Mexican Chili

The best friend of the itty bitty city kitchen is the one pot meal.

Only pot to make room for on the limited counter space.

And more importantly, only one pot to wash.

This is especially important after a long day at work. It’s even more important on hockey night.

Two nights ago, the Rangers thwarted the Bruins plans for a sweep, winning game 4 in the series in overtime 4-3. The series stands at 3-1. Bruins win, they’re in. Rangers win, they force a game 6 and hold onto Stanley Cup hopes.

This is going to be an intense game. You’re not going to want to have to wash stacks of dishes.

It’s supposed to be summer. It’s supposed to be time for seafood and burgers and freshness.

But, like I said before, in New York it’s 53 degrees with 23 mph winds.

Dinner calls for something that will warm us up. And be easy to eat during the game.

But after a long, cold winter of soups and stews and potatoes and roasts, I needed something different.

I am so ready for summer, and summer makes me think of Mexican.

Peppers, black beans, avocados, spicy chorizo, a crisp refreshing Corona.

How to take those flavors and make an easy to eat meal (tacos are too messy for hockey-watching on the couch) that will chase away the chill in the air.

This is my Mexican chili

You will need:

  • 1 bell pepper (any color is fine. I used green because those looked the best at the store)
  • 1/2 a yellow onion
  • 2 portabella mushrooms
  • 2 cans black bean
  • 1 can red kidney beans
  • 1 can diced tomatos
  • 1 can corn
  • olive oil
  • chorizo (note if you want to make this vegetarian leave out chorizo and add in some taco seasoning instead)

Drizzle olive oil in the pan. I like to use my aluminum pot here.

Add the chopped onion and pepper and cook until soft.


Chop the chorizo and add to the pepper and onion.

Let cook so the chorizo flavors the oil and the peppers and onion.


Add the cleaned and chopped portabella.

When the mushrooms are cooked down, pour in the can of diced tomatoes.

Stir and let come to a bubble.


Wash and drain the beans and drain the corn. When the tomato juices bubble, add the beans and the corn to the pot.

Stir. Cover. Let all the flavors come together.


Serve in bowls and add toppings as you wish.

Some ideas are taco cheese, monterey jack cheese, salsa, my avocado yogurt sauce (see here ) or even some crushed tortilla chips.


Lime. Corona.


Or, even better, try this little drink concoction.

Panache. (Also called a Shandy.)

This is a fantastic summer cocktail.

You just need any light beer and limonade.

Limonade is a French soda. It’s like a carbonated lemonade.

Going with the Mexican food thing, we used Corona.

Pour the beer into a frosty glass and add some limonade – roughly 2 parts beer to one part limonade. If you want it more citrusy, you can go one to one.


Chili. Chips. Panache.


Oh. And the game. Don’t forget to turn that on.

Let’s go Rangers!

Hockey Night Calzones

Meatless Mondays.

They’re great. They get everyone thinking about the effect of meat on our bodies and on the environment. They also help you detox after a weekend of heavy eating and boozing.

I like to go against the grain a little though.

We go meatless on Fridays.

Maybe it’s because with Greek Easter and Easter so far apart this year we had double the Lent. Maybe it’s just in me from years of Catholic school that Friday is a meat free day. But whatever it is, here’s my logic.

Rather than undo whatever you did over the weekend, why not set yourself up for some good choices?

That sounded lame didn’t it?

I’m sticking with blaming Catholic school.

Actually, I can blame my mom.

Now that I think about it, Friday night was always pizza night when I was a kid.

In case you didn’t guess by now, my parents are Italian. Being Italian, my mom and her family used to own a pizzeria. (My boyfriend’s Greek father also owned a pizzeria. Those Greeks just thing they can do everything!)

My mom came home every Friday and pulled out the pizza pan from the pizzeria, that had made hundreds and hundreds of pizzas and that was perfectly seasoned by the brick ovens of the pizzeria.

My friends were always in awe of the fact that she MADE pizza at home for dinner.

It’s not that hard really. I’ll show you some time.

So after a lifetime of Friday night pizza nights, I do admit that I often make pizza or pasta when Friday rolls around.

It being the Stanley Cup Playoffs, pizza is a great option.

But I wanted to mix it up a little bit.

So here are some super simple calzones. Perfect hockey food.

You will need

  • Frozen pizza dough, defrosted (feel free to make your own, but why?)
  • 1 carton white button mushrooms, sliced
  • spinach
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, diced
  • half small onion, chopped
  • ricotta cheese
  • parmesan cheese
  • olive oil
  • black pepper

I almost always have frozen pizza dough in the freezer. It’s a nice safety net for last minute dinners or for those when you have no idea what to make.

To defrost the dough, place the dough on a floured plate in the morning and cover with a kitchen towel. I suppose you could use a paper towel. But my mom always used a kitchen towel. And as much as us girls hate to admit it, we tend to do things the way mom did.

When you get home from work, preheat oven to 400.

Drizzle olive oil into a pan and add onions and garlic, cooking on medium low until slightly browned.


Add the sliced mushrooms and cook until brown.


While the mushrooms cook (sauteed mushrooms is one of my top 3 kitchen smells by the way. Closely behind cinnamon baking and chocolate melting), divide the dough in half. Roll out each half as if you were making two mini pizzas.

Place the stretched dough on a foil covered cookie sheet. You can grease the foil lightly if you’re scared of sticking.


When the mushrooms are cooked down add a couple handfuls of spinach and carefully stir (otherwise you’ll throw spinach all over your stovetop like I did)


Wilt the spinach and add a few grinds of pepper. I’m adding parmesan later so no salt needed here.

Meanwhile, spread the dough with ricotta cheese, leaving space around the edges so you can seal the calzones.


When the spinach mushroom mix is cooked, scoop half onto each of the ricotta covered dough, making sure to confine the mixture to one side of the dough so you can fold it over in a minute.


Carefully fold the dough over, pinching the edges to seal.


Bake at 400 for about 20-25 minutes.

If you’re making this ahead, you may want to undercook them a bit so you don’t overcook them the night you heat them up.

Grab a beer. Kick up your feet. And cheer on your favorite team.