I'm green with envy that several of my friends are going to Washington, D.C., to celebrate Obama's inauguration. But we'll be having plenty of fun at our house hosting an inauguration-night dinner party-serving Barack Obama's favorite food.
It turns out that Obama is a comfort-food guy. His wife, Michelle, has said in interviews that her husband's favorite grub is a steaming bowl of chili, one of my favorite foods as well. And it's perfect for a party, since it's easy to make and the flavor improves with time (i.e., you can make it in advance and reheat it for the party).
One of my favorite healthy chili recipes is a super-simple Beef & Bean Chile Verde (recipe below) that's ready in 30 minutes. I'll serve it with bowls of chopped fresh cilantro, diced red onion, shredded Monterey Jack and my favorite hot sauce for topping.
Here's the rest of my Inauguration Night menu:
Blueberry-Lime Margaritas: Seems like a festive way to start the night, doesn't it?
Quick Guacamole: Mashed avocado, some homemade or store-bought salsa, a little lemon juice and salt makes an easy guacamole. Serve with crunchy chips and veggies.
Wholesome Cornbread: The perfect accompaniment to chili. I'll mix the dry ingredients in the morning before I leave for work so I can get the cornbread into the oven quickly when I get home.
Swirled Cheesecake Brownies: I love the combination of chocolate and cream cheese, plus I can make them ahead of time.
Beef & Bean Chile Verde
1 pound 93%-lean ground beef
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
1 16-ounce jar green salsa, green enchilada sauce or taco sauce
1/4 cup water
1 15-ounce can pinto or kidney beans, rinsed
Cook beef, bell pepper and onion in a large saucepan over medium heat, crumbling the meat with a wooden spoon, until the meat is browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Add garlic, chili powder, cumin and cayenne; cook until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Stir in salsa (or sauce) and water; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in beans and cook until heated through, about 1 minute.
Makes 4 servings, about 1 1/2 cups each.
NUTRITION INFORMATION: Per serving: 307 calories; 8 g fat (3 g sat, 3 g mono); 64 mg cholesterol; 29 g carbohydrate; 27 g protein; 6 g fiber; 516 mg sodium; 641 mg potassium. Nutrition bonus: Vitamin C (100% daily value), Vitamin A & Zinc (40% dv), Folate (20% dv), Potassium (18% dv).
MAKE AHEAD TIP: Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Reheat just before serving.
By Carolyn Malcoun
When associate editor Carolyn Malcoun came to Vermont to attend New England Culinary Institute, she knew she didn't want to work in a restaurant but knew that she wanted to do something in the food industry. Luckily she discovered EatingWell, where she's able to combine her love of food and writing.
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