Baby Bok Choy My Way

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Baby Bok Choy My Way

When I am home in Seattle, I make a trip across town to the Ballard Market every Sunday. This farmers market runs year-round and is a great place to see produce, dogs, and people of every type. I love the street musicians, the stores lining the streets, the ready-made pizza, curry, ice cream, donuts, and so many other types of food being sold and eaten on the spot.

Lately I have been taking one or two of my grandkids with me.  I find farmers markets are amazing places for kids to learn about where food comes from.  My 8-year-old granddaughter knows the names of most breeds of dogs we see, and my 5-year-old grandson knows what kiwi berries and honey sticks are!  

Come mid-February, I try to purchase locally grown vegetables and fruits. I spotted baby bok choy and purchased a pound of the cute little bulbs to make for dinner with the petrale sole fish and farmers market sweet potatoes I bought the same day.  

Baby Bok Choy My Way

Serves 2


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Ingredients
  • 3  baby bok choy, cut in half the long way
  • 2 tsp avocado oil to fry
  • Toasted sesame seeds to garnish
Sauce Ingredients
  • 1 ½ tsp tamari sauce
  • 1 ½ tsp water
  • Little less than a tsp of rice vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon of honey
  • ⅛ tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • ¼ tsp chili crisp (use sriracha if you don’t have chili crisp in your pantry)
Instructions

In a small container, combine tamari, water, rice vinegar, honey, sesame oil, garlic, and chili crisp and set aside. 

Heat a large skillet and then add the oil over medium-high heat.  Add the halved bok choy, cut side down, and sear until it browns.  Carefully turn it over and cook for another minute.  Pour in the sauce and then cover the pan for two minutes until the bok choy is tender.  I turn the bok choy over again so it is coated with sauce.  Remove to a serving dish and sprinkle with sesame seeds.  

Enjoy!



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Curried Sweet Potato & Spinach Stew

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Curried Sweet Potato & Spinach Stew

My son “Jakey Boy” and I share the same palette, more or less.  We save the same recipes and are attracted to easy but fresh concoctions, making the same substitutions or changes without knowing that the other person has done so too. 

Recently, Jake’s oldest son, Elan, was with me en route to the farmer’s market, and he raved about a dinner his parents made the night before.  “I ate three bowls!” he told me.  I asked him what was in his bowl, and he said, “Rice with lots of sweet potatoes and spinach and curry.”  After we shopped, I dropped Elan off at his home, and Jakey Boy gave me a taste of the dish.  It was wonderful! He told me which changes he made from the original New York Times recipe by Lidey Heuck. 

Soon after, I made a full recipe, and we ate it for dinner, then we ate it for lunch, and I gave a small amount away to a neighbor.   I even froze a small dinner sized portion. !  This combination of flavors tasted incredible to me. I hope you enjoy this as well.

Curried Sweet Potato & Spinach Stew

Yield: 4 to 6 servings


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Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound sweet potatoes (about 2 medium sweet potatoes), peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped ½ inch
  • 3 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1(1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated (about 1 tablespoon)
  • Squirt of sriracha if you want some spice
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 cup red lentils, rinsed
  • 3 cups low-sodium vegetable stock (I used Better than Bouillon chicken stock reconstituted)
  • Salt to taste (I add this at the end since my chicken stock is salty)
  • 1(13-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1(4- to 5-ounce) bag fresh baby spinach
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • Fresh cilantro leaves, for serving if desired
Instructions

In a heavy 6 quart pot, heat two tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high. Add the sweet potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned all over, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the browned sweet potatoes to a plate and set aside.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to the pot and set the heat to medium-low. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent.   Add the curry paste, garlic, ginger, chile, and turmeric, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add the lentils, stock, salt and browned sweet potatoes to the pot and bring to a boil over high. Lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are just tender, 20 to 25 minutes.

Add the coconut milk and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has reduced and the lentils are creamy and falling apart, 15 to 20 minutes.

Add the spinach and stir until just wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the lime juice and season with salt to taste.

Divide among shallow bowls and top with cilantro, if using.  I always drizzle a little Italian olive oil too!



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Easy Cheese Fondue

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Jakey Boy with his twins enjoying cheese fondue at night on our porch.

My youngest son, Jakey Boy, had a birthday in February, so I bought him an electric fondue pot and invited his family for dinner.  The fondue was meant to be our appetizer, but it should have been the main attraction.   I wasn’t sure he would like or use the fondue pot, but it was a huge hit with the kids and adults!  His kids all said they wanted fondue for their birthday dinners, and the baby got her wish last week when they used the pot to make chocolate fondue!  

Chocolate Fondue!

Circling around the fondue pot until it was empty reminded me of my days during the 70’s and brought back many fond memories!  

A few pro tips: be sure to get an extension cord if you have an electric fondue pot, and break down some cardboard boxes to line your table, inside or outside to avoid a lot of cleanup.

All gone.

Basic Cheese Fondue

Yield:  6 servings 

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Ingredients
  • 1 small garlic clove, halved
  • ¾ cup dry vermouth, which I always keep on hand. Otherwise, use white wine.
  • ½ pound good quality Gruyère cheese, grated
  • ½ pound Emmentaler, raclette or Appenzeller cheese, grated (note I used two kinds of Gruyere since I couldn’t easily find Emmentaler)
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 Tbsp brandy (optional
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
  • Juice of half a lemon if desired at the end.  For me, not optional
  • Crusty bread cubes, steamed broccoli or cauliflower, carrot, celery or fennel sticks, cubed apple, seedless grapes, clementine sections and/or dried apricots (for serving)
Instructions

Have everything measured and out on the table when you make the fondue!

Rub the cut side of garlic on the inside of the fondue pot, rubbing the bottom and halfway up the sides. Turn on the pot and add vermouth, then bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. If you have an electric pot, put it on #7 to simmer the vermouth.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, toss the cheeses with cornstarch. (I did this the night before, grated the cheese in the Cuisinart, added the cornstarch, tossed it well then put it in a sealed container). Add a handful at a time to the simmering wine, stirring until the first handful melts before adding the next. It took very little time for the cheese to melt, but you must rapidly stir constantly with a rubber spatula.  Reduce heat to medium (#3) and stir constantly until the cheese is completely melted. Add brandy if using, and heat until bubbling, about 1 to 2 minutes. Season with pepper and nutmeg, if desired. Squirt in a little lemon juice at the end.  

Serve with cubed crusty bread (I got a baguette so every piece had crust to hold it together)  and other accompaniments listed above.   Red grapes were a hit. 

To clean the pot, let it cool.  Fill the pot with hot water and Oxiclean and let is sit for 10 minutes.  Don’t submerge the pot because of the outlet!  Use a plastic bench scraper to remove any baked-on cheese, then use paper towels.  If you have to use a rag, get an old one you can throw away because it is impossible to get the cheese out.  I would not use a sponge for the same reason other than for the outside of the pot.



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Amish Bread

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Amazing Amish Bread

I love baking bread, particularly in the cold winter months.  During February this year, I wanted to make an easy loaf of bread and was happy that I remembered a recipe I clipped from the back of a bread flour bag way back when.  It is called “Amish” bread; I am  not sure what makes it Amish other than no electric tools are needed and the ingredients are simple things I always have on hand:  flour, salt, yeast, oil, sugar, and water.  Bada bing, bada boom.

This is one of those recipes that comes together so quickly!  The bread rises the first time for an hour, a second time for a half hour and then bakes in just under a half hour.  Start to finish, it is the quickest yeast bread I make, and it keeps well in a covered container or zip lock for up to three days.  

I ended up taking the original cup measures and then weighing all my ingredients as this always yields a more uniform loaf and is easier to clean up.  

Amish Bread

Makes One Loaf

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Ingredients
  • 215 grams water (about a cup) 
  • 7 grams yeast
  • 28 grams granulated sugar
  • 23 grams neutral oil (I use avocado oil but sunflower oil works too)
  • 332 grams of bread flour, about 3 cups
  • 5 grams of sea salt 
Instructions

Stir together water, yeast, and sugar and let it sit for 5 minutes.

Add oil to the mixture.

Put all but about a cup of the bread flour into a bowl large enough to knead the bread. Add sea salt and make sure it is combined with the flour. 

Pour the liquid ingredients into the flour and combine, adding the last cup of flour a little at a time.  You’ll use all the flour.

Using a spatula then your hands, knead the dough until smooth, about 5 minutes.  Place dough in an oiled large bowl, cover with saran and let it rise for an hour until doubled in bulk.

After an hour, remove the dough and punch it down.  Knead again for 3 minutes, then shape into a loaf and place into an oiled 9” by 5” bread pan.  Cover with oiled saran and let it rise for a half hour.

Just Before Baking

Meanwhile, preheat the oven at 350”.  After the half hour is up for the bread rising, take scissors and make little slips over the top of the bread or use a very sharp knife to slash it 3-4 times on top.  Bake for 28 minutes mid oven until it is golden brown and a thermometer registers at least 190 degrees.  Remove from the pan and let it cool on a rack at least an hour before slicing.  

This bread slices so easily and makes great sandwiches or toast–or have it fresh spread with butter.

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It’s Matzo Ball Meat Stew Time Again!

I first published this recipe in April of 2012. That’s almost TWELVE YEARS AGO, people! I can’t believe it.

I cooked this recently for my daughter’s family, and I could not believe how much her boys (and girl) ate. Thank goodness I baked extra challah and served everything with a huge salad.

Hearty Matzo Ball Meat Stew

 

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Originally posted on April 4, 2012

Click here to view recipe.

Meatball Matzo Ball Stew

Passover is almost upon us, and I’m looking forward to traveling to the Midwest to be with my family for the first Seder Saturday night. Since today is the first Wednesday of the month, I am featuring a simple recipe that I make year round but always during Passover, when wheat and leavening is not to be consumed.

Everyone who has ever sampled this one pot dish raves about the flavors. It is a warm, comforting meal-in-one, and I include a lot of vegetables in the pot along with the meat and matzo balls. In our house we call this “old man food” because we’ve found that older men love the familiar flavors and textures of the stew – it reminds them of food they ate in their youth!

You don’t have to be Jewish or observe Passover to make this stew. It is super easy and you’ll have dinner for several nights!

Hearty Meatball Matzo Ball Stew

Serves 8 or more

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Ingredients
  • 2 lb very lean ground chuck (I always use grass fed organic meat)
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¾ c matzo meal ( or ½ c breadcrumbs if it is not Passover)
  • 1 ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/3 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 ½ c zucchini, cut into ¾ inch cubes
  • 5 carrots, peeled and sliced (2 cups)
  • 1 large parsnip, peeled and sliced (1 cup) or you can use all carrots and eliminate parsnips
  • ½ yellow bell pepper, seeds removed cut into ½ inch dice
  • 3 stalks celery, sliced ½ inch (3/4-1 cup)
  • 1 large chopped onion, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch dice (2 cups)
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup tomato juice
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 recipe matzo balls
Instructions:

Mix first 5 ingredients, and gently divide the meat mixture evenly to make 12-14 meatballs, about 2 inches in diameter. Place these on a waxed paper-lined, flat tray while you prepare the stew.

Prep and place all the cut veggies in a 6 quart soup pot then add the tomato sauce, tomato juice, water and sugar (I add sugar or honey whenever I used canned tomatoes to cut down on the acidity and find it makes a big difference). Stir well to combine.

Top the veggie/liquid mix with formed raw meatballs. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover to let it slowly simmer for 35 minutes. Baste the meatballs every 10 minutes with juice, being careful not to break them apart.

Meanwhile, make one recipe of matzo balls (from a package or from scratch, depending on your time frame and how industrious you’re feeling). A package of Manischewitz matzo ball mix needs to have 2 eggs and 2 tablespoons of oil added, then formed into about 10 1-inch diameter balls. Handle the mixture gently with wet hands – do not over handle. After the raw dough has been refrigerated for 25 minutes, place the uncooked matzo balls into an 8-quart pot of rapidly boiling water. Make sure the pot is very large as the matzo balls tend to expand. Immediately cover the pot, turn down the heat but be sure the water continues to boil. Do not lift the lid until 25 minutes have passed.

Matzo Ball

After 25 minutes, remove the lid of the matzo ball pot and gently remove the cooked matzo balls and place them on top of the cooked meat ball/veggie stew. Cover the pot containing everything now and cook 10 minutes longer, basting at least once so the balls do not become dry. It thickens so be careful not to burn it!

When serving, be sure to top with some chopped parsley for color and consider serving along with a nice, simple green salad.

Note: once the meat balls and matzo balls are gone, I often repurpose the hearty liquid broth by adding more vegetables and even a scoop of cooked quinoa (also allowed during Passover since quinoa is not a grain). At times other than Passover, this is marvelous with fresh sliced challah dunked into the liquid stew. Steamed potatoes also make a good addition. YUM!!

 

PS: I added cubes of zucchini just because!

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Orange & Maple Glazed Nuts

You know me. You know I love to travel. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I always bring my own snacks. One of my favorites is glazed nuts.  They travel well, even when it’s hot outside. The only problem? They don’t last long!

I originally published this recipe back in August of 2011 if you can believe it! Here’s a link to that post, in case you’re interested, and I updated the recipe since I now make this a little more interesting.  I included a few other of my best travel tips – all of which hold true to this day.

Glazed nuts

Glazed Nuts

Ingredients
  • 3 Tbsp real maple syrup
  • 2 tsp orange zest (I have used lemon or lime or grapefruit too)
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne
  • grated rind of 1 orange
  • 2 pinches of table salt
  • 2 1/2  cups mixed nuts (almonds, walnuts or pecans)
Instructions

Preheat toaster oven or regular oven to 375 degrees. Cover the flat baking sheet for the toaster or for your oven with aluminum foil and rub a little oil on the foil to prevent the nuts from sticking..

Mix maple syrup with orange zest, cinnamon, cayenne and salt. (I recommend using a microplane grater for grating the citrus zest. Feel free to add more or less.)

Add the nuts to the bowl and mix all ingredients together until everything is coated.

Transfer to the flat pan that goes into a toaster oven (or to a regular cookie sheet for the oven). Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes, stirring every 3 minutes or so.

Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes, then transfer the nuts to a bowl. They are sticky and might be hard to remove and they take a while to cool thoroughly, so keep breaking the pieces apart.

I always keep a cup of these on my kitchen counter and I freeze the rest for up to two months. They are great in salads too.

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Butternut Squash Risotto – Take Two

I’m posting this one again. It’s been three years since the original post! This is such a delicious meal for these cold, blustery days. I hope you enjoy!

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Click here to view recipe.

Beautiful Butternut Squash Risotto

Years ago, so many many years ago that now it seems like a lifetime, my sister Susan and I went to Tuscany together. Our kids were all still young and living at home, but we managed to spend a little over a glorious week there.  On four of the days, we toured around in the morning and then returned to a villa at 4pm for a cooking class.

Most of the food we prepared at Tutti a Tavola was not fancy or difficult to make.  We made lasagne using dried noodles, pepperonata, tiramisu, limoncello, bollito misto and risotto.

The risotto recipe contained fresh pumpkin and required at least a half hour of standing at the stovetop stirring constantly.  For me, that is a non-starter and so I took the basic recipe and adapted it for my stovetop pressure cooker, subbing peeled and diced butternut squash for the pumpkin. This is a seven minute preparation that requires no stirring and comes out better than ever!

One thing I learned in Italy was to use liberal amounts of good olive oil when cooking.  Do not hold back – this imparts a marvelous flavor and a glorious silky smooth texture.  

I still order a case of Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Italy and use it for most everything and then give a few bottles to relatives who cook and who appreciate the gift. Mine is from my teacher Mimma’s vineyard – the Muricciaglia winery in Tuscany. It is so beautifully green and really earthy tasting – Olio d’Oliva delizioso!

The BEST EVOO

This January, I made this on a Sunday night for my husband and me.  Because we always dine at home, I try to create a nice atmosphere with flowers, napkins, beautiful food and theme music-here. For this dinner I found “Romantic Italian” on a playlist.  Somehow it makes eating a lot more fun and elevates whatever I make to restaurant quality.

Risotto con la Zucca (AKA Risotto with Pumpkin)

Serves 6-8

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Ingredients
  • ½ – ¾ of a large butternut squash, peeled and seeded, dice into ⅓-inch cubes
  • 3 Tbsp good olive oil for the squash
  • 2 cups of Arborio Rice (can be substituted with “Short Grain White Pearl” rice)
  • Another 2 Tbsp good olive oil for sauteing onion/rice
  • 4 cups (or 1L) of chicken or vegetable broth (lazy me, I use Better than Bouillon and boiling water)
  • 1 onion (or 1 cup, diced) or ¾ cup diced shallots 
  • 1 swig of white wine or dry vermouth (about 1 ½ Tbsp)
  • ¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil 
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese to finish
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions 

First, mix the diced squash and 3 tablespoons olive oil with some salt and pepper, and bake at 425 for 15-20 minutes – until softened but not overly done.

Roasted Butternut Squash

Meanwhile, in the pre-heated pressure cooker on medium heat add the two tablespoons oil and onion or shallot. Sauté the onion or shallot on low until it becomes translucent (about 5-10 minutes).

Add the rice and lightly toast it to release the starch. When you add the Arborio rice to the onions/shallots, the rice will turn from solid white to translucent as it absorbs the oil and onion juice, then in about a minute back to white. Wait until just a couple of grains look golden and your rice is toasted! 

Add a swig of white wine and un-stick any grains from the bottom of the cooker and stir the rice until the wine has fully evaporated.

Add the broth to the onions/shallots, mix and close the top immediately.

Close and lock the lid of the pressure cooker.  For stove top pressure cookers: Turn the heat up to high and when the cooker indicates it has reached high pressure, lower the heat to maintain it and begin counting seven minutes pressure cooking time.

When time is up, open the cooker by releasing the pressure

The risotto should appear just slightly too wet. Stir, and the rice will continue to absorb the extra liquid in about 30 seconds. If the rice is still very wet, put the open pressure cooker back on a medium flame, without the lid, and finish cooking it this way – stirring often – until it reaches the right consistency. For a classic finish, melt two tablespoons of butter and grated cheese and stir in right before serving. Adjust for salt and pepper 

I add the cooked tiny cubed cooked butternut squash right at the end too.  By the way, this works with diced broccoli as well or a combo of broccoli and squash.

Leftovers reheat beautifully or you could add some egg and breadcrumbs, coat with panko and saute for a different meal.

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Whole Wheat Apricot Scones

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Whole Wheat Apricot Scone

Something happened to the Apricot Scone recipe I posted here a while back.  No matter where I searched, it did not show up. Poof! Ah, technology …

Sooooooo, I hunted through my “regular” recipe files and found two recipes for whole wheat apricot scones.  I selected the easiest one with the least amount of sugar, played around with it twice, and voila.  So easy and so good.  The scones are incredible in part due to the fancy shmancy dried apricots I always order from Traina Foods in California, a minimum of two pounds of Sun Dried Ruby Royal Jumbo Apricots.  They are soft, flavorful, and have a really nice color.  

The Best Whole Wheat Apricot Scones (version 2.0)

Yield: 8 small scones

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Ingredients
  • 1 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  •  2 tsp. baking powder
  •  Little less than ½ tsp. table salt
  • Grated zest of ½ lemon or ½ orange
  •  4 Tbsp. (½ stick) cold salted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
  •  ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup + a little extra diced dried apricots (I cut with scissors and toss with the flour/butter/sugar mix to distribute)
  •  ½ cup half-and-half (or use half cream and half whole milk. I’ve even used just whole milk – still delish)
  •  1 large egg
  • 1 tsp sparkly white sugar (for the top)
Instructions

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, and salt. Add sugar and make sure everything is well combined.

With a hand-wire pastry cutter, cut butter into the flour mixture and whisk to incorporate. Stir in lemon or orange zest, then add apricot pieces and be sure they are evenly distributed. 

Measure the half-and-half or milk into a 2-cup measuring cup, and add the egg. Beat with a whisk to mix well. Pour the wet ingredients into the flour mixture (leave a tiny bit in the measuring cup to put on top of the scones as a glaze) and stir with a rubber spatula to just combine; there may be some flour at the bottom of the bowl. 

Quickly use your hands,   turn the dough and any excess flour out onto a board or countertop, press, gather, and knead it until it just comes together. Ideally, do not knead more than 12 times. As soon as the dough holds together, pat it into a rough, 8-inch circle in the middle of the parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. I use a rolling pin so it is even.  Cut the circle into 8 even pie-shaped wedges. Use the remaining egg/liquid in the cup and spread on top of the scones with your hands, then sprinkle the top with about one teaspoon of sparkly sugar.  Lightly press the sparkly sugar in the scones.  

Separate the pie shaped wedges on the cookie sheet, and bake for about 15 minutes, or until pale golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly. Serve warm or reheat lightly.

Note: If you plan to eat them soon, store the scones in an airtight container at room temperature. For more than two days,  seal them in a heavy plastic bag or container, and freeze them. Before serving, bring them to room temperature. Either way, reheat them briefly in a 300°F oven. They’re best served warm.



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Kal’s Spicy Chicken Chili – Repost!

I decided to make this for Father’s Day dinner with our son, my daughter in law  and their  four kids. We got to all eat together and boy was it a hit! Everyone loved this, from the 3 year olds to the 75 year old.

I didn’t change much – just pulsed all the onions, garlic and seeded peppers in the Nutribullet for ease and added 1 1/2 cups of fresh corn kernels.  Such a delicious recipe I thought I’d post it again – seven years later!

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Click here to view recipe.

Chicken Chili

Comforting Chicken Chili

I have already published a fantastic traditional meat chili, but I have been meaning to write about Chicken Chili too because A) it’s quite different and B) it’s the chili we always have before Thanksgiving at my brother Kal’s cabin and C) said chili always always disappears.  

To me, a chili recipe is a template and this one is no different.  The basic ingredients are good, but you can change the flavor and texture of the formula below by adding in some corn kernels, or topping the finished dish with some full fat plain yogurt, chopped cilantro and possibly even some pickled purple onion.  The possibilities are endless!

Cooking away...

Cooking away…

I make this chili several times a year now, and I always always double the recipe, reserving a huge tub for my freezer.  Because I am somewhat of a food snob, I use my freshly cooked beans along with their cooking liquid in place of those from a can.  I realize most of you aren’t making beans from scratch, so cans work as well, but please, rinse the beans.  Go for it!

Kal’s Chicken Chili

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Prep time:        30 minutes

Cooking time:  1 hour

Servings:         10-12

(Kal always starts his recipes with the prep time, cooking time, and number of servings.  He’s more top of his game than I am!)

Ingredients:
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 whole chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (canned)
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded then finely chopped
  • 1 green pepper, seeded and diced ⅓ inch
  • 2 poblano peppers, diced (when I made this recently the poblanos were almost as big as my hand so I used just one)
  • 1 large brown skinned onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 lbs ground chicken
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 3 Tbsp chili powder
  • 2 15-ounce cans of cooked beans such as garbanzo, pinto or kidney.  Rinse and drain. OR 3 ½ cups freshly cooked beans in their cooking liquid.
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
  • 1 14-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 6-ounce can tomato juice
  • 1 cup diced fresh tomatoes
  • 1-2 cups corn kernels  if you have that available

Toppings you might like for the chili: chopped cilantro, sour cream, shredded cheese, pickled onion, hot sauce — the sky’s the limit.

Instructions:

In a large soup pot, heat oil, brown chipotle peppers whole for three minutes, turning them over halfway through.  After the time is up remove them and discard the chilis but leave the oil and any brown stuff on the bottom of the pan.

Before you cut or seed the fresh peppers, put on disposable kitchen gloves or you’ll get nailed if your hands accidentally touch your eyes.  You do NOT want that to happen.

I cheated here and coarsely chopped then put the garlic, onion, and all the peppers in my Nutri bullet in three or four separate batches to pulse instead of chopping them by hand.  It chopped them really tiny but  it turned out fine and saved me tears and time.   Add the chopped garlic, onion, chopped peppers and saute a bit, then add raw ground chicken and cook, stirring, until chicken is browned.  Reduce heat to medium, add salt, cumin, and chili powder, stirring until soft, about six minutes.  Add the beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce and tomato juice and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.  Taste the chili and add more salt and chili powder if you like – I always do.  

Ladle into bowls, garnish as you wish and enjoy.  Homemade corn bread drizzled with honey or maple syrup is a wonderful accompaniment to this chili…just sayin’.

Serving suggestions for the leftovers:

  • Combine chili with frozen peas and corn and carrots, and top with mashed potatoes for a sort of shepherd’s pie.
  • Try a poached egg on top!
  • I love making twice baked potatoes, scooping out some of the potato and replacing it with chili
  • Use chili to fill omelettes
  • And so forth and so on!
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Yellow Finger Jell-O, AKA Colonoscopy Jell-O

Click here to view recipe.

Yellow Finger Jell-O

You might be shaking your head in disbelief that I would post a “recipe” for something like Jell-O, let alone finger Jell-o.  Listen up, my friends.

I had a colonoscopy in late September this year, and being restricted with food is simply awful for me.  A couple of days with “no fiber” foods?  Doable but so boring.  Sliced turkey on white bread without seeds, mashed potatoes without skins, pasta with a little oil and a little cheese, plain eggs, plain chicken or fish, plain toast…all the foods that were allowed were foods I rarely eat.  Turns out my diet consists of mainly vegetables, fruits, and grains – lots of foods with bulk AND some color!  To top it off, I have never been a dieter, so following a restricted eating plan is not in my wheelhouse.

All this complaining when I should be so grateful that I can have a screening for colon cancer. My late sister-in-law died very young from this horrible disease, so I am conscientious about the procedure.

Which brings me to Finger Jell-O.  Clear liquids (nothing red), which was all I was allowed the day before the procedure, do not fill me up or taste good.  I bought clear chicken broth, clear sodas, and carbonated water, along with some clear gummy bears in green and yellow.  I had tea and apple juice, but nothing that seemed like food.  And I could not find clear yellow or clear green popsicles (which ended up being just fine).

Enter YELLOW JELL-O.  This brought me back to my youth, but when I searched for instructions, it was a little perplexing.  Lots of formulas with extra gelatin added.  No no no.  Finally, I found what I was looking for.  Finger Jell-O, the kind that firms up so much you can cut it in squares and hold it in your hands while you eat it.  It did the trick, it seemed like food because it had a little texture and flavor, and helped me stay the course.

Finger Jell-O

Makes a 9 x 9  size pan

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Ingredients
  • 6 oz package of lemon Jell-O
  • 1 ¼ cup boiling water
Instructions

In a small container, stir the boiling water into the Jell-O powder.  I use a spoon to avoid foam…then pour the liquid into a greased brownie or pie plate and refrigerate for 3-4 hours until firm.  Cover with Saran Wrap.  Cut into squares or pieces.  The Jell-O will be firm enough to hold in your hand.  Enjoy!

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