Onion Pub & Brewery co-owner, Jennifer Kainz, has just introduced a brand new non-profit in the new year dedicated to finding solutions to the global issue of food waste on a local level.
It’s called Mindful Waste and they’re working hard to eliminate food waste through education, prevention and recovery.
Not only is Jennifer a champion of food conservation and waste reduction on a local level, she also loves to cook! So we asked her to share one of her family’s favorite meals for our Heinen’s Sunday Supper series. And tonight, we’re pulling up a chair to the Kainz family dinner table for some delicious Beef & Veggie Fajitas, Poblano and Cheddar Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms and Homemade Guacamole.
A Favorite Kainz Family Mexican Feast
Good food runs in my blood. I learned from a very young age that the heart of good food is deeply rooted in home cooking. I grew up in a large family and most of my memories are of my mother in the kitchen. She was an exceptional cook who learned to make a piecrust at the age of six.
Every night we gathered around the kitchen table where we were spoiled by her delicious homemade meals. Just about everything was made from scratch, including our birthday cakes – which she made eleven of each year. My paternal grandparents were from Sicily, so my father infused his love of gardening and the flavors of fresh basil and oregano, which were added to just about everything. To preserve our favorite recipes, we created a family cookbook.
During my college years, I worked at a Nepalese restaurant in Madison, WI. I was introduced to new and incredible flavors from different parts of the world. I learned to make vegetable dumplings and marinated tofu with Nepali herbs and spices. This is where my fascination with food and culture began. It continued on to West Africa, where I lived for two years as a Peace Corps volunteer. I learned to pound millet, make fresh peanut sauce and brew their traditional millet beer. I soaked up the close relationship the Africans had with food, from growing to harvesting and eating a communal meal with your hands. This of course, is where I became more mindful of everything related to food.
Once you experience what good fresh food is, there really is no turning back. As a vegetarian, if I can’t grow something in my garden, I will seek out a local source. This is true for meats and fish as well, as I want the healthiest choices for my husband and three daughters. Heinen’s is my go-to grocery store where I can find fresh, organic, and locally sourced products. I love their produce, fine cheeses and gourmet olive oil bar. They carry my favorite hummus brand, “Eat Well Embrace Life” which I can’t find in other stores. I am sold on their handmade Cleveland tofu, which has a wonderful texture that you don’t find in other brands. I also love that they carry my favorite organic supplement line, “Garden of Life”, which can usually only be found in health food stores. It truly is a one-stop shopping experience for me.
Feeding a family of five seems like a cakewalk compared to what my mother went through. (She did remarry a wonderful man who has 10 kids, making me the youngest of 21, but that is another story. My mother was a glorified army chef). I do try to plan my meals strategically, keeping in mind one vegetarian among four meat eaters and a few picky palates.
The one type of meal that is always a winner in our house is Mexican cuisine. I love the versatility of this kind of food because you can create different configurations of the same ingredients. For this Sunday supper, we enjoyed beef and veggie fajitas, homemade guacamole, and portabello mushrooms stuffed with poblanos and rice. We all took part in the preparation and we all made it into the “Clean Plate Club.”
Fajitas are a great choice for allowing everyone to personalize their own meal. I have yet to find a better marinade that is so simple and flavorful. As far as healthy eating, I have always told the girls to “eat the rainbow,” and this dish fully embraces that!
Beef and Vegetable Fajitas
(Recipe courtesy of The Pioneer Woman)
- 1 whole Beef Flank Steak
- 1/2 cup Olive Oil
- 3 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
- 1/3 cup Lime Juice, Fresh Squeezed
- 3 cloves Garlic, Minced
- 1 Tablespoon Cumin
- 1 Tablespoon Chili Powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
- 1 Tablespoon Sugar
- 2 whole Medium Onions, Halved And Sliced
- 1 whole Red Bell Pepper, Sliced
- 1 whole Orange Bell Pepper, Sliced
- 1 whole Green Bell Pepper, Sliced
- 1 whole Yellow Bell Pepper, Sliced
- Oil, For Frying
- Flour Tortillas, Warmed
- Cheese (grated Cheddar/jack Or Crumbled Queso Fresco)
- Sour Cream
- Cilantro Leaves
- In a dish, mix together olive oil, Worcestershire, lime juice, garlic, cumin, chili powder, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, and sugar until combined. Pour half of the marinade into a separate dish. In one dish, place the flank steak, turning it over to coat. In the second dish, place all the veggies, turning to coat. Cover the dishes with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
- Prepare tortillas, salsa, sour cream, and cilantro.
- Heat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat and drizzle in some oil. Add the veggies and cook them for a few minutes, until they’re cooked but still slightly firm and have nice black/brown pieces. Remove to a plate and set aside.
- Heat the same same skillet (or a grill pan if you have it) over high heat and drizzle some oil. Cook the meat for about 2 minutes per side until medium rare. Remove and allow to rest on a cutting board for 5 minutes.
- Slice the meat right before serving and serve with all the fixins. Delicious!
I chose the stuffed portobellos as a vegetarian protein and a way to sneak some spinach in without the girls noticing. If they take part in the cooking process though, they are much more likely to eat what they make. I am a firm believer in this, although it does have its limitations.
Poblano and Cheddar Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
(Recipe courtesy of Epicurious)
- 2 poblano chiles
- 4 jumbo portobello mushrooms (about 6 ounces each), stemmed
- 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
- 1 cup baby spinach
- 1/2 cup cooked rice
- 1/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped cilantro
- Light a grill or preheat the broiler. Roast the poblanos over the grill or under the broiler, turning, until blackened, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let cool.
- Peel, core and seed the poblanos then finely chop them.
- Brush the portobello mushrooms with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill or broil the mushrooms over high heat, turning, until softened, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a plate, stem side down; let drain and cool.
- Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, heat the remaining 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the baby spinach and cook until wilted, about 1 minute.
- Transfer the spinach to a sieve and press out the liquid. In a bowl, mix the spinach with the rice, cheese, cilantro and poblanos. Season with salt and pepper.
- Preheat the oven to 325°
- Season the mushroom caps with salt and pepper. Spoon the rice mixture into the mushrooms, mounding it slightly. Transfer the mushrooms to a baking dish and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the top is lightly browned. Serve warm or at room temperature.
- Make Ahead: The cooked stuffed mushrooms can be refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature, cover and bake in a 325° oven for about 20 minutes, or until they are heated through.
There is no such thing as a true Mexican meal without homemade guacamole. Our middle daughter, Kate, whipped this up following Ina Garten’s recipe from Barefoot Contessa. She may have taken some liberties, like adding few more dashes of our beloved Cholula hot sauce for good measure.
(Recipe courtesy of The Barefoot Contessa)
- 4 ripe Haas avocados
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (1 lemon)
- 8 dashes hot pepper sauce
- 1/2 cup small-diced red onion (1 small onion)
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 medium tomato, seeded, and small-diced
- Cut the avocados in 1/2, remove the pits, and scoop the flesh out of their shells into a large bowl. (I use my hands.) Immediately add the lemon juice, hot pepper sauce, onion, garlic, salt, and pepper and toss well.
- Using a sharp knife, slice through the avocados in the bowl until they are finely diced.
- Add the tomatoes. Mix well and taste for salt and pepper.
Of course every Mexican meal, in my opinion, should be enjoyed with a good margarita.
This dish can also be paired nicely with a delicious locally crafted beer, such as Wild Onion’s Misfit IPA, which you can find in the beer cooler.
(Thank you Heinen’s for supporting your local brewer!)
After all of this cooking, we left the dessert in the hands of Heinen’s bakery.
If you haven’t tried their savory sweets, you haven’t had the full experience yet. Their Two Brothers brownies are to die for. Just ask one of our girls.
The reason I shop at Heinen’s goes beyond the quality of their food. They have a very friendly and knowledgeable staff. I appreciate their commitment to sourcing environmentally and socially responsible products. I like knowing where my food comes from and how it was grown or raised. I also feel good about supporting a family-owned business within our community, who in turn supports our schools through their Teaming Up For Education Program. We are lucky to have Heinen’s in Barrington!
Heinen’s Grocery is located at 500 N. Hough Street, between E. Main Street and Route 14 (next to Meathead’s) in Barrington, Illinois. They’re open 7 days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. For more information, visit Heinens.com.