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Delicious Dinners

3-Bean Chili

1 cup each chili or pinto beans, black beans, and kidney beans
1 cup chopped raw tomatoes or stewed tomatoes
1/2 cup each chopped raw onion, celery, and green pepper
½ cup cooked or raw corn
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup water (or juices from cans, if cans are used)
1 beer or non-alcoholic beer, or 1 ½ additional cups water
1 package soy crumbles (equivalent to 1 pound ground meat)
3 tbsp. chili powder
3 tsp. cumin powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp. crushed red pepper
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients and cook until vegetables are soft and stew is slightly thickened and a deep red color (2-3 hours on stovetop or 4-8 hours in a crockpot).

Serving suggestion: May garnish with chopped green onion, chopped cilantro, grated low-fat cheddar cheese or soy cheese. Serve with salad and whole-wheat crackers.

Preparation hints: Chili may be cooked in advance, chilled or frozen and reheated; add water if moistness is needed. Soy crumbles have the consistency of ground meat and can be found in health food stores and some grocery stores. Spices can be altered to taste. Water can be added to reduce spiciness or thickness of stew.

Grilled Stuffed Eggplant

2 whole eggplants
2 cups cooked quinoa*
8 raw mushrooms, sliced
½ raw red pepper, chopped
1 zuchini, sliced
1 cup soy cheese or low-fat cheese
3 tbsp. olive oil
1/8 cup wine or ½ lemon
1 tsp. garlic
1 tsp. crushed red pepper
Salt and pepper to taste

Cut tops off eggplants. Hollow out eggplants by cutting down in a circular manner and trying to avoid puncturing skin. Cut the removed eggplant into chunks and place in frying pan with oil, wine or lemon, vegetables and spices. Saute until vegetables are tender but still crunchy; set aside. Cook quinoa according to package directions (if no directions, bring 2 cups water to boil and add 1 cup quinoa; cover and simmer for 20 minutes). Blend eggplant mixture and quinoa with cheese. Fill hollowed eggplants and cover with tops. Double-wrap in foil. Cook in campfire or over hot coals, repeatedly turning, for 1 hour.

Serving suggestion: Serve with veggie kebabs, summer slaw or fruit salad.

Preparation hints: *Quinoa is a whole grain that is common to South American cooking. It can be found in ethnic markets, health food stores, and some grocery stores. Pre-cook the quinoa according to package instructions, or by adding 2 cups boiling water to 1 cup quinoa, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Eggplants can be prepared in advance and kept in a chilled container.

Author’s bio: Lynda Smith Hoggan is a Professor of Public Health in the Biological Sciences Department at Mount San Antonio College, Walnut, California.