Marge Perry, Newsday's weekly 3 Simple columnist, also writes, broadcasts, teaches and speaks about cooking, food and nutrition.
SLOW COOKER DENVER GREEN CHILI
2 pounds center-cut pork, cut in 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon canola oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 jalapeño peppers, seeded and chopped
2 cups chopped onion
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 (14.5-ounce) cans diced no-salt tomatoes
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 (4.5-ounce) cans diced green chilies
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Toss the pork with the flour, salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high; add the pork and cook, browning on all sides, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic, jalapeño, onion and cook until the vegetables are slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a slow cooker.
2. Add the cumin, chili powder, oregano, tomatoes, broth, tomato paste and canned chilies; cook on low 6 to 8 hours. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Makes 8 servings.
Nutritional analysis for each serving: 283 calories, 25 g protein, 16 g carbohydrates, 5 g fiber, 13 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 786 mg sodium
TIP: Make the chili a day ahead and keep it warm all day on the low setting of the slow cooker.
BLACK PEPPER BISCUITS
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked or very coarsely ground black pepper
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut in small bits
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon melted butter
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
2. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and black pepper in a large bowl. Using a pastry blender or 2 knives cut the butter pieces into the flour mixture until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. With a rubber spatula, stir in the milk until the mixture is just moistened; knead the dough 4 to 5 times in the bowl to bring it together. Form the dough into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate 15 minutes.
3. Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface to about 3/4-inch thick. Use a 2 1/4-inch biscuit cutter to cut 12 biscuits (rerolling scraps as needed). Place the biscuits on an ungreased baking sheet, brush the tops with the melted butter and bake until puffed and golden brown, about 14 to 15 minutes. Makes 12 servings.
Nutritional analysis for each serving: 140 calories, 2 g protein, 13 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 9 g fat, 6 g saturated fat, 213 mg sodium
DENVER OMELET BITES
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 green bell pepper, finely diced
1/2 red bell pepper, finely diced
4 ounces ham, finely diced (about 3/4 cup)
8 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons light shredded Cheddar (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Coat 2 (12-cup) mini-muffin tins with cooking spray.
2. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high; add the onion, bell peppers and ham and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened and the ham lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Spoon the mixture evenly into the 24 muffin cups.
3. Whisk the eggs, milk, salt and pepper in a large bowl until well combined. Transfer in batches to a liquid measuring cup (with a spout) and pour the egg evenly into the muffin cups.
4. Bake until the eggs puff and are nearly dry in the center, about 8 to 9 minutes. Remove from the oven, sprinkle the tops with the shredded cheese, and return to the oven to slightly melt the cheese, about another 2 minutes.
Makes 24 servings.
Nutritional analysis for each serving: 43 calories, 3 g protein, 1 g carbohydrate, 0 fiber, 3 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 109 mg sodium