In batches, I cooked the chicken for about 6 minutes on each side, seasoning side down. While the first side cooked, I sprinkled the other with salt and pepper. When all of the chicken was cooked and cooled, I diced them and set them aside.

Now, for the dressing. Combine the following ingredients in a small jar: 2 Tbsp. PB2 powder, 2 Tbsp. Sriracha sauce, 1 Tbsp. water, 1 tsp. honey, 1 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper. Shake vigorously, then stir with a spoon to ensure that all of the peanut powder is integrated into the dressing. Shake again. You could certainly use 2 Tbsp. natural peanut butter if you like, but PB2 is lower in fat and calories and is all natural, so I like to use it when I can.

To assemble: fill five bowls with massaged kale, then evenly divide the carrots and chicken between the bowls. Using a spoon, drizzle the dressing over the kale bowls, then devour. Yum!

lunchbox life: baked sweet potato with turkey chili


If you love baked sweet potatoes like I do, then you’re going to love this. If you also love chili like I do, but don’t want to overdo it with an onslaught of toppings (sour cream, cheese, crackers), then this is also for you.

This recipe could not be easier: wrap five small sweet potatoes in aluminum foil and bake at 400 F for one hour. While the potatoes are baking, you make the chili on the stovetop. I like this chili recipe because it’s healthy, flavorful, and has a whisper of sweetness from the addition of ground cinnamon.

I think this would also be a great weeknight meal. Once you put the potatoes in the oven and assemble the chili, you can do a few chores around the house, and an hour later, you can slice up the potatoes, ladle on the chili, and dig in.

Baked Sweet Potato with Turkey Chili

Makes five lunches. The chili makes six servings, so save the last serving for another meal.

5 small sweet potatoes

1 lb. ground turkey

1 Tbsp. olive oil

15.5 oz. kidney beans

15.5 oz. Great Northern beans

28 oz. crushed tomatoes

2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. white pepper

1 tsp. garlic powder

2 tsp. chili powder

1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. cumin

green onions, chopped (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Wrap each sweet potato in aluminum foil and bake for about an hour.

In a heavy-bottomed pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Brown the ground turkey in the oil. When the turkey is cooked, add the beans, tomatoes, and seasoning to the pot. Stir to combine. Bring the chili to a boil, then place the lid on the pot and turn the heat down to low and let simmer.

When everything is ready, take the potatoes out of the oven and discard the aluminum foil. Slice the potatoes lengthwise and cut a crosshatch pattern into each side’s flesh. Top with chili and green onions.

tasty tuesday: spicy shrimp soba noodle bowls


Tonight’s dish was inspired by one of my favorite hidden hideaways in Macon: Pho Saigon. I’m partial to the shrimp noodle soup, which is a pho-like soup that I slurp up with plenty of basil and sriracha, but Alex usually gets a noodle or rice bowl. Both dishes are surprisingly healthy and are packed full of flavor. I knew that we still had some Georgia shrimp in the freezer from our trip this summer to the coast, so I wanted to feature one of our state’s jewels in a way other than a fried variety or in shrimp and grits. This recipe is a great summer-to-fall transition go-to; it’s simultaneously fresh and indulgent-tasting without being too heavy. I used Japanese soba noodles in this bowl which are made from buckwheat and are full of fiber rather than the typical rice noodle in Vietnamese cuisine, but you could use any type of noodle you like.

One of my favorite things about this dish was the contrast between the warm shrimp, broccoli, mushrooms, and noodles with the cool and crisp bean sprouts, carrots, lettuce, and peanuts. You could use any sauce you like, but I threw together some of the Asian sauces we had in the refrigerator and made my own variation. Tip: include a dash of fish sauce in your concoction. It smells less than ideal on its own, but it will make any sauce you like taste authentic!

Spicy Shrimp Soba Noodle Bowls

Serves 2

1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 tsp. red pepper flakes

2 Tbsp. canola oil

2 Tbsp. sesame oil

4 garlic cloves, minced

4 oz. soba noodles

1 broccoli crown, cut into bite-sized pieces

2 cups shiitake mushrooms, sliced

1 cup mung bean sprouts

1 large carrot, cut into matchsticks

1 scallion, thinly sliced

1/4 cup peanuts

4 leaves of greenleaf lettuce

for the sauce:

1 Tbsp. fish sauce

1 Tbsp. sriracha

1 Tbsp. soy sauce

1 Tbsp. teriyaki sauce

1 Tbsp. PB2

1/4 cup peanuts, chopped

Cook the pasta according the package directions, rinse with cold water, then toss with 1 Tbsp. sesame oil; divide evenly between two large, wide bowls.

Heat 1 Tbsp. canola oil and 1/2 Tbsp. sesame oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add two minced garlic cloves, then add the broccoli and mushrooms and cook for about 3 minutes, remove from pan and set aside. Add another 1 Tbsp. canola oil and 1/2 Tbsp. sesame oil to the pan, then add the other two minced garlic cloves and the red pepper flakes to the oil. Next, add the shrimp and cook for about 1 minute on each side.

Arrange each of these items on around the bowl on top of the noodles: lettuce leaves, carrots, peanuts, bean sprouts, scallions, shrimp, broccoli, and mushrooms.

In a small jar, shake the sauce ingredients together, then pour the sauce into the middle of your bowl. Present the bowl this way to your diners, then dig in!

lunchbox life: mexican quinoa bowls

image(48)Welcome back to school, gang!  Back to school means back to school lunches, so this is the official fourth semester of lunchbox life.  I started Instagram-ing my lunches in January 2013, then we started the blog in April 2013, so happy fourth semester of lunchbox life to everyone!

This week’s plan includes a stellar list of healthy and seasonal items: quinoa (the super grain), black beans, zucchini from our CSA, and local Silver Queen corn.  After an indulgent weekend of eating in Athens (watch for a blog post about that trip soon!), I knew I needed a restart in the healthy eating department.  The quinoa and black beans are excellent sources of protein in this meatless lunch, plus I’ve added mushrooms and Cotija cheese to round out this healthy and filling dish.

You could eat this bowl as a cold salad, or you could heat it in the microwave as a burrito bowl, or you could do both and figure out which way is your favorite throughout the week.  Today, I ate it cold and thought it was fantastic.  It has a pasta salad or rice salad feel, and the flavors from the Mexican seasoning really stand up to the ingredients in this dish.  As always, feel free to modify the recipe based on your preferences.  I added cilantro and green onion because I enjoy the brightness of flavor, but you could always leave them out or substitute fresh oregano or parsley.

WW info: 5 servings at 10 PP each–a complete meal, for sure!

Mexican Quinoa Bowls

1 1/4 cup quinoa, uncooked

3 cloves garlic

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 large zucchini, diced

1/2 lb. white mushrooms, sliced

3 ears Silver Queen Corn

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

zest of three limes (use juice in dressing)

4 oz. Cotija cheese, diced (you could also used crumbled queso fresco)

2 green onions, thinly sliced (optional)

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped (optional)

salt and pepper


juice of three limes

2 Tbsp. olive oil

2 Tbsp. organic taco seasoning (seriously buy the organic–the lack of extra preservatives is worth the extra cents)

Cook the quinoa according to package directions, and throw in the peeled garlic cloves to the pot or rice cooker.  Preheat the oven to 400 F.  Toss the diced zucchini and sliced mushrooms in the olive oil, red pepper flakes, and about 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper.  Arrange them in a single layer on a cookie sheet and roast for 20 minutes, flipping the vegetables at the 10 minute mark.  Lightly char the corn on a grill pan, then slice the kernels off.

When the quinoa is cooked, add it to a large bowl along with the black beans, lime zest, corn kernels, zucchini, and mushrooms; toss to combine.  Next, add the dressing ingredients together and either whisk them in a small bowl or shake them in a small jar.  Add the dressing to the quinoa mixture and allow the quinoa to soak up the dressing.  Next, add the cheese, green onions, and cilantro.  Refrigerate for four hours or overnight.

recipe remix: chicken chilaquiles verdes


Have you ever tried chilaquiles?  Chilaquiles (chee-lah-KEE-lays) is a Mexican dish that is very similar to nachos, and nachos were requested for Recipe Remix by Autumn Cole, so here we are!

The base for chilaquiles is tortilla chips, just like nachos.  Instead of being doused in queso dip (which we all know is delicious), chilaquiles features chips simmered in a rojo or verde sauce.  If you order chilaquiles from a restaurant, you have no idea of what’s in the sauce.  If you make the sauce yourself, you can control the sauce and make sure you have a delicious, plant-based sauce for your enjoyment.  Chilaquiles allows the chips to simmer for a short time in the sauce rather than being drenched with cheese which cuts down on the negative nutrition and pumps up the positive stuff.  It’s also very easy to make, and you too can create your own chilaquiles for a simple weeknight supper without any of the overindulgence.

Nutrition info: 11 Weight Watchers Points Plus, or about 550 calories.  Compare that to double or triple what you’d get with nachos!  Another tip: since you’re controlling how many chips you prepare, you won’t mindlessly eat past the serving size.  You’re welcome. 🙂

Chicken Chilaquiles Verdes

Serves 2

1/2 lb. chicken breast, cut into chunks

30 thick, yellow corn tortilla chips (don’t get the thin style, they’ll disintegrate)

8 tomatillos, husks removed

2 poblano peppers

1 jalapeno pepper

4 garlic cloves

1 cup fresh cilantro, plus some for garnish

2 limes, juice and zest

1 oz. cotija cheese or queso fresco, crumbled

salt and pepper to taste

Bring two medium pots of water to a boil.  In one, add a dash of salt and the chicken and cook for about 30 minutes.  In the other, add the tomatillos and cook for about 5 minutes.  While the tomatillos are cooking, either roast the poblanos in the oven or char them over a gas range.  Remove the charred skin with a paper towel, then cut off the stems and remove the inner seeds.

For the sauce, add the tomatillos, poblanos, jalapeno, lime juice and zest, garlic, and cilantro to a food processor or a blender and process until smooth.  When the chicken is ready, remove it from the water, shred it with your hands or two forks, and add it to the sauce.  Pour the sauce into a medium pan and stir to combine, then gently add the tortilla chips and stir.  Heat the pan over medium heat and allow the dish to bubble just a bit (about 5 minutes).  Turn off the heat and top with the cotija or queso fresco and any remaining cilantro.  Divvy the pan up between two people and serve with a simple green salad.  Enjoy!