Oktoberfest Pumpkin Chili

We love experimenting with pumpkin recipes in the fall, and surprisingly have ended up liking the renditions of savory dishes more than the sweet ones! We have been making versions of this pumpkin chili for years now, and this latest is our favorite yet. We have combined all things “October” in this hearty chili- Oktoberfest beer, a can of pumpkin, and lots of warming spices. The beer gives the chili a little punch and helps give it a rich taste. The pumpkin is a great way to add creaminess but keep everything healthy. We suggest buying an Oktoberfest beer versus a pumpkin beer, as sometimes pumpkin beers can be ultra sweet which doesn’t mix well with the rest of the recipe. Serve with any and all of your favorite chili toppings for an ultra-fall cozy night in!

Octoberfest Pumpkin Chili

Makes: 4 servings

Prep Time: 30 minutes Total Time: 1 hour

Ingredients for the Chili

  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds and stem removed, minced
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained
  • 1 can white beans, drained
  • 1 can pumpkin puree
  • 12 oz Octoberfest beer (we used a Bavarian lager)
  • salt, to taste

Optional Chili Toppings and Accompaniments:

  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1/3 cup packed cilantro, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds and stems removed, minced
  • Mexican cheese blend
  • roasted and salted pumpkin seeds
  • tortilla chips

Directions:

  1. Heat a large cast iron pot over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, onion, and garlic to the pan. Sauté 4-5 minutes, or until the onions start to become translucent.
  2. Add the jalapeno, paprika, cumin, and red chili flakes to the pot. Toast the spices in the pan for about 3 minutes before adding the tomato paste. Mix in the tomato paste and let everything cook for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add the both cans of beans and the pumpkin to the chili. Add the beer and stir well to combine, but not so rough that you start to break up the beans. Season the chili with salt. Bring the chili to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes uncovered, and then cover and cook another 20-30 minutes. If the chili seems too thick before you are ready to serve, you can add water or stock to bring it to the consistency of your liking. Season again with salt to taste.
  4. Serve the chili hot out of the pan with any of your favorite chili toppings.

Semi-Homemade Vegan Burrito Bowls

Tuck’s dad watched the documentary “Game Changers” on Netflix a few weeks ago and has been trying to eat vegan as much as possible since. Inspired by our usual Chipotle order, we made these tofu burrito bowls. We love the taste and texture of the tofu – it is loaded with spices and crumbled to resemble taco meat.This recipe falls into the semi-homemade category because we have purchased a majority of the burrito bowl toppings pre-made at the grocery store. We have included a recipe for the black bean and corn salsa, but you can purchase a similar product at the grocery store if you want to skip that step as well. Thanks to these grocery store helpers, this recipe comes together in under 30 minutes and is a healthy, filling recipe for a weeknight dinner. 

Semi-Homemade Vegan Burrito Bowls 
Makes: 4 servings 
Prep Time: 30 minutes    Total Time: 30 minutes 

Ingredients for the Burrito Bowls: 

  • 1 box firm tofu
  • 1 packet taco seasoning 
  • 1 package cilantro lime Right Rice (can sub pre-cooked brown rice) 
  • pico de gallo 
  • guacamole (you can use our recipe or buy it pre-made from the store!)

Ingredients for the Corn & Black Bean Salsa 

  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained 
  • 1 large ear of corn, kernels removed 
  • juice of 2 limes 
  • 1/4 red onion, diced 
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed cilantro 
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil 
  • 2 tsp cumin 
  • salt and pepper to taste 

Directions: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 
  2. Remove the tofu from its packaging and drain any excess water. Use paper towel or a kitchen towel to press the tofu and remove as much liquid from it as you can. Crumble the tofu and put it onto a cookie sheet, sprayed with cooking spray. Season the tofu well with taco seasoning, using your hands to coat well. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until it is crispy but not dry. 
  3. While the tofu is cooking, cook the Right Rice according to package directions. It will take about 12 minutes to cook once you bring the water to a boil. 
  4. While the Right Rice is cooking, make the black bean and corn salsa. Gently mix all of the ingredients in the salsa (black beans – cumin) together in a large mixing bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.  
  5. Assemble the burrito bowls. Divide the Right Rice, tofu, and black bean salsa evenly amongst four bowls. Top with guacamole, pico de gallo, and any of your other favorite taco bowl ingredients. 

Edamame Rice Salad

We weren’t exactly sure what to name this dish… is it a carb? Is it a salad? Is it a vegetarian entree? It’s a little bit of everything, thanks to an abundance of veggies in this dish. Cooking at home for nearly every meal since March has given us a chance to experiment with recipes that go the extra distance and last for more than one meal. Zhuzhing up leftovers feels like a much easier task than cooking new recipes for every darn meal of the week. This Edamame Rice Salad fulfills that task perfectly. Leftovers hold up really well for a few days in the refrigerator. We can add grilled chicken, shrimp, or avocado to give leftovers a new look. Best of all, it’s a quick and easy recipe that keeps us eating healthy all week long. 

Asian Veggie Rice 
Makes: 6+ servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes   Total Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients For The Salad:

  • 2 cups brown rice
  • 2 cups lightly packed chopped purple cabbage 
  • 2 cups frozen edamame beans, no shells 
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 2 bell peppers, diced 
  • 4 scallions, diced 
  • 2/3 cup cilantro, chopped 
  • 1/2 cup sliced, toasted almonds 
  • 1 tbs sesame seeds 

Ingredients for the Dressing*: 

  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup sesame oil
  • 4 tbs rice vinegar
  • 3 tbs soy sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced 
  • 2 tbs minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp chili paste
  • salt to taste

Directions: 

  1. Heat 4 cups of water in a large pot and bring to a boil. Add the brown rice and reduce the pot to a simmer. Cook according to package directions, about 30 minutes. 
  2. While the rice is cooking, chop the other vegetables and make the dressing. Whisk the dressing ingredients (vegetable oil – chili paste) in a medium bowl until they are combined. Season to taste with salt, set aside.
  3. When the rice has finished cooking, fluff it with a fork to release some of the steam. Add the frozen edamame to the rice, give it a quick stir, and cover for 5 minutes. This will help thaw the edamame and bring the temperature of the rice down, closer to room temperature. 
  4. Make the salad by combining the brown rice- bell peppers in a large bowl. Add half of the cilantro and scallions and half of the dressing; toss to coat. Top with the remaining cilantro, scallions, dressing, sliced almonds, and sesame seeds to serve. 

*If making the dressing from scratch isn’t in your plans, substitute with any of your favorite Asian salad dressings from the grocery store. 


Crispy Chickpea Grain Bowls

Tuck’s family has been on the road for about six weeks now, moving apartments every two weeks because baseball season likes to keep us on our toes! Part of the challenge of “settling” somewhere, even though we don’t know how long we are staying for, is buying the correct amount of groceries. If we buy too much we might have to throw away perfectly good food that just won’t make the drive. If we buy too little we are eating out every meal which gets expensive and old after a few days. 

To try and balance out these problems we try to make meals that mix the perfect amount of fresh ingredients with pantry ingredients that we have on hand. This grain bowl uses farro and chickpeas from the pantry and arugula, onion, and parmesan cheese to freshen things up. We’ve tossed the bowl ingredients with a creamy, garlicky lemon vinaigrette that gives some zing to ingredients that seem a little plain on the outside. What started as a solution to a packing problem is now a bowl we will have on repeat all summer long. 

Crispy Chickpea Grain Bowl 
Makes: 2 entree servings 
Prep Time: 30 minutes    Total Time: 45 minutes 

Ingredients For The Salad: 

  • 1 cup uncooked farro 
  • 4 cups lightly packed arugula 
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced 
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, cut into thin chunks  

Ingredients For The Chickpeas: 

  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained 
  • 3 tbs olive oil 
  • 1 tsp cumin 
  • 1 tsp garlic powder 
  • 1/2 tsp red chili flakes 
  • salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients For The Dressing: 

  • 1/3 cup olive oil 
  • juice and zest of 1 lemon 
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced 
  • 1 tbs mayo 
  • salt and pepper to taste 

Directions: 

  1. Heat a medium pot with 2+ cups water. Cook the farro according to package directions (anywhere from 10-30 minutes). If you have excess water, drain the farro and fluff it with a fork to cool it down. 
  2. While the farro is cooking make the dressing. Whisk the olive oil, lemon zest and juice, garlic, and mayo in a small mixing bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside. If you are making the salad in advance refrigerate the dressing until you are ready to use. 
  3. After the dressing make the chickpeas. Make sure the chickpeas are drained and rinsed well. Gently pat them dry with paper towel or kitchen towel. Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the 3 tbs olive oil and let it get hot before adding the chickpeas. Add the chickpeas, cumin, garlic powder, and red chili flakes. Season the chickpeas with salt and pepper and give everything a good toss to coat. Cook the chickpeas for about 5 minutes- they should be crispy but not rock hard. Remove the chickpeas from the pan onto a paper towel to keep them crispy and drain any excess oil. 
  4. Once all of the ingredients are prepped it’s time to make the bowl! Layer about 3/4 cup of farrow and 2 cups of arugula into each of two bowls. Add a bit of the dressing and toss. Top the bowl with the chickpeas, red onion, parmesan cheese, and the rest of the dressing. Serve immediately. 

Farmers’ Market Brown Butter Orzo

Our inspiration for this recipe came from a weekend trip to the farmers’ market. There are so many fresh vegetables available this time of year, and we took a few things we bought and turned them into an orzo salad. This pasta has everything we love about summer- zucchini, tomatoes, and fresh corn- combined and tossed together with a delicious brown butter sauce. The sauce gives the veggies a decadent richness and makes the dish really pop. We topped the orzo with fresh basil and feta for the ultimate summer side dish. We like to serve this warm right after it is finished, but it also refrigerates well and leftovers can be served at room temperature.

Brown Butter and Orzo Salad

Makes:8 side servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes Total Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb orzo
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 3 tbs garlic, minced
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 2 ears of corn removed from husk
  • 1 green zucchini
  • 1 English cucumber
  • 1 pound cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese
  • 1 bunch of basil, chiffonaded

Directions:

  1. Cook the orzo per package directions; about 10 minutes for most varieties.
  2. While the orzo is cooking, melt the butter in a pan over medium heat. Once it is nice and bubbly, add the garlic and onion. Sauté for 5 minutes until the onion is translucent. Add the corn and cook 5 more minutes. Remove from the heat.
  3. Chop the squash, cucumber and tomato into bite sized pieces. Combine in a bowl with the orzo. Pour the butter sauce over the top of the orzo and mix until all ingredients are well incorporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Top with the feta and basil. This dish can be served warm or be made ahead of time and served at room temperature.

Air Fried Buffalo Cauliflower

Substituting chicken for cauliflower is one of those swaps that, when done right, makes you forget the original. Don’t get us wrong, we are not trying to pretend that we don’t love good chicken wings, but when we need a healthier swap, we turn to cauliflower. This recipe is super simple and can be used in a ton of different ways. You can serve the cauliflower as an appetizer with ranch or blue cheese dip, put it in a wrap or tacos as a substitute for protein, or on top of a salad.

Air Fried Buffalo Cauliflower

Makes: 4 – 6 servings

Prep Time: 5 minutes Total Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of cauliflower or 16 oz cauliflower florets
  • 1 tbs butter
  • 1 cup of hot sauce (we used Franks)
  • ranch or blue cheese for dipping, optional

Directions:

  1. If you did not buy prepackaged cauliflower, prepare the cauliflower by removing the stem and cutting the florets into bite sized pieces.
  2. In a medium sized sauce pan, melt the butter and stir in the hot sauce. You don’t need to bring the mixture to a boil, you just want to make sure that everything is evenly blended.
  3. Turn the heat off and add the cauliflower. Stir until all of the cauliflower is coated with the hot sauce. Place the cauliflower on the baking sheet for your air fryer. Set the temperature to 400 degrees and air fry for 10-15 minutes until the cauliflower is browned and crispy.
  4. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce, in a wrap, on a salad or straight up!

Bok Choy Salad with Sesame Vinaigrette

We buy bok choy all of the time to pair with our favorite Asian recipes like Mapo Tofu and our Steamed Mushroom Buns. Some of the dishes we make are admittedly heavy and need a veggie side kick to balance things out. We usually sauté bok choy on high heat with a bunch of garlic, but now that the weather is getting warmer we decided to mix things up and serve it raw. Bok choy is a leafy green and is a great crunchy substitute for lettuce in a salad. Use this recipe as a “fridge clean out recipe” and toss in any veggies you have on hand. Bell peppers, avocado, and diced mushrooms would all make great additions to bulk the salad up.

Bok Choy Salad with Sesame Vinaigrette

Makes: 4 servings (side salad)

Prep Time: 20 minutes Total Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 baby bok choy, stems removed and chopped
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup baby carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Ingredients for Dressing:

  • 1/3 cup sesame oil
  • 2 tbs rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Make the dressing. Whisk together the sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, and garlic in a small mixing bowl. Season to taste with salt.
  2. Combine the salad ingredients in a large serving bowl. Toss with the dressing and serve immediately.

Elote (Grilled Mexican Street Corn)

Whether you’ve always been a big Cinco de Mayo celebrator in the past, this year we feel like we need to celebrate all the things while in quarantine. It helps us break up the monotony of daily life at the house and helps remind us there is a real world beyond isolation that is worth celebrating! One of our favorite Mexican dishes is elote- or grilled street corn. It takes just a few ingredients to create the rich, smokey, salty and sweet combination that you get when you eat this dish. It’s a favorite of ours all summer long!

Elote (Grilled Mexican Street Corn)

Makes: 4 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes Total Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 ears of corn, husks removed
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 limes, separated
  • 1/2 cup + manchego cheese, grated or queso fresco, crumbled
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • scallions and cilantro, sliced for garnish (optional)

Directions:

  1. Heat your grill to medium-high heat. Use the 2 tbs olive oil to coat each of the four ears of corn. Season them well with salt and pepper and grill them for about 15 minutes, rotating as each of the sides starts to char. A little bit of char is great, too much tends to taste bad so keep an eye on the corn on the grill!
  2. While the corn is grilling, make the spicy sauce. Whisk together the mayonnaise, paprika, cayenne, and the juice of one lime onto a large plate. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste. Have the shredded manchego or crumbled queso fresco on a second large plate.
  3. When the corn has finished grilling, immediately remove it from the grill and roll each of the four ears in in the sauce plate and then press into the cheese plate. We try to coat the ears of corn with the sauce on all sides but only have the cheese on one side of the corn. Press any extra cheese onto the tops of the corn.
  4. Place the corn back on the grill in indirect heat for just a few minutes to let the cheese melt. Serve immediately with chopped scallions and a slice of the second lime for garnish.

Loaded Greek Sweet Potato Fries

If you are reading the title of this post and are a little confused, hang with us, you are going to LOVE this recipe! We love Greek food and wanted to create a version of all of our favorite flavors meshed into one dish. Even though this recipe is for french fries, it is incredibly healthy. Can we just call it a salad because it’s topped with vegetables? Yes, definitely. Right? This is a recipe for Greek salad that just happens to be served on top of crispy hot sweet potatoes instead of lettuce. We like it as an appetizer or a dinner side dish of grilled chicken kabobs, but respect you if you just dig in with a fork and call it dinner.

Loaded Greek Sweet Potato Fries

Makes: 4 servings as an appetizer or side dish

Prep Time: 20 minutes Total Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3 large sweet potatoes, washed well and patted dry
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 3/4 cup tzaziki sauce
  • 1/2 cup roasted red peppers, dried with a paper towel and diced
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese crumbles
  • 1/2 cup cucumber, diced
  • 1/3 cup kalamata olives, halved (not pictured because quarantine)
  • 1/3 cup red onion, diced
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut the sweet potatoes into fry-sized sticks. Lay the sweet potatoes on a cookie sheet and drizzle with the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and give everything a good toss to coat. Lay the sweet potatoes in a single layer and bake for about 20 minutes, or until they are crispy on the outside and cooked through the center.
  3. When the potatoes have finished cooking, remove them from the cookie sheet and onto a serving platter. Top with the tzaziki in little plops around the fries, followed by the red peppers, feta, cucumber, olives and red onion. Serve immediately.

Fried Rice: Quarantine Edition

Cooking in self imposed quarantine has provided a fun opportunity to get back to the basics of cooking. This recipe reminds us of our days in college – using up what we had in the fridge and freezer to create something out of nothing. Fried rice is the pinnacle of quarantine food. You could make a thousand variations of this recipe with what you have on hand and consider it a thoughtful meal. No rice? Use any similar substitute including quinoa, buckwheat, bulgur, cous cous, or cauliflower rice. For the vegetables you can use literally anything you have on hand that would go well with stir fry. Frozen vegetable mixes are perfect for this but expand the criteria to shaved brussels sprouts, frozen edamame, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower…. the sky is the limit. For the photo below we used a pre-made vegetable stir fry packet that we found in the produce section of the grocery store and supplemented with a packet of frozen veggies. Add it all together in a pan with a few scrambled eggs, soy sauce, garlic, and sriracha and you have yourself a pretty darn tasty meal!

Fried Rice: Quarantine Edition

Makes: 4 servings

Prep Time: 25 minutes Total Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups raw brown or white rice*
  • 4 cups vegetables- this can be prepared stir fry mix, frozen vegetables, anything!
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tbs sesame oil (sub vegetable oil if you don’t have sesame)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbs ginger, minced (optional)
  • 3 tbs soy sauce
  • 2 tbs hot sauce (sriracha or sambal)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • chopped scallions or cilantro, for garnish, optional

Directions:

  1. Bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a large sauce pan. Add the brown rice and cook until tender, about 20 minutes. If the vegetables you are using are frozen, add the vegetables to the top of the pot. Cover and turn off the heat. Let the vegetables sit covered for 5 minutes to thaw.
  2. Heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Add 2 tbs sesame oil and crack the eggs into the pan. Use a spatula to scramble the eggs. Season with salt and pepper. Remove the eggs from the pan onto a plate when they are near done- they will be back in the pan to finish cooking in a few steps.
  3. Put the saute pan back on the heat. Add the remaining sesame oil, garlic, and ginger to the pan if you have them on hand. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until the garlic starts crisping and is fragrant. If you are using fresh vegetables that can be stir fried (leafy greens like kale, shredded brussels sprouts, carrots, broccoli etc), add them to the pan. Stir everything well to coat. Add 1/4 cup water to the pan to help steam and saute the vegetables for 4 minutes.
  4. Add the brown rice and any frozen vegetables if you thawed them into the saute pan. Add the soy sauce, hot sauce, and eggs to the pan as well. Stir everything to combine and cook another 3 minutes so that all of the flavors can blend. Season with salt and pepper. Serve topped with cilantro or green onions if you have them on hand.

* If you have brown rice that is already cooked, use 3 cups. If you have frozen brown rice cook according to package directions and add in at Step 4.