September 2004

   Vol. 3  No. 9    

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By Heather McDougall

We don’t very often think of pasta as a Mexican meal, but this combination of beans, pasta and sauce has a wonderful flavor.  It is also very quick to make and almost everyone loves it.  The shape of the pasta may be changed for variety. 

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time:  45 minutes
Servings:  6

8 ounces uncooked bow-tie pasta
¼ cup vegetable broth
1 onion, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
1 ½ teaspoons minced fresh garlic
½ teaspoon chipotle chile powder
1  14.5 ounce can stewed tomatoes
1  15 ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 ¼ cups enchilada sauce
1/3 cup shredded soy cheese
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
½ cup tofu sour cream

Place a large pot of water on to boil and cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place the broth in a large non-stick pan.  Add the onion, jalapenos and garlic.  Cook, stirring occasionally until softened, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the chipotle powder.  Add the tomatoes, beans and enchilada sauce.  Mix well, breaking up the tomatoes slightly. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.  Add the cooked pasta and mix well.  Ladle mixture into a covered casserole dish.  Sprinkle with the soy cheese.  Bake covered for 25 minutes.  Uncover and bake for 5 minutes longer.

Serve with the cilantro and sour cream to spoon over each individual serving.

Hints:  Cook the pasta until it is just tender.  Do not overcook.  This may be prepared ahead of time and refrigerated until baking.  You will need to add about 10-15 minutes to the baking time.  Chipotle chili powder is quite spicy.  If you can’t find it or would like a less spicy version, use regular chili powder instead.  Recipes for enchilada sauce and sour cream may be found in the May 2003 and the June 2002 newsletters or in The Quick & Easy Cookbook.  If you have any leftovers, this is great reheated for lunch the following day.


Preparation Time:  15 minutes
Cooking Time:  20 minutes
Servings:  9

1 cup cornmeal
½ cup whole wheat pastry flour
½ cup unbleached white flour
2 tablespoons organic sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup soy milk
½ cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
½ cup Wonderslim fat replacer
1 tablespoon egg replacer mixed in 4 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons chopped green chilies (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. 

Mix the soy milk, corn kernels and fat replacer together in another bowl.  Combine the egg replacer and water and mix with a whisk until frothy.  Add to wet ingredients and mix.  Stir in the chilies, if desired.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just moistened.  Do not over-mix.  Pour into a non-stick square baking pan and bake for 20 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.


Preparation Time:  15 minutes
Cooking Time:  20 minutes
Servings:  6-8

1  24 ounce package San Gennaro precooked polenta
½ cup vegetable broth
1 onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 orange or yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
2  15 ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1  4 ounce can chopped green chilies
1  15 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
dash or two Tabasco sauce
freshly ground pepper to taste
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Slice polenta ½ inch thick.  Place on a nonstick baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. 

Meanwhile, place the broth, onion, bell peppers and garlic in a large saucepan.  Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.  Add remaining ingredients, except cilantro, and cook an additional 10 minutes.  Stir in cilantro and remove from heat. 

Serve over the polenta and top with Mango salsa (recipe follows).

Hint:  There are many kinds and flavors of precooked polenta on the market.  They will all work in this recipe.  Check ingredients carefully before buying these products.   These products work well as a base for many bean and vegetable dishes.   The sliced polenta may also be cooked on a non-stick griddle until browned on both sides.  If you prefer to cook your polenta from scratch, there are a variety of products to choose from, and most only take a few minutes of cooking time.  A good test for the proper thickness of the polenta is to cook it until the mixing spoon stands up in the pan.


Preparation Time:  10 minutes
Servings:  makes 2 cups

2 cups peeled, chopped, ripe mango
½ cup finely chopped onion
½ cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1 fresh jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
¼ teaspoon minced fresh garlic
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon warm water
several twists freshly ground black pepper
dash salt

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.  Cover and chill at least 1 hour before serving.  This will keep in the refrigerator for about a week.

Hint:   Prepared Mango salsa is available in some markets and will cut down on the preparation time.


As I have mentioned many times before, my family really likes spicy, Mexican flavored foods. We like to come up with variations, such as the previous recipes for Mexican Pasta Surprise and Polenta with Black Beans, and this is another one that is so simple anyone can prepare it in almost no time at all.  We like to roll this up in a tortilla, but it can also be served over rice or a baked potato.

Preparation Time:  10 minutes
Cooking Time:  45 minutes
Servings:  4-6

1 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1  15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1  15 ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups frozen corn kernels
1 ½ cups salsa, mild, medium or hot
1 package Bearitos Taco Seasoning

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all ingredients in a casserole dish.  Cover and bake for 30 minutes, uncover and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

Hints:  Some grated soy cheese may be sprinkled over the top of the casserole for the final 15 minutes of baking, if desired.

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