They can’t all be winners

I love party food. This means chips, pizza, appetizers, and of course desserts. Obviously, I don’t have parties too frequently, and they aren’t necessarily the best for you (by default), so they’re more of a treat than a regular occurrence. But, with a little tweaking they can be healthier, and incorporated into more meals (at least I think so).

Prior to my trip to Trader Joe’s on Saturday, I check out their Fearless Flyer to see what deals they had, and also perused their website where they have just a few favorite recipes listed. I was immediately drawn to the Thai Chicken Pizza recipe, since it seemed so different. I’m always up for pizza, because as one of my fiancé’s teeshirts boasts, pizza is the best!

Unfortunately this pizza wasn’t as good as I had hoped. I think it might have been the peanut satay sauce used solely as the sauce for the pizza – it was a little too much. The cheese, scallions, carrot, and cabbage mix worked nicely, though. I left out the chicken because I forgot to grab the Chickenless Chicken strips I purchased from TJ’s out of my parent’s fridge when I was leaving. Maybe the lack of chicken was the culprit. Oh well, I’m just going to have to make up for it by making some Chickenless Buffalo Chicken Pizza next week.

My other culinary adventure this week, though, turned out to be a success. I made a Smokin’ Hoppin’ John, from The Meat Lover’s Meatless Cookbook by Kim O’Donel. I’ve seen variations of this recipe in quite a few different places, but finally settled on giving this variation a try, mainly because I already had the cookbook out when I was trying to plan our meals for the week.

Since I had the opportunity to throw it all in a pot and let it simmer for 25 minutes, it provided the perfect opportunity for me to fold the laundry pile that continued to grow as the week progressed. I also got to squeeze in a 45 minute yoga practice before starting to cook, and everything was ready in a reasonable amount of time. And I had leftovers… hello lunch!

Smokin’ Hoppin’ John via The Meat Lover’s Meatless Cookbook
– Serves 6 –

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium sized onion, chopped coarsely
1 cup uncooked medium or long grain rice (I used long)
1/2 Tsp smoked paprika
1 (20-oz) bag frozen black-eyed peas
2-3 cups water or vegetable stock (I used water)
1/4 cup beer you like to drink (optional, but I added it!)
1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, minced
1 Tsp salt or soy sauce (I used smoked salt)
scallions, grape tomatoes, chopped parsley, shredded cheddar, and/or hot sauce as garnishes

Directions:
1. Over medium heat, heat the oil in a large saucepan or heavy-bottomed pot. Add the onions and garlic and cook until the onions are slightly softened, about 5 minutes.
2. Add the rice and stir to coat with the aromatics. Allow to toast for 1 minute. Add the smoked paprika and stir to coat.
3. Add the peas, followed by 2 cups of water, the beer (if using), and the chipotle chile. If not using beer, add 1/4 cup of water in it’s place. Bring to a lively simmer, lower heat to low, cover, and cook for 25 minutes without lifting the lid. At 25 minutes, check the rice for both doneness and moisture. The rice and peas should be moist, but not super soupy. If the mixture is too dry, add additional liquid, a few Tbsp at a time (up to 1 cup). Return to the lid and allow to cook for an additional 5-7 minutes.
4. Add the salt or soy sauce, stir, and taste, adding more as you see fit.
5. Serve hot with any or all fixins <– I used shredded cheddar, and a chipotle hot sauce

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Filed under Pizza, Recipe, Vegetarian/Vegan

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