Tag Archives: food

Bean(less) Beef Chili

Let’s face it.  There are a bagillion and five ways to make chili.  Do I add beans? If so, what kind? Should I make it in the crockpot? Instapot? Dutch oven?  How long does it cook for?  Do I add rice? Veggies? GAH!  Chili has become such a versatile and fun dish to make because the truth is, it’s whatever you want it to be.  To be fair, and to give credit, chili in its traditional sense is cooked low and slow on a burner for a few hours, and has a variety of beans and made with beef, but this can absolutely be made with turkey if that’s your prerogative.  Tonight, it’s made in a dutch oven and blended with fresh veggies!IMG_0329

The chili I make is most of the time bean-less as I don’t prefer beans (and being that I’m 90% of the time eating Paleo-style, beans are not part of the Paleo protocol) and they’re just added texture that I just don’t like.  Now, that’s not to say this chili isn’t flavorful… because it definitely packs a punch!  With layered seasonings like cumin, chili powder, pepper flakes, onion and garlic powder, and of course S&P, it creates a harmony unlike no other.  I start with a large onion and roughly chop it so that the pieces are not all the same, but relatively small and thin. I heat my dutch oven before adding the oil, then add in the onions and some salt.  The onions will begin to become translucent and fragrant, then I add the in sliced cherry tomatoes (really just for fun and texture) and let it settle.IMG_0317

I take 2 lbs of grass fed ground beef and add it to the pot, seasoning with just the salt, onion and garlic powder, and mix together well.  As the ground beef begins to brown, I break apart the large meat chunks with a wooden spoon.  Mix all together and add in the tomato sauce (for tonight, I just used what I had in house, which was a jar of Classico sauce, but I prefer traditional tomato sauce in a can).  Stir together to coat all ingredients and then add in the chili powder, cumin, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Stir and let sit on a low flame for two hours.  After one hour, I add in chopped zucchini.

Alas, the results is a chunky, hearty, and bean(less) chili that packs a kick and warms the soul simultaneously.  Top it off with sour cream, cheese crisps, or grated cheddar for extra pizzazz.  Enjoy and, Nomaste 🙂

Bean(less) Chili

Course Dinner
Cuisine American, Chili
Keyword beanless, chili, dinner, healthy, Hearty, paleo, Soup, winter
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Resting time 5 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Servings 10 cups
Author nomastehungry

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 jar low-sugar tomato sauce
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes sliced
  • 1 medium zucchini sliced then chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Instructions

  1. In a large pan or dutch oven, turn heat to medium and then add the olive oil.  Add in chopped onions and begin to let simmer. Add tomatoes and stir.  Let simmer and occasionally stir, waiting for the skins to begin to peel and the onions to be translucent

  2. Add in ground beef and break apart with wooden spoon.  Stir together with onions and tomatoes, adding garlic and onion powder and salt. Let sit and brown, about 7-8 minutes.

  3. Pour in tomato sauce and stir to coat evenly.   Sprinkle in chili powder, red pepper flakes, pepper, and cumin.  Cover and turn flame to low.  Simmer for 2 hours

  4. After one hour of cooking, add in the chopped zucchini.  Stir and cover.  Cook for remaining time; stir occasionally.

  5. Serve over rice or sweet potato, regular potato, etc. Add cheese or favorite condiments as needed and enjoy!

Ratatouille

No, this post is not about the most incredible Pixar animated movie Ratatouille, but it does have to do with the dish that’s in it!  There is nothing better than slow-cooked vegetables in a beautifully decadent tomato sauce with a side of roasted vegetables (I’m obsessed with roasted broccoli, FYI.)

Picture this: perfectly ripe eggplant, crisp zucchini, plump tomatoes, onion, garlic, a dash of salt, garlic, a pinch of parmesan cheese… YASSSS HONEY!  I stumbled upon this recipe by trying to make something different, apparently Troy wanted a dish similar to eggplant parm, but he said “You know, the stew thing with the eggplant.” Needless to say, this went over just fine (and is great with rice, but tonight, we go sans starch).

I prep by cutting relatively thick slices of eggplant and zucchini, then dice up a full yellow onion and 2 cloves garlic, and two tbsp of EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) in a dutch oven.  Let the oil get hot then add the eggplant, Toss for several minutes until the eggplant is a little tender and brown.  Repeat the same for the zucchini.  This allows the oil at the bottom of the dutch oven to absorb some of the flavors from the veggies.  I add the onion and garlic and until fragrant and translucent.

In goes the marinara and Roma tomatoes, salt, garlic powder, a bit of parmesan, and add back the eggplant and zucchini.  This sits on low heat for a while (or until the eggplant is really tender and “stew” consistency); at this point, I prep the broccoli and brussel sprouts by trimming and cutting as needed.  I toss in some EVOO and spread on a pre-greased pan.  Sprinkle fresh ground pepper and sea salt, bake in the oven for 15-20m and then layer cheese of your choice to broil until browned on top.  Voila! Ratatouille a la Morgan 🙂 Enjoy!

Ratatouille

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 8

Ingredients

  • 2 jars of low sugar marinara sauce
  • 1 large eggplant sliced then quartered
  • 2 medium zucchini or one large sliced then quartered
  • 2 medium Roma tomatoes diced
  • 5 tbsp EVOO
  • 2 cloves garlic diced
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • Garlic powder
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 bag pre-washed broccoli
  • 1 bag pre-washed brussel sprouts

Instructions

  1. Chop and quarter the eggplant and zucchini and put them in separate bowls. Dice the onion and garlic and set aside.
  2. Add 2 tbsp of oil to the dutch oven (or deep pan) and heat on medium-high heat. Add eggplant and stir until most of the eggplant has turned a darker color (and is fragrant). Don't worry if the eggplant absorbs a lot of the oil, it will still cook! After 4-5 minutes, take out eggplant and add another tbsp of oil to the dutch oven. Pour in zucchini and sauté until lightly brown. Take out and set aside.Add another tbsp of oil to the pan and sauté onion and garlic. Lower heat to medium and continue to stir until translucent and fragrant. Add the marinara sauce, Roma tomatoes, and the sautéed eggplant and zucchini. Stir.
  3. Add fresh grated parmesan if desired and season with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer on low heat for 45 minutes.
  4. Slice brussel sprouts and broccoli and add to bowl with 2 tbsp oil. Toss to ensure all veggies are coated. Lay on a pre-greased pan and season with salt and pepper. Place in middle rack of oven and bake for 15m at 350*
  5. After the vegetables bake for 15-20m, turn the oven to broil and sprinkle cheese of your choice and broil for 5 minutes or until the cheese is brown.
  6. Serve immediately.

What’s in Your Shopping Cart?

Grabs cart at Whole Foods, strolls down the isles, glancing over at the breads, the cheese, the meats, fruits.. what do I grab?!  What am I SUPPOSED to buy?  That’s such a great question: what the crap am I supposed to buy (and ultimately, consume) at grocery stores?  What foods do and don’t belong in my cart?  We unpack this here…

To start, we are humans.  We are going to and, in fact, are supposed to not follow the rules all the time.  Let’s say you drive your cart passed a stand with freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies, and you happen to have a hankering for cookies. Grab a few and share with friends.  It is fine to indulge in a vice every now and again, it’s research proven that if you allow yourself to eat “bad foods” and not feel guilty, you are more likely to jump back into your clean eating regimen quicker and with laser focus.

I had a really bad routine of yo-yo dieting for as long as I can remember.  I was vegan, vegetarian, followed a P90X diet, did those protein shakes, the vegan protein shakes, ate raw veggies, and then back to eating whatever I wanted, and lots of bad fats and late night snacking.  Because I didn’t give myself time to adjust to a new way of eating, my body reacted horribly and developed high levels of H.Pylori in my stomach lining.  H. Pylori actually causes stomach ulcers, and cancer.  NO thanks.  I decided to stop trying new things and stick to what I know works best: eating for me.  This looks like playing scientist with specific foods and seeing how my body reacts – kind of like a food elimination.  I found that when I eat whole wheat, my body swells; but with regular flour, I’m fine.  I have slight aversions to Nightshades (TPEP: tomato, potato, eggplant, pepper) but can have in moderation.  I thrive on healthy fats (avocado, grass fed butter, EVOO, coconut, nuts, and yes, CHEESE) and tons of veggies (mostly cruciferous such as zucchini, broccoli, brussel sprouts, spinach) and know that if I want a slice of pizza, I’ll damn well enjoy it and then get back right on track the next meal, NOT the next day.

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Whole Foods L to R: In-house cookies, family pack of chicken fingers, local mozzarella cheese, in-house sourdough bread, Health-Ade kombucha, half-and-half, grass fed butter, zucchini, onion, Roma tomatoes, chicken (drumsticks and breast), raspberries, basil.

All this to say, your cart does not need to be perfect.  You do not need to have all the sustainable foods, the eco-friendly pouches, and the bio-degradable newest form of broccoli to be healthy.  Eat how your body tells you to eat.  Put things in your cart that you know you’ll eat and enjoy, rather than the blandest form of grilled chicken with steamed broccoli and a side of brown rice. Food is thy medicine, and I’ll be damned if I can’t enjoy my spoonful of sugar!

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Trader Joe’s trip (L to R): brussel sprouts, onion, more Roma tomatoes, avocado, potatoes, eggplant, swiss/gruyere cheese, broccoli, spinach, sweet potatoes. (not pictured: seltzer water, ground beef, chicken thighs)

Bolognese with Sweet Potato and Garlic Butter Zucchini

Alright, I must admit, this is not my recipe. *GASP*.  It’s my husband’s recipe and in fact when he makes it, his version always tastes better (you’re welcome babe.) Bolognese is something that can’t be done in 15-20m, but it’s possible in an hour.  The slow simmer of the meat and sauté of fresh veggies filling the air with scents that remind me of vacation in Florence.  The faint scent of sweet potato in the oven brings so much happiness to my belly and to my pooch who LOVES sweet potato (side note: sweet potato is one of the best starches for all species, more on that in a different post…)

What’s fun about bolognese is that it can be done with a variety of ingredients. We’re rather traditional and like our meat sauce to be marinara or tomato-based with fresh garlic (I throw in minced garlic too for the flavor), oregano, red pepper flakes, and garlic powder.  I start with browning the meat first as traditional bolognese sits on a low flame for hours and grows saturated with all the flavors.  I prefer to cook with grass-fed beef.  My reason? The quality, the taste, the COLOR is so much richer than conventional beef, and the animal it comes from is treated in a humane way and literally only fed grass, as they’re supposed to.  I usually buy my beef/chicken from Whole Foods or ButcherBox and their grass-fed beef is 10/10 every time.  I brown the meat in some oil with minced garlic and then add some jarred low sugar marinara sauce, stir it around and then add spices (oregano, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, and sea salt – can either be fresh or dried.. I use dried). Once this simmers for 15 minutes, I add my parmesan and creamer – this will thicken the bolognese and make it creamier! I like to use coconut creamer from Trader Joe’s because it just has a nice smooth texture with not a lot of coconut flavoring.  Continue to simmer for another 30 minutes. note: the bolognese can get salty and oily quickly, mind your oil and salt here!

I’m a sucker for zucchini in all forms, but sliced, sautéed in butter with garlic is my ultimate favorite.  I try to stick with organic or local produce as much as possible.  I am a firm believer that local is better and supporting small farms in the area really benefits more than just my family, but theirs and our community. These are from Whole Foods and were perfectly crisp as I sliced them. I sautéed in butter (#kerrygoldFTW) and sprinkled garlic powder right when they turned translucent (approx. 10m on med-low heat, covered).IMG_3649

The last few months I have tried to stay away from rice and pastas (heavier carbs and I are not BFFL anymore) so I find alternatives…alas, the sweet potato!  I love the bright orange color and how this potato is versatile: mashed, sautéed, fried, baked, the possibilities are endless!  I start with slicing them rather thin (1/4in), then cut the slices into quarters – they bake easier.  I toss in some avocado oil, lay on a pre-oiled pan, sprinkle some sea salt, and place in the middle rack of the oven.  I suck at timing things, but I’d say it takes about 15 minutes (on 325*) to really get the potatoes just soft enough to taste awesome. Enjoy this recipe y’all.. it’s one of my favs 🙂

 

Bolognese with Sweet Potato and Garlic Butter Zucchini

Bolognese with Sweet Potato and Garlic Butter Zucchini
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 2

Ingredients

  • 1 lb grass-fed or whatever you have available beef
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes sliced then quartered
  • 2 medium zucchini sliced thin
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 3 tbs butter
  • 2 tbsp oil for beef
  • Cooking spray for pan for sweet potato
  • 1 jar low-sugar marinara sauce
  • 1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 c cream or nondairy creamer
  • Oregano - to taste
  • Red pepper flakes - to taste
  • Garlic powder - to taste for beef and for zucchini
  • Sea salt

Instructions

  1. In a large pan, heat oil on medium heat. Add beef and break up into smaller pieces/to your liking. Stir the meat until 90% is browned. Here, add minced and chopped garlic. Continue to stir. Pour in marinara and stir around to coat the ground beef. Mix in your seasonings (red pepper flakes, salt, garlic powder, and oregano) and stir it all in! Let simmer for 15 minutes on medium low heat. After 15 minutes are up, pour in your creamer and parmesan cheese.
  2. Turn oven on to 325 degrees. Rinse and slice your potatoes to 1/4in circles, then cut the slices into quarters. Throw into a bowl and toss with your favorite oil (I like avocado or EVOO). Pour over a pre-greased pan and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake for 15 minutes on 325 (can lower heat if it's cooking too quick to 300) in middle rack of oven.
  3. Turn another pan onto medium heat with 3 tbsp butter to melt. Place zucchini slices into pan, toss to coat zucchini evenly. Let sauté for 5 minutes, toss again. Cover pan and let sit. Continue to check on zucchini ever 2-3 minutes as it will become translucent fast and start to burn. When most rounds are see-through, add garlic powder and turn down heat to low. Cover and cook for another 5-7 minutes, checking every so often to toss and stir. Once most pieces are tender, turn off flame and plate separate from the bolognese and sweet potato.
  4. Assemble bolognese with sweet potato at bottom, ladle two scoops of bolognese on top, and sprinkle with garnish such as cheese, more grated parm, or leave as is 🙂 Bon Appétit!

Recipe Notes

You do NOT need to add creamer if you don't want to! Please make this recipe your own. Add in different spices like coriander or maybe even cinnamon to give it a different taste. Making dinner for a larger family? Double the recipe (2lbs of meat instead of 1, etc.)