Recipe: Black Bean Enchiladas

The other night I whipped up some black bean enchiladas. The result was a super filling (and healthy!) dinner. This meal was low in fat and contained a ton of fiber, protein, calcium, iron, and quality carbohydrates.  Perfect for runners! Although be aware that this is a VERY high fiber dish. You might not want to try it the night before an important race or long run ;-)enchiladasooey-goey cheese

Ingredients:

  • 4 Damascus Bakery whole wheat roll-ups
  • 1 can (or about 2 cups cooked) black beans
  • 1 cup reduced fat cheddar cheese
  • 1 can enchilada sauce
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt
  • Chopped vegetables (i.e. onions, bell peppers, etc)

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees, pour 1/2 can of enchilada sauce in a 8 x 8 baking dish
  • Mix salsa, greek yogurt, and chopped veggies in a bowl
  • Lay out wraps on the table and fill each with 1/4 of salsa-yogurt-veggie mix
  • Add 1/2 cup beans and a sprinkle of cheese and roll up each wrap
  • Place the wraps side by side in baking dish and cover with remaining enchilada sauce and cheese
  • Bake covered with foil for 15 minutes, then bake uncovered for an additional 15 minutes
  • Serve with extra salsa, hot sauce, and more greek yogurt (it’s a great sour cream substitute!)

I Love Vegetables

My office has a pretty good and inexpensive cafeteria that I utilize quite often. I go through phases – sometimes I will cook on the weekends and bring lunch from home, other times (when life gets hectic!) the cafeteria salad bar can be a good alternative. It’s so nice to have someone else do the prep work – wash the salad greens, chop onions, cook the beans, etc. And even though I get the same thing every day, I never get bored! I love the mixture of flavors, textures, and colors in my salad creation. An the best part is, if I fill up on veggies at lunch, I don’t have to worry about getting them in at dinner. For example, I didn’t get home until almost 9pm last night and the LAST thing I wanted to do was steam some broccoli. Instead I was able to throw together a quick dinner of cereal and yogurt and still have a fairly balanced day of eating. And this sounds lame, but vegetables make me feel so GOOD. It’s like my stomach is smiling :-)

Salad

Lunch!In the mix:

  • mixed greens and spinach
  • red onion
  • sliced mushrooms
  • shredded carrot
  • shredded zucchini
  • about 1/3 cup of beans (kidney, black, or chickpea)
  • feta cheese
  • Tbs dried cranberries
  • whole grain croutons
  • homemade balsamic vinaigrette (SOOO good, I even asked the chef for the recipe!)
  • Depending on the day’s selection, I might add a scoop of something “fun” – last week I sampled the cafeteria’s asparagus guacamole, broccoli slaw, and russian potato salad.

The Mediterranean Diet

Sicily CoastRed wine, rustic bread dipped in olive oil and herbs, freshly grilled fish, greek salad with feta cheese and olives, creamy yogurt with fruit and honey…getting hungry yet?? These foods are not only delicious, but they could help you live longer. People living in Mediterranean areas (Greece, Turkey, Southern Italy, Southern France, Israel, etc) have historically low levels of chronic disease as well as a high life expectancy. Research has indicated that the following dietary habits contribute to the longevity associated with living in the Mediterranean:

  • Emphasis on plant based food – fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes.
  • Lots of fresh, seasonal produce – tomato, cucumber, eggplant, peppers, onions, olives, berries, apple, grapes, figs, avocados, etc.
  • Olive oil as main fat source, use butter sparingly.
  • Daily consumption cheese and yogurt (low-fat is preferable)
  • Weekly consumption of fish, seafood, poultry, and eggs.
  • Choose fruit based desserts more often than rich cake or pastries.
  • Eat red meat sparingly – only a few times per month.
  • Regular physical activity.
  • Moderate consumption of wine.

Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24: Manhattan from North to South

I was thrilled when I found out that my proposal was selected for Foodbuzz’s 24 meals, 24 blog posts, 24 hours contest.  The special meal that I proposed encompassed the varying neighborhoods and cultural influences of Manhattan. Although I have lived in the city for nearly 2 years, I’ve only sampled a small percentage of its culinary offerings.  I chose to share the special meal with my boyfriend, Nate. Most of the time we spend together is filled with eating, cooking, or grocery shopping. He’s been my constant companion as I’ve traveled the city searching (and photographing) the best pizza slices, cupcakes, and grocery finds that I could get my hands on. Saturday evening was the perfect time to indulge in a fabulous meal – I had just completed my last 20 mile long run. Boston marathon, here I come!  Our meal began in the heart of Harlem at Sylvia’s famous soul food restaurant. Sylvia's

The atmosphere of the restaurant was very cozy and inviting. Upon entering the front door, we encountered the original luncheonette counter that Sylvia opened in 1962. We gave our name to the hostess and settled down to look at the menu. Nate looks at the menuMenu

After a brief 20 minute wait (not bad for a Saturday night in NYC!) we were ushered into the main dining room.  As soon as we sat down our waiter brought us a basket full of warm, buttery cornbread.

Cornbread

After we gave our order, my mouth began to water in anticipation our meal. Luckily the service was quick! Nate selected the BBQ ribs, baked macaroni and cheese, and a scoop of homemade potato salad. Yum!

Ribs

Nate was generous enough to give me a few bites of his macaroni and cheese – so delicious! And he gave the ribs a big thumbs up – check out the bits of pickle relish in the sweet and sassy rib sauce. I, on the other hand, had been waiting all week for some golden fried chicken, collard greens with smoked turkey, and candied yams.

Fried Chicken

I received a generous portion of all white-meat fried chicken and although it was fried, the breading was light and didn’t overpower the taste of the juicy meat. My savory collard greens provided a nice contrast to the sweet candied yams. I’m not sure if I was because I was really hungry or maybe just really excited about this meal, but I couldn’t stop saying how good everything was! Here are a couple funny photos of me mid-dinner.

Chowing downLicking my lips

If your mouth is watering for some Soul food, check out Sylvia’s recipe page for lightened up versions of Southern Stir-Fry Veggies and Black-Eyed Pea Salad.

After we stuffed our bellies with comfort food, Nate and I took the 2/3 train to midtown for a cocktail. The twinkling lights and tall buildings of midtown define the city’s skyline. New York City has plenty of landmarks and many can be found between 60th and 30th streets – The Chrysler Building, The Empire State Building, Grand Central Station, Times Square, etc. Nate and I decided to mix up some Manhattans at a private lounge at the top of the Empire State Building. The lounge location may be secret, but the drink recipe isn’t!

Manhattan Cocktails

Ingredients:

1 1/2 oz whiskey or bourbon (I used Jack Daniels)

3/4 oz sweet vermouth

maraschino cherry

Directions:

Pour the liquors over ice in a low boy glass or stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with cherry!

From our perch above the city, we were able to gaze on the entirety of the financial district as well as Brooklyn and New Jersey.  We sipped our drinks and admired the twinkling lights of the city.

nightview

Despite some light rain and fog that started to set in, it provided the perfect photo op!

Cool Photo

After we finished our drinks, we hopped on the downtown N train and rode south to Chinatown. We ended the night with a sweet treat from the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory.

Chinatown Ice Cream Factory

Nate really wanted me to take a photo of these dragon decorations on the door of the ice cream factory.

Dragons

The selections at the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory are very unique – Nate and I both sampled a few flavors before making our final decisions.SampleOur reviews:

  • Lychee sorbet- not overbearing in sweetness, a very authentic recreation of the Lychee fruit.
  • Lemon sorbet- very refreshing, would be perfect for a sweltering summer day.
  • Almond Cookie- tasted similar to Marzipan, didn’t really like this flavor much.
  • Red Bean (a.k.a. dessert bean) – very unique, tasted almost savory.
  • Coconut Fudge – creamy and chocolately with a hint of tropical coconut.
  • Zen Butter – this was very good, described as a mix of peanut butter and toasted sesame seeds. I didn’t notice a strong pb flavor, but I could taste bits of crunchy seeds in each bite.
  • Oreo Cookie – perhaps my favorite of all the flavors, great balance of cream and cookie elements.

Final choices!!

Nate: Lemon and Lychee sorbet

Megan: Oreo Cookie and Zen Butter ice cream

Ice cream!Megan with ice cream

Thank you FoodBuzz for allowing Nate and I to explore some of the unique neighborhoods and culinary offerings that New York City has to offer!

Edit: For those not familar with the geography of Manhattan, click here for a map that details the location of Saturday evening’s events. In summary, we began in Harlem (northern part of Manhattan), moved on to midtown (middle), and finished in Chinatown (southern tip of the island).

Guest Post: Jesse Cooks!

My recently engaged friends, Jen and Jesse, are frequent visitors to my blog. They both enjoy food and healthy living. Lately, Jesse has been sending me some great photos documenting his cooking adventures. Below is a stirfry dinner featuring: shrimp, broccoli, green beans, and red pepper. Yum! stirfry

This guy is unstoppable! Check out Jesse’s chili recipe:

Small cubes of beef
Onions
Garlic
Carrots
Celery
Red beans
Cumin
Groumd Chili pepper
Cayenne
Basil
Oregano
Salt/pepper
A can of crushed tomatoes
Half a little can of tomato paste
A little water if it’s too thick

Sauté everything (including spices) except beans and tomatoes, then summer for a couple hours until the meat is cooked and tender and the flavors have had the chance to meld. A fun variation is to replace water and a little of the tomato with beer! Excellent with cheddar cheese on top and cornbread!

Megan’s note: Recipe was adapted from a Moosewood Restaurant veggie chili recipe which used bulgar to replace meat. I love, love, love all the Moosewood Cookbooks which are based on recipes created for the restaurant located in Ithaca, NY. The eating establishment began as a natural foods collective back in the ’70’s. One of the founding members, Mollie Katzen wrote the original edition of The Moosewood Cookbook, published in 1978.  The New York Times listed Moosewood as one of the top ten bestselling cookbooks of all time. Many people claim that it is the most popular vegetarian cookbook in the world!jessechilli

And last, but not least – lettuce plants a.k.a. future salad! I love the idea of re-using Stonyfield Farms yogurt containers as mini planters.futuresalad

1/2 Marathon Grand Prix & Weeknight Eats

In 2008 I ran all 5 of the 1/2 marathons that are part of the NYRR (New York Road Runner) Grand Prix. I mostly did all 5 because I was promised a finisher’s certificate and a prize. This was definitely my motivation for waking up at 5am to do the Queens 1/2 marathon. I wanted to sleep in SO much that morning…Anyway, today I finally received my prize packet – mini back-pack, finisher’s patch, and certificate! Hooray. It doesn’t take much to make me happy.1/2 Marathon Grand Prix PrizeManhattan 1/2, January 27, 2008: 1 hour, 50 minutes, 54 seconds (ran with Hannah!)

Bronx 1/2, February 10, 2008: 1 hour, 43 minutes, 31 seconds (someone stole my Nike fleece, grr)

Brooklyn 1/2, May 3, 2008: 1 hour, 36 minutes, 28 seconds (automatic qualification for NYC marathon!)

Queens 1/2, September 14, 2008: 1 hour, 44 minutes, 39 seconds (hot, sweaty, GROSS)

Staten Island 1/2, October 12, 2008: 1 hour, 52 minutes, 7 seconds (ran with Alma, 20 miles total for the day)

Moving on to some good food…Although I love to cook, weeknights are usually pretty hectic. The last few days I have been using up what has been hiding out in my freezer. I usually keep a couple of Amy’s Kitchen meals for a quicky, healthy, and mostly organic dinner. On Wednesday, I tried the tofu scramble for the first time and was pleasantly surprised!

Tofu Scramble

The dinner consisted of tomato slices, hash browns, and a veggie-tofu scramble. The meal clocked in at 320 calories, 19 grams of protein, and 4 grams of fiber. I needed to add a little salt to the hashbrowns, but otherwise it was a very tasty and filling meal. Yum!

Up close

After yesterday’s successful tofu scramble, I decided to try another Amy’s product for tonight’s dinner.  I baked up a single-serving Amy’s Kitchen Pizza Margherita.Amy's Pizza Margherita

This little guy was made up of thin crust dough, fresh tomatoes, little balls of mozzarella, and basil. The crust got nice and crispy in the oven and the basil added a nice kick. This meal is 360 calories, 16 grams of protein, and 3 grams of fiber. It’s less filling than Amy’s other options, so I recommend pairing it with a big salad!

Pizza

For dessert, I’ve been hooked on a toasted Kashi Go Lean waffle topped with Nestle Tollhouse peanut butter & milk chocolate morsels. Mmmm, the chocolate bits get all melty from the heat of the waffle. I also love to eat the pb & chocolate chips straight from the bag….

Kashi waffle dessert

And for tonight’s finale – Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chip Blondies

And the best part? The ingredients are mostly healthy ;-) After seeing all of the lovely blondie creations that Veggie Girl has baked, I decided to try my own variation. Yum, yum, yum! These are delicious.

Healthy Blondie

Ingredients:

  • 6 oz low fat vanilla yogurt (I used Wallaby Vanilla Bean)
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp molasses
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour, 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup almonds, chopped
  • 2 handfuls of pecan pieces
  • 1/2 cup jumbo raisins
  • 1.5 cups peanut butter and chocolate chips

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 and grease 8 x 8 ” baking pan
  • Mix yogurt, oil, sugar, molasses, and vanilla in bowl
  • To that same bowl, then add: flour, baking soda, nuts, raisins, and pb-chocolate chips
  • Stir until combined, pour into pan
  • Bake about 30-32 minutes or until edges are deep golden brown
  • Allow to cool and enjoy!

Obviously, I had to try a bite as soon as they came out of the oven :-)I tried a bite

The Runner’s Commute

About once a week, I run the approximately 10 miles from my apartment in northern Manhattan to my office building in midtown. The way I see it – taking the subway and then walking to the office takes nearly an hour. When I run to the office, it only takes about 25 minutes longer than that. It’s really a win-win situation – I can bypass the morning subway stress, get in a good, long mid-week run, and minimize my carbon footprint while I’m at it.

Here’s how I do it:

The day before: Bring clothes, shoes, snacks, etc.  and lock in desk drawer

The morning of:

  • 6:15am – alarm goes off, make coffee
  • 6:30am – stretch, check email, get dressed
  • 7:15am – leave my apartment (I stash my work ID, metrocard,  money, and my keys in the pockets of my running jacket/tights)
  • 8:50am – arrive at my office, retrieve bag of work clothes from desk, and head to the gym
  • 9:00am – shower and change at my gym (only 2 blocks from office!)
  • 9:30am – arrive at my desk, ready to start the day!

Here’s a screenshot map of the route I run (~10 miles):

Running Map

In other news, the New York Times has been having some great economy related food articles lately. Check these out:

When Economy Sours, a Tootsie Roll Can Still Soothe the Soul

Whoopie! Cookie, Cake, or Pie, It’s Having its Moment

Tailoring to the Times, Food Magazine Feature Cheap Recipes

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