Black Bean & Lentil Tacos

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It’s rainy here in Texas this week- did you hear about the hurricane that came through?  Wow.  Fortunately, we are fine, just very soggy.  The washer is going (thanks, mom) and the rain is tapping against the windows.  The dogs are snoring on the couch.  I’m thankful for quiet weekends like these.

Rainy days make me want to curl up on the couch with a book and some comfort food. These tacos are warm and filling, but fresh and flavorful at the same time.  I think they are my new favorite thing!  If you follow me on Instagram @KitchenWithKeri then you saw that I had these last week for Taco Tuesday.  Yum!

I eat them on white corn tortillas, but most often, I just load up a bowl and chow down.  Sometimes the tortilla just gets in the way- ha!

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While the lentils are cooking, mix together the lime dressing. It comes together super fast in a small jar.

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I love the way the light shines through the dressing.

Drain and rinse a can of black beans, and combine with the lentils, dressing, chopped tomatoes, cilantro, and chopped red bell pepper.  Now that I’m thinking about it, if you want to spice things up, add a little chopped jalapeno as well.

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You can serve the taco mixture warm or cold, whichever suits your fancy.  But definitely don’t leave out the cilantro, a squeeze of fresh lime, and the queso fresco cheese.

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The longest part of this entire recipe is cooking the lentils, and while they are cooking, you can prep and chop the rest.  Super easy and fast, gotta love it.  And if you have a ripe avocado, you can’t go wrong serving that on top as well!

Black Bean & Lentil Tacos

  • Servings: 4
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Ingredients

  • 1 cup dry brown lentils
  • 1 can, or about 1.5 cups, cooked black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 medium red pepper, chopped
  • 1 small tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped, or to taste
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 jalapeno, chopped, optional
  • 1 avocado, sliced

Smoky Lime Dressing

  • juice of one lime
  • 2 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. brown mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. Trader Joe’s Chili Lime Seasoning

Directions

  1. Cook the lentils until soft, but not mushy, about 20-25 minutes. Drain any remaining liquid.
  2. Make the dressing by combining all dressing ingredients into a jar with a lid and shake to combine.
  3. Chop the bell pepper and tomatoes into a fine dice, and the jalapeno, if including.
  4. Drain and rinse the black beans, and combine with the lentils, dressing, and chopped pepper, tomatoes, cilantro and jalapeno.
  5. Serve on corn tortillas with extra sliced limes, crumbled queso fresco cheese, extra cilantro, and sliced avocado.

Recipe: Smoothie

Here in Texas, it seems we are miserably far away from cooler fall temperatures.  When the weather man showed the 7 day forecast of over 100 degree temps, I admit I let a 4 letter word fly.  Things really don’t cool down here until late September at the earliest, so we have a ways to go with the heat.

My birthday is in the beginning of October, and if you look back throughout my childhood birthday pictures, you will see me either in shorts or a sweatsuit.  That’s Texas for you.  Cooler temps are sadly far away, so while dreams of fall keep me going, I’m firmly stuck in summer.

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To me, summer is smoothie season.  Nothing beats the heat like a frozen fruit smoothie.  I like to add protein powder to my smoothies to give them staying power.  Oh, I also use cream.  Like, real cream.  Cause fat is good, which is excellent news.

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Phase One shake- so thick and creamy!

Most often, I make the lovely Phase One shake from Always Hungry.  However, if you want to make your regular smoothie extra fancy and chocolaty, then you have to try Chef Dawn Ludwig’s Chocolate Cherry Shake.  It’s like a dessert, y’all!

 

Chocolate Cherry Smoothie

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
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You will find this and several other great recipes on Chef Dawn Ludwig’s blog at drdavidludwig.com/blog. I highly recommend you take a look around!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup frozen dark cherries (unsweetened)
  • 1/4 ripe banana
  • 3/4 – 1 cup almond milk
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1 serving protein powder (~26-29 grams)
  • 1 Tablespoon cocoa powder (unsweetened)
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract or dried vanilla bean

Directions

  1. Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender.
  2. If you want to make it a bit creamier, or if you don’t have a high speed blender, Dawn recommends that you soak the cashews overnight covered in water on your counter.
  3. Dawn also discovered that it will turn into a pudding texture when refrigerated. Separate it into 4 ramekins and refrigerate overnight to serve as a dessert. Yum!

Adventure: Flour

If you’ve noodled around on my blog, you may have noticed that some of my recipes are very practical and easy, and some of my content is more… nuanced and involved.  This is because sometimes I just need to get yummy food on the table, stat, and sometimes I like to play a little and research a little deeper with some things.

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Flour is a topic that I have delved deeeeeeply into.  Like, fallen down the rabbit hole deep.  I realize that most people haven’t given flour much thought. And if you are one of those people who haven’t thought about flour or simply pick up a new package at the store when you run out, that is totally fine.  And probably very normal.  But I was curious about the nutrition aspect of flour and why it is so demonized by certain groups today when bread has been eaten for years upon years.

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The TL;DR answer is that I use freshly milled home ground wheat flour. But the flour is only one part of the equation for health. The oldest and most nutritionally beneficial preparation for bread is sourdough and other forms of fermented bread.

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Come to find out, sourdough isn’t just a flavor.  Authentic sourdough bread uses a wild yeast starter for the rise of the bread instead of relying on manufactured yeast packets.  Wild yeast fermentation is what’s been used for centuries upon centuries.

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I would LOVE to have one of these awesome NutriMill stone-ground machines for my kitchen.  Aren’t they gorgeous?!  If you have time, watch the video.  But I think my hubby might croak if I bring another appliance into the kitchen.  Ha!

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I’ve been saving my bargaining for a KitchenAid mixer soon, and I know there are attachments for that to grind flour.  I’m way too impatient to wait for that purchase, though.  Using the tools I already have, I decided to use my Vitamix for grinding my flour.  I had to buy the dry container for grinding wheat, which costs around $100 on Amazon.  

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Grind up to two cups at a time in the dry container.

I buy my  wheat berries in bulk at Whole Foods.  You can bring in any size container and fill it, so long as you get it weighed at customer service first.  So I’ve got one of my old Tupperware containers that we used for cereal to hold all my gorgeous wheat berries.  

It does a great job grinding the flour to a fine consistency.  I do lightly sift the flour afterwards to take out the larger pieces of bran that can puncture the bubbles in the bread dough and cause a denser loaf.  

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When I was at the Homestead Heritage a few months ago for my sourdough bread class, I got to see their historic wheat mill in action.  That was amazing!  I got to meet their miller, who gave us this interesting factoid:  The saying “keep your nose to the grindstone,” comes from millers, not blacksmiths and blade sharpeners.  It has to do with grinding wheat and making sure that the wheat doesn’t get too hot and destroy the nutrition.  Millers know how the wheat smells at various temperatures and that’s how that saying evolved.  Even when I was standing there in the creaky old wooden mill with those massive stones turning and turning, he could notice the difference in the smell of the wheat and made adjustments as we stood there talking.  It was a fascinating experience that I highly recommend.

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The Homestead Heritage in Waco is a great place to learn about traditional cooking techniques.

And speaking of heat and grain, whole wheat flour spoils more quickly than regular flour because it has all of the natural oils from the entire wheat berry.  Once I grind it, I store my flour in the freezer until I’m ready to use it.

If you are curious what research lead me to my conclusions, I can point you to several resources.  You truly must watch the documentary Cooked on Netflix with Michael Pollan based on his book of the same name.  He thoroughly explores the process of fermentation and its role in health.  Seriously, stop right now and add it to your queue.  

 

I would also highly recommend Always Hungry? Conquer Cravings, Retrain Your Fat Cells, and Lose Weight Permanently by Dr. David Ludwig and Grain of Truth: The Real Case For and Against Wheat and Gluten by Stephen Yafa.  Both of these books provide a balanced, critical examination of carbs in general and flour in particular.  

Image result for always hungry book           Image result for grain of truth book

 

 

Roasted Poblano Chicken Bake

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Well, y’all.  Summer is officially over for me.  Today is my first day back to work.   I’m ready, as much as I’ll miss leisurely mornings face timing with my mom while we drink coffee and plan our day.  How’s your morning coffee, mom?  To ease the pain back into the grind, I decided to cook this easy recipe for dinner tonight.

This recipe is genius, because it breaks the prep down into very manageable chunks.  When I’m working, I look for recipes that are delicious but don’t take hours in the kitchen.  Sometimes it’s fun to do a long involved recipe, but when it comes to getting dinner on the table asap, this recipe is great.

The chicken base of this recipe is super easy to prep because it involves the crock pot.  I love using my crock pot when I work!  I add frozen chicken breasts to the crock pot, add half a jar of salsa, and a can of rinsed black beans (or a cup and a half of soaked and cooked black beans).  I let it cook on low all day while I’m at work, or at least 6 hours.   Trust me, when you get home, it will smell heavenly!

Now, if you are super rushed for time, you can shred the chicken with two forks in the crock pot at this point and serve it on corn tortillas and call it good.  But we are going to go next level!  When you get home from work, add half a package of cream cheese to the crock pot and let it sit and soften for about 15 minutes while you go about your afternoon.  Mix and shred the chicken and it will become a lovely creamy blend of super flavorful tender chicken.

In the meantime, take out 4-6 poblano peppers, rinse them, cut off the tops and scrape out the seeds.  Rub the skin with a bit of olive oil and salt and pop into the oven at 400 for about 20-25 minutes till they get good and blistery like this:

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I used to be intimidated by roasting peppers, but I promise, it’s not bad at all!  It’s very hands off and easy!

At this point, it’s just a matter of assembly.  Slice open the peppers, lay them flat in a baking dish, layering with the chicken mix.  Add the shredded mozzarella cheese on top and pop into the still hot oven for about 20 minutes until it’s all melt-y and bubbly.  Yum!

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I serve with whatever I have on hand.  Today it was grape tomatoes and ripe avocado slices with a drizzle of oil, salt and pepper.  Done and amazing!

Try it! If you do, let me know how yours turns out!


Roasted Poblano Chicken Bake

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: medium
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Ingredients

  • 1 pound frozen or thawed chicken breasts
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained, or 1.5 cups home prepared black beans
  • ½ jar of salsa, any flavor
  • ½ package cream cheese
  • 4 to 6 poblano peppers
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • olive oil to rub on peppers
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. In the crock pot, place frozen chicken, salsa, and beans and cook on low 6-8 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 400. Shred the chicken and drain any excessive liquid (save it for a soup, it’s amazing!). You want the chicken to be moist and have some liquid, but not be soupy. Add the cream cheese on top and let soften while you prep the peppers. Stir all together.
  3. Wash the peppers, cut off tops and de-seed. Rub with a little bit of olive oil and place on a parchment lined baking tray. Bake in the oven for about 20-25 minutes, or until they start to blister.
  4. Slice peppers open and lay flat in a baking dish, layering with the chicken, and sprinkle the cheese on top.
  5. Bake for about 20 minutes or until bubbly and melt-y delicious.