In my world, there is a definite difference between chile and chili.
This is chili.
But THIS is chile.
We use chile to make chili, but chili can never be chile. Got it?
The weather has been colder here and that means the start of soup season. My kids don’t really enjoy chile, yet, so I’m constantly adapting recipes so they can eat dinner and I can have my chile fix without having to cook two meals. The diced green chile in this recipe is completely optional. You can have a wonderfully tasty bowl of chili without it. But, if you want a superb bowl of chili, go ahead and get some diced New Mexico Green Chile and add it in. Fresh is best. Frozen is a close second. Canned will work in a pinch.
Dry beans are a great start to any budget savvy, protein rich meal. I keep at least dry pinto and dry white beans on hand at all times. This recipe starts with 1 cup of dry, white beans. You can used canned beans to save time. Do not use pinto beans in this recipe. It just won’t taste the same. Just sort through your dry beans to make sure there are no foreign objects (read: rocks and small dirt clods). Then add them to the bottom of your crock pot.
Then, add the chicken spices and water or stock on top. Set your crock pot on low and walk away for the whole day. Your house will smell amazing. Just before serving, pull out the chicken, shred it up, and return it to the pot.
Mmmmmmm. Can you see those flecks of roasted chile goodness. This is my bowl. And it was so good I ate two.
1 cup dry Navy beans
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken
4 cups water or chicken stock
1 teaspoon chile powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup diced green chile
Sort beans and remove any foreign objects. Add beans, chicken, water (or stock), spices and chile to crock pot. Set on low and cook for 6-8 hours or until beans are tender. Remove chicken, shred and return to pot. Serve hot with your favorite toppings and sides (I recommend cheese and cilantro with a hot flour tortilla).
This is one of my very favorite summer dinners. It’s so simple that I won’t even really call it a recipe (or write on below for that matter), but it is too good to not share for anyone who might not have thought about it.
To create this meal, you need three ingredients: chicken, potatoes, zesty Italian dressing. That’s it.
Wash your potatoes well and slice into 1/4″ slabs. Place chicken in one bowl and potato slabs in a separate bowl. Cover each case bowl with zesty Italian dressing. Let marinate for at least a half hour. Grill. The potato slabs take about 20 minutes. Cook time on the chicken will vary depending on what cut of chicken you use. I use boneless, skinless breast filets and they cook in slightly less time than the potatoes.
Add a side salad or some fresh veggies and you’ve got a delicious, healthy and super simple meal!
We have had temperatures nearing 70 for almost two weeks Though I have enjoyed wearing my tank tops and flip flops and getting some things done in the yard, I was really glad to wake up to a couple of inches of snow this morning. Pair that with having a couple of sick kiddos in the house and it is the perfect day for the best medicine in my kitchen – chicken noodle soup. I don’t know that there is anything novel in this recipe, just simple goodness.
If you don’t have pre-cooked chicken, go ahead and cube your chicken and cook it in your soup pot with a little oil. Then just build your stock on top of that. If you do have pre-cooked chicken, start by adding your broth to your soup pot. Then, take half a lemon and quarter it. Stick one clove in two of the lemon quarters. Drop the lemons into the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and simmer for about a half hour. Then, remove the lemon quarters and add the chicken, vegetables and parsley to the broth. Return to boil. The noodle you use is really up to you. Sometimes, when I’m feeling really ambitious, I make noodles from scratch. Usually, I buy frozen egg noodles. However, dried egg noodles work just as well. I like the extra wide variety.
When the soup is boiling, add the noodles and cook until just tender. If you plan on serving this several times, you can cook the noodles separately and add them to each bowl of soup. If you are storing this for even a day, the noodles will soak up most of the soup liquid and get fairly soggy (of course, no one in my house really minds this, but if I was making it for company I’d probably cook the noodles separately). However you do the noodles, taste for seasoning and serve piping hot.
6 cups chicken stock
2 whole cloves
2 cups diced, cooked chicken
1 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup sliced celery
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
8 ounce package extra wide egg noodles
salt and pepper to taste
Pour stock into large soup pot and bring to boil. Cut lemon half into quarters. Stick each clove into a lemon quarter. Add lemons and cloves to stock. Reduce heat to simmer and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove lemon quarters and cloves from stock.
Add chicken, carrots, celery and parsley to broth. Return to boil. Add noodles and cook according to package directions. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
I am not Catholic. I grew up in an area where Catholics were much more prone to celebrate Ash Wednesday than they were to celebrate Mardi Gras. In fact, except for the bar celebrations, Mardi Gras is basically a non-event here. However, I grew up with family in South Louisiana. Of course, the celebration in New Orleans gets a lot of coverage, but every little town makes a HUGE deal out of Mardi Gras. I never went to a celebration, but the Mardi Gras coverage every year makes me crave Cajun food something awful. Hence, Jumbalaya. I love Jumbalaya for one simple reason – flexibility! The French root of Jumbalaya actually means mish mash. So, if you’ve got some rice, stock, protein and spices on hand, you can make Jumbalaya. The recipe here only has chicken in it. Usually, I’d also add Andouille sausage and shrimp. You can adapt the rice to protein ratio any way you want – more rice feeds a crowd a flavorful meal on a budget, more meat makes a super hearty dish that will please even the most carnivorous eater in your house. This recipe is only slightly spicy (I’d say medium if I was designating it the way salsa’s are) Reduce the amount of Cajun seasoning for a milder dish or add a little cayenne pepper to amp up the spice.
Almost all Cajun food starts with the trinity – that’s onion, bell pepper and celery – sautéed in your pan as the base. I like to add some rough chopped garlic, because it suits my tastes (or wards off unwanted vampire attacks – either way). It doesn’t really matter how uniformly it is chopped since this is going to simmer away for quite a while.
I also put diced, fresh tomatoes in with the trinity and garlic. You can use tomato paste too. Add it just before you add the stock. When the veggies start to soften, add your meat and get a little brown on it. Then stir in the stock.
Bring this to a boil. Stir in the rice. Reduce heat to a simmer. Cover. Simmer until rice is cooked through and most of the liquid is absorbed. This takes about and hour (hey, I said it was flexible, not fast). You can cut the cook time down by using minute rice, but you are going to compromise some flavor and texture to do it. Serve it up with a nice, fluffy biscuit.
1 Tablespoon oil
1/2 onion, diced
3 ribs celery, diced
1 bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tomatoes, diced
2 pounds chicken, diced (or 1 pound chicken and 1 pound sausage)
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup brown rice
1 Tablespoon Cajun seasoning
Heat oil in a large stock pot over medium high heat. Add onion, celery, bell pepper, garlic and tomatoes. Cook until vegetables are soft. Add chicken and cook for 5 minutes. Add stock. Bring mixture to a boil. Stir in rice. Reduce heat to low, so that liquid is just at a simmer. Simmer, covered, for 1 hour (or until rice is done). Stir quickly after 30 minutes have passed and again after 45 minutes have passed.
If you grew up anywhere even remotely near the South, chances are you’ve had a generous amount of broccoli cheese casserole. It’s ok, but I just really don’t care for those canned, condensed soups. My husband, however, LOVES this casserole. Our compromise? I make it with leftover, homemade broccoli cheese soup. I’ve seen this served as a side or even with whole chicken breasts or thighs roasted on top of the casserole so it makes a one dish meal. I like to do it that way, but this time of year is lean for us. My husband works in the oilfield. Seems these companies always underestimate their yearly operating expenses and work gets cut to the bare minimum toward the end on the year. This recipe uses up your leftovers, stretches a little bit of meat and makes a hearty meal that is a crowd pleaser. Oh, and did I mention it is seriously easy?
Cube up one large or two small chicken breasts. Seriously, I hate that when I buy frozen chicken breasts there are always a couple of monster pieces and then some that are so small it is obvious they aren’t whole breasts. I use those for this. Here is the chicken I started with. It made about a cup and a half of cooked cubes.
That is seriously all the chicken I used. After your chicken is cooked, add equal parts prepared brown rice (or you could use half as much uncooked minute rice) and leftover broccoli cheese soup (or, if you prefer, used condensed soup and some milk) to the pan with your chicken. Pour the whole mixture into a large casserole dish (9×13), and sprinkle with cheese.
Bake until the cheese is melted and the edges are bubbly. It doesn’t take long since everything is cooked through already (you may have to cook it longer if you use uncooked rice). Serve wit ha nice salad and you’ve got a full meal.
1 large or 2 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1 Tablespoon oil
salt and pepper
4 cups leftover broccoli cheese soup
4 cups prepared brown rice
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 350*
Heat oil in large skillet. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Brown chicken in skillet and remove from heat.
Stir in leftover soup and loosen any brown bits that remain from cooking the chicken. Stir in rice.
Transfer the meat, soup and rice mixture to a 9×13 casserole dish and sprinkle with shredded cheese. Bake at 350* for 15-20 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.
These months in the winter tend to be cold and dreary. For me, they are filled with fabulous comfort foods and the various memories attached to them. Making chicken and noodles taps into a very early memory for me. For as long as I can remember, my mother and I have cooked together. For some reason, one of the most vivid memories I have of cooking with her is making home made noodles. I’m guessing they were for noodles and butter glace, but I could be wrong. I remember rolling the dough thing and separating the individual strips of dough. I don’t make noodles and butter glace now. Turns out, I don’t really like it. I do like chicken and noodles though. Which brings another fond memory.
I went away from home for college. I had family reasonable close, but I made friends who had family closer. We would all load up and head to some family member’s house for a weekend trip just because we could. We frequented Kayla’s parent’s house. And, on occasion, we’d make the short drive across town to visit her grandma – especially if we found out she was making chicken and noodles. I don’t ever remember eating this dish growing up, but I do remember eating it in college. And it always brings a smile to my face now. This recipe is not Kayla’s grandmother’s. I wish it was. But, it is hearty and comforting and sure to warm up any cool day. If you don’t want to make your own noodles, grab a package of egg noodles from your grocery’s freezer section. They’re a much closer approximation of home made than the dried variety.
Start with the noodles. Stir together flour and salt. Make a well and put eggs and milk in the well.
Stir together until all the flour is incorporated. You are probably going to have to get your hands dirty. Try not to work it too much though. The less you work the dough, the more tender your noodles will be.
Transfer dough onto a floured surface and roll until very thin. 1/16-1/8″. Then, cut into noodles that are about 3″x1/4″
Toss noodles with a little flour and let cure for about 2 hours.
Put chicken and good quality stock in a soup pot and bring to a rapid boil. If your stock isn’t really flavorful, you may want to pump it up a bit. I find that adding a little lemon juice really lightens up the flavor of this otherwise really heavy dish. Make sure your stock is really boiling before you add your noodles. Sprinkle them in by handfuls so they separate.
After you add the noodles, turn heat down to a simmer. Simmer, stirring frequently, for 20-30 minutes or until the noodles are tender and the broth is thick and creamy.
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
4-5 Tablespoons milk
4 cups chicken stock
3-4 cups cooked, cubed chicken
Stir together flour and salt. Make a well in the center. Add eggs and milk to the well. Mix just until all flour is incorporated.
Turn dough onto floured surface. Roll to 1/16″-1/8″ thickness. Use a sharp knife to cut dough into noodles that are about 3″x1/4″. Toss noodles with a little flour and set aside to cure for about 2 hours.
Add stock and cubed chicken to a large soup pot. Bring to rapid boil. Sprinkle noodles into rapidly boiling stock. Stir.
Reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer, stirring frequently, for 20-30 minutes or until noodles are tender and stock is thickened and creamy.
I love roasted chicken. I especially love it with roasted potatoes. Since I don’t keep white potatoes in the house anymore (I only buy them on rare occasions and then only enough for that one meal), I had to find a comforting substitute. My daughter loves to help me cook. She always gets a little nervous when I bring out the cauliflower. “Mom, is that white broccoli? I don’t like white broccoli.” That’s when I look at her and say, in all honesty, neither do I. At least not cut up on a veggie tray. But, in the last year, I’ve developed a certain fondness for cauliflower in some recipes and this is one of them. Roasted cauliflower florets sort of remind me of roasted potato wedges. They’re substantial. They have a slightly firm mouth-feel. They take on the flavor of whatever they are cooked/seasoned with. I honestly love this recipe even more than I love it with potatoes.
Start by cutting up a head of cauliflower into bite size pieces. Mix together the oil, salt and pepper and grated garlic. Toss the cauliflower and oil mixture together until cauliflower is well coated.
Put the cauliflower in a 9×13 baking dish. Season a whole, cut-up chicken with season salt (or use whatever cut chicken pieces your family loves). Lay the chicken in a single layer on top of the cauliflower. This way the chicken drippings cook down over and around the cauliflower.
Bake this at 350* until the chicken is cooked through and the skin is golden brown. If you’re using bone in, skin on chicken it’s going to take a while. I cooked mine for about an hour.
1 head cauliflower
1 Tablespoon oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 cloves garlic – grated
1 whole cut up chicken
Preheat oven to 350*.
Remove leaves and stem from cauliflower. Cut or break into bite-size florets.
Stir together oil, salt, pepper and grated garlic. Toss cauliflower in oil mixture. Place cauliflower evenly across the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish.
Sprinkle both sides of chicken pieces liberally with season salt and arrange in a single layer on top of the cauliflower.
Bake at 350* for 1 hour or until chicken is cooked through and golden brown.
About a year ago, my doctor suggested a drastic diet change. It included severely limiting foods with a high glycemic index – like corn products and white flour and refined sugar. I started looking at my diet and panicked. Every single meal I made had at least one of these now restricted items. Also, it is hard to eat out and miss those items. My daughter especially loves Chinese food. She calls it eggy soup. None of the Chinese places around here have a brown rice option and I just don’t have the willpower to not eat fried rice if it is on the table. That’s a problem. That problem is only complicated by the fact that one of the only Chinese dishes I will eat (and certainly my favorite dish) is sesame chicken. These chunks of chicken come out fried crispy in a batter that I guarantee has both cornstarch and flour. Those crispy bites are doused in a super sweet sauce that I bet is more sugar than honey and is thickened with cornstarch. I just know it. So, I had to come up with a substitute. There is still a good bit of honey in this, and I serve it over brown rice loaded with veggies, but it is definitely better than the restaurant version as far as cutting refined carbs and it tastes really good too.
Start by mixing up you honey, sesame oil, soy sauce, vinegar, ginger and garlic. You can add some chile flake if you like a little heat, but I don’t right now because my kids prefer it without. Cube up your chicken into bite size pieces and stir it into the marinade. Let it sit for 30 minutes or so.
Heat up some oil in a heavy skillet. Carefully add the chicken and the marinade.
Cook over high heat until chicken is cooked through and sauce is thickened to a glaze. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and serve over veggie fried rice (the one in the picture has asparagus and almonds).
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1 Tablespoon vinegar
1/2″ fresh ginger, grated
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 pound chicken, cubed
1 Tablespoon oil
1 Tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
Mix together honey, sesame oil, soy sauce, vinegar, ginger and garlic. Stir in cubed chicken and let marinate for 30 minutes.
Heat oil over high heat in a heavy skillet. Carefully add chicken and marinade to skillet. Cook, stirring frequently, until chicken is cooked through and sauce is thick (about 10 minutes).
Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and serve with fried rice.
I don’t know about you, but after those cinnamon rolls yesterday, I’m feeling a little food guilt. That’s why today I’m going to share a recipe that is just as comforting and tasty, but much, MUCH better for you. I can hear you already – WAIT! What part of a cream and butter laden filling surrounded by flaky pie crust is good for you?! And that, my friends, is where I correct you. There is no milk or cream in this recipe. The only flour is in the single layer of pie crust (which, by the way, can be omitted. This recipe is FANTASTIC as a creamy chicken stew). If you’re thinking there is no way a pot pie can taste good without the cream, just hang with me. I promise if you make and eat this recipe you won’t even miss it.
Start by browning up some chicken. I like boneless skinless breasts, but you can use whatever your favorite is. When the chicken is brown and cooked through, set it aside to rest.
Smash some garlic. Dice an onion and some celery. I toss it in the same pan I browned my chicken in with just a little extra butter or oil.
While the onion and celery cook down, rough chop and entire head of cauliflower. That’s right, I said cauliflower. I don’t even like cauliflower. Just keep going. You’ll be glad you did. When the onion is soft, add the cauliflower to the pot.
Cover this whole mix with chicken broth. I’m sure I’ll get some flack for this, but I used boxed broth for this recipe. Sometimes I’m just plain out of homemade and don’t have the stuff to make more. There’s enough going on in this recipe, that there is very little difference. Use whichever you have. Put a lid on it and let it simmer for at least 20 minutes. The cauliflower should break apart when you touch it with a fork. Dump the entire contents of the pot into a blender and puree until completely smooth and thick.
Now, tell me that doesn’t look like a rich, creamy, buttery pot pie sauce to you. I dice my chicken up while the cauliflower is simmering. I also dice up some carrots. Return the cauliflower sauce to the pan. Add chicken, carrots and peas. Season.
I like to serve this in individual ramekins. It keeps me honest about serving sizes. But, fi you want to make it in a big dish, that’s fine too. Filling in first. Top with a single layer of pie crust. Probably my biggest secret is that I don’t make pie crust. It never turns out well and I get frustrated. So, make your own if you want or grab a box of premade crust the next time you’re at the store. I promise, I won’t judge. And, so you know, these 5 ramekins did not use all the filling. I poured the rest in a 9″ round cake pan, topped it with a crust and took it to some friends for their dinner.
Do be sure you cut some vent holes in the crust before you bake it. About 15 minutes later, the crust will be golden and the filing will be bubbly. And yes, those are initials on the top of those pot pies. I know I’m a dork. Don’t rub it in.
Serve with a spoon – and a salad if you must. (Sorry about the lighting on this picture. I was too busy eating to pay attention to the light).
1-2 Tablespoons butter or oil
1 pound chicken
2 stalks celery
1 medium onion
3 cloves garlic
1 head cauliflower
1 32 ounce box low sodium chicken broth
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup diced carrots
1/2 teaspoon parsley
salt and pepper
Prepared pie crust
Heat 1 Tablespoon butter or oil in a large soup pot. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Cook chicken until brown and cooked through. Set aside to rest.
While chicken is cooking, dice onion and celery. Smash garlic and discard peels. Add onion, celery and garlic to soup pot where chicken was cooked. Add extra butter or oil if necessary. Sautee until onions are tender.
While onion, celery and garlic are cooking, rough chop a medium sized head of cauliflower. Add to pot with onion, celery and garlic. Cover with broth. Put a lid on the pot and simmer for at least 20 minutes or until cauliflower is very tender. Cube your chicken while this is cooking. Also, this is a good time to preheat your oven to 450*.
Transfer cauliflower mixture to a blender and puree until completely smooth and thick. (You could use an immersion blender if you want, I just don’t have one). Return to pot. Add carrots, peas, chicken and parsley. Stir and taste for seasoning. Add salt and pepper if necessary.
Scoop filling into individual dishes or pour into a large baking dish. Top with prepared pie crust. Use a paring knife to cut a few vent holes in the top of the pie crust near the middle. Bake at 450* for 15 minutes or until crust is golden brown.
The weather has been getting progressively cooler here. And that means soup season is upon us. Also, somehow, my schedule seems to be filling up, which means that I use my crock pot more often. This recipe is adapted from my grandma’s taco soup. It’s easy, feeds a crowd inexpensively, and just plain tastes good. If chicken isn’t your thing, feel free to use hamburger. No crock pot? You can easily make this recipe on the stove top, but in that case I’d definitely used canned beans instead of dry.
To start, add a can of fire roasted diced tomatoes and a can of corn kernels into your crock.
Then add dry or canned pinto beans and chicken breasts (I used whole, frozen). Also stir in a package of low sodium taco seasoning (or a tablespoon of your favorite homemade taco seasoning) and enough water to cover everything well. Turn your crock pot on low and walk away for 6-8 hours. Just before serving, remove the chicken and shred or dice it. Put it back in the soup, give it a stir and serve with crushed tortilla chips and shredded cheese. Yes, it really is that simple and so delicious.
1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 can whole kernel corn
1 cup dried pinto beans (or one can pinto beans)
1 package low-sodium taco seasoning
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
water to cover
tortilla chips for serving
shredded cheese for serving
Place first 5 ingredients in a crock pot. Stir. Add enough water to cover. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high 4-6 hours.
Before serving, remove chicken from crock pot and dice or shred. Return to crock. Stir.
Serve with crumbled tortilla chips and shredded cheese.