Hotbox Hipster

a pittsburgh hippie chick's unbridled love for all things food related


Soups and Stews

a vegetarian stew… hearty enough for carnivores

so this is some delicious Moroccan chickpea stew… i know to some it may sound “yucky”… or a little too ‘fancy’ for the average home cook; but i’m here to tell you that you couldn’t be more wrong on both accounts!! this is one of the easier dishes i make on a regular basis, and it is absolutely yummy. i have to say, sometimes it’s nice to enjoy a dish without meat in it too! this recipe comes straight out of  Cooking Light, the November 2007 issue. when i think about this dish, it evokes thoughts of sitting beside a cozy fire in the comfort of my own home.  -but the funny thing about it is… if you serve it over the cous-cous like i always do, it’s just as yummy to have it in the spring and summer with the nice breeze blowing it’s aroma out your window and onto the patio!!  bottom line… ‘ u gonna like it’.

chickpea stew
super healthy and super delish!!


Add a swirl of olive oil to a nice, sturdy dutch oven. (large saucepan) Dice a large onion (small dice), set aside. Mince two or three cloves of garlic, set aside.  Cut two large carrots (peeled) into small bite sized pieces, set aside. Take a jalapeno pepper (for more heat do not seed- for mild dish seed it) and finely dice it.  set aside.  doing all of this prep work first makes throwing this one pot meal together a piece of cake… trust me.  Take three medium yukon gold potatoes, wash and dry and then cut into bite sized pieces. i never peel them, ever. set them aside.  OK, turn on your heat. medium high will do. Once your oil is hot, add your onion, carrot and jalapeno. Saute for a few minutes and then add your garlic. continue to saute until onion is tender, stirring frequently. (about five mins) Take and add your potatoes, and then go ahead and turn heat down to medium. give a quick stir and then  open up your 3 cans:  chickpeas, canned diced tomatoes and vegetable broth. drain and rinse your chickpeas. add to pot, along with the undrained tomatoes, and the can of vegetable broth. measure and add your spices, according to ingredient list below. give it a stir, and then let it come to just a boil. cover and reduce heat to simmer. give it 15 mins like this, or until potato is tender. while it’s cooking, prepare a box of couscous, which has the same difficulty factor as making toast. 🙂 you’ll serve your stew atop a scoop of this, it’s delish and the texture is genius.  take a nice rip of cilantro, chop and stir into stew when cooking complete. reserve a little to sprinkle over your bowl as well. Take out your plain yogurt, and stir to smooth out a bit. Once all of this is ready, take a nice shallow bowl, add a  scoop of couscous to it. Top with a generous ladle of stew. Top with a nice dollop of yogurt, and sprinkle some cilantro over all. Eyeball the gorgeous dish you are about to consume… and be proud of yourself. Not only can you make something that looks this beautiful, you can pat yourself on the back for doing something healthy.

peace and love, yo.

shopping list

large onion

yukon gold potatoes

large carrots

1 jalapeno pepper

2 or 3 cloves of garlic

28oz can diced tomatoes

15oz can vegetable broth

15oz can chick peas (garbanzo beans)

2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp  ground tumeric

1/4 tsp salt

box of plain couscous

fresh cilantro

1 small container of plain  yogurt (not greek, it’s too thick)




once upon a bowl of chili

once upon a bowl of chili
like fuzzy slippers for your belly...

this is my ‘go to’ chili recipe and i’ve been pleasing palates with it for exactly 9 years now, since my nanny days in Fox Chapel, PA. i’ve tweaked it a dozen times, from switching out the beans to reworking the entire way it’s prepped. i used to cook the meat separately, and add it to the chili pot… which seems completely crazy now that i think back. i was missing out on all those yummy browned bits and oily beefy juices that seep from the cooked meat. if you use 85 (ground round) or leaner… grease will never be an issue the way i prep it. feel free to switch out the beans based on what you’re in the mood for. i usually go with dark red kidney beans and navy beans, and the end product ends up being red, white and green. For Steeler season i use black beans and chick peas and a yellow bell pepper. As long as you stick fairly close to the recipe ~ it will always be great.  It’s gourmet, without being overly fussy. It has a realistic 1 hour start to finish going for it.  My tots devour it served over brown rice, and for the grown ups… cornbread muffins and an ice cold beer round out the menu with simplistic perfection.

Ze ingredients

2 T olive oil

1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

large chopped onion

two cloves of minced fresh garlic

large bell pepper (u pick the color) -if  you love peppers, use two!

2 cans of beans- drained and rinsed

1- 28oz.  can tomato sauce

1- 28oz. can seasoned diced tomatoes

1 pound of lean ground beef

1 T chili powder

1 T ground cumin

1 t. salt

1/2 t. black pepper

i usually do a shake or two of dried basil, garlic powder, and coriander as well. (totally optional)

1/2 cup loosely packed fresh chopped parsley or cilantro to be stirred in at end (again optional, but truly brings this to life!)

OK- here’s what you do.

in a large pot, add olive oil. Heat over md/high heat. Add the red pepper flakes, and once you see them begin to sweat and move in the oil, time to add the onions and pepper. Do so. Stir. Saute for three minutes, and then add ground beef and garlic. Cook until browned and cooked through. Add all spices. stir to combine. saute another minute or so to bring out flavors in the dried herbs and spices. Add sauce and tomatoes. Add drained and rinsed beans. stir. cover and reduce heat to md/low. cook for 15 mins. remove lid at 15 mins and stir well once. cook 15 mins longer, leaving a gap in the lid. Prepare brown rice or elbow mac or whatever you like to serve your chili over. Stir in the fresh parsley or cilantro at the end. the chili is ready to eat at this point, but if your family is not… just leave it on the smallest simmer for a bit, and it will be fine.  Serve up a delicious bowl with a generous showering of  yellow or white cheddar cheese…  ohhh yeahhh…. it’s healthy comfort food at it’s best.


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