Friday, November 6, 2009

Ladies Lunch

My mom wanted to have the ladies from her work over to see the upgrades she had done to the house, so she asked me if I would handle the catering portion. Since we had started this new way of eating, I didn't want to derail any of that so I came up with a menu that would be good for us as well as other people coming in. Plus it turned out that one of the ladies my mom works with is a vegitarian so the menu was perfect for her with no alterations.

Ladies Lunch Autumn Menu

Very Veggie Chili
Jicama Cilantro Lime Slaw
Tropical Iced Tea and Pink Lemonade
Chocolate Pecan Brownies with Cream Cheese Frosting

I had made this chili before and I knew it was good and both my parents didn't realize there was no meat in it at all, not even broth or stock, and didn't miss it.  I remember them coming home from work and saying how good it was and when I asked about the lack of meat they were both just shocked. Especially my dad, I think, who is very meat and potatoes.

Here is the recipe for this AWESOME and SUPER EASY as well as HEALTHY and FLAVORFUL Chili

Very Veggie Chili
Makes 4 - 2 cup servings

1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Bell Peppers, chopped (any color you like)
12 oz of White Mushrooms, chopped (thats a little more than 1 pkg check the weight listed on the pkg)
1 large onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp Chili Powder
1 Tbsp Dried Oregano
1 tsp Ground Cumin (we use more)
1/4 tsp salt
2 - 15oz cans of beans (I use a mix Pinto, Black, Kidney and don't drain and rinse them!!!)
1 - 15 oz can of no-salt added diced tomatoes (undrained)

In a large sauce pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add Celery and cook until white portion just starts to turn translucent, add onions and cook again until it just starts to turn translucent, add bell peppers and cook about 4 mins until peppers are just getting soft, add garlic and mushrooms and cook 4 mins until all the veggies are soft. In between every layer of veggies sprinkle some salt on the veggies as you go to season each layer. Once the veggies are all softened but NOT BROWN Chili Powder, Oregano, and Cumin. Cook everythign together in the spices about 5 mins don't let anything brown.

Add everything from the cans of Beans and Tomatoes. Bring it to simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until chili thickens some and is fragrant about 25-30 mins.

As you can see by these pics I did this in a crock pot for this occasion but usually I do it on the stove top. For the crock pot I doubled the recipe. I also still sautéed the veggies BUT I did them one at a time and once each one was fully softened I would dump the whole pan of the one veggie in the pot and move on to the next one. Then I added the spices, tomatoes, and beans right to the crock pot and set it to cook overnight for lunch the next day. This recipe freezes well BTW so if you wanna make a big pot and then freeze leftovers do so it will reheat like a charm. Also feel free to add more spices cuz we do but some people like a milder chili. Also I use Rotel in place of canned diced tomatoes again for more spice.

We dress it up with a little Green Onion, Chopped Cilantro, Fat Free Sour Cream, and Cheese. About a Tablespoon of each. Its about the Chili not the toppings LOL

The Jicama Slaw is so super easy. If you have never had Jicama its really good. 

It a root with a yellowish tan/brown exterior, while its inside is creamy ivory with a crisp texture that resembles raw potato or pear. The flavor is sweet and starchy, reminiscent of some green apples and it is usually eaten raw, sometimes with saltlemon, or lime juice and chili powder. It is also cooked in soups and stir-fried dishes. If you don't have Jicama you can usually replace it with a granny smith or other green apple. The easiest way to peel it is by using a knife to thinly slice off the the exterior exposing the ivory interior. I would start by cutting it in half to give you a safe flat surface to work with so it doesn't roll around on you. 

For this slaw 

I cut 1 Jicama into the matchsticks (like you see in the picture above)
Add 2 bags of Broccoli Slaw
cut 1/2 Red Onion (or Sweet White Onion if you prefer) in thin slices (cut through the root and then in wedges through the root end thats left and then thin slices)
Cut 1/2 red Bell Pepper in thin strips

Mix all that together

The dressing is a grandma/dump method. Do it to your taste

In the blender put approx 1/2 cup Lime Juice, Salt, Garlic Powder, 1 tsp of Dijon Mustard, a small hand full of rough chopped Fresh Parsley, a small handful of rough chopped Fresh Cilantro, some cracked Black Pepper and 2 Tbsp of Sugar Substitute. Turn the Blender on and slowly add 1/2 cup of Olive Oil. It should be smooth and like a vinaigrette. If its too sweet add more Lime Juice, too sour add more Sugar Substitute, not enough flavor try adding more spices and or herbs, if you taste more oil than anything definitely add more lime juice and then re-season, if its not liquid enough add 1/2 as much oil as you think you need liquids then enough lime juice and re-season. ( I am sure this all very no-brainer to most of you but some people have never made a vinaigrette and just don't know what to do to fix it to their taste.) The more you make this the more you will know how much everything works for you and your family.

Once the Vinaigrette is where you want it add it to the Veggies and toss and refrigerated. This slaw, like mosts, gets better the longer it sits and the great thing is that Jicama or anything else in here wont wilt. I have had this slaw in my fridge for 4-5 days (a single girl can only eat so much LOL) and the only thing that happens is that the purple color from the cabbage and red onions will leach off but it doesn't effect the flavor and when tossed mixes into the dressing. 

This is the final bowl I served:

Last but not least I made Chocolate Pecan Brownies with Cream Cheese Frosting.

Brownies without the frosting

Brownies with the frosting

The Brownies were ok... but I wanna play with the recipe a bit before I share it. I think I can make it better and will share then. The taste was ok but they seemed a bit dense so I wanna see if some techinque things can help lighten it up so they are softer and more brownie-like in texture

Finally this was the set up:

It was a great lunch over all.

1 comment:

  1. Wow...I've got to try that meat huh? What a sweet daughter to cater your Mom's function. I hope you stay with the Blogging're a natural. ;)


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