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.




    February 5, 2009


    Yesterday I decided to try something I have never made before, ribs! I knew I wouldn’t have time to cook them after work so I decided to give them a shot in the crock pot. I just threw some stuff together that I had in the fridge and pantry and they turned out great! I plan to make bbq sandwiches with the leftovers. I may at some point try real bbq ribs on the grill but I’m thinking that requires a little more time and energy, both of which I don’t have much of right now.

    Crock Pot BBQ Ribs

    2 lbs pork loin ribs
    1 cup bbq sauce (I used Sweet Baby Ray’s Honey BBQ)
    1/4 cup yellow mustard
    1 small onion, roughly chopped
    2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped
    salt and pepper
    1-1 1/2 cups water

    Liberally salt and pepper both sides of each rib. Combine bbq sauce and mustard in a bowl. Brush on both sides of each rib and place in a 6 qt crock pot. Add onions and garlic. Pour water into the bottom of the crock (down beside the ribs as to not wash all the bbq sauce off the ribs). Cook on low 6 hrs.

    The rib meat will be falling off the bones. Serve with extra bbq sauce for dipping.


    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 know, I can’t believe it either. Let me start out by saying, I am not a bread baker. I’ve done it once, but I have still always been a little afraid of baking with yeast. I always feel like it’s a lot of work, only to possibly end up with a disappointing result. So basically, I don’t trust myself with yeast. : P When I saw this recipe, I thought “hey, maybe I could do that”. I’ve been stuck inside today thanks to the monsoon that is outside my door, so I figured what better day to try it out.

    I wish blogs had a virtual smell feature so that you could smell my house right now. ::Sniff:: Ahh, nothing better than the smell of fresh bread. It was killing me to have to sit here and smell it while it baked in the crock pot. Yep, I said crock pot. That’s why I decided to try this recipe. I thought it would be easy. And it was! I do think that I would probably turn it on low after an hour and a half-two hours. You can see mine got a little um, toasty, on the bottom. But other than that, it tastes amazing! I’ve already had two slices.

    Thanks to Jenn for posting this recipe.

    See you in 3 hours little bread loaf

    Classic White Bread
    101 More Things To Do With A Slow cooker
    Stephanie Ashcraft and Janet Eyring
    10-15 servings

    1 envelope (.25 ounce) of active dry yeast
    1 tsp sugar
    1/4 cup warm water
    1 egg
    1/4 cup vegetable oil
    1 cup lukewarm water
    1tsp salt
    1/4 cup sugar
    3 1/2 to 4 cups flour

    In a bowl combine yeast, 1 tsp sugar, and 1/4 cup warm water. Allow yeast to foam, about 5 minutes.
    Add egg, oil, lukewarm water, salt, 1/4 cup sugar, and 2 cups of flour. Beat with an electric mixer for 2 minutes on low.
    With a wooden spoon, stir i remaining flour.
    Place dough in greased 4-5 quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on high heat for 2-3 hours. Remove stoneware from cooker and let stand for 5 minutes before slicing.

    Crock Pot Chili

    October 1, 2007

    To me, chili definitely means fall is here. Nothing is better on a cold day than a hot bowl of chili with some corn bread or crackers. When I was a kid I couldn’t wait until my mom made the first pot of chili of the season. It’s also one of the first things I learned to cook, too. Up until now, I’ve never had an actual recipe for chili. I’ve made it differently probably every time I’ve made it. Today, however, I made an effort to remember what I was putting in.

    Now my husband and I differ on our idea of the perfect chili. I prefer my chili with beans and he prefers no beans. Normally I make it without beans because I’m not the picky one, or if I’m feeling rebellious I’ll add beans and he picks them out. But tonight I made 2 pots; one with beans and one without. It turned out so great!

    Here’s my recipe:

    Crock Pot Chili

    1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
    1 28 oz can tomato sauce
    1 15 oz can chili beans in mild sauce
    1 lb lean ground beef
    1/2 a large bell pepper finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
    1/2 a large onion finely chopped (about 1 cup)
    3 cloves minced garlic
    1/4 cup (maybe a little less) chili powder
    1-1 1/2 tsp cumin
    salt and pepper to taste

    Begin by browning the ground beef in a skillet. Add onions, garlic, and bell pepper to the pan as well. Once the ground beef is done, drain the mixture. Add ground beef, peppers, onion, and garlic to the crock pot. Add tomato sauce and crushed tomatoes, beans and seasonings. Cook on low 5-6 hours. Adjust seasonings to taste as it cooks.

    A vegetable-less dinner

    September 17, 2007

    This never happens but tonight we had dinner without vegetables. I always try to make a balanced meal for dinner; protein, carbs, and at least one non-starchy vegetable, but tonight I was just not feeling the veggies. So I didn’t make any. But what we did have was very good… barbecue pork sandwiches, made in the crock pot and homemade mac ‘n cheese. So I guess I don’t feel so bad about the veggies. Eh, I’ll do better tomorrow.

    Crock Pot Pulled Barbecue Pork

    2 lb pork loin roast
    1 jar barbebue sauce (I use a honey bbq sauce for a sweeter flavor)
    2 Tbsp yellow mustard
    2 tsp worcestershire sauce
    2 cloves garlic, crushed
    1 1/2 cups broth or water

    Place roast in the crock pot. Add 1/2 bottle sauce, mustard, worcestershire sauce, and garlic on top of the roast. Pour broth or water in the bottom of the crock pot. This helps to keep the roast from burning or drying out. Cook on low for 6-8 hrs. Before serving, take two forks and shred the pork in the crock pot. Turn the crock pot on keep warm and allow the pork to warm in the juices in the bottom of the crock pot for 15 min or so. Remove pork from the crock pot and place in a bowl. Add the other 1/2 bottle of sauce and toss to coat. Serve on buns or rolls.

    I’m especially proud of how the macaroni turned out. It was the first time I have made this dish that it turned out well. You would think any proper southern girl would be born knowing how to make a killer mac ‘n cheese, but I have never had any luck with it until tonight. This will be my go to mac ‘n cheese recipe from now on! I basically just took ideas from several different recipes and came up with this.

    Creamy Baked Mac ‘n Cheese

    8 oz elbow macaroni
    6 Tbsp butter
    1/4 cup all purpose flour
    1 1/2 cups milk
    1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
    1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
    1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp pepper

    Preheat oven to 375. Begin my boiling the macaroni in salted water until done. Drain. Heat the milk for about 1 min in the microwave just to get it warm. In a skillet, melt the butter. Add flour and stir in with a whisk. Cook over medium heat for about 2-3 min. Slowly add warm milk to the pan and whisk until smooth. Remove from heat. Add 1 cup cheddar, 1/2 cup mozzarella, salt and pepper. Stir in macaroni. Pour into a greased baking dish. Top with additional cheddar, mozzarella and bread crumbs. Bake for about 25-30 min or until bubbly and golden brown.

    Mmm Meatloaf

    August 17, 2007

    Meatloaf, nothing fancy about it. I’ve made it plenty of times but it never turned out quite right. It was always too dry or too plain for my taste. I saw the recipe for this meatloaf on a website that I visit often. It sounded really good so I figured I would give it a try to see how it compared to my previous mediocre meatloaves. I knew I’d be busy tonight trying to do a hundred things to get ready to go on a weekend trip so I started this cooking in the crockpot this morning before I went to work. Well I’m so glad I gave this recipe a try. It was moist on the inside with a slightly chewy crust on the outside and the sauce was sweet and tangy. My husband said it was “wonderful!” which always makes me feel good. If you are looking for a good meatloaf recipe you should definitely give this one a second look. I served this with mashed potatoes and peas.

    Crockpot Meatloaf

    2 beaten eggs
    3/4 cup milk
    2/3 cup fine dry breadcrumbs
    2 tablespoons grated onions
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon ground sage
    1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef


    1/4 cup catsup
    2 tablespoons brown sugar
    1 teaspoon dry mustard
    1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    1. Combine eggs with milk, bread crumbs,onion,salt,and sage,and meat.
    2. Mix well and shape into a 9×5 in.
    3. rectangle or oval.
    4. Carefully place into slowcooker pot.
    5. Cook on low for about 6-7 hrs.
    6. Combine sauce ingredients and pour over meat loaf and cook on high for about 15 minutes.

    I added chopped green and red peppers, 2 cloves garlic, some red pepper flakes and parsley flakes in the mix too.

    Original Source: Nestie tbrp2005 (Trisha)

    * I pretty much halved this recipe, except for the sauce, and it was the perfect amount for 2 people with just a little left over. I also didn’t add sage because I didn’t have any. I added a couple dashes of worcestershire sauce to the sauce as well.

    Crock Pot Lasagna

    July 23, 2007

    Mmm, lasagna. One of my favorite foods to eat. Not a favorite food to photograph. It’s difficult to take a good picture of a big mound of cheesey, tomato-ey pasta on your plate. But don’t let my photo deter you from trying this recipe. It is awesome! I was first introduced to this recipe by my nestie friend, Mrssisler. It has become my favorite lasagna recipe. It’s so easy to make because it’s done in the crock pot. Also, the crock pot gives the noodles the perfect texture when done and gives you a combination of gooey cheese with the golden brown, chewy cheese edges that everyone loves about lasagna. You should definitely give this one a try! We had this for dinner tonight with a romaine and baby spinach salad with balsamic dressing and buttery garlic bread.

    Crock Pot Lasagna

    * 1 lb. ground beef
    * 1 large onion, finely chopped
    * 2 garlic cloves, crushed and minced
    * 1 large jar spaghettisauce (such as Ragu in the1 lb. 10 ouncejar)
    * 1 package (8 ounces no-boillasagna noodles
    * 16 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
    * 1 lb. ricotta cheese* 1/4 cup milk
    * 1 egg
    * 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan/Romano cheese
    * Salt and pepper to taste
    PREPARATION:Brown the beef, onion, and garlic in a little oil 
    in a frying pan. Drain off any grease.
    Add the spaghetti sauce into the browned meat mixture. 
    Mix well.
    In a separate bowl, mix the ricotta cheese, 
    milk, and egg.Beat until thoroughly mixed and smooth.
    Then mix in the mozzarella cheese and the grated cheese, 
    so that all thecheeses are combined.
    Grease the slow cooker/Crock Pot with some vegetable 
    shortening on the bottom and sides.
    Put about 1/4 of the meat and sauce mixture in the 
    bottom of the slow cooker/Crock Pot. Put a layer of noodles 
    on top of that (break or cut themif needed). Put about 1/3 
    of the cheese mixture ontop of that. Then repeat with sauce, 
    noodles, cheesefor another 2 layers. Top with meat sauce.
    Cookon low for 4-6 hours or until noodlesare tender.
    *I use regular lasagna noodles (not the no boil kind). 
    Also,my crock pot cooks this in 3 1/2 hrs onlow so 
    you have to watch it to be sure it doesn't burn. 

    I spent my whole day off yesterday cooking and baking. By the end of the day, I was beat! So today I wanted to have dinner waiting on me when I got home from work. Since my husband doesn’t cook, I went for the next best thing–a crockpot dinner. One of my favorite things to make in the crockpot is beef stew. I made up this recipe a while back and it’s been my beef stew recipe ever since. It’s great comfort food and makes for some awesome leftovers as well. It was so nice to come home and have dinner ready and waiting with little effort on my part.

    Beef Stew

    1.5 lbs stew meat
    2 Tbsp flour
    1/4 cup vegetable oil
    5-6 medium red potatoes, cut into 1″ chunks
    2 cups baby carrots
    3 small cloves garlic, roughly chopped
    1 small onion, chopped
    1 14.5 oz can green beans, drained (you could also use fresh or frozen)
    1 29 oz can crushed tomatoes
    2 14.5 oz cans beef broth
    1 packet McCormick beef stew seasoning(yes, I cheat a little here)

    Toss stew meat in flour to coat. Heat vegetable oil in a pan over med/hi heat and add meat. When meat is slightly brown on the outside remove pan from stove. In your crockpot, combine meat with all other ingredients. Stir to combine. Turn the crockpot on low and cook for 6-8 hrs.

    *I served with Jiffy corn bread muffins. One day I will try to make my own cornbread…but not today. ; P