A New Take on Chili

October 27, 2009

Back when I was on maternity leave and had tons of time to sit around and watch tv, I saw Giada make this recipe on her show. I’ve been thinking about it ever since and just waiting on the weather to cool off a little so that I could justify making it. We had some friends over last night to go to the annual Howl-a-ween event in our town where dogs dress up and go to the stores trick-or-treating, and I thought this would be a perfect meal to enjoy on a Fall evening. I think it turned out really well. It’s a bit lighter than a normal chili and has tons of great flavor. I made this in the crock pot so it would be ready for dinner last night and it worked really well. Give it a try sometime when you’re bored with your old chili recipe.

White Bean and Chicken Chili

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 pounds ground chicken
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 (15-ounce cans) cannellini or other white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 bunch (about 1 pound) Swiss chard, stems removed, leaves chopped into 1-inch pieces (I subbed baby spinach)
  • 11/2 cups frozen corn, thawed
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Freshly ground black pepper for seasoning
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the ground chicken, 1 teaspoon salt, cumin, fennel seeds, oregano, and chili powder. Cook, stirring frequently, until the chicken is cooked through, about 8 minutes. Stir the flour into the chicken mixture. Add the beans, Swiss chard, corn, and chicken stock. Bring the mixture to a simmer, scraping up the brown bits that cling to the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Simmer for 55-60 minutes until the liquid has reduced by about half and the chili has thickened. Add the red pepper flakes and simmer for another 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

    Ladle the chili into serving bowls. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley.

    Source: Food Network




    August 4, 2009


    Gumbo is one of those things that I’ve wanted to make for a long time now but was just unsure about which recipe to use. There are only 139,000,000 on the internet and a few more in my cookbooks so it’s hard to know which one is the best. Well I think I found the best, with a few little tweaks. I finally decided to read some reviews on All Recipes and that’s how I made my decision on which recipe to try. I made it for my parents for dinner last night with some long grain white rice and crusty bread. And oh it was so good! My parents couldn’t stop talking about how good it was and I agree. It had just the right amount of heat and all the flavors combined really well. This will most definitely be my go-to recipe for gumbo from now on!

    Gumbo Style Chicken Creole

    • 1/4 cup oil for frying
    • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
    • 1 onion, chopped
    • 2 cups cooked, chopped chicken breast meat
    • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chile peppers, with liquid
    • 1 (4.5 ounce) can sliced mushrooms, drained (omitted)
    • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
    • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
    • 1 teaspoon white sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
    • 3 dashes hot sauce (I used 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper-use less if desired)

    *I added 3 cups low sodium chicken broth, 2 links of smoked sausage, sliced, and 1 1/2 cups of raw chopped shrimp.

    1. Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat. Stir in flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes or until mixture is the color of a copper penny. Reduce heat to low and stir in bell pepper and onion. Cook 10 to 15 minutes, or until tender, stirring occasionally.
    2. Add chicken,  sausage, tomatoes with green chile peppers, mushrooms (omitted), parsley, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, soy sauce, sugar, salt, pepper and hot sauce (or cayenne), and chicken broth. Stir together, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

    *Add shrimp the last 5 minutes and cook until pink. I also cooked mine for least 1/2 an hour. I served this over white rice.

    Source: All Recipes

    Seriously, go out right now and buy the ingredients for this. And if it’s too hot out, just crank up your AC and make it anyway. You will not be sorry.



    Chipotle Chicken Tacos

    March 20, 2009


    Wow, it’s been over a month since I last updated my blog! I really have been cooking people, I promise. But being almost 6 months pregnant now, dinner is almost always fast and has pretty much been things that are already in my blog. This was also a quick and easy dinner but I thought I’d post it anyway. I’ve been trying to use up things in my freezer and pantry and this was the perfect answer for dinner a couple nights ago.

    On another note, I am very excited that the weather in Alabama is finally starting to warm up and thanks to daylight savings time it’s not dark when I get home every day! So look for lots of grilling posts in the coming weeks now that I have more daylight in the evenings. As I have said before, my husband is not a cook but he LOVES to grill so I’m sure we’ll be doing a lot of that soon. I bought him a couple of grilling cookbooks for Christmas and I’m dying for us to try out some of the recipes.

    Chipotle Chicken Tacos

    2 chicken breasts, cut into strips (they cook more quickly than whole breasts)
    2 Tbsp chipotle seasoning (I used Pampered Chef)
    1 Tbsp olive oil
    1-2 cloves garlic, chopped
    1/4 large onion, diced
    1/4 cup prepared salsa

    Begin by marinating the chicken in the olive oil, chipotle seasoning, and garlic. Toss to coat chicken and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Cook the chicken in a skillet with a little more olive oil until done, set aside and shred when cooled. (I use the food processor to shred chicken because it’s so quick! Just pulse until shredded.) In the same skillet add the onions and cook 3-5 minutes, or until they start to become translucent. Add the shredded chicken back to the skillet and stir in salsa. Let heat through. Serve on warm tortillas with lettuce, tomato, cheese, extra salsa, and sour cream.


    At Last!

    January 28, 2009

    I never thought the day would come when I would have a blog update again. For those who don’t know why I’ve been MIA, I’m pregnant and food in general has not been my friend for the past oh, 16 weeks. For those of you that have been pregnant and know what I’m talking about, bless your heart. For those who haven’t been, bless your heart even more. Our dinners have been consisting of cold cereal, toast, frozen pizza, sandwiches, or whatever did not make me want to hurl on that particular day. My husband has been so great about it, although I’m pretty sure peanut butter and jelly is not on his list of favorite foods anymore.

    Well I’m slowly coming out of this funk I’ve been in and I have a little more energy. I was lucky enough to get off work early today so I thought what a perfect day to re-enter the cooking world and make a great dinner. I was looking at the Pioneer Woman’s blog last night and saw this recipe for Ranch Style Chicken. It sounded and looked really good and I had almost everything needed to make it. Plus, it is really easy. Now that’s my kind of recipe! Nothing too hard for my already scattered pregnant brain. I marinated the chicken for about 3 hours, made some simple roasted red potatoes and sauteed some green beans with a little extra virgin olive oil and garlic. And the result…


    The best dinner I’ve had in a long, long time! I know that’s not saying much given what I’ve been eating but trust me, it was good. I mean, what could really be bad about anything with bacon and cheese? Hopefully this is the beginning of many more blog posts to come!

    For the recipe go here–Ranch Style Chicken

    Also an apology…I’m so sorry for not following anyone’s blog lately. Now that I’m feeling better I am very much looking forward to catching up on all the great recipes I’ve been missing!


    If you can’t tell, I’m in the Christmas spirit. I always get this way after we start decorating the house for Christmas which is what we did yesterday. It’s a tradition every year that we go out to a local tree farm, pick out our tree, and come home and decorate it. We went with some friends yesterday and had them over for lunch afterwards. When deciding what I wanted to make for lunch, I knew I wanted it to be something warm that I could do in the crock pot so we could eat as soon as we got back. I’ve already made a few pots of chili this year and beef stew so I started looking around for other soup ideas and came across this recipe. It sounded simple enough so I thought I’d give it a shot. I think it turned out pretty good. I sure didn’t get any complaints from anyone!

    Chicken Tortilla Soup-with my alterations
    (I doubled the following amounts-original recipe serves 4)

    • 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
    • 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
    • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth
    • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
    • 1 cup chopped onion
    • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
    • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (I used lime juice)
    • 1 cup chunky salsa
    • 8 ounces corn tortilla chips
    • 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese (optional)
    1. In a large pot over medium heat, saute the chicken in the oil for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cumin and mix well. Then add the broth, corn, onion, chili powder, lemon juice and salsa. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 20 to 30 minutes. (I pre-cooked and shredded the chicken and then cooked this in the crockpot on low for 6 hours)
    2. Break up some tortilla chips into individual bowls and pour soup over chips. Top with the Monterey Jack cheese and a little sour cream.

    Source: Allrecipes


    And here’s a picture of our tree. Isn’t it beautiful?!

    I’m finally back to blogging and just in time for this month’s Tasty Tools blog event. After over a week of the soft food diet due to my wisdom teeth surgery, I’ve been craving some comfort food. I saw this recipe in the October issue of Cooking Light and thought what a perfect way to kill two birds with one stone. I get my comfort food and I have an excuse to use my dutch oven for the blog event.

    I automatically associate my dutch oven with comfort foods; soups, stews, chili, roasted chicken, fried chicken, and let’s not forget chicken and dumplings. This recipe for chicken and dumplings is not like the traditional one I grew up eating from my Granny’s kitchen. The kind I’m used to has soft, flat, noodle-like dumplings and shredded chicken in broth. Full fat, full salt, and no veggies in sight. This version is a little healthier though and just as tasty. I would definitely recommend doubling the recipe though so you’ll have some leftovers.

    Herbed Chicken and Dumplings


    2 servings (serving size: 2 cups)


    • Cooking spray
    • 8  ounces  skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
    • 3/4  cup  (1/4-inch) diagonally cut celery
    • 1/2  cup  (1/4-inch) diagonally cut carrot
    • 1/2  cup  chopped onion
    • 1/8  teaspoon  dried thyme
    • 3  parsley sprigs
    • 1  bay leaf
    • 3  cups  fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
    • 2.25  ounces  all-purpose flour (about 1/2 cup)
    • 1  tablespoon  chopped fresh parsley
    • 1/4  teaspoon  baking powder
    • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
    • 1/4  cup  1% low-fat milk


    1. Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add chicken to pan; cook 4 minutes, browning on all sides. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm. Add celery and next 5 ingredients (through bay leaf) to pan; sauté 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Return chicken to pan; cook 1 minute. Add broth to pan; bring mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes.

    2. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, chopped parsley, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Add milk, stirring just until moist. Spoon by heaping teaspoonfuls into broth mixture; cover and simmer 10 minutes or until dumplings are done. Discard parsley sprigs and bay leaf.

    Nutritional Information

    285 (16% from fat)
    5.2g (sat 1.5g,mono 1.9g,poly 1.2g)

    David Bonom, Cooking Light, OCTOBER 2008

    Calzones are such a good way to use up things you have in the fridge. When I opened my fridge yesterday, I saw some broccoli I purchased last week and figured I’d better incorporate it into dinner somehow before it went bad. In the freezer, loads of chicken. I stocked up last time it was on sale BOGO. So from this came my dinner last night. I added a little garlic because everything is better with garlic and voila, I had a delicious calzone. Now if you’re wondering if Mr. Picky ate this, well no, he didn’t. He had a sausage calzone. How boring and uninteresting. He just didn’t know what he was missing!

    Garlic Chicken and Broccoli Calzones
    (makes 2 large calzones)

    2 chicken breasts, pounded thin
    2 Tbsp olive oil
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1/2 cup chicken broth
    salt and pepper
    1 cup, chopped broccoli florets
    1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
    prepared pizza dough (I used this recipe)

    Begin by pre-heating the oven to 375 F. Heat a pan over medium heat and add the olive oil. Salt and pepper both sides of the chicken breasts. Sear on each side just until browned. Top with chopped garlic. Place the pan (if oven safe) into the oven (or place chicken breasts in an oven safe pan) and cook for 20-25 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and set chicken breasts aside to cool (about 10 min.) While the chicken breasts are cooling, add 1/2 cup chicken broth to the pan to deglaze it. Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces and add back to the pan, along with the chopped  broccoli. Stir to coat the chicken and broccoli with the pan sauce.

    Turn oven up to 450 F. Roll out the pizza dough into two even circles. Place chicken and broccoli mixture on one half of each circle. Top with 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese. Fold the other half of the pizza dough over the filling and press edges together. Cut a couple slits in the top of the dough. Brush the tops of the calzones with olive oil. Bake for 10-15 min until dough is golden brown. Serve with marinara sauce.

    Chicken Parmesan Pasta

    August 14, 2008

    This is one of those dishes that isn’t fancy and it’s not pretty. But when you eat it you just think “comfort food”. It’s also one of my husband’s favorite kind of meals. Pasta with cheese and sauce. What can I say, it’s the simple things for him. A local place here makes a dish similar to this that my husband always orders when we go there, so I decided I would make up my own rendition. It’s very simple but very good and one of the few foods which he will actually eat the leftovers.

    Chicken Parmesan Pasta

    For the chicken:

    2 chicken breasts, pounded thin
    1 cup italian style bread crumbs
    1 cup grated parmesan cheese
    2 eggs, beaten
    salt and pepper

    For the pasta:

    8 oz penne
    24 oz jar of marinara sauce
    1 cup chopped baby spinach (You can omit this if you like. I add this to most pasta dishes because it’s a good way to get my picky husband to eat a vegetable.)
    1 cup shredded mozzarella

    Preheat oven to 375. Set up three shallow bowls; one with the parmesan cheese, one with the eggs, and one with the bread crumbs. Salt and pepper both sides of your chicken breasts. Dip one chicken breast in the parmesan and pat to coat it with the cheese. Then dip it in the egg and then the bread crumbs. Be sure to coat it well. Do this for the other remaining chicken breast and place them in a baking dish. Bake for 20-25 min until chicken is no longer pink. Broil on each side 2 min for a crispier crust. Remove from the oven and let sit about 10 minutes. Cut into 1″ cubes.

    While the chicken is cooking, you can prepare the pasta. Boil water for the pasta and cook until al dente and then drain. In a large pot, combine the jar of sauce, chicken that has been cut into cubes, penne, and spinach. Stir to coat the pasta with the sauce. Add mozzarella cheese and stir. Let heat through about 5-10 minutes.

    I’ve never admitted this to anyone but I could eat chicken salad nearly every day, preferably on a flaky buttery croissant. I’ll eat it on whole wheat too, but there’s just something that the croissant adds to it that makes it even more irresistable to me. It’s one of my guilty pleasure foods. Not sure what the allure is but I adore it. My favorite chicken salad is from a little place downtown called Cottage Cafe. But at over $6.00 a plate for some chicken salad, a croissant and a few pieces of fruit, I just can’t justify fulfilling my craving every single day. For those times when I feel a craving coming on, I like to make my own to keep on hand for lunches. I had a partial bag of dried cranberries and some pecans in the freezer so I decided to concoct this chicken salad yesterday. It turned out really well. I think next time I might add some sliced grapes or apples as well to give it a little sweeter flavor. Overall it was delicious though.

    Chicken Salad with Cranberries and Pecans

    2 chicken breasts, cooked

    1/2 cup mayo (plus more to get to the consistencey you desire)

    1/4 cup dried cranberries

    1/4 cup pecans, finely chopped

    1 tsp salt

    1/2 tsp black pepper

    Begin by placing the chicken in a food processor and pulse until the chicken chunks are the size you want. (I prefer mine finely chopped. Alternatively, you can chop the chicken with a knife or shred with your hands.) Place the chopped chicken in a bowl and add mayo, cranberries, pecans, salt and pepper. Stir until well combined. Add additional mayo to reach desired consistency and additional salt to taste. Chill until ready to serve.

    Makes about 2 cups.

    *red grapes or chopped apples would be a great addition to this recipe


    Marinated Chicken Kabobs

    June 17, 2008

    Here’s another delicious dinner to add to my “it’s too freakin’ hot to cook inside” list. My sister was visiting for my birthday so I decided we would grill out last night. I had all the ingredients to make chicken kabobs so I decided to use this marinade recipe that I’ve used before and added about 1 tsp each salt and pepper. I used chicken, cut into 1″ chunks, bell pepper, red onion, and grape tomatoes. I tossed them all in a bowl with the marinade and let them marinate for an hour. Then I put the chicken and veggies on soaked skewers (to prevent burning on the grill). I also made some red potatoes in a foil packet on the grill so I wouldn’t have to do any cooking inside. I seasoned them simply with salt pepper and lemon juice and left them on the grill about 30 minutes.  It was a wonderful birthday dinner, even if I did make it myself. : P

    On another note, I got new kitchen toys for my birthday! My wonderful husband got me the KitchenAid ice cream attachment and an extra bowl for my mixer. I’m so excited to make some frozen treats for summer!