Chop Chop

Two months ago, I believed the best part of living in our glorious apartment at Phillips Place was the ease of grabbing takeout or the many trips to Whole Foods where the lovely folks there cooked for us. While some of the choices we made were pretty healthy, others were just plain silly! I used to proudly claim that “we eat at 1900 Mexican at least once a week!” like someone was offering a prize for the most unhealthy eater. Then everything changed when I met Amy Mosca and starting following the Food Babe on Facebook. Amy told me that by eating out all the time I was essentially giving up all control of what I was putting in my body. I’ve always struggled with feeling bloated after meals, and now I know that my body was reacting to the chemicals in some of the food I was eating. Between GMOs, MSG, inflammatory ingredients like carageenan in my beloved TCBY yogurt, it’s a wonder I ever felt well at all.

These days, we are trying to eat in a little more. A lot of the recipes we follow tend to create about three servings. The problem is that with my job, it’s hard to take leftovers and my husband doesn’t love leftovers, so we are stuck wondering what to do with the remaining food. So, we love when a recipe creates enough for us both to have dinner twice. And this recipe does just that. I can’t take credit; I got it straight from the Food Babe’s website. (Today Vani let us in on the dirty little secrets behind the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte, which used to be my favorite of all their seasonal drinks.  But that’s a different subject for a different day!)

So, here’s the recipe for a Mexican casserole that we have now made on three occasions. It’s healthy and delicious; you can’t beat that! It involves a lot of chopping, but hey, my knife skills are improving, so that’s a bonus! This is taken from foodbabe.com:

Food Babe’s Mexican Casserole

Ingredients

1 can of Eden Foods organic black beans and kidney beans rinsed and drained
1 tsp olive oil
1 medium onion chopped
1 green pepper chopped
3 medium zucchinis chopped
1 tomato chopped
2 jalapeno seeded and minced
2 garlic cloves minced
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
Your favorite enchilada or tomato sauce
10 sprouted corn tortillas
2 ounces of raw goat or cheddar cheese
sour cream to taste

***Please note all ingredients are organic (except the sauce)***

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Heat olive oil on medium low in a large skillet
3. Once oil has heated for 2 mins, add onions, cook onions for about 3 min
4. Add zucchini, green peppers, tomato and spices to pan and cook for another 5 mins
5. Add beans, garlic and jalapeno to pan and cook another 2 minutes or so
6. Turn off heat and set pan aside
7. In large baking dish, pour half of the sauce to cover bottom
8. Place corn tortillas on the bottom of the dish covering the sauce, cut tortillas to fit if needed
9. Add half of the vegetable and bean mixture to dish
10. Repeat, adding another layer of tortillas and then the rest of the vegetable bean mixture, ending with the rest of the sauce on the top
11. Top dish with shredded cheese and cover with foil
12. Bake for at least 30 mins until sauce starts to bubble
13. Serve with a salad of romaine lettuce, a lime and a dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt

Makes 6 servings

Letting the ingredients simmer before layering them in the casserole

Letting the ingredients simmer before layering them in the casserole

We have been skipping step 13 and enjoying our casserole topped with fresh avocado slices. I love avocado! Also, we shred a little rotisserie chicken and layer that in on step 9. Just a suggestion if you’re like us and feel like meat is a necessity at dinner.

Can anything really be bad when you put avocado on it? Love that we are eating on paper plates again!

Can anything really be bad when you put avocado on it? Love that we are eating on paper plates again!

I can’t forget to mention the other part of our meal that made it so tasty and worth the trouble to stay in tonight. Last fall, while on vacation in St. John, we visited the island’s only brewery and were introduced to pumpkin beer served in a frosted glass with a brown sugar rim. Though it’s not exactly the same to enjoy an adult beverage on a Monday night in Charlotte, we still loved every sip!

We used organic brown sugar, so it has to be healthy, right?

We used organic brown sugar, so it has to be healthy, right?

Of course there are the occasionally moments when I wish I hadn’t met Amy and that Vani’s information wasn’t so impactful. I still breakdown and hit up 1900 and other local Mexican eateries from time to time. But as a whole, I know that getting in my kitchen and chopping healthy, organic fruits and vegetables is the right thing to do. And my body agrees with me!

Perfect! Dinner will be quick and simple one night later this week!

Perfect! Dinner will be quick and simple one night later this week!

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