Holidays · Recipes

Chicken Chili

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One of the only redeeming things about winter settling in — and darkness falling before I even leave work — is the option to cook chili again. (Well, that and the idea of taking a nice, hot bath every night with my New Yorker, kitty, and a glass of wine…but back to the chili.)

This has been a rough couple weeks, right? After Election Night, I had a hard time putting two words together or getting dressed for work on time, never mind meal-plan, set up the slow cooker in the morning, or pack myself a healthy lunch, if I’m being honest. Luckily, I had some leftovers of this at the ready, thanks to the big batch I made at my freezer meal workshop last March…which I know I keep mentioning, but has honestly helped me entertain more times than I can really count this past year. If I hadn’t inherited a freezer full of food in August from a friend moving to Seattle, I’d be planning to do another workshop as we speak.

This can be frozen ahead, but it can also be made all at once. If you do freeze ahead, be sure to double bag and give it at LEAST 36 hours to defrost in the fridge before cooking. Mine was frozen solid and took two full days to thaw safely in the refrigerator.

Chicken Chili

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 lbs lean ground chicken
  • 3 TBSP dry buffalo seasoning*
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 medium-large onion, chopped
  • 3 ribs celery, finely chopped
  • 15 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 15 oz. can crushed or diced tomatoes
  • 14 oz. can white or black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 14 oz. can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 TBSP olive oil**
  • 2 TBSP minced garlic
  • 2 cups chicken broth (veggie works fine too)

To serve as toppings, or on the side: a bag of corn or tortilla chips, blue cheese or ranch dressing, hot sauce, sour cream, shredded cheese, corn bread.

* I used Wildtree Blazin’ Buffalo seasoning. Other options include Frank’s Red Hot, McCormick, or something from a specialty store like Williams-Sonoma.

** I used Wildtree Garlic Grapeseed Oil. Any other oil that tolerates heat well is fine; you can pick one with flavor infusions you like.

DIRECTIONS

(If you are freezing ahead, then you’ll need three bags: one smaller bag for the chicken, buffalo seasoning, salt and pepper; and another for the rest of the ingredients. Then double bag in a larger bag for storage, and thaw before cooking).

In a large pot on the stove top over medium-high heat, pour in the chicken, buffalo seasoning and salt and pepper. Use a large spoon to break up the chicken while it’s cooking.

Once the chicken is cooked through, about 8 minutes, add  everything else except the chicken stock and cook for five minutes.

Add the two cups of chicken stock and bring to a slow boil. Simmer for about 10 minutes.

To serve, place in bowls with condiments of your choosing. We had corn muffins, sour cream, cheddar cheese, hot sauce and tortilla chips. Blue cheese, ranch, corn chips and green onions would also be great toppings!

***

Have a great weekend everyone! We are going to eat out for Thanksgiving this year after losing such a beloved member of our family in August, and then try again next year for building a new tradition. Here’s where we are eating. If you’re looking for good T-Day recipes, check here for cranberry sauce, buttery mashed potatoes, two ways of doing Brussels sprouts, and these balsamic roasted green beans, which I adore despite the horrendous photos. I’ll leave you with this sneak peak from our holiday card photo shoot last weekend, thanks to our friend Thais at TDM Photography.

Looking for a great deal on your own holiday cards? Check out TinyPrints, which is offering up to 40% off foil and glitter cards this weekend only — until 11/20! — and 30% off anything else. Click here and use code GIVESHINE!

Tiny Prints - Birth Announcements and More

Restaurant Reviews

Review: Tornado in Malden

Since I had to work a night event on my birthday, a friend and I decided to check out the new Tapas bar near our meeting for an early dinner.

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Outdoor seating: coming in the warmer weather.

Tornado opened just a few months ago in Malden, which is apparently gaining a reputation as the next culinary hot spot. (Woohoo for our property values!) I really hope this place can stick it out, because lots of new apartments are being built nearby, and it’s right next to the subway. There should be plenty of foot traffic around this corner. Plus, the city of Malden itself is just getting more and more popular with young families and urbanites; every time I turn around, someone I know is moving here or neighboring Melrose (another foodie haven with top-notch downtown restaurants).

Anyway, here’s what we ate:

Oyster shooters with soy sauce and hot pepper flakes, with a guava sangria
Oyster shooters with soy sauce, sake, tabasco and fresh chive, with guava sangria.

 

Corn on the cob with sweet BBQ glaze, soft goat cheese and cilantro
Corn on the cob with sweet Asian BBQ glaze, soft goat cheese and fried garlic

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Key Lime pie bites with fresh berries, tart whipped cream and pistachio gelato.
Key Lime pie bites with fresh berries, tart Yuzu whipped cream and pistachio gelato.

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My birthday surprise: fried tiramisu ice cream!
My birthday surprise: fried tiramisu ice cream!

We also had edamame topped with sea salt and grated lemon zest, and bread with cinnamon-sugar butter (yum).

My verdict? I really liked this place. It’s owned and operated by graduates of Malden High, and I’m really rooting for them to succeed. They describe the food as a “mashup” of Eastern and Western cuisine, and I’d say that’s about right. There were other things we would have tried with unlimited time and stomach space: the Caesar kale salad, seared avocado with truffle salt and furikake, steamed pork buns with hoisin glaze and pickled vegetables, and crab cake fritters with wasabi-cucumber dip. I mean, right? Lots to pick from here.

And that’s just tapas! You can see the full menu here, but there’s a whole side of dinner entrees that I didn’t even sample. The sangrias we had were excellent, so I’m dying to try some of their other concoctions as well. And the fact they even call out a fancy mocktail on their drink menu earned huge points with me — I learned that you can almost always gauge the level of service you’re about to experience by how enthusiastically the bar crafts an alcohol-free drink for you when you’re visibly pregnant. (I had one place flat-out refuse to make something for me! Not so much as a cranberry juice. But I love the place, so I won’t call them out here).

The service was OK. Not inattentive, just not overly informed about ingredients we asked for, which I’m sure will come in time. We also came at a slow hour (5-6 p.m.) and they’ve only been open a few months, as I said. The decor is really cool; we enjoyed the modern vibe and can imagine it being really nice for drinks or a late dinner. The bar looked good too.

All in all: had a lovely time, definitely coming back.

Oh, and if you were hoping for a Cinco de Mayo recipe, you’re in luck! I posted these ideas last year, and then this weekend I spotted this handy recipe for restaurant-style Mexican rice. Last but not least, since it’s Monday and we all need cheering up, I give you this: an 8-legged octopus my brother made for Georgia’s 8-month birthday. Enjoy.

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Baby & Toddler · Recipes

Our Thanksgiving Traditions

This is going to be Georgia’s first Thanksgiving (and everything else!) and we are super excited to have her around for the holiday.

This time last year, we were just keeping our fingers crossed that she’d be coming into our lives soon, and a few weeks after Thanksgiving we found out that our wish had come true and she was officially on the way! I haven’t decided what she’s going to wear yet (well, other than this bib, since she drools like crazy) but I have decided what we are making. My father-in-law does the turkey, gravy, and stuffing, and our relatives split all the sides and desserts.

We bring:

  • Pumpkin, lemon meringue and apple pie. I order them from this bakery near where we live. They deliver for $1, and donate 20% to the Bread of Life, a local food pantry which hosts a huge Thanksgiving dinner every year for hundreds of people north of Boston, all for free.
  • Mashed potatoes. I have a great make-ahead method!
  • Cranberry Sauce from scratch. My specialty.

Click the photos below for my easy recipes for those buttery mashed potatoes and special cranberry sauce, which has little kick thanks to some ground ginger and orange peel.

Boil and mash these with half-and-half and cream cheese the day before, then bake topped with butter the hour before Thanksgiving dinner.
Sweet and tart.

Need more inspiration?

Don’t miss the New York Times Vegetarian Thanksgiving Guide, which includes Gluten-free options and plenty of ideas for leftovers this year.

I’m also dying to try this recipe for Sweet Potato Tart Tatin topped with Mascarpone (!) from The Chew, and this recipe for Mashed Sweet Potatoes topped with caramelized onions. Mark said next year he’s going to try his hand at cooking for Thanksgiving by whipping up these sauteed cipolline onions by Mario Batalli. My grandmother always made creamed pearl onions for Thanksgiving; it might be a Scandinavian thing. I really miss them so I can’t wait for Mark to try these!

I’m headed back to work the Monday after the holiday, so wish me (and Georgia and Daddy) good luck. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!