Tag Archive | Red Pepper

Tasty Tuesdays – Rainbow Chili

With the temperatures starting to plummet, there is no better time to make a large pot of chili full of healthy and colourful vegetables!  This recipe is based on Jamie Oliver’s Chili Con Carne (Jamie’s Food Revolution), with a few modifications of my own.  It is super quick to prepare and makes for a hearty lunch for the rest of the week.

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ tbsp olive oil
  •  1 white onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 13 baby carrots
  • 2 celery  stalks
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 1 can white kidney beans
  • 1 can (28 fl oz) whole tomatoes (low sodium)
  • 2 cilantro stalks
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Garnishes: fresh guacamole, plain yogurt, cilantro and a wedge of lime

Directions

  • Heat the olive oil in a large pot.
  • Add to the pot all roughly chopped vegetables; onion, garlic, carrots, celery, red pepper, yellow pepper and sweet potato.
  • Add the paprika, cayenne powder, cumin, cinnamon, salt and pepper.  Stir so that all vegetables are evenly coated with the spices.
  • Cook on medium heat for approximately 10 minutes, stirring a few times.
  • Drain and wash the chickpeas and kidney beans.  Add to the pot.
  • Squash the tomatoes with a potato masher, or your clean hands and add entirety of the can to the pot.  As well, fill the can ¾ of the way with water and add to the pot.
  • Thoroughly clean the stalks of cilantro and chop into small pieces.  Add the stems to the pot and reserve the leaves for garnish.
  • Add the balsamic vinegar and stir thoroughly.
  • Bring to a boil and then simmer on low with the lid slightly askew for 1 hour.
  • Stir every so often.
  • Salt & pepper to taste and serve by itself or on a bed of your favourite rice.
  • Garnish with fresh guacamole, plain yogurt, cilantro leaves and a wedge of lime.

Interesting Facts

Chickpeas are referred to by many different names depending on where you reside; Garbanzo beans, Bengal grams and Egyptian peas to name a few.  This legume is one of the earliest cultivated foods, originally farmed in the Mediterranean Basin (Saxena, 1990).  Presently, it continues to be an important food in the Middle East and is favoured because of its buttery texture, nutty taste and year round availability.  Chickpeas are a great food for weight loss or management because of their high fiber and protein content paired with their low fat concentration.  This winning combination allows you to feel full longer while also aiding with blood sugar regulation (Balanza, et al., 2010).  Chickpeas contain no cholesterol and have actually been shown to improve cholesterol levels by decreasing LDL cholesterol (Bazzano, 2008).  A study by Pittaway et al., (2006) followed participants for five weeks who were randomized to either a fibrous diet supplemented with chickpeas or wheat.  Comparatively the group ingesting the chickpea supplemented diet had a significant reduction in both serum cholesterol and LDL cholesterol.  Furthermore, the association between increased legumes, specifically chickpeas, in the diet and a reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease is very strong (Leterme, 2002) and warrants further research.  This vegetable’s amazing nutritional content includes important minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc.  As well, chickpeas are great sources of healthy fatty acids and vitamins A, B, C, E and K (USDA, 2012).   Best of all, it is easy to incorporate chickpeas into your diet since they can be found in a wide variety of recipes such as soups, salads and curries.  Additionally, if you have intolerance to gluten there is high protein chickpea flour, referred to as garam, which can be used as a wheat flour substitute in many recipes. So just remember that no matter what you call this universally tasty and versatile legume it comes packed with a multitude of health benefits.

Tasty Tuesdays – Mango Chicken

Chicken is fantastically versatile in the kitchen and can be prepared in a multitude of ways.  This recipe is very delicious and goes well with any type of rice.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 red pepper
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 dried chili
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 mango
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro

Directions

  • Heat the olive oil in a large pan, and then add the garlic, ginger and chopped red onion.  Saute for 5 minutes or until onions are tender.
  • Thinly slice the red pepper and add to the pan.  Saute for 2-3 minutes.
  • Cut chicken into thin strips and add to the vegetables.
  • Add the thyme, curry, chili powder, dried chili, salt and pepper.  Make sure the spices are evenly distributed.
  • Cook for 3 minutes on medium heat.
  • Add the thinly sliced mango, fresh lemon juice and vegetable broth.  Bring to a simmer and cook for 8 minutes.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and add the fresh cilantro, mixing thoroughly.
  • Pair with your favourite rice and garnish with cilantro.

Interesting Facts

Chicken is one of the most commonly consumed poultries in the world and its popularity continues to rise (Padilla, 2010).  Chickens were first domesticated in southern Asia eight thousand years ago and are now one of the world’s primary animal protein sources (Wirén, 2011).  They are also one of the least expensive livestock to rear because of their small size and short generation length (Kearney, 2010).  Chicken is an excellent alternative to other animal meats because of its low fat and high protein content which makes it extremely lean.  As well, chicken is a great source of calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium and vitamins A, B and D (USDA, 2012).  More specifically, chicken contains niacin, which is vitamin B3 and essential in the human diet.  In fact, deficiencies of this micronutrient have been linked to DNA damage and cognitive decline (Ames, 2001).  An interesting study by Morris et al. (2004) assessed the cognitive functioning of people aged 65 years and older for six years. It was found that including adequate levels of niacin in your diet may protect against both age related cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease.  In addition to chicken containing valuable amounts of niacin, it also has high levels of selenium.  This trace mineral is essential for proper cellular function.  Selenium is involved in DNA repair and synthesis, and plays an important role in various metabolic pathways (Hatfield et al., 2011).  Overall, chicken is an excellent lean protein full of beneficial nutrients and could also have less of an impact on the environment.  It is well documented that chickens produce much less methane and carbon dioxide than ruminant animals such as beef and lamb (McMichael et al., 2007).  Since agriculture is such a major contributor to the global greenhouse gas emissions (Friel et al., 2009), making more informed choices on where to procure your protein can only be beneficial.

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