Hatch Green Chile Pesto plus a Few Other Recipes

This is one of my favorite times of the year:  Hatch Green Chile season!  I was born and raised in New Mexico, so this stuff is part of my DNA. Growing up, it seemed every corner had someone roasting and selling green chiles.  The smell was so good.  That smell also meant it was back-to school time and fall is just around the corner.  Now that I live in Texas, it's a treat to go by Market Street and smell that chile roasting.  And, of course, I have to buy some - both to eat now and to freeze later.  The green chile is delicious to eat it on so many things - eggs, sandwiches, salads, pizza, chicken, soups, popcorn, and I've even had it in some desserts. Not only does the green chile taste good, it's also a good source of vitamins A and C, fiber, and capsaicin.  Capsaicin is what gives peppers their spicy flavor and it can help reduce inflammation in the body.   In sharing some ideas with you today, I wanted to use that chile in ways you may not have tried yet.  Let's start with a great recipe: Green Chile Pesto.

Here are the ingredients you need to gather: olive oil, lime juice, spinach, parsley, garlic, green chiles, and pine nuts.
 Place the spinach and parsley in a food processor and pulse to finely chop; add the chiles, garlic, pine nuts and lime juice.  Continue to pulse until well blended. 
 Slowly drizzle in olive oil to make a smooth sauce; season with salt and pepper to taste.  Add to cooked, hot pasta and toss to coat. 
 Stir in some chopped or shredded chicken. 
 Serve with veggies and fruit to round out a great meal! 

Green Chile Pesto:
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh baby spinach
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
6 green New Mexico Hatch chiles, roasted and peeled, with stems and seeds removed
3 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/4 to 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound rigatoni, cooked
3 grilled chicken breasts, chopped
Place spinach and parsley or cilantro in a food processor or blender and pulse to finely chop. Add chiles, garlic, pine nuts and lime juice and continue to pulse. With the machine running, slowly add just enough extra-virgin olive oil to make a smooth sauce. Season with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve about 1/4 cup of the cooking water and add it to the pesto to thin the sauce and make it creamy and silky.
Put the pasta in a large serving bowl. Add the pesto and chicken, toss to coat and serve.
Makes 4-6 servings. (adapted from azcentral.com)

Here's a few more easy ways to add some green chile to your meals:

  •  Stir into chicken salad: grab some of our light chicken salad, stir in some chopped green chilies and you have a delicious Southwest Chicken Salad. 
  •  In a blender or food processor,  blend on bottle of Ranch dressing (*perhaps use a Bolthouse Ranch) and 2-3 tablespoons chopped green chile.  This tastes great when drizzled over salad greens with grilled chicken or shrimp. 

  • Mix together equal parts Classic Wholly Guacamole and plain Greek yogurt; stir in some chopped green chilies.  Enjoy as a dip or instead of mayo on your favorite sandwich.

  • In a medium skillet, heat  2 teaspoons olive oil; saute diced squash, onion and garlic.  Add a few tablespoons chopped green chile and stir together; season with salt and pepper to taste.  


Build a Better Lunchbox

Back to school can be such a busy time.  Knowing what to pack for lunches can add to the challenge of this time.  As a busy mom myself, I want to make sure my kids also have a healthy and tasty lunch. We need something quick and easy to put together for these lunches.  Here are some tips on building a better lunch box, followed by 5 easy lunch ideas. 

  • Choose a starch and a protein, such as whole grain crackers and turkey.  They have fiber and protein which will help keep them full and focused all day long.

  • Choose a fruit and a vegetable.  The recommendation is nine servings per day.  Make the most of lunch by choosing one of each.

  • Add a snack for later.  Try a Kind bar, Teddy Grahams, granola bar, or fruit leather. 

  • Now that you’ve built a better lunch, don’t forget to add a water or milk to wash it all down with!

  • Visit our deli and produce sections for quick, easy, prepared items.  For example, choose some of our Fresh Cut Fruits and Vegetables to help reduce prep time.  Don’t forget about the salad bar!  This is a great place to find chopped turkey, ham, eggs, shredded carrots and many other items.

Now let’s put all this together and get started with some great lunch ideas!

Taking a cue from the classic PB & J sandwich, this wrap has a new twist.  Try making a Peanut Butter Wrap (Multi-Grain Flat –Out Flatbread, PB, vanilla granola, chopped apples) + Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies + Greek yogurt.

How about some Roast Beef and Swiss Roll – ups?  Add some carrots, blueberries and water to finish off this lunch.

Leftovers can make a great lunch.  Try shredding some chicken; stir in some barbeque sauce and some shredded carrots.  Use this to make a sandwich on a whole wheat bagel thin.  Add some broccoli, Ranch dip and an apricot!

When gathering lunch ideas, I asked some kids to share their favorite lunch.   To my delight, one of them told me “Salad – Chef Salad”.  So here’s my version of a chef salad: chopped ham and turkey (both of which I found on the salad bar), sliced hard boiled egg and shredded carrots.  Don’t forget the Ranch dressing!  Try pairing this salad with whole wheat crackers and some blueberries to complete the meal.

Here’s a lunch for a little bigger appetite.  Turkey pepperoni, low-fat cheese cubes, whole wheat crackers, olives, grape tomatoes, Greek yogurt, a plum and some water!

Want some more ideas?  Look for our Build a Better Lunchbox brochures in the store.  These even have a shopping list to help you get started! 


Key Lime Mousse - Raw, GF, Vegan

A few weeks ago, a dear friend invited several couples and their kids over for dinner. After everyone confirmed they would be there, the next question was “Any food allergies/sensitivities/lifestyles?”

Most people aren’t fazed by this question anymore. In fact, I am surprised when I don’t get asked.
With the rise of food allergies over the last few decades, in combination with the steady flow of new books that proclaim that a certain food or food group should be eliminated from your plate, it’s a wonder we can eat anything anymore.

My turn to host the group of friends will be coming up soon. I came across this recipe from the Food  and Nutrition magazine (May/June 2015) and imagined it sitting beautifully on the counter welcoming all gluten free, vegan, raw, and paleo friends alike!

My favorite things about this recipe:
•    Can be made the night before
•    Perfectly portioned
•    Accommodates a variety of food allergies/preferences
•    ~20% of your daily needs for potassium – a mineral helpful in supporting a healthy blood pressure
•    11g of fiber per serving!! Mostly from the avocado – but you don’t have to tell your guests.

Key Lime Mousse
•    ½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes (look in baking)
•    ¼ cup walnuts
•    ¼ cup Medjool dates, pitted (look in produce)
•    2 avocados, peeled and pitted
•    1 ripe banana
•    1/8 cup lemon juice
•    ¼ cup lime juice
•    1 tablespoon lime zest
•    4 tablespoons maple syrup (the good stuff – not pancake syrup)
•    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
•    ¼ teaspoon sea salt, divided
•    Non dairy whipped cream – optional

Place the coconut, walnuts, dates and a pinch of sea salt into a food processor or high speed blender and mix until combined and crumb-like. It will look like bread crumbs. Don’t over mix. Place ¼ of the mixture into each of 4 glasses and place in refrigerator to set.

Combine the avocados, banana, lemon juice, lime juice, lime zest, maple syrup, vanilla extract and remaining salt into the food processor or high speed blender and puree until creamy.

If you are serving immediately, pour ¼ of mixture into each cup. If you are making it ahead, cover and store in the refrigerator. The lemon and lime juice will help keep the avocado from turning brown. However if the next day you see the top of the mixture is slightly brown, mix it up and then serve.

You can top with a non dairy whipped cream and garnish with zest, coconut flakes, or lime wedges.

Tip: this can also be served parfait style, alternating the crust and mousse or without a crust at all!
Recipe adapted from Food and Nutrition Magazine (May/June 2015)