Holidays · Recipes

Chicken Chili

chicken chili.png

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!

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Holidays · Recipes

5 Great Pies for Pi Day!

It’s Pi Day (in the U.S., anyway) and what better way to celebrate 3.14.15(92653…) than with a roundup of my favorite PIE recipes, starting with one I just saw yesterday that I haven’t made yet but cannot WAIT to try, courtesy of Smitten Kitchen:

Black Bottom Oatmeal Pie from Smitten Kitchen

That’s zooming to the top of my must-make list!

Next up comes my Key Lime Pie, which I often make for Easter. Either that, or Strawberry Shortcake, which is also inside that key lime post, because one year I made both and my lucky relatives got to eat it all up.

Then there’s the classic Raw Pecan Love Pie from Kimberly Snyder, which I just love.

And who can resist this go-to Chocolate Pie by Pioneer Woman, so easy and so good. Mark just eats this up.

Next is something a little bit different: a Pumpkin Pie Smoothie!

Which can’t hold a candle to my Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp filling, which can be used just as easily to make a pie, as I have done and will continue to do every year.

And what’s a post about pie without some savory options?

Like Shepherd’s Pie, or Roasted Zucchini & Tomato Ricotta Pie, just to name a couple of examples.

But here’s the embarrassing part.

My favorite pies — pumpkin and apple — are two that, believe it or not, I DON’T have recipes for on this blog yet! So I am hereby setting a goal to rectify that this year.

Maybe I can get my mom to guest blog about her famous lemon meringue pie, and then eventually I’ll have to share my family’s recipe for Swedish Apple Pie, too. And come to think of it, what about Ricotta Pie??

Clearly, I have a lot of catching up to do! Stay tuned, and hopefully there will be some new desserts coming your way in short order.

***

What about you? What are YOUR favorite pies? Tell me in the comments 🙂 And have a great weekend.

Recipes

Pizza Rustica

This is my favorite pizza recipe to date. I made it last weekend to have on hand for a crazy week coming up, and Mark ate 90% of it in one sitting (so much for me taking it for lunch!) Luckily, the pizza dough came in a two-pack, so I just whipped up another one. It’s less than 20 minutes from chopping block to table, making it fast AND healthy. Serve with a spinach salad and you’re set!

Pizza Rustica

Serves 2. One pizza = 6 slices. Hands-on time: 10 minutes. Cooking time: 10 minutes.

Ingredients

  • One pre-made round pizza crust (I used Archer Farms ultra thin & crispy pie, from Target. You could try any brand you like.)
  • 1 large tomato or 2-3 plum/roma tomatoes, sliced
  • a handful of basil leaves, torn by hand
  • 1/2 ball of fresh mozzarella, broken into chunks by hand
  • 1 cup of pre-shredded parmesan/mozzarella mix (again I used Target)
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • olive oil for drizzling
  • non-stick spray for the pan (or use olive oil)

Directions

Start by spraying your pizza pan with non-stick spray or olive oil. Preheat oven to 400.

In a non-stick saute pan, stir-fry the sliced red pepper and onion until translucent and browned, about 10 minutes. While this is cooking on the stove top, assemble the rest of the pie.

Place pizza crust on the non-stick pizza pan and dot with olive oil; spread around evenly to coat crust.

Place tomato slices evenly around crust, then top with torn basil.

Add the fresh mozzarella on top of the basil, breaking off chunks by hand.

When the pepper and onion are done, distribute onto the pizza; top with shredded mozzarella/parmesan.

Cook for 10 minutes at 400 or until browned. Serve with spinach salad and enjoy!

I really liked the Archer Farms brand from Target, because it’s a thin-crust pizza that is low in fat and cooks up quickly. Also, it comes with two pies in a pre-made package. My recipe easily doubles if you buy twice the tomatoes, red peppers and onions (or use from your garden), and if you use the entire block of fresh mozzarella and the entire 2-cup bag of pre-shredded cheese.

I added a touch of olive oil even though I was using a non-stick pan. I like the onions to almost caramelize…

…and the red peppers to blacken on the edges for tons of flavor.

Done!

Add as many tomatoes as you like. These were some late, sweet beefsteaks from my garden, sliced into smaller pieces. I like to keep them away from the outer edge so the crust cooks up nice and crisp in the oven.

Add the basil next, tearing by hand…

…and then the mozzarella in fresh pieces, which helps hold the basil down.

Add your onions and peppers on top. Sandwiching the basil between layers like this keeps it from burning and bakes the flavor into the whole pie.

Preheat the oven to 400 and top the pie with the shredded mozzarella and parmesan. I used a bagged variety becuase the two cheeses came together in a two-cup package, and I used a little less than half for one pizza and the other half on a much cheesier second pizza a couple days later (after my husband, ahem, polished off the first version like it was a personal pan pizza).

Yup, that’s my comfy bath robe. It helps me cook.

YUUMMMM. When it comes out, it just needs to cool for a couple minutes.

A tip I learned in Italy? Just use scissors to cut pizza. Easy as pie (ha, ha).

Voila! Enjoy your pizza, and make sure you hide a couple slices if you have a big tall husband or anyone else who likes to steal 🙂

Recipes

Roasted Tomato & Zucchini Ricotta Pie

Ricotta is one of my favorite things, edible or otherwise. Light, fluffy and creamy, it never lets me down. Am I a walking stereotype with all the garlic, pasta and cheese on this blog? Probably. Do I care? Not in the slightest. (It’s not my fault Italian food fits naturally into the vegetarian diet).

This serves as an excellent side dish, or a standalone brunch/breakfast option. You can roast the vegetables ahead of time and then assemble & cook later on, or the next day, to save time. If you keep a home garden and are abounding in tomatoes and zucchini in later summer/early fall, then this comes together in a snap with only a few more ingredients: ricotta, 1 egg and fresh-grated parmesan cheese.

This is becoming a theme: Tasha photo bombs me just as I’m about to finally get the shot I need. This one’s actually a double-whammy if you count the whiskers coming in from the top left AND the reflection of her snout in the spoon. Appetizing?

To start, slice the zucchini into quarter-inch thick strips, discarding the ends. Slice the tomatoes into medum-thickness rounds, discarding the stems and ends. I mixed a couple varieties from my garden, including roma and beefsteak.

Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray; pre-heat the oven to 375. Adding zucchini to one tray and the tomatoes to the other, drizzle each with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Put in the zucchini first for 10 minutes, setting a timer; at 10 minutes, turn the zucchini and place the tray of tomatoes in the oven to roast as well. Cook both for 10 more minutes, or until the zucchini are really browning and the tomatoes are starting to sizzle at the edges. Depending on your oven and how thinly you sliced them, you may have to leave the zucchini in a tad longer. I kept my tomatoes in for 15 minutes total and my zucchini in for just over 20 minutes.

Let both cool for 10 minutes. Keep the oven at 375.

Meanwhile, mix together one egg, lightly beaten, with the ricotta and parmesan cheese, and stir by hand to blend. Season with pepper and torn fresh basil (half a dozen leaves).

Once the veggies are cool, spray a 9-inch pie plate with non-stick cooking spray and get ready to assemble the savory pie.

Add the zucchini in one layer on the bottom, then top with half the ricotta mixture and spread evenly.

Add the tomatoes next, layering the rest of the ricotta on top and spreading out so it covers completely. If you have a deep pie plate or you cooked an extra large quantity of zucchini and tomatoes, you can repeat these layers; just make sure you end on a ricotta layer.

Before popping in the oven, add the rest of the parmesan cheese plus one minced garlic clove to the top of the pie. Cook for 20 minutes or until it starts browning.

Let sit for at least 30 minutes before serving, so the pie sets up.

Voila! Creamy-cheesy-veggie goodness. Enjoy, friends.

Roasted Zucchini & Tomato Ricotta Pie

Ingredients

  • 1 zucchini, ends discarded and sliced into quarter-inch wide strips
  • 3-4 tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups part-skim ricotta
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • a couple handfuls of parmesan  cheese (either bagged or fresh grated)
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced in a press
  • about half a dozen torn fresh basil leaves
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Slice the zucchini and tomatoes, discarding any stems and ends. Set aside.

Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Pre-heat the oven to 375.

Adding zucchini to one tray and the tomatoes to the other, drizzle each with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Put in the zucchini first for 10 minutes, setting a timer; at 10 minutes, turn the zucchini and place the tray of tomatoes in the oven to roast as well. Cook both for 10 more minutes, or until the zucchini are really browning and the tomatoes are starting to sizzle at the edges.

Let both cool for 10 minutes. Keep the oven at 375.

Meanwhile, mix together one large egg, lightly beaten, with the ricotta and parmesan cheese, and stir by hand to blend. Season with pepper and torn fresh basil (half a dozen leaves).

Once the veggies are cool, spray a 9-inch pie plate with non-stick cooking spray and get ready to assemble the savory pie.

Add the zucchini in one layer on the bottom, topping with half the ricotta mixture and spreading out evenly.

Add the tomatoes next, layering the rest of the ricotta on top and spreading out so it covers completely. If you have a deep pie plate or you cooked an extra large quantity of zucchini and tomatoes, you can repeat these layers, taking care to end on a ricotta layer.

Before placing in the oven, add the rest of the parmesan cheese plus one minced garlic clove (quickly mix together in a small bowl) to the top of the pie.

Cook for 20 minutes or until it starts browning.

Let sit for at least 30 minutes before serving, so the pie sets up and becomes firm for you to slice.

Between the zucchini, tomatoes and basil, this can really highlight the very last fruits of a summer garden before autumn begins and the frost claims the rest.

This recipe inspired by the Washington Post healthy recipe section.

And speaking of great zucchini recipes, have you ever heard of making hummus with a zucchini base instead of chickpeas? According to Kimberly Snyder, un-sprouted chickpeas can be difficult to digest because they are starchy & protein-laden. So instead of blending chickpeas into hummus, she starts with zucchini and adds tahini plus a few other organic raw ingredients to make a tasty dip. Here’s her raw hummus recipe, which makes 6-8 servings and lasts up to a week in the fridge (and yes, for those of you keeping track, I totally lied about not posting any more zucchini recipes).

Photo Credit: Kimberly Snyder (kimberlysnyder.net)

No-Chickpea Hummus

  • 2 organic zucchini, chopped
  • ¾ cup tahini (raw if you can find it)
  • 2 Tbs. nutritional yeast
  • ½ cup fresh lemon juice
  •  2 medium or 3 small garlic cloves, minced
  • High quality sea salt, to taste.

Process ingredients in blender until smooth. Enjoy as a dip or sandwich spread!

dessert · Grow Your Own Way · Holidays · kid-friendly · Recipes

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble

Rhubarb is suddenly abundantly in season, and it’s just begging to be put into a pie or a berry crumble. But why fuss with a pie when you can make something so much easier and, in my opinion, more delicious? Crumble is fast, easy and lets you use that other bountiful fruit: strawberries. I got this recipe from a coworker a couple years ago, and it’s been a hit at every gathering I bring it to.

7a33792314df2ffe00b357f596735753I love how quirky, tart and yet versatile rhubarb is. We didn’t grow any in our garden this year, but a friend told me it’s actually pretty easy to cultivate, so we are going to plant some next year. Do you remember a few months back when I wrote that Mark didn’t want to plant any vegetables? Look how far we’ve come — not only do we have peppers, herbs, tomatoes and zucchini bursting right now, we’re planning on adding rhubarb next year! I’m so proud of him. Maybe I can convince him to do strawberries next year, too?

To make this crumble, start by rinsing and chopping 3 cups of strawberries and 3 cups of rhubarb. This is about one pound of rhubarb, or 4-5 stalks, and about 12 oz. of strawberries (the standard container size). If you’ve never bought rhubarb before — as Mark hadn’t when I sent him to the store for these ingredients — I always say they look like pink celery.

Once you’ve chopped the strawberries and rhubarb into bite-sized pieces, add the 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour and 1 cup of (white) sugar. Combine in a bowl and let them sit for half an hour so the juices draw out and blend.

In the meantime, you can make the topping. I like to do it over low heat on the stove, so the butter can melt in the pan and then you can add the oats and brown sugar and flour.

Once the mixture has come together, set aside off the burner and get ready to assemble your crumble. Preheat the oven to 375 and get out a 9×13 baking dish.

Top with the crumble mixture, spreading out evenly.

Bake for 45 minutes; it will be browned and bubbling. You can serve it warm or cool. I like to serve it warm with a bit of vanilla ice cream on the side!

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups each of strawberries and rhubarb
  • ½ C flour
  • 1 C Sugar

I let those sit together for 30 minutes after mixing. Meanwhile, make the topping.

Crumble topping:

  • 1 C each of butter (yes, that’s two sticks), brown sugar & rolled oats
  • 1 ½ C flour

DIRECTIONS

Spread the berry mixture in a glass 9×13 baking dish and top with the crumble. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. Let cool and serve either warm or cool. I love it with ice cream! I have also used this recipe filling in a pie.

PS: Do you know the difference between cobbler, crumble and crisp?