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).
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.
Yeah, I said it. Taco Cupcakes. They only resemble a cupcake in shape and size, so don’t gross yourself out thinking about sugary sweet tacos with frosting (ick!).My kids LOVE these. First, they’re called cupcakes. Second, they’re just the right size for little hands. Third, you don’t have to worry about the shells snapping in half or having your filling leak out the back. Also, they travel well in lunch boxes. Sometimes, I mix up fresh taco filling just for these, but more often I use whatever taco filling we have left and make these for lunch.
Spray your muffin pan if it’s not the silicone variety. Press a won ton wrapper into each hole. Spoon a spoonful of refried beans onto the won ton.
Top beans with cheese and a second won ton skin. Top that won ton skin with taco meat (I used leftover chicken) and more cheese. You’ll see some in the picture with only one layer. My picky kiddo doesn’t like cheese on his meat. Those are his. Just won ton skin, beans and taco meat.
Pop these in a 350* oven for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and golden. Let them cool for a couple of minutes before serving.
12 won ton skins
1/2 cup refried beans
1/2 cup shredded cheese
1 cup taco meat
Preheat oven to 350*. Spray muffin pan with cooking spray. Line 6 muffin cups with a won ton skin. Place a heaping tablespoon of refried beans on top of each won ton skin. Top beans with half the cheese. Place a second won ton skin in each muffin cup and press down gently to spread beans and cheese evenly over the bottom of the muffin cup. Top this second skin with taco meat (about 2 Tablespoons). Top meat with remaining cheese. Bake at 350* for 10-12 minutes or until cheese is melted and won ton edges are brown and crispy. Let stand for 2-3 minutes before serving.
I have several great recipes saved up to share with you from my weekend “off”. I was looking through pictures and couldn’t decide what to share. Everything looked so delicious. Then, I remembered a friend of mine suggesting that I do More Than Microwaving on Mondays.
Refried beans are a staple in New Mexican cuisine. I used to open a can and plop the mushy contents into a pan and reheat. Then, I got pregnant with my first child. Suddenly, everything that came out of a can, tasted exactly like the can it came out of. I could doctor them some and help temper that metallic flavor, but I finally gave up and just started making my own. You can start with dry beans, but if you’ve got some already cooked up, it makes this process even more simple. Just realize that your refried beans will have the flavor of your original beans, so bbq beans or baked beans aren’t recommended. Chile beans are perfect (even if they’ve got a little meat in them). Start by putting the beans in a pan to warm them up. If your beans aren’t nice and soft, use this time to cook them a little longer. You want them to be really soft and not very soupy. You can tell I cooked quite a bit of liquid off of these.
When the beans are soft, add 1/2 teaspoon cumin and mash with a potato masher. If you want them super smooth, I suppose you could use a food processor, but I like a little texture in my refried beans. As you mash, the beans will start to absorb all the cooking liquid. To keep them nice and moist, you need to add some fat. Lard is traditional. Bacon grease is fabulous, but butter will work just fine too.
Serve these alongside your favorite Mexican meal. Top them with cheese if you want. Or, put them on top of a tostada with a little cheese and salsa and they become a meal all their own.
2 cups leftover pinto beans in liquid
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 Tablespoon fat*
Reheat beans and cook until beans are very soft and the liquid level and bean levels are about equal. You can add more water and cook the beans longer if you need to. When beans are soft, add cumin and mash with a potato masher. Mash until desired consistency and stir in fat. Serve warm.
*Lard, bacon drippings, butter or margarine all would work fine.