Foodtime: Delicious ways to obey your New Years resolution

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(Tribune photo by Bill Hogan)

Kendall College Vice President Chef Koetke cheers you up after you’ve realized it’s now time to get healthy again, with some balanced recipes.

Mexican Black Beans

Beans are ultimately a very simple dish, but when made correctly, can be extraordinary.  Such was the case on a recent trip to Mexico where I was invited to a friend’s mother’s home.  There, she served these beans as a side dish.  They were wonderful and as they start with dried beans can be made with lower amounts of salt than canned beans.  The secret is the pressure cooker.

Serves: 16

2 lbs. dried black beans

1 ½ cups diced white onion

8 garlic cloves, chopped

2 ½ teaspoons salt

3 Tablespoons olive oil

2 Tablespoons light soy sauce

1 Tablespoon black pepper

¾ cup chopped epazote

½ cup minced cilantro

  1. Cover the beans with cold water and let soak overnight at room temperature.
  2. The next day, drain the water.
  3. Place beans in a pressure cooker with 2 cloves garlic, onions and salt.  Cover with water that is about 2 inches above the level of the beans (8-10 cups).  Cover the seal the pressure cooker and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 35 minutes.  Release the steam/pressure. The beans should be soft and creamy but not mushy.
  4. In a sauté pan, sauté 6 remaining garlic pour in the oil until they start to brown.  Add the beans with about ½-3/4 of their liquid. (You can add more for a more liquid result which is also excellent.  The rest of the liquid is discarded.)  Add
  5. When it starts boiling add soy sauce, black pepper, and epazote. Boil for 10 minutes.
  6. Add cilantro and additional salt if desired.  Serve.

Italian Kale Soup with White Beans

Serves: 4

4 ounces kale, stemmed and thinly sliced

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

4 cups reduced sodium chicken broth

2 15-ounce cans white beans (such as cannellini or navy), drained and rinsed

1 Roma tomato, seeded and finely chopped

Freshly ground pepper

Two slices whole-grain bread, toasted and cut on the bias

  1. Place kale in microwave-safe dish and sprinkle with salt. Cover and cook on high for about 4 minutes, until limp.
  2. Heat a soup pot over medium-high heat. Add oil, garlic and crushed red peppers and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add kale (along with any liquid), chicken broth, beans and tomato.
  3. Bring soup to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until kale is tender and flavors meld, 15 to 20 minutes.

Spinach and Lentil Salad

Serves: 4

1 cup green French lentils or small brown lentils

3 cups water

4 Tablespoons red wine vinegar

4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1  6.5 oz. jar marinated artichokes, drained and diced

1 cup halved grape tomatoes

30 slices low-fat turkey pepperoni, cut into a fine julienne

6 oz. cleaned baby spinach

2 oz. cleaned baby arugula

  1. Combine lentils and water in a pot and bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes, or just until the lentils are soft.    Remove from heat, drain well, pour into a flat dish and let cool.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together vinegar, olive oil, salt, and black pepper.  Reserve.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine lentils, artichokes, grape tomatoes, pepperoni, and ¾ of the vinaigrette.
  4. In another bowl, mix remaining vinaigrette with spinach and arugula.
  5. Place spinach and arugula salad in the center of each plate.  Mound lentil salad in the middle of the plate and serve.

Brussels Sprout Salad

Serves: 4

1 ½ lbs. Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed and halved by cutting through the core (about 6 cups)

½ baguette, cut in ¼-inch thick slices and brushed with 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 Tablespoons prepared horseradish

3 Tablespoons white wine vinegar

6 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

3 Tablespoons minced red onion

1 pint grape tomatoes, halved

½ cup finely shredded parmesan

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the Brussels sprouts and cook until they are al dente.  Remove from the boiling water and immediately plunge into ice water.  Once they are cold, remove them from the water and drain well.
  2. Meanwhile, place the olive oil brushed baguette slices on a baking sheet.  Place them in a 400° F oven until they are lightly browned (about 10 minutes).  Remove from the oven and let them cool.  Break them into large pieces and reserve.
  3. To make the salad, prepare a vinaigrette by whisking together horseradish, vinegar, olive oil, Dijon mustard, salt, and black pepper.
  4. Add the Brussels sprouts, red onion, grape tomatoes, and parmesan to the vinaigrette.  Toss well.  Just before serving, fold in the broken baguette croutons.
  5. Serve immediately.
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