Chicken, Comfort Dish

White Chicken Chili

The weather has turned colder the last few weeks and I’m loving it.  I love the fall weather.  This is a perfect time of year for chili.  I’m not a huge fan of chili.  I just never liked all the beans and it never really appealed to me.  Several years back my sister in law made chili and I actually really enjoyed it.  She used smaller beans and since then I’ve only used those beans.

Over the years I’ve grown to really enjoy it and I’ve started to change up the recipe and just try different flavors.  That’s where this Chicken Chili came from.  I love chicken and I really enjoy this chili.

This is perfect for a lazy Sunday of football or relaxing.  Give it a try!

White Chicken Chili

Ingridents:
4 T butter
3 T flour
1 T oil
4 cups chicken broth, no salt
2 15.5 oz cans white beans, drained and rinsed (any kind)
4 ½ cups cooked chicken, chopped (rotisserie or any kind, I used boneless skinless chicken thighs)
1 cup frozen white corn
1 cup half and half
1 cup shredded cheese (I used Colby Jack)
2 jalapeños, seeds removed and diced
1 large onion, diced
1 T garlic powder
1 T onion powder
2 t paprika
2 t chili powder
2 t salt
2 t pepper

Directions:  Heat a medium pot on high heat. Add in olive oil.  Add in the jalapeños and onion and let cook down, about 3-4 minutes stirring occasionally.  Add in butter and flour and mix to create a roux.  Let cook 4 minutes.  Add in chicken broth and mix well.  Cook another 2-3 minutes.  Add in frozen corn, white beans and chicken and mix well.  Season with the spices.  Let simmer on medium low heat 20 minutes stirring once.  Once the time is up, slowly mix in shredded cheese and half and half.  Let simmer on low another 10 minutes, stirring once.  Seasoning with the salt and pepper to taste and serve.  Serve with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of cheese. Enjoy!

Notes:  This is a very quick chili.  You can use any chicken you’d like.  I simply made chicken thighs in the crockpot and then added to the chili.  Feel free to change up the vegetables inside. Add some other bell peppers or even some celery.  This freezes well.  You can freeze with the cream and cheese in the chili or you can remove some of the chili to freeze prior to adding the cheese and cream.  Would even be good with a splash of hot sauce. I just needed it to not be spicy.

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Sides, Veggies

Zucchini Fries

I LOVE zucchini.  It’s one of my favorite vegetables.  My Mom’s always made sautéed zucchini with onions and butter and I’ve always loved it.  Over the years I’ve tried to think outside the box and do something different since I love this ingredient so much.

I’ve used zucchini in everything from pasta to eggs.  I first made these zucchini fries a few years ago when I was being healthy and had a craving for something salty and crunchy.  Since I was dieting I couldn’t just have the French fries I wanted so I decided to try zucchini fries.  They came out delicious.  I baked them the first time I made them.

The zucchini fries I made today I actually fried.  I fried in a little oil and let drain on a paper towel.  They came out amazing.  I used mini zucchinis I found at the store but I usually use regular size ones.  Either will work.  Check it out!

Zucchini Fries

Ingredients:
2 zucchini cut into fries or wedges or 8-10 mini zucchini cut in half
1/2 cup flour
1- 1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
3 eggs, whisked
2 T Romano cheese, grated
1/2 T garlic powder
1/2 T onion powder
1/2 T Italian seasoning
Salt & Pepper to taste
Oil for frying
Ranch dressing to serve (optional)

Directions:  Make a breading station.  Add whisked eggs to a bowl and add breadcrumbs with seasoning and cheese to a 2nd bowl.  In a large zip lock bag add the flour and the pieces of zucchini.  Shake the bag until the zucchini is coated with the flour. (Note: you can also do this step in a bowl.)

Bread the zucchini.  Remove from flour, dip in egg and then coat in breadcrumb.  Finish with all pieces and set aside.  (You can bread all the zucchini and then put in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes to help the breading stay on when frying.)  Note: The breading doesn’t stay overly well on the skin side of the zucchini so it’s not abnormal for the breading to be coming off.

Heat a large sauté pan,  Add in frying oil to cover the bottom and about 1 inch deep.  Let heat up.  You can use more oil if you want. I didn’t want to use too much.  To check if you oil is hot enough you can drop a drop of water and make sure it sizzles or you can put the end of a wooden spoon in the oil and make sure there is bubbles coming from where the spoon is (This was a trick from Culinary School.)

Once the oil is ready start frying your zucchini in batches.  Don’t over crowd the pan or that will bring down the temperature of the oil and you won’t get a nice golden and even fry.Cook for 2 minutes and flip over.  If your using bigger pieces, you may need to cook 3-4 minutes on each side. Remove from oil and place on a paper towel.  Continue with remaining pieces.  You can add the zucchini to a baking sheet pan and place in a low oven, about 325° degrees to keep warm.  This is a great idea if your making a lot at one time.  Season the zucchini fries with salt to taste. Serve immediately.

Notes: Don’t forget to put on a paper towel after you take out of the oil.  If you skip this step your zucchini may get very soggy due to the oil absorbing in the zucchini.  Season with salt once you take out of the oil because then the salt will stick to the fries better.  Serve with ranch dress if you’d like.

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Salad, Sides

Black Bean & Corn Salad

Tonight I made a black bean corn salad to go with my main entree.  While trying to be healthy I really try and make other sides that aren’t just your typically potato or rice sides.

That’s what I did here tonight.  It’s pretty basic but you can definitely add other flavors.  I used what I had on hand.

Black Bean & Corn Salad

15 oz black beans, (rinsed) (I used no salt)
1 cup frozen corn
1 T lime juice
1 T olive oil
3 T cilantro, chopped
1 small jalapeño, diced (remove seeds for less spice)
3 T red onion, chopped
2 t garlic powder
2 t onion powder
1 t chili powder
salt & pepper, to taste

Directions:  Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix well.  Chill in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
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Starters

Caprese Bruschetta

This Caprese Bruschetta is a great starter for any meal or even for a light snack or lunch.  It’s light and fresh tasting and the flavors are just amazing.

The Italian in me is a huge fan of caprese salad.  I love fresh mozzarella with a juicy ripe tomato.  With this dish I just added some garlic crostini and turned it into a bruschetta.  I could seriously make 20 of these and eat every last one of them.

This dish is definitely great for the summer as it’s light and fresh but it’s so great I’ll eat it all year long.  It’s like a mini open faced tomato and mozzarella sandwich.  Who wouldn’t enjoy that?  🙂

Caprese Bruschetta

Ingredients:
10-12 Garlic crostini (Homemade or store bought) (Recipe below)
4-6 Campari tomatoes, sliced and chilled (or any tomato)
6-8 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced or chopped
2 T Olive oil
1 T Basil, dried or fresh basil, chiffonade
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste

Crostini:
1 Baguette sliced 1/3 inch thick
1/3 cup olive oil
3 garlic cloves, grated
1 T parsley
Salt & Pepper, to taste

Directions: Preheat oven to 400°.  Add sliced baguette to a baking sheet.  In a bowl mix together oil, garlic, parsley and salt & pepper and mix well.  Brush the oil mixture onto the crostini and bake in oven for 10 minutes or until the edges start to brown. Keep an eye on the crostini so they don’t burn.

To assemble, add mozzarella to crostini and top with tomato slice. Sprinkle with basil, salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.  Serve immediately.  Enjoy!

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Savory Pies

Spinach Pie

Happy Monday!! On the menu tonight was a spinach pie.  This is a delicious spinach filled pie with crispy phyllo dough. I made mine with slightly less phyllo dough just to keep it a little healthier and lower in carbs but I recommend adding a little more of the phyllo dough so you have a nice even crust.  This is great for brunch, lunch or dinner and great for a crowd.

Take a look at the recipe!

Spinach Pie

Ingredients:
16 oz frozen spinach, excess water squeezed out
1 1/2 cups, Ricotta
3/4 cup crumbled feta
3 eggs
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 T olive oil
1/2 T onion powder
1/2 T garlic powder
2 t oregano
2 t salt
1 t pepper
Oil cooking spray
6-8 phyllo dough sheets
2 T butter, melted

Directions: Preheat oven to 375°.  In a medium sauté pan on high heat add the olive oil, onion and garlic and cook till tender.  In a medium bowl add the spinach, onion and garlic and mix well.  Add in the 3 eggs, ricotta, feta cheese and spices and mix until smooth.

Spray a pie dish with oil cooking spray.  Then lay out 4-5 phyllo dough sheets in the middle of the pan, add in the spinach mixture.  Top pie with 2 extra phyllo sheets and then and fold over excess phyllo dough and press down.  Brush the top of the phyllo dough with the melted better, all over and in every nook and cranny.

Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let sit 5-7 minutes prior to cutting.  Serve immediately.

Notes: Use more salt if needed.  I feel like with the spinach you need more salt than normal.  You can use less phyllo dough if you’d like, that’s what I did.  But it’s much better when you have more.

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Salad, Uncategorized

Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad

Growing up I really didn’t care for brussels sprouts.  They smelled horrible and tasted just as bad, even if it had bacon mixed in.  As I got older I learned to like them prepared in certain ways.  I started experimenting with different recipes.

Earlier this year I had a brussels sprout salad at a Chicago restaurant and it was absolutely delicious.  It was something I never thought I’d enjoy, especially with raw brussels sprouts.

This is my take on a brussels sprouts salad.  Take a look and next time your in the store look for shaved brussels sprouts.  You can shave them or chop them yourself, but why put yourself through that if you can buy them shaved.  This is a great alternative to a lettuce salad.

Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad

Ingredients:
3 cups shaved brussels sprouts
3 T blue cheese
3 T honey roasted pecans (or any nut)
2 T dried cranberries
3 T crumbled bacon
1 chopped avocado, optional

Dressing:
4 T olive oil
1 T balsamic vinegar
2 t red wine vinegar
2 T fresh lemon juice
1 garlic cloves, grated
1/2 small onion, grated
1/2 T Dijon mustard

Directions: In a bowl whisk together all ingredients for the dressing and set aside.  Let sit 15 minutes so the flavors can marry.  Then mix shaved brussels sprouts, toppings and dressing and toss together.  Serve immediately.

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Desserts

Lemon Lime Cake

Over the weekend I wanted to make a dessert.  I’m not a baker at all.  I’m trying to get more into baking slowly.   My Mom has made so many yummy desserts, cookies and candies over the years and I’m trying to take after her a little bit.  I felt like something sweet this weekend and I decided to make this super easy cake.  I mean it’s very simple.  I figured I’d start with baby steps.  My Mom got this recipe from my Aunt and has been making it for 30+ years.  It’s very light and refreshing and great for the summer.  It’s  not usually something I’d make in September but with this heat wave it was perfect.  This is very similar to a poke cake.  If you like lemon and lime and a simple cake recipe you’ll love this.  It’s very delicious.  Check out the recipe below.

Lemon Lime Cake

Ingredients:
1 package lemon supreme cake
2 packages lime jello
2 cup boiling water
1/2 cup cold water
1 1/2 cups cold milk
1 package of instant lemon pudding
5 oz cool whip (little more then half of cool whip container)

Directions: Bake cake according to directions on the box.  In a bowl mix 2 packages of lime jello, 2 cups boiling water, 1/2 cup cold water, mix together.  Set aside at room temperature for 1 hour.  Remove cake from the oven and let cool at least 20 minutes.  Poke holes all over the cake.  Don’t forget the edges.  Pour the lime jello over the top of the cake evenly so the jello mixture gets into the holes.  To make the topping add 1 1/2 cups cold milk, 1 package of instant lemon pudding and cool whip. Mix well till incorporated.  Spread topping over the top of cake and refrigerate for 4 hours before first serving.  Its best the longer it sets.  Note: If you it eat it too soon the cake will be rather wet let it sit longer.

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