Monday, January 03, 2011

A Working Challenge

Hi ho, hi ho, it's back to work I go...back to the NICU specifically.  I do usually enjoy this month and I'm hoping it goes well but I'm feeling tired already!  Today, you may notice several bloggers talking about a new challenge:  Eat. Live. Be.

 This is a challenge that Cate and Sarah organized to encourage us to set healthy goals for the new year.  Some people are hoping to lose weights.  Others want to exercise more.  What do I want to do....cook!  Yep...cook!  Seems simple but somehow, between working, church, and other things I tend to just roast vegetables, make a salad, use frozen things, make eggs, or eat leftovers.  Kind of makes for a pretty boring diet.  So...I want to start cooking again!  When I was making food for some friends after they had a baby, I realized that I miss cooking.  It just feels good.  Yes, I bake.  Baking is easy.  But cooking, cooking requires thought and planning...and time!  We're supposed to give our starting stats:  let's just say that over the last two months of last year, I really cooked (excluding Thanksgiving) maybe once!  So, my beginning goal (especially since I'm going to be on a rotation where I'm on call every 4th night) is to cook once every two weeks.  Now, that doesn't mean I can't cook more.  In fact, that would be great...but to start with, twice a month. 

What do I need to do in order to achieve this...plan.  I need to find some recipes that are good for one-two people.  I've already got a lot of recipes stockpiled that I want to try, so I should be okay...BUT, if you have any ideas...feel free to share! 

Now, in honor of the beginning of cooking, here is a recipe that I have played around with some.  It's not perfect and definitely could use some work, but if you like black bean burgers, I think you'll like this one.  It's adaped from a recipe Joe posted quite some time ago.

Black-Bean Mushroom Burgers (adapted from Joe from The New Vegetarian Grill)

1 onion, finely chopped
10 ounces baby portobello mushrooms, finely chopped (I used two...this was a LOT)
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs (Joe used 4 slices of toasted bread)
15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can diced green chiles
Joe added this - 2 ounces (about 1/2 cup) crumbled goat cheese - it would be FANTASTIC!
salt and fresh ground black pepper
olive oil
salsa verde or salsa, if desired for serving

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add onion - cook until golden, about 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in mushrooms, garlic, cumin and paprika - cook until the mushrooms have released their juices, about 4 to 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly.

Add mushroom mixture, beans and chiles into the food processor bowl - pulse until combined, but not smooth (I did mine a bit too much so it was quite soft) - leave some chunky bits. Scoop mixture into the bowl with the bread crumbs (some other recipes use oatmeal) - add goat cheese (if using) and season with salt and fresh ground black pepper. Mix ingredients together, then divide into the size patties your desire. With dampened hands, shape each portion into slightly thick patties (I didn't do mine thick enough)

Heat a skillet to high heat.  Spray the pan or drizzle with olive oil.  This is important to give the patties a crisp outside.  Place patties onto the skillet and cook until thoroughly heated through and the outside has crisped, about 5-8 minutes per side. Serve burgers on toasted muffins, sandwich thins, or atop a salad.  Top with salsa if desired.  Enjoy!

Eat. Live. Be. Bloggers:
Sarah Caron

Cate O’Malley
Maris Callahan 
Chris Arpante
Jenna - FireMom
Tri-Fit Mom


Jen_from_NJ said...

Great goal. Happy cooking! Hope you have a wonderful 2011!

starnes family said...

NICU......sweet bebes. You're an angel! That must be a tough job.

Excited to join this challenge with you!

xo, Casey from

FireMom said...

That sounds lovely. Can't wait to try it. :)

Great to be in the challenge with you!

Joanne said...

I love this goal! I'm in my second year of med school and am kind of dreading residency knowing how little time I'll have to cook. Looking forward to see how you do!

Sarah Caron said...

I love, love, love your goal. More people should do that (cook, I mean).

As for the burgers, they sound tasty. I love black bean burgers with avocado, salsa and cheddar. Mmm.

Cate O'Malley said...

Those burgers sound like a great way to kick off the new challenge. Goat cheese? I'm there!

Rivki Locker said...

I love your goal and look forward to following your progress! Happy 2011.

Allison said...

NICU ... I can't imagine finding time to cook. I am looking forward to seeing what you find time to cook. Your entries look delicious. You can do it! Happy times in the kitchen in 2011.

The JR said...

I saw that challenge on her site.

Good luck with it.

chris said...

Yeah! Excited to do this with you.

Since I am just me, I used to always end up with too much food that went to waste. Several years back, I started quartering the recipes and using smaller pans. :) A lot of 1/4 cup measurements! lol