Sunday, September 27, 2009

White Bean and Chicken Chili

This is a recipe I got from the bon appetit October 2008 issue. It is a recipe that a reader wrote in to get, after having the dish at JW-s Food & Spirits in Grand Haven Michigan. I had some canned chicken that my mom made, and had been looking for a dish to use it in. Plus, I was hoping by making chili I could temp the weather gods into finally giving us some cool weather! It worked, last night was pretty chilly... pun intended. Anyway! On with the show...

2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
2 tbsp chopped pickled jalapeno from a jar (I used fresh. I always have fresh ones on hand)
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 15 ounce cans of Great Northern Beans, drained
1 pound cooked chicken breast, chopped
1/2 cup of half and half
Time to start chopping. I actually enjoy chopping veggies, I find it soothing.
Celery and onion done.
Chop the pepper
I chopped the jalapeno on a seperate cutting board. Of course you already know this, but wash your hands after handling jalapenos! I once forgot to do so, and wiped my hand across my upper lip. Yeah, for about 3 days I looked like I had experienced a horrible lip waxing accident. Not pretty. And the pain! Oy, not something I want to experience again that's for sure.
Then get to work on the garlic. I used really large cloves. Garlic makes everything better.
Here is a line up of the other ingredients. Including the chicken my mom canned. She had warned me that it would be delicious, but wow. This chicken was absolutely phenomenal! I could really eat it right out of the jar. I will definitely be buying a whole bunch and bringing them to her house so we can can some more! That gives me an idea, I'll document the whole process and post it here... Now, back to the task at hand.
While I was chopping, I had the oil heating in a large saucepan, over medium high heat.
I then add the onion, celery, bell pepper, and jalapeno. I cooked them until they started to soften, about 4-5 minutes.
At which point I added the chili powder (cayenne), garlic, and cumin. Cook that for 1-2 minutes.
Add the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, until veggies are crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.
Add the beans,
and half and half.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and simmer until heated through. This only takes a few minutes. Make sure to season with salt and pepper as needed.
I garnished ours with a sprinkle of fat free shredded cheese, and some toasty bread. This dish was so simple to make, and was a huge hit. Mr. See Marie Cook had three bowls! Then laid around moaning about how stuffed he was. I would definitely recommend this dish. You could easily leave the jalapeno out if you are serving people who don't care for much spice.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Carmelized Chipotle Chicken

This recipe comes from the September 2009 issue of Gourmet magazine. A friend also posted this recipe on another blog. I immediately knew I wanted to try it.

The original recipe serves 6. I cut the recipe in half, as it was just 3 of us eating. Cutting it in half still left us with plenty of leftovers. With those I plan to make warm chicken salad, once I find a decent recipe for it...

Ingredients: (this is from the original recipe, which I cut in half)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
8 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup)
2 medium onions, chopped (about 2 cups)
1 cup ketchup
2 tbsp dijon mustard
2 tbsp packed brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped canned chipotle chilies in adobo (from a 7 oz can)
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp cider vinegar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 whole chickens (about 3.5 lbs each), each cut into 8 pieces

I used a whole chicken, which I then realized I would have to cut up myself! Yikes. Never done that before. I immediately thought about one of my favorite cookbooks, which has excellent infortmation and instructions on exactly this kind of stuff.
And it again had exactly what I needed. I decided to just split the chicken, as opposed to cutting it into 8 pieces.
I did a pretty decent job!

At this point, I tossed some red potatoes and two smashed cloves of garlic into a pot of salted water. I didn't turn the heat on yet, just wanted to get them in there. I mash these skin and all. Which I will show more of later.
Now here is an excellent tip I learned from watching the Food Network. Wet a paper towel, and lay it on your counter. Then put your cutting board on top of it, that way the board won't slip around as you are working on it. Brilliant.
It really works.
Here are some of the ingredients. Mingling, getting ready to play a part in a beautiful dish!
Heat your oil in a large, heavy, skillet. I got mine about a year ago from Kohl's. One of the best purchases I ever made. I love this thing. It can go from the stovetop, right into the oven.
When the oil is shimmering, toss in the garlic. Stir it constantly, as it can burn quickly. Have you ever tasted burned garlic? That is a horrible flavor that takes days to get rid of!
Once the garlic is golden, transfer it to a bowl or plate with a slotted spoon.
Reduce the heat to medium, and cook the onions. Stir just occasionally, until the onions start to brown.
Now the kitchen is really starting to smell amazing. Of course, I think garlic and onion cooking smells just like heaven. My kind of heaven anyhow.
This is the perfect time to start getting the other ingredients together.
When the onions are done to your liking, add the garlic back in, and then toss in the rest of the ingredients.
Vinegar, worcestershire sauce, cinnamon.
Mustard. I didn't have dijon so I used stone ground mustard.
Brown Sugar
and the chipotles.
Also add a bit of salt and pepper.
Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened. It only took mine about 10 minutes or so. I imagine it would take longer if you used the full recipe.
While waiting for the sauce to thicken, preheat the oven to 450F.
Coat the chicken with half of the reduced sauce. Then roast it, skin side up, for 25 minutes.
Remove the chicken from the oven, and brush on the rest of the sauce.
Then pop it back into the oven, until it is cooked through, and well browned in some areas. Mine too about 25 minutes or so.
By this point I had boiled the potatoes until they were done, and drained them.
Now get a pen, because these instructions are very specific.
I put in a generous splat of butter, and a hunk of cream cheese. Very scientific measuring going on around here I'll tell ya.
Add some milk, salt, and pepper, and mash them. Or, smash, would be a better term.
It's time to cut up the chicken. I let the man of the house do this, makes him feel like he has a part of making the meal you know.
The spread! Yum.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Fired Up Chicken Pitas

Now here I go, posting a healthy and filling recipe. Trust me, I wouldn't post it if I didn't find it absolutely delicious.

What you'll need:
1 portion of cooked chicken breast (a portion is a piece the size of your palm)
1/2 a cucumber, peeled and diced
1 tomato, diced
1 slice of onion, chopped
1/4 tsp of cayenne
1 tbsp fat-free plain yogurt
1/2 tsp hot sauce
1 pita, cut in half

Now, I really like spicy food, but feel free to not use the cayenne or hot sauce.

Here are my ingredients laid out:
Slice the chicken breast into bite sized pieces.
In a medium mixing bowl combine the chicken, cucumber, tomato, onion, cayenne, yogurt, and hot sauce. Sitr until it's all combined.
Then just spoon the mixture into your pita halves, and you have lunch! You can also make a bunch of this mixture, to use through out the week. This dish is good for you, and really filling. I got the recipe from the Eating For Life book by Bill Phillips. The book has a ton of really tasty and healthy recipes. Some others will be posted here later. Enjoy!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Stuffed figs and prosciutto

Figs stuffed with goat cheese, wrapped in prosciutto.

Ingredients needed:
Figs (I used fresh)
Goat Cheese
Balsamic vinegar Mmmm figs! A couple months ago, I started seeing flats of figs at Costco. I hadn't had figs in a long time, and wanted to try them out. So I waited for the price to go down, and then I had to get them.
A few years ago in Napa, I had a delicious appetizer at a restaraunt called Celadon. It consisted of goat cheese cruted in macadamia nuts, and figs that were poached in port. That appetizer was a dream and I have never forgotten it. I was having a BBQ, and figured it was a great time to re create the dish, in my own way.
I started by slicing the figs in half, like pictured below. I covered a baking sheet with aluminum, and sprayed it with non stick cooking spray. This all makes clean up a snap. Just how I like it.

How much of each ingredient you would need, depends on how many people will be eating. This was so simple. I just sliced pieces of the goat cheese, and rolled each slice into a little ball. I then pushed each ball into a half of a fig. Once that was done I took a long strip of prosciutto, and wrapped that around each stuffed fig half.

I pre made these in the morning, and at this stage I wrapped the whole sheet with plastic wrap, and put it in the fridge for a few hours.

Once my guests started to arrive, I took the figs out of the fridge, and pre-heated my oven to 400 degrees. I roasted them for 10-12 minutes, until the prosciutto started to get nice and crisp. I moved them to a serving platter, and drizzled them lightly with balsamic vinegar. Then I had to snap a quick picture before they vanished off the plate! These were definitely a hit, and really easy to prepare.