Sunday, September 30, 2007

Caramel Apple Bars

I made these for a family party yesterday and got a lot of compliments. I didn't tell them that they were super easy and kind of from a mix, because that way I came off looking a lot cooler than I really am. (so much for integrity)
I got the recipe from my mom (yea, mom!) but it is ultimately from Betty Crocker:

Caramel Apple Bars

1/2 cup cold butter
1 pouch (1lb., 1.5 oz.) Betty Crocker oatmeal cookie mix
1 egg
1 c. finely chopped peeled apple
3/4 cup caramel topping (like for ice cream)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1. Heat oven to 350.
2. In large bowl, cut butter into cookie mix using fork or pastry blender. Stir in egg until mixture is crumbly.
3. Reserve 1 1/2 cups of cookie mixture. Press remaining cookie mixture into bottom of pan. Bake 15 minutes. Sprinkle apple evenly over crust. In small bowl, mix caramel topping and flour; drizzle over apples. Sprinkle reserved cookie mixture over apples.
4. Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely, about 2 hours. For bars, cut into 9 rows by 4 rows.

Sorry I forgot to take a picture!!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Easy Peasy

I just got home from my uncle's 60th birthday party bash. It was a lovely party with great food. There was lots of raving about the delicious bacon wrapped appetizers. I enjoyed them too. And they even fit the diet guidelines. So what did I do when I got home after I put the baby to sleep? Googled the recipe of course!

Best of all they look completely simple to make!! Highly recommending these, even though I haven't made them myself yet; they're delicious!!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Pesto Pasta

I made a very simple recipe last night and it was delicious! It’s also a good recipe for Friday’s. It's from my Cooking Basics book by Betty Crocker.

1 cup firmly packed fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup olive or vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup pine nuts (I didn't add nuts because I didn't have any)

1. Place all ingredients in blender or food processor.

2. Cover and blend on medium speed about 3 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape sides, until smooth.

3. Pour over 8oz (1/2 a box) of cooked Rigatoni

Monday, September 24, 2007

Guacamole Salad - ala Ina Garten

So, as I mentioned in the previous post, Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa) made a guacamole salad. I wanted to expand upon that because she didn't make is, she made it into a salad, which I thought was genius. She took all the components of guacamole and mixed them together, only without all the mashing and such. Here is the recipe.

Guacamole Salad © Barefoot Contessa
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and 1/2-inch diced
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup small diced red onion
2 tablespoons minced jalapeno peppers, seeded (2 peppers)
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lime zest
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (2 limes)
1/4 cup good olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
2 ripe Hass avocados, seeded, peeled, and 1/2-inch diced

Place the tomatoes, yellow pepper, black beans, red onion, jalapeno peppers, and lime zest in a large bowl. Whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, salt, black pepper, garlic, and cayenne pepper and pour over the vegetables. Toss well.
Just before you're ready to serve the salad, fold the avocados into the salad. Check the seasoning and serve at room temperature.

I don't like bell peppers, and I would probably skip the salt and pepper, but since not everyone shares my tastes, I decided to just copy/paste the whole recipe. It looks so good, especially with the black beans, which I imagine you can subsitute any kind of bean. I think what I would do is forget most of the measuring and just throw evetything together to taste. It reminded me of another very similiar side salad that my mom makes.

Mix cut up avocado, tomatoes red onions in bowl. Stir in olive oil and balsamic. That's it. It's delicious.

So instead of doing the guacamole salad, I made a single sized portion of the above because we had cherry tomatoes, half an avocado and somoe red onion already cut up. Okay done, sorry I feel like I am hogging this website.

Salmon Burgers...just keep swimming, just keep swimming..

So, Andrew was in a for a brief weekend visit, and when I say brief, I picked him up at midway at 730pm friday and he had to fly out at 330 on sunday, so itwas like a day and a half. Not much time after being apart for 4.5 weeks, but much appreciated nonetheless. We'll see each other for five days in 3 weeks, so we can't be too sad. However, me trying to look on the bright side doesn't seem to keep me from getting mildly depressed anyways. So upon returning from the airport and moping around the house for a few hours, I decided to get my cooking on. It seems to cheer me up and certainly puts my mind on something else. Or at least it satisfies one craving...

I usually put music on when I cook, but this tiime, I needed more visual distration, so I put on Barefoot Contessa. Watching TV and cooking is a tad tricky...but salmon burgers are easy.

Salmon Burgers - makes four patties
1 can (15 oz) salmon
3/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs
3 cloves garlic, chopped
Fresh parsley chopped (or shredded, whatever your method)
2 egg whites

Mix all ingredients in a bowl with hands. Make patties. Put in a frying pan with a little olive oil and cook till browned.
that's all folks. easy as pie. i really hope I am not forgetting an ingredient...i'm doing this from memory at work.

Side notes: We happend to have fresh grilled salmon that needed to get uesd up so I used that instead of canned, which is perfectly acceptable. The egg whites are what keep the patties held together, make sure you get as much egg white as your can without getting the yolk. Yes, it's a lot of garlic, but man does it taste good...

In case you're wondering, in the Barefoot Contessa I was watching while cooking, she made bleu cheese burgers on the grill, east hampton clam chowder (which I am going to attempt to make as well...) guacamole salad, and ice cream shakes.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

At least dinner was good.

So yesterday was another sad day for those of us that bleed Blue and Gold. But alas, at least I made a yummy dinner during halftime.

Layered Enchilada Bake

1 lb of lean ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
2 cups of salsa
1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained, rinsed
1/4 cup of Kraft Zesty Italian dressing
2 Tbsp of Taco seasoning mix
6 flour tortillas
1 cup sour cream
1 pkg (8 oz) Mexican style shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brown meat with onions in large skillet on medium-high heat. Add salsa, beans, dressing, and seasoning mix. Mix well.

Arrange three of the tortillas in single layer on bottom of 13x9-inch baking dish; cover with layers of half each of the meat mixture, sour cream, and cheese. Repeat all layers. Cover with foil.

Bake, covered, 30 min. Remove foil. Bake an additional 10 minutes or until casserole is heated through and cheese is melted. Let stand 5 min before cutting to serve.

From Kraft foods.

You can even make this ahead of time and freeze it. You just line your dish with foil before starting the layers, then cover with foil and freeze up to 3 months! Then you can either take it out and bake it for an hour covered and then 15-20 uncovered, OR thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and then bake it uncovered for 45 minutes the next day.

Now we will go through everything I did differently from the recipe. I didn't have enough salsa, so I substituted a can of diced tomatoes with green chiles. I didn't measure my Italian dressing. I made it in a smaller dish. I used more than a lb of ground beef. I used more than 2 T of taco seasoning (what the heck was I going to do with the rest of the packet, anyway?) I didn't measure out my cheese or sour cream when I did my layers, I just dumped a bunch on. I think that's all I did differently... Man, it was yummy. And plenty for leftovers, too, which I had tonight.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Just Fine by Me

There are two smells competing in my kitchen tonight. Cinnamony fried apples. And a beautiful big bouquet of fresh flowers, courtesy of my husband!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Happy Cooking :)

So I started to post a reply to Laura's previous reply to the previous entry...she basically said I love this website. My reply got longer and longer so i'm just going to boil over the gushyness to its own post.

laura i agree, i love this page :) it makes me happy. something about cooking and the idea that there are others out there going through "learning how to cook" life lessons makes everyone seem bonded. okay that doesnt even make sense. i'm just glad i found people to share this stuff with and learn from. even though we all live in different places we all cook and we can share our failures and success stories.

most of my other girlfriends don't cook/dont want to/don't care/make microwave stuff. they're too busy with other things, and not that all of us are not super busy being moms or graphic designers ;) it's still a hobby that I am enjoying much more than I envisioned I would. my mom is an incredible cook and she tells me horror stories about her first cooking experiences when she first got married. She says no one really taught her about cooking so she wants me to learn as much as possible while I am still living at home/chicago.

Something about cooking relaxes me. I dont really care to watch many cooking shows..but my mom and I DVR the barefoot contessa aka Ina Garten and we have all her cookbooks. she is so relaxing to watch. she doesn't bounce all over the kitchen (though I do like rachel ray too...) She makes good coomfort food and puts creative twtists on traditional meals. she also introduces ideas for table settings and advice for throwing different kinds of parties. though she doesn't really focus much on healthy in a sense of less sugar, I still find watching her do really fundamental cooking to be really interesting. check her out if you havent.

okay thats all my gushyness for now. :)

The sign of a productive morning

...a messy kitchen.

This morning I made my favorite fall breakfast: Pumpkin Apple Streusel Muffins. There are a lot of recipes out there for pumpkin muffins and pumpkin bread, etc., but these are my favorite. It is a pretty easy recipe, but it makes a mess of my kitchen a lot of dirty dishes. However, the payoff is a scrumptiously autumnal breakfast. Paired with a cup of tea courtesy of the earl of Grey, this spells comfort. Ahh, the crisp morning breeze, the smell of fall, and pumpkin muffins warm out of the oven - it doesn't get much better than this!

Pumpkin Apple Streusel Muffins

2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

2 c. white sugar

1/4 Tbsp each of allspice, ground ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg

1 tsp. baking soda

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 c. canned pumpkin

1/2 c. vegetable oil

2 c. peeled, corred, and chopped apple

2 tbsp. all-purpose flour

1/4 c. white sugar

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

4 tbsp. butter

  • Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a muffin pan or line with 24 muffin papers.
  • In a large bowl, sife together 2 1/2 c. flour, 2 cups sugar, spices, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together eggs, pumpkin, and oil. Add pumpkin mixture to flour mixture, stirring just to moisten. Fold in apples. Spoom the batter into prepared muffin cups.
  • In a small bowl, mix together 2 tbsp flour, 1/4 cup sugar, and cinnamon. Cut in butter with a fork until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle topping evenly over muffin batter.
  • Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Makes about 24 muffins.

I actually made 12 big muffins and used the rest of the batter for mini-muffins, which were ready in about 15 minutes. They're a big hit with the toddler set.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Chicken Pot Pie

I love stuff like chicken and dumplings, chicken and biscuits... all that good stuff. This Chicken Pot Pie sounded really easy... and it was. It was scrumptious, too. I'm eating the leftovers as we speak, and they're almost better than the original!

Zesty Chicken Pot Pie

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1/4 c Kraft Light Zesty Italian Dressing
4 oz
Philadelphia Neufchatel Cheese, cubed
2 Tbsp flour
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 refrigerated pie crust
1 pkg. (10 oz. each) frozen mixed vegetables, thawed

Preheat oven to 375°F. Cook chicken in dressing in large skillet on medium heat for 2 minutes. Add Neufchatel cheese; cook and stir melted. Add flour; mix well. Add broth and vegetables; simmer 5 minutes.
Spoon into 9-inch pie plate. Cover with pie crust; seal and flute edge. Cut several slits in crust to allow steam to escape. Place pie plate on baking sheet.
Bake 30 min. or until golden brown.

from Kraft Food & Family

Friday, September 14, 2007

Chicken Cacciatore Skillet

Okay, Anne - I've been searching for a recipe for you, and I think I've got one. You can eat chicken, right? I hope so. I found this one once during one of my stints of creatively cleaning the cupboards. I had some chicken, spaghetti sauce and a can of mushrooms that I needed to use up. Most of this stuff should be in your pantry anyway, I would think...and you don't even have to make the rice:

Chicken Cacciatore Skillet

1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken, cut into 1" pieces
1/2 of an onion, chopped up
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups chicken broth (make it with boullion and boiling water instead of from a can)
1 green pepper, chopped
1 4oz. can mushrooms, drained (or fresh)
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp pepper (or to taste)
3/4 c. long grain rice (brown or white)
1 c. meatless spaghetti sauce (I use Classico, which is my favorite)

In a large skillet, cook the chicken, onion and garlic in 3 tbsp. of broth until chicken juices run clear. Stir in the green pepper, mushrooms, bay leaf, oregano, basil, pepper, and remaining broth. Bring to a boil. Add the rice. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until the rice is tender. Add the spaghetti sauce; heat through. Discard bay leaf before serving.

This dinner is so simple (only one dirty pan!!) and so fast, but it is REALLY tasty. Hopefully it meets your diet eggs, no dairy, no pasta.

Starbucks' Caramel Apple Cider

There's been a lot of talk about Starbucks' Caramel Apple Cider so, I googled it, and got the recipe from the website above.

The Cider:

Cinnamon syrup- a couple of squirts (sold in the store)

Treetop premium apple juice

Whipped cream Carmel syrup drizzled on top Blend cinnamon syrup with apple juice.

Top with whipped cream and carmel syrup.

Happy Harvest!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Cleanin Out The Cupboards

I have been cooking just not anything special to share. I've been trying to use everything in my cabinets. Our big Sunday meal was:

Marinated chicken breast
Brown Rice
Biscuits with honey

I did discover a hint for Bisquick biscuits. The recipe on the box for biscuits called for 2/3 cup milk. I didn't have any so I used water and it worked just as well. And if you butter your biscuits than there's your calcium.

Sweet Potato Biscuits, Black Bean Soup, White Bean Soup

Ok, three recipes coming up:

SWEET POTATO BISCUITS - about 5 or 6 biscuits
1/2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp unsalted butter, cold
1/3 c milk
1/3 cup mashed sweet potato (or a bit more if you like)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
In medium bowl combine flours, baking powder and salt. mix well.
Cut butter into small pieces and add to flour mixture. Using fingertips work GENTLY until flour has consistency of cornmeal. Don't push and press on it too much or the biscuits will come out hard.
In small bowl mix milk and sweet potato and mash with fork. Add this to flour mixture and stir quickly with hands till it forms a ball. Turn dough onto floured suface and knead gently. Do not overwork the dough.
Pat down out until it is 1/2 thick. (The height of your thumb knuckle, roughly)
Cut into rounds with biscuit cutter until all dough is used. Place on cookie sheet.
Bake 8-10 minutes or until bottoms of biscuits are golden brown.

Yummy with honey...

BLACK BEAN SOUP 4 servings
2 tsp veg oil
1 small onion (1/2 cup chopped)
1 clove garlic crushed
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 can black beans (15 oz)
1/2 cup broth
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp coriander

Cook onion and garlic in olive oil
In blender, process tomatoes and half the beans. Add to onion mix in saucepan. Stir in remaining beans, broth, cumin, coriander.
Top with cheese, sour cream, avocado etc.

Ok, I have a confession, we got this recipe from a family friend, but we don't actually have THE recipe, we kind of make it up...but it works really easily.

1 med onion, chopped
4ish stalks of celery chopped
1 can of white beans (your choice)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 can of chicken broth

Saute onions and celery (if you don't like chunks of the veggies, puree them after sauteing, but i like the crunch. see the pic of the soup in my previous post for the size of the veggies).
Add can of chicken broth
Add beans (rinsed and drained of course)
Add 2 tbsp olive oil (you could make it without this step, but trust me it makes a huge flavor difference)

That's it! Just let it simmer...

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Well, after all my blog cruising I was inspired to use the time while the baby was sleeping to start making a 'real' dinner. I shouldn't have bothered. I had left over steak, so I decided stir-fry with that would be good. Only did you know that canned chicken broth has milk and eggs in it? At least the stuff that I had on hand did. So I tried to make rice pilaf with water. I cannot make rice. The only rice that I succeed at is rice from a box. So that failed.

And the stir-fry? Perhaps I was just a little bit to free with the soy sauce, I don't know but it was not so good and almost too salty - even for me! The sugarsnap peas were good.

Oh least it kept me busy for a bit!

(And see? I finally remembered to take a picture!)

How Come I'm Doing this to Myself?

I've been cruising through the various food blogs located conveniently on our side bar. Seeing loads of delicious looking recipes, some with beautiful pictures of food, food, food. I haven't yet found a recipe that meets all of my current restrictions (well, that's not entirely true there's some good meat recipes - but the baked goods! oh the baked goods!).

Before the diet, this was on our menu plan. Maybe one of you lovely ladies will get to try it before me. And be sure to share your thoughts. (By the way, I've abandoned the menu planning for the duration of the diet because I eat the same thing - rice/potato, veggie, meat and fruit - every meal.)

I miss pasta. I miss bread. I miss cheese. I am such a baby. There are people who have to do this for a whole life time. This is good for me.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

A Flight of Soups

So my mom asked if I wanted to make soup for dinner, and I had this brillant idea to make a flight of soups instead of just one. We always freeze our leftover soup in single servings in a round tupperware so we can take them to work. Soup is my favorite food to make. Probably because it's so easy and all goes in one spot, but also because I'm a sucker for anything that starts out "saute chopped onions, garlic and celery in olive oil or butter."

but I digress.

The following soups are from top to bottom, left to right: Pea soup (with chives on it) Black Bean soup (with jalapeno cheddar cheese and a dollop of sour cream), White Bean soup, and Pureed Chickpea soup. (Do I see a pattern here ? I love beans...) My favorite is definitely a tie between the White Bean and the Black Bean. (ha!!) My dad doesn't like beans, so we made the pea soup for him, but I did not particuarly care for it. The chickpea soup was sort of like eating hummus , but runny...sorry that sounds gross, it's not bad, if you like hummus..a lot. I'll take a poll: which recipe do you want me to post: I don't feel like typing them all up right now, but if requested, I certainly will!

The best thing about these soups, ladies..(and gents..if any read this) is they all took like lesss than 15 m ins each to make and have very few ingredients and similar seasonings. Super convenient for quick meals.

So you may be asking what you would eat with these soups for dinner? Aside from salad, the usual side in our house, INSTEAD, we made sweet potato biscuits (yum with honey!) Also my mom sliced up avocado and drizzled some balsamic vinagrette on them, that was SO good!! Or you could go the traditional route and get all Italian and buy French bread. Whatever you prefer. So let me know which soup recipes you want me to post and I'll do so!

No Wheat, Dairy, Eggs, or Nuts

There. Now you try to cook something with those restrictions. Let me know what you come up with! :o) I'm doing an elimination diet in an attempt to discern if a food allergy is causing my son's eczema. So basically my meals consist of potatoes, meat, another veggie and some sort of fruit. Not much cooking is involved. Some pan-frying these items and that's about it. So whenever we figure out what is going on with Charles' skin and I get to start cooking, I'll post all about it!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

What I did tonight

I like these so much I keep Baker's chocolate squares on hand so that I can make them whenever I have a craving. I've adapted the recipe to be the one that follows. I like peanut butter chips, but you can throw anything in there... I've been known to throw in chopped-up peppermint patties for a mint-chocolate lover...

Joannie's Take On Baker's One Bowl Chocolate Bliss Cookies

1 pkg (8 squares) of Baker's Semi-Sweet Baking chocolate
3/4 c firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 c butter, slightly softened
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 c flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 pkg of peanut butter chips

PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Microwave 8 chocolate squares in large microwaveable bowl on HIGH 2 min., stirring after 1 min. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Add sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla; stir until well blended. Add flour and baking powder; mix well. Stir in peanut butter chips.
DROP rounded tablespoonfuls of dough, 2 inches apart, onto ungreased baking sheets. (I make mine on my baking stone.)
BAKE 12 to 13 min. or until cookies are puffed and shiny. Cool 1 min.; remove from baking sheets to wire racks. Cool completely.

Oh, and here's a picture of my creations tonight. If I owned a restaurant, I'd say on my menu:
"pairs nicely with a Guinness"

Friday, September 7, 2007

Can you tell

that our two "J" contributors are sisters? ;O)

Apricot Scones

Thanks, Anne for inviting me to post after I shamelessly asked you to invite me! hee hee...

The other day I read that one of my favorite blogfriends made scones, and ever since then I had a craving. So I lifted this recipe off of the King Arthur Flour website. If you've never visited their recipe section, I suggest checking it out. It is a treasure trove of decadence.

It really was silly for me to make these, since I'm basically the only one who will end up eating them and they are very rich. They're really better suited for company, so my advice is to plan a nice little tea party. Get out your nice linens and invite the girls over for some:

Apricot Cream Cheese Scones

3 1/4 cups (13 3/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8-ounce package cream cheese (cold)
1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) cold butter
1 cup (4 1/2 ounces) diced or slivered apricots
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup (2 ounces) milk
white sugar, for topping

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut in the cream cheese and butter, using your fingers, a pastry blender, fork, or a mixer, until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, then stir in the apricots. In a separate bowl whisk together the egg, vanilla and milk.Combine the liquid and dry ingredients and stir until the dough becomes cohesive. Don't mix and mix and mix; the more you work with the dough, the tougher it'll get. Remember: an iron fist in a velvet glove does the trick!

Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface, and fold it over several times, until it holds together. Pat the dough into a 3/4-inch thick rectangle.Cut scones with a round cutter, gathering the scraps and re-rolling the dough. Or simply cut the dough into squares or diamonds. Brush the tops lightly with milk and sprinkle with sparkling white or pearl sugar.Place scones about 2 inches apart on an ungreased or parchment-lined baking sheet.

Bake them in a preheated 425°F oven for 8 minutes. Turn the oven off, leave the door closed, and continue to bake for 8 more minutes, until the scones are a light, golden brown. Serve hot, with clotted cream and jam or raspberry curd. Yield: about 18 medium-sized scones.

I actually used a scone pan, which only makes 8 large scones, so I ended up baking them for twice the amount of time given. Also, I used generic Safeway flour and still turned out great. It was hard to keep little hands away long enough to take a picture of them, which I took as a good sign!

Beer Cheddar Soup and Chili- not together of course..

Ok so i've been astray for a tad, so I'm playing catch up here..

To whomever was looking for a great chili recipe, I just made a white chicken chili last week and it was incredible. I enjoyed it better than beef chili. I made an enormous pot of it and me and four of my girlfriends ate almost all of it! It is a modified version of a chicken chili receipe from the Silver Palette cookbook. My mom had recommended searching for it (online) that way. I guess The Silver Palette is a well-known cookbook? Maybe not so much to us newbie cooks! since I am at work, I just googled the recipe and found it again, so we'll see how well it copies.

First some thoughts on the recipe:

1) It calls for the chicken to be cubed and sauted, but my mom took liberties and went a different route. (she cooked the chicken, I made the chili). She placed the breasts on a baking pan, sprinkled them with a little salt and pepper and drizzled them with olive oil and baked them . Then instead of cutting them into cubes, we shredded them and threw them in the pot.
This might help little ones with small teeth? ;)

2) the end of the recipe calls for adding chocolate. My mom who has been cooking for many years, does not recmmend this. It's your call. We did not use it.

3) I do not like peppers, so we skipped that step, I think I substituted a can of different beans instead, to make up for the food mass loss. I recommend chickepeas...yum yum

4) It calls for adding 1 bottle of beer. I am not a beer drinker, but the flavor was actually quite wonderful, not overpowering at all (due to the massive amount of food you're about ot make). We used LaBat Blue (I think tha'ts how you spell it. Nothing fancy.

Ok-enough already, here it is:

Modified from The Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook

In a dutch oven heat 3 tablespoons of oil and brown:

3 pounds chicken breasts, skinned, boned, cut into 1" cubes
Set the chicken aside. In the same dutch oven heat 3 tablespoons of oil and sauté for 5 minutes:

5 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 large onion chopped coarsely
Add and sauté for additional 10 minutes:

2 sweet red peppers, diced
4 jalapeño peppers, diced
Stir in and cook for 5 minutes:

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander
Pinch ground cinnamon
In the dutch oven add the chicken and:

1 28-ounce cans of puréed tomatoes
2 15-ounce cans pinto or cannellini beans
1 bottle beer
Simmer for 30 minutes then add:

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
salt, to taste

Okay, also I am looking for agood Beer Cheddar Soup. I just tried making it on Tuesday night and failed miserably, I think because I didn't let the soup cool enough before adding teh milk and c heese and I think they curdled... :( :( This is the SECOND time this has happend when Itry to make this soup. Another problem, I perfer thick soup, and soups that have been pureed. This recipe called for potatoes , carrots, celery an onions nad beans. We didn't have potatoes, carrots or celery , so I just put in a TON of onions and beans, but it wasn't enough to get it really thick when pureed. I don't like cooked carrots and we don't eat the white potatoes much because it's too much white carbs. So i am looking for a recipe that calls for other added food items that I could try. any suggestions??

thanks ladies!!! Anne, I hope I did the post the label thing right..

Monday, September 3, 2007

Scrap Chili

It could also be called Red and White Chili - a little bit of ingredients for red chili, a little bit for white chili.

I'm to the point in the kitchen where there are very few food items left and really no money to go grocery shopping. So dinner today...interesting. I did brown 3 whole pounds of ground beef the other day, so that it would be ready to use. So I threw it in the slow cooker along with a can of whole tomatoes, a can of white navy beans, 1/2 an onion, some chili powder, cumin and oregano. Oh yeah, and I threw in the rest of some shredded cheese - a mix of mozzarella and Parmesan instead of the usual cheddar. The result is pretty good. I was going to be really creative and make a cornbread mix to cook on top of it, you know, like the dumplings on top of chicken and dumplings, but I'm not that brave. And I didn't want to ruin the chili if it didn't work. So if I do make some cornbread it will be in the oven like always.

Now for dinner the rest of the week...I'll have to get creative. That and make the meals that I had planned to make last week but didn't make because we went out to eat.