Ingredient: chili powder

All Seasons, Dairy Free, Fall, Gluten free, Main, Mexican, Paleo/Primal, Pork, Slow Cooker, Spring, Stews, Sugar Free, Summer, Winter

Slow Cooker Pork Pozole

Many Mexican dishes are perfect for the slow cooker as they require braising or roasting of meats, which adapt very well to crock pot cooking. I have yet to make this the traditional way, but if the slow cooker is any indication, this is a nice addition to your Mexican recipes. Traditionally eaten during the Christmas season, I find this soup/stew adapts easily to warm weather due to its cooling condiments. I have replaced the traditional hominy with fresh corn which makes it even more appealing in warmer weather.

Dairy Free, Fall, Gluten free, Main, Mexican, Paleo / Primal, Paleo/Primal, Pork, Slow Cooker, Spring, Stews, Sugar Free, Summer, Winter

Slow Cooker Pork Chalupa Bowl

This is the slow cooker meat version of the popular Vegetarian Chalupa Bowl. For the meat eaters in the family, they’ll love it just as much. I love being able to use dried beans rather than canned. It’s Mexican cooking at its best, but all in the able hands of your slow cooker. Ole!

American, Beans/Legumes, Dairy Free, Fall, Gluten free, Main, Paleo / Primal, Paleo/Primal, Stews, Sugar Free, Vegan, Vegetable, Winter

Pumpkin Chili

Serve with arugula, grape and sunflower seed salad, skillet cornbread-

Maria A. from Merrimac, Massachusetts forwarded her pumpkin chili recipe to me a few years ago. It is a huge hit with her family and friends, an often requested dish during the long, cold months in Boston. I first made it for my book club and we all loved it. My friends were quite surprised to learn the chili included pumpkin. The original recipe called for ground turkey, but this version is vegetarian. An iron skillet cornbread and a crispy salad are the perfect sides.

Dairy Free, Fall, Gluten free, Grains, Indian, Main, Soups, Spring, Sugar Free, Vegan, Vegetarian, Winter

Sunset Dal and Pumpkin Soup

Serve with roasted Brussels sprouts-

This highly nourishing vegetarian soup is adapted from Nigel Slater’s Pumpkin Dal Soup recipe. He has a tradition of serving soup on New Year’s Day, but you won’t want to wait until then to try my simplified version. I’ve paired it with the nutritional powerhouse, Brussels sprouts, a hearty fall/winter vegetable that tends to sweeten during roasting and just happens to be my youngest’s favorite vegetable.

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Veggie Burgers

My friend and fellow tester, Sable D., requested a recipe for veggie burgers as she and her husband eat the processed frozen ones quite often. I wanted to create an easy, freezable version that she could prepare using whatever vegetable and beans were in her house. Mission accomplished!

American, Beans/Legumes, Dairy Free, Gluten free, Grains, Grains, Main, Sides, Sides, Sugar Free, Summer, Vegetable, Vegetarian

Quinoa with Gazpacho and Red Beans

I was looking for a vegetarian recipe that showcased the most common vegetables popping up in our gardens, farmer’s markets, and CSA’s this summer, but was filling enough to satisfy any carnivore’s appetite. Between the beans and the high-protein quinoa, this recipe fits the bill and is quite tasty too! I served this to relatives this summer, and both adults and kids went back for seconds!

All Seasons, American, Appetizer, Contains Nuts, Dairy Free, Fall, Gluten free, Paleo / Primal, Spring, Sugar Free, Summer, Vegan, Vegetarian, Winter

Spicy Roasted Pecans and Walnuts

By March I am ready for lighter eating and for me this translates to a detox that is heavy on plant-based whole foods. My protein loving body still needs that satiation which has me reaching for nuts mid-afternoon. It was an early March nut craving when raw almonds just did’t sound so appealing that led me to whip up these addictive, peppery dry roasted nuts. You’ll want to portion control these as you could practically eat the whole batch in one sitting!

American, Bbq/Grilling, Beef, Dairy Free, Fall, Gluten free, Main, Paleo / Primal, Spring, Summer

Grilled Sirloin With Tangy Mop Sauce

Serve with and grilled corn with chili and cilantro cream; green beans with garlic-lime gemolata-

I was perusing a magazine and came across a recipe for “mop sauce”. It looked like a barbeque sauce to me, but upon researching exactly what is a mop sauce, I learned that it is a thin sauce applied to meat as it is being grilled or broiled. While containing a lot of flavor, it is thin enough to leave a thin layer on the surface of the meat that soaks in as the meat cooks.

Let me tell you, I am now a huge fan of mop sauces! It eliminates the need to marinate a meat, leaves the meat tender, and imparts such amazing yet subtle flavor. Best of all, you can save most of it to serve with your grilled meat, hence, “mopping” up the meat with it. Most mops contain Worcestershire or soy sauce, but I mimicked the smoky flavor without all the preservatives and sodium. It’s sweet and tangy all at the same time!

All Seasons, Chicken, Fall, Gluten free, Indian, Main, Paleo / Primal, Spring, Sugar Free, Summer, Winter

Butter Chicken Masala

Serve with basmati rice and peas

One of my culinary highlights of 2013 was learning how to cook Indian food from my friends Taru Raman and Nirmala Kakkuppi hosted in the kitchen of my friend, Susan Hawkins. It was a fun afternoon filled with friendship, knowledge, and incredibly fragrant and visually delightful cuisine. As a newbie to Indian cooking, I feel honored to have learned from women who confidently prepare their traditional dishes commonly thought to be intimidating my most westerners. They broke this myth as I now prepare Indian food with confidence too (well, the recipes that they taught me).

The original recipe is vegetarian, “Paneer Butter Masala” (paneer is a type of Indian cheese), but I have replaced the paneer with chicken. You can find “Butter Chicken” on many Indian restaurant menus, but I was told this preparation is the real thing. You are in for a treat because either version, paneer or chicken, is amazing and surely to become a family favorite. For the vegetarian paneer butter masala recipe, see Suggestions below.

Some of the spices you may not have and if you do not plan on making more Indian dishes, try to find a market that sells spices in bulk so you can purchase only what you need. Garam masala and dried fenugreek leaves (kasoori Methi) can be found at Indian markets and more gourmet supermarkets.