Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The joys of parenting

It was a busy weekend…again, but this time not all of it was fun and games. Saturday was soccer in the morning (Wilson scored on an assist from Annyka!), then we picked up Annyka’s best friend and met some other friends at ZooBoo. Annyka’s friend slept over and we went to the Y to swim on Sunday. And then it happened. My worst nightmare as the mother to a child with thick hair – lice. I found them on Annyka Sunday afternoon so that has hogged up all my time for the past two days. But this is about food, so lets not talk about that anymore. Ick. 

Earlier in the day Sunday (well I actually started on Saturday with the bean soaking), I made some white bean chili – I thought it would be nice to have ready for when we returned from swimming. And it was. The kids made faces at it, but all proceeded to actually eat it so it couldn’t have been that bad!

My soup, this time, actually came from a gluten-free soup mix from Jungle Jim’s but I found a recipe with a few tweaks that I think will yield similar results.

White Bean Chili
1 lb large white beans, soaked overnight in water, drained
6 cups chicken broth
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium onions, chopped (divided)
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 4-ounce cans chopped green chilies
1 can chopped artichoke hearts
2 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 lb ground chicken or turkey
1-2 cups cooked quinoa ( I used leftovers from the night before)

1 Combine beans, chicken broth, garlic and half the onions in a large soup pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until beans are very soft, 3 hours or more. Add additional water (or watered-down broth), if necessary.

2 In a skillet, sauté remaining onions in oil until tender. Add chilies and seasonings and mix thoroughly. Add to bean mixture. Add chicken, quinoa and artichokes and continue to simmer 1 hour. Check seasoning, Add salt or other additional seasoning if necessary.
3 Garnish with cilantro, chopped fresh tomato, salsa, chopped scallions, and/or guacamole. Serve with fresh warmed flour tortillas or tortilla chips.

Yields 8-10 servings

Yesterday while I cleaned and did laundry ALL. DAY. LONG. (I was too tired to work out) I also made polenta in the crockpot. I've been wanting to try this out for a while because I really love polenta and it can be so cheap made from scratch.

It turned out to be pretty dang easy and it tastes great too. We're having some tonight as a "pizza."

Slow Cooker Polenta

2 cups corn meal
8 cups water (or broth)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp basil
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
1-2 tbsp  olive oil or butter

Stir corn meal and water in 6 quart crockpot. Add garlic, basil, pepper and salt. Cook on high, covered stirring occastionally (every 15 minutes or so) for 1 1/2 hours. Add sun-dried tomatoes. Turn heat down to low and cook another 2 hours. The polenta should be nice and thick, but you can still stir it. Add olive oil or butter and stir well.

You can serve the polenta right away if you like it creamy, or you can put it on a cookie sheet or in "tubes" of plastic wrap to store it in the fridge and prepare it later. It will thicken as it cools. I like it best broiled so it's crispy around the edges.

This recipe made enough for one whole cookie sheet and two tubes (at least 3 meals worth). Tonight we'll be topping the cookie sheet polenta with marinara, baby spinach, portobello mushrooms and onion and sticking it under the broiler. I'm really looking forward to it!

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