Tuesday, December 7, 2010

White Chicken Chili

Not sure why I haven't posted this recipe before now, as it is a favorite...and so easy to make! Simple, quick and healthy (and tasty!) - how can you go wrong?

White Chicken Chili

1 rotisserie whole chicken from Costco or your local grocery store deli section
3 cans white beans- drained and rinsed
2 4 oz. cans diced green chiles
1 onion - chopped
2 Tbsp chopped garlic
2 16 oz containers mild fresh salsa (it's got to be fresh - not the jar stuff and don't drain it, use the juice too! - for those of you that are local, Tacoma Boys salsa is the best)
1 - 32oz carton chicken broth
1 small bunch of cilantro - chopped (optional)
chopped avocados, shredded cheese & sour cream, tortilla chips for garnish

Saute' your chopped onion & garlic in whatever fat you decide to use - olive oil, butter, etc. While that's cooking, start tearing the white & dark meat from the chicken. Don't be afraid to use the dark meat - it adds a lot of flavor to the soup. Add the torn chicken, broth, white beans, chili & fresh salsa to the crockpot. Mix well Simmer on low heat for three hours. Add the chopped cilantro. Continue to simmer while you prepare your selected garnish (at least 20 minutes). Serve with avocados, cheddar cheese and sour cream on top.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

I have been a busy bee with preparing for Thanksgiving at our house. We will have a total of 14 people, which in the terms of an Italian cook that means you cook for 40. Kidding. Well, not entirely. We do always have almost 1 pie per person - we like our variety. And for whatever reason, I always find it necessary to try new recipes on holidays. Just a glutton for punishment, I suppose. Here is my menu:

Turkey (because I wasn't allowed to make pork chops!)
Stuffing (my own concoction)
Mashed yellow, red & purple potatoes
Spaghetti Squash w/Basil Brown Butter
Peas w/Shallots & Pancetta
Butternut Squash Cheddar Gratin
Homemade rolls & Herb Butter
Cranberry Sauce, of course
Apple, cherry, pumpkin, blueberry, lemon & other pies
Cranberry Pear Cake w/Caramel Sauce


Table is set - ready for turkey day! I love the little frame with the "Stay Calm & Gobble On". :)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pumpkin Spice Granola

I had a few friends patiently asking me to post this recipe. :) So here you are! I found this on one Annie's Eats, a blog I have been frequenting lately. Anyway, I have been wanting to try this one for a long time, and today's cold, wet, blustery weather just called for it. This is a keeper! Simple to put together. No added fat or oil, other than the nuts, which are good for you anyway. And it smelled A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. while baking. Of course it tastes fabulous too, so there you have it.

Pumpkin Spice Granola
3 ½ cups rolled oats
2 ½ cups puffed rice cereal (NOT Rice Krispies - I found these in a bag in the health food aisle)
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice **see below for substitution
¾ tsp. salt
¾ cup brown sugar
½ cup pumpkin puree
¼ cup applesauce
¼ cup maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract
up to 1 ½ cups chopped nuts (I used pecans and pumpkin seeds - cashews would be great. And next time I'll use more pumpkin seeds - I had some from the bulk bins, without shells)
up to 1 cup dried fruit (I used Craisins, but it's good without them too)

Preheat the oven to 325°. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, combine oats and puffed rice cereal. In a medium bowl, whisk together the pumpkin pie spice, salt, sugar, pumpkin puree, applesauce, maple syrup and vanilla extract. Whisk until very smooth. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir until the oat mixture is evenly coated. Spread on the prepared baking sheet in an even layer.
Bake for 30 minutes. Then turn over the granola using a large, wide spatula. Sprinkle the nuts onto the granola and bake for an additional 15 minutes, until crisp and golden. Depending on the size of your baking sheet, the center may not be fully dried if your granola layer is thick, so if necessary remove the edges of the cooked granola and let the rest cook until done, 10-15 more minutes. Granola may still seem a bit soft but will get crunchy as it cools. (I overbaked mine a bit and it's a little hard on the teeth.) Cool on pan. Break up granola as desired and toss with dried fruit. Store in an airtight container.

**Don't bother spending extra money on pumpkin pie spice - just use the following for this recipe:
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
This makes 2 tsp of "pumpkin pie spice" - adjust accordingly for different amounts in other recipes.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Brown Sugar-Zucchini Bread

I'm surprised I am just now posting this recipe as it's a favorite in our house. Yes, my kids and hubby love their zucchini so I don't have to be sneaky with this one. If you have aversions to the green veggie in your house, I would suggest you remove the peel of your zucchini before shredding it and then you can just call it Brown Sugar Bread. We had a ton of zucchini from our ONE PLANT in the garden this year, and you know when you forget to pick them and they get really huge? That's a great time to shred them up and freeze it to use for baking in the winter. I like to use cooking spray on the inside of jumbo muffin tins, then put 1-cup scoops of shredded zucchini in there and freeze. Then just pop them out and put them in a freezer bag. If you don't have jumbo muffin tins, you can use the regular size which will hold 1/2-cup each. This bread is slightly sweet, hearty and very moist. And it smells fabulous while baking!

Brown Sugar-Zucchini Bread Recipe
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
3 large eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil **(see note below)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups grated zucchini (about 2 medium zucchini)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. Stir the flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in a large mixing bowl. When combined, mix in the oats. Make a well in the center of the ingredients. Whisk the eggs, oil, and vanilla together in a small bowl and pour the mixture into the well. Combine lightly, and then stir in the zucchini. Do not over mix. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, mounding it up in the center. Sprinkle with brown sugar and additional oats, if you wish. Bake for 60 or 65 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, and then turn out onto a rack covered with a clean dish towel to prevent indentations. Let the bread cool at least 10 minutes longer before slicing. The bread can be served warm or at room temperature. It keeps well and makes good toast, too. Variation: Brown-Sugar Carrot Bread Replace the zucchini with 2 cups grated carrot. Because the carrots are a little starchier, reduce the oats to 3/4 cup.
**I usually substitute all or most of the oil with applesauce and it comes out wonderful.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Pumpkin Scones

These were absolutely delicious. My kids (and I) had them for an after-school snack, then again for dessert that night, then breakfast the next morning. The spicy glaze and the butterscotch chips really combine well with the pumpkin flavor. I cut mine in squares as the circle was really big after they baked and I wanted them to go farther. I love love love pumpkin anything and these did not disappoint.

Pumpkin Scones courtesy of Annie's Eats
For the scones:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
½ tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
8 tbsp. cold, unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/3-½ cup butterscotch chips
½ cup buttermilk
½ cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp. vanilla extract
For the glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
Dash of ground nutmeg
Dash of ground ginger
Dash of ground cloves
2 tbsp. milk

Directions: Preheat the oven to 400° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, spices, baking powder, baking soda and salt; whisk just to combine. Add the cold butter chunks to the bowl and stir with a fork to combine. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs and the largest butter pieces are no bigger than peas. Mix in the butterscotch chips. In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the buttermilk, pumpkin puree and vanilla extract. Add the wet ingredients to the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir together gently just until the dough comes together. If necessary, knead a bit with your hands, but be careful not to overwork the dough or you will end up with a tough scone.
Transfer the sticky mass of dough to the prepared baking sheet. Pat the dough into a 8 or 9-inch round. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 22-25 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature. Slice the dough round into 7 or 8 wedges.
To make the glaze, combine the powdered sugar and spices in a small bowl. Add the milk and whisk to combine, until a thick glaze is formed. (If necessary, add a bit more milk to achieve a consistency good for drizzling the glaze.) Use a whisk to drizzle the glaze over the finished scones (I use a plastic baggie with a tip cut off). Allow the glaze to set before serving. (If you can wait that long - I couldn't.)

Mummy Dogs

Though I don't typically get into Halloween much, it's fun to do something silly with food and watch some Halloween videos. We had Mummy Dogs and Roasted Ghosties, and finished that off with Pumpkin Scones for dessert (see next post for recipe). Easy and tasty, though I should have skipped the 2nd Mummy Dog. :/
These are simple - slice crescent roll dough in thin slices (probably easier to use the flat dough that they have now, rather than the kind cut in triangles), then wrap it around the hot dogs, leaving space for the face. Put them on a baking sheet, spray dough lightly with cooking spray, and bake in a 375 degree oven for about 12 to 17 minutes until dough is browned and hot dogs are, well...hot. I used mustard for the eyes. Creepy, huh?
I couldn't stop giggling over these guys all lined up on the baking sheet. These are called Roasted Ghosties and I got the recipe from Family Fun http://familyfun.go.com/halloween/halloween-recipes/halloween-dinners/roasted-ghosts-678445/ I used white cheddar cheese, and then used black olives for the eyes. I can't stop laughing at this photo!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Zucchini Cakes

Oh my. These were SO good. I just finished dinner about 5 minutes ago and had to share this recipe. YUM.
Of course, all you gardeners out there that are brave enough to grow zucchini, have a multitude of the little green things. And you're always looking for another way to eat them, right? Well, I know I am. Nothing like homegrown zucchini, the flavor is just so much better than the bland ones you get from Safeway.
I found this on Allrecipes.com and tweaked it a bit. Hubby gobbled up 3 of them and asked to have them tomorrow night. THAT is a hit in my book. I'm sorry I can't share a photo, they got eaten way too quickly!
The recipe is supposed to taste like crab cakes because of the Old Bay seasoning. I think it's similar and the consistency is similar, but obviously no fishy taste for you non-fish eaters. This was just a yummy side dish that you have to try! And don't substitute the Old Bay, it's the perfect seasoning in these.

Zucchini Cakes
adapted from Allrecipes

2-1/2 cups grated zucchini
1 cup grated carrot
1 egg, beaten
2 Tbsp butter, melted
1/4 cup plain bread crumbs
1 Tbsp dried minced onion
1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
1 cup panko bread crumbs (approx.)

Drain zucchini and carrot completely, squeeze until all water is out. Mix with egg, butter, bread crumbs, minced onion and Old Bay. Pour panko into shallow dish. Shape mixture into patties and put in panko, flipping carefully to coat both sides. Place on baking sheet that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Spray tops of patties with additional cooking spray. Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes; carefully flip patties, spray with cooking spray and bake an additional 12-15 minutes until browned. Serve hot.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

ALMOST Starbucks Blueberry Oat Bars

Oh look, another recipe! I loooooooove these. Thank you to Kitty for passing along the recipe. These are so so good and really easy...and oats...blueberries....I'm sure they are really good for you, right? ;) Oh come on, just make them. We all need something sweet in our lives! And I'm sure these would be fantastic with any other berry...I'm going to try blackberries. And raspberries. Or a mix of all of them!


1 3/4 cup oats, uncooked (quick or old-fashioned)
1-1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I use pecans)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter; melted
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Heat oven to 350 F. Grease 11x7-inch baking pan. Combine oats, flour, brown sugar, nuts, baking soda and salt. Add butter, mixing until crumbly. Reserve 3/4 cup mixture; press remaining mixture onto bottom of prepared dish. Bake 10 minutes. Meanwhile, combine blueberries, granulated sugar and 2 tablespoons water in medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, simmer 2 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally. Combine remaining 1 tablespoon water, cornstarch, and lemon juice; mix well. Gradually stir into blueberry mixture; cook and stir about 30 seconds or until thickened. Spread over partially baked base to within 1/4 inch of edge; sprinkle with reserved oat mixture. Press topping down into blueberries slightly. Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until topping is golden brown. Cool on wire rack; cut into bars. Store tightly covered.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Fresh Fruit Bruschetta w/Orange-Honey Cream

YUM. Our Best Bites has done it again. Such a great twist on classic bruschetta! I mean, how can you go wrong - cinnamon toast, fruit and that yummy sauce. Fabulous! You must try it!

Fresh Fruit Bruschetta with Orange-Honey Cream
Recipe by Our Best Bites

1 baguette or similar-sized French bread loaf (I used a baguette)
4 Tbsp. butter, melted
2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1-1/2 C diced strawberries (about 10 medium strawberries)
1 C finely diced mango (about 1 medium mango)
1 C finely diced kiwi (about 3 kiwi)

1/2 C sour Cream
3 Tbsp. honey
1 tsp orange zest

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice bread into 1/2 inch slices. Place in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet. Use a pastry brush to brush each piece with melted butter. Combine cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle evenly over bread slices. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until edges are toasted. Set aside to cool. While bread is toasting, combine sour cream, honey, and orange zest. Stir to combine and place in the fridge. Combine strawberries, mango, and kiwi and stir gently to combine. When bread is cooled, place about 1 Tbsp. of fruit mixture on top of each toasted bread slice and drizzle with sweet sour cream mixture. If needed, thin sour cream sauce with 1/2-1 tsp orange juice. (I did add the juice for a thinner consistency) Garnish with mint leaves if desired. Serve immediately.

Creamy Corn Chowder

I know it's May and it's probably about time to move away from soups and chowders...but spring is JUST now arriving to the Pacific Northwest. We had this chowder about two weeks ago and I just remembered I need to add it to the blog. It is SO.GOOD. Found it on a favorite food blog , Our Best Bites, that I frequent and I would not change a thing about this recipe! Check out the blog, they have some great recipes - I will be adding another one I found on that site. Mmmmm. You know, I'm not a huge corn eater typically, but THIS was too good and I loved that it wasn't full of heavy cream or half & half but was very rich and creamy. My only complaint was that there were no leftovers!

Creamy Corn Chowder
Recipe by Our Best Bites

2 Tbsp. butter
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. water
2 regular-sized chicken bouillon cubes, 1 Knorr chicken bouillon cube, or 2 tsp. chicken base)
(instead of water & bouillon, I used a cup of chicken broth)
2 1/2 c. milk (skim or 1% work just fine and lighten it up considerably)
1/2 lb. bacon
1 small-medium onion, minced
2 red potatoes, diced into small cubes
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1-1/2 C frozen fresh corn (or 1 can corn)
Salt and pepper to taste
A few dashes of hot sauce (like Tabasco or Cholula)

Fry bacon until crisp. In the meantime, melt butter over low heat in a soup pot. When melted, add flour to make a roux and whisk until it comes together in a little ball. Add water and whisk until completely combined and there are no lumps. Add milk and chicken base or bouillon and bring to a simmer. Add potatoes, onions, and garlic, and simmer (but don't boil!), stirring very frequently, for about 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Add crumbled bacon and corn and heat through. Add a few drops of hot sauce and then salt to taste. The reason why I don't have an exact measurement is that while the soup REALLY needs salt, bacon also really differs in its saltiness, so it can be super easy to make this soup waaaaay too salty. Start with about 1/4 tsp., give it a few minutes, and then add more if you need it. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with extra bacon and/or cheese if you want. Because, you know, if there's anything a perfectly healthy bowl of soup (it's only 3 Weight Watchers points!) needs, it's some extra bacon and cheese!
**The original recipe said it serves 6-8 but my family of 4 ate the whole thing. :)

Skillet Lasagna

Add this one to yummy, easy, ONE-PAN recipes. Loved it! I found it HERE which was a modified version from Family Fun magazine. I changed it up a bit by sneaking in some veggies and using ground turkey. Actually I didn't sneak in the veggies, my kids love them, but for those of you with non-veggie loving kids, they won't even be able to taste them.

Skillet Lasagna
adapted from Skip to My Lou adapted from Family Fun

1-1/4 cups ricotta cheese (I used part-skim)
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1-1/2 cups shredded mozzarella (I used part-skim)
1 pkg lean ground turkey
1 small zucchini, chopped finely
4 or 5 mushrooms, chopped finely
5 or 6 baby carrots, chopped finely
1 (26-ounce) jar pasta sauce
6 oven-ready (no boil) lasagna noodles

In a medium bowl, mix together the ricotta, water, salt, basil, oregano, pepper, Parmesan, and 1/2 cup of the mozzarella. Set the mixture aside. Brown the turkey in a large skillet set over medium-high heat - when almost fully cooked, add chopped vegetables and continue cooking until meat is browned and no longer pink. Stir in 2 cups of the pasta sauce. Reduce heat to medium-low. Top the mixture with 2 lasagna noodles, set in the center. Break 2 more noodles each into half and fill in the edges. Spread the ricotta mixture over the noodles. Break 2 remaining noodles in half each and lay on top. Pour the rest of the sauce into the skillet and spread evenly, then sprinkle on the remaining cup of mozzarella, and additional parmesan if desired. Cover the skillet and simmer the lasagna over medium-low heat until the noodles are tender, about 20 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and let the lasagna cool for at least 5 minutes. After about 10 minutes most of the liquid was absorbed.
**I used my Pampered Chef food chopper for the veggies, the small pieces help them cook through quicker.