Cooking For Life

Better health through better eating.

A healthy diet is important, not just for those who want to drop a few pounds, but for all — if we want to feel and look our best. To create a healthy meal repertoire, we’ve gathered a few step-by-step recipes from Bianca Phillips, Memphis Flyer editor and author of the cookbook Cookin’ Crunk: Eatin’ Vegan in the Dirty South, and Carolyn Nichols, nutrition education coordinator with the Church Health Center (CHC) and contributing author for the CHC’s 40 Days to Better Living Cookbook: Your Easy-to-Use Guide to Delicious, Healthful Meals. Be well and bon appetit!


Chipotle Chickpea Chili


1 tablespoon canola oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
8 button mushrooms, sliced
8 ounces extra-firm regular
 tofu, drained and cubed
1 canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce, minced
1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes with juice
1 can (14 to 16 ounces) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 can (14 to 16 ounces) kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon adobo sauce from the canned chipotle chiles
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin


Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms begin to cook down, 5 to 7 minutes.

Add the tofu and chile and cook, stirring frequently, until the tofu is lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juice and the chickpeas, kidney beans, corn, tomato paste, chili powder, adobo sauce, salt, and cumin and stir well. Decrease the heat to low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.

Makes: 4 to 6 servings




From Cookin’ Crunk: Eatin’ Vegan in the Dirty South by Bianca Phillips

Red Beans and Quinoa


2 cups dry red kidney beans (about 1 pound), soaked          in water for 8 to 12 hours
1 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
2 bay leaves
8 cups water
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup quinoa
hot sauce


Put the beans, onion, celery, garlic, oil, salt, Cajun seasoning, tarragon, thyme, pepper, and bay leaves in a large soup pot and stir to combine. Add 6 cups of the water and bring to a boil over high heat. Decrease the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour.

Increase the heat to high and stir in the green and red bell peppers. Bring to a boil, then decrease the heat to medium, cover, and simmer until the beans and peppers are tender, 20 to 40 minutes. Cooking times for beans can vary depending on a number of factors, including how old they are, how they’ve been stored, and how long they’ve been soaked, so be sure to check often for tenderness.

Meanwhile, put the remaining 2 cups of water and the quinoa in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Decrease the heat to low, cover, and cook until the quinoa is tender and the water is absorbed, about 20 minutes.
Remove the bay leaves from the beans and stir in the quinoa. Pass the hot sauce at the table.

Makes: 6 servings
Advance preparation required




From The Church Health Center by Carolyn Nichols

Chickpea Curry with Basmati Rice


3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large red onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
4 Serrano chilies, chopped
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 bunch Swiss chard, chopped
1 small head cauliflower, cut into small florets
2 cups water
½ cup golden raisins
½ cup cashews
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
1/4th  teaspoon salt
1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
1 cup basmati rice


Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Heat a large nonstick skillet to medium high heat. Add olive oil.  Let oil heat for 30 seconds.

Add onion and sauté for 3 minutes.  Add garlic, chilies, and tomatoes and cook an additional 2 minutes. Stir in chard, cauliflower. and water, bring to a boil.

Turn heat down to medium and stir in raisins, cashews, cumin, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, salt, chickpeas and turmeric. Cover and cook for 15 minutes on medium heat, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, cook rice according to package directions.

Place rice evenly on 6 plates. Place equal amounts of chickpea mixture on top of rice.

Makes: 6 servings

Serving Size: about 1 cup


One Serving Contains:
Protein: 1 ounce
Vegetables: ½ cup
Grain: 1/4th cup
Total Cost: $ 8.65
Cost per Serving: $ 1.44

Nutrition Facts (per serving):

Calories: 315
Total Fat: 11 grams
Saturated Fat: 1 gram
Sodium: 285 mg
Carbohydrate: 51 grams
(=3 ½  “carb dollars”)**
Fiber: 8 grams
Protein: 9 grams

**1 carb dollar = 15 grams carbohydrate | ** Total cost and cost per serving based on Walmart prices as of October 2012.  Prices subject to change based on location where and/or season when items are purchased.




From The Church Health Center by Carolyn Nichols

Savory Breakfast Muffins


3 cups white whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1/4th teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4th teaspoon salt
1/4th teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 eggs
2 cups low fat buttermilk
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoon light butter, melted
1 cup chopped fine green onions
3 ounces cooked turkey bacon, chopped
½ cup red bell pepper, chopped
½ cup low fat cheddar cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, shredded


Prep time – 20 minutes | Cook time – 20 minutes

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray and set aside.

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, pepper, salt, and cayenne pepper in a large bowl.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the eggs, buttermilk, oil, and butter. Stir in green onions, bacon, red bell pepper, cheddar cheese and parmesan cheese. Add the wet ingredient to the dry ingredients. Stir just until combined, do not over mix.

Divide mixture evenly among the 12 muffin tins.

Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Makes: 12 muffins

Serving Size: 1 muffin
One Serving Contains:
Grain: 1 ounce
Total Cost: $ 3.95
Cost per Serving: .33 cents

Nutrition Facts (per serving):

Calories: 235
Total Fat: 7 grams
Saturated Fat: 3 grams
Sodium: 340 mg
Carbohydrate: 25 grams
(=1 ½ “carb dollars”)**
Fiber: 3 grams
Protein: 9 grams

**1 carb dollar = 15 grams carbohydrate | ** Total cost and cost per serving based on Walmart prices as of October 2012.  Prices subject to change based on location where and/or season when items are purchased.


Add your comment: