BANGOR – Over the past ten weeks we’ve teamed up with Eastern Maine Healthcare to help get people back into the kitchen to eat healthier.
We’ve learned great ways to cooks dinners, deserts and other foods that are much healthier than takeout and much less expensive. Tonight, we’ll continue our series with a dish that keeps on giving.
As always, support for this work is provided by EMHS Total Health, the Partnership to Improve Community Health by the CDC and EMMC Medical Fitness.
We’re happy to be back in the kitchen with Nicole King. Now, one of the purposes of this series is to teach people how to cook healthy while also saving money. That’s what we’re talking about today. Yeah, and planning. Making sure you plan your food out in order to eat healthy and eat at home. That’s the key. We’ve talked in the past how important it is to come up with a list and plan ahead.
King said” Planning ahead. One of the things I like to do on the weekend, if you can find the time, is take a couple hours. I get out all the ingredients and prep out 3 or 4 dinners. And they’re things you can just stick in the freezer or fridge during the week and you can grab them and throw them in the oven or on the stove and you’re ready to go.”
That would certainly work with today’s meal. Sweet potato, black bean chili. We’ll make a fairly large batch which can be frozen to use at a later time.
“So first thing we’ll do is add some oil and we’re going to use olive oil because it’s a healthy fat. And the pan is nice and hot so I’m going to add our chopped onions and also our diced sweet potatoes. And we’ll let this cook for five to seven minutes. And while those are getting soft ill show you how to mince up some garlic.” added King.
Nicole said the best way to mince garlic is to use the flat of a knife to crush a clove so the skin can be easily removed.
King stated “So there’s always this little end here that needs to be chopped off. And then just using a rocking motion you just go through it and keep going until it’s the size you want. Actually the smaller you make it, the more flavor you’ll get out of it because you’ll be releasing all those nice juices and oils in there.”
“You can see the onions are getting translucent. So we can go ahead and add our garlic. We’re going to saute that for a minute or so and let the flavors develop.” she continued.
Now we’re going to add our spices, including cumin and cayenne pepper.
King said “This entire dish only has a quarter teaspoon of salt in it. We are using reduced sodium and no salt added canned products so there’s not a lot of sodium, but a lot of flavor from a lot of different spices. And we have chili powder in there as well.”
Now we’ll add 2 cups of water. Just enough to cover the ingredients. We’ll bring it to a boil and reduce it to a summer to allow the potatoes to cook.
To finish it we’re going to garnish it with fresh lime juice and cilantro. Cilantro is an herb that some don’t like. There’s something biological in their taste buds that makes it taste like soap. So if you like it, use it. If not, it’s fine to keep it out. The lime juice adds a freshness to the end of the dish.
Now that the ingredients have simmered for 10 or 15 minutes we’ll add our reduced sodium black beans and a can of diced tomatoes. We’ll also let that simmer for about 15 minutes.
King said “To let the potatoes break up a little bit and the beans to release some of their starch and thicken up the entire chili. And again this is a way to get healthy proteins into your diet because we’re using beans instead of beef you get a lot of fiber.”
We’ll now add about a quarter cup of lime juice for a kick of freshness. You can also allow your guests to add it themselves after the chili is served. Topped off with a little cilantro for added flavor.
“It’s very inexpensive and as I said before, you can freeze it so you can have it throughout the week or weeks from now.” concluded King “It’s healthy so you can feel good about what you’re eating”.