Thursday, September 18, 2008

White Chicken Chili

Wow, this was so so so good! We just made a half batch, and it really made a ton. It's very thick and filling! We had it as a burrito fililng the next night with spanish rice. We thought it could use a little more spice, but the second day it had soaked in nicely.

2 16 oz cans white beans
2 large onions, chopped
1 stick unsalted butter
1/4 c all-purpose flour
3/4 c chicken broth
2 cups half and half
1 tsp Tabasco
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
two 4-oz cans whole mild green chilies, drained and chopped
2 lbs boneless, skinless chiken breasts
some extra butter and oil to cook them in
1 1/2 c grated Monterey Jack
1/2 c sour cream

1. Heat a large skillet (I like cast-iron) over moderately high heat and put in some butter and oil. Meanwhile coat your chicken with salt and pepper and maybe some chili powder. Throw them in the skillet and resist the urge to turn them over. Leave them for five minutes, or until nicely browned, then flip them. Leave it there until browned and then flip them every few minutes until they are done (which you can tell by poking a knife into the thickest part and seeing if it's white instead of pink).
2. Remove the chicken from the pan. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred it with your fingers and set aside.
3. While waiting for chicken to cool, cook the onion in the same pan with 2 Tbs of butter until softened.
4. In a heavy pot, large enough to hold all the ingredients, melt remaining 6 Tbs of butter over moderately low heat and whisk in flour. Cook the roux, whisking constantly, for three minutes. Stir in the oinoin and gradually add the broth and half and half, whisking the whole time. Bring mixture to a boil and simmer, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes, or until thickened. (It will be nicely and obviously thick.) Stir in Tabasco, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Add beans, chilies, chicken and cheese, and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes. Add sour cream. May be served immediately -- though like all chilis this tastes awesome the next day.
5. Serve with the usual chili garnishes--cilantro, cheese, jalapenos, tomatoes, etc.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Don't Bake When Your Tired... A cautionary tale about Granola probably already know as well as I that you should not bake things when you are tired. I chose to ignore that rule last night, hence...the burnt batch of homemade Orange Sesame Granola sitting on my kitchen counter. Actually I've made this before and it's fairly simple and not as expensive as many recipes. You do have to watch it closely since it tends to burn quickly. Also, there's no refined sugar. Yay! This is from a book called "101 Best American Recipes" Thanks Toni for passing this along to us! It's a new fav.


1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup pure maple syrup (PLEASE don't use Aunt Jemimah...I have lots of teh real stuff to spare, so ask me)
Grated zest of 2 oranges (can use extract, but better with zest!)
4 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup coarsley chopped unsalted cashews (I've never used...too pricey, just leave it out)
1/3 cup sesame seeds
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg (fresh is SO SO SO much better)
1/3 cup honey
1 cup chopped dried fruit such as apples, dates, apricots, cranberries, or a combination

Makes about 8 cups, keeps in airtight container in pantry for 1 month

Preheat oven to 375, and set racks in the middle.
Spread the coconut on a baking sheet, bake on middle rack stirring until lightly toasted about 8 min. ***Stir every 2 min! once it's close, it will burn quickly

In a medium sauce pan, combine oil, maple syrup and orange zest and bring to a boil over medium heat. Don't overcook, or the zest will burn. After it boils, turn off heat and add honey.

Put everything else but the dried fruit and coconut in a large bowl, and stir to combine well.
Add he syrup mixture and mix well to coat everything evenly. Spread over 2 large baking sheets for a crisper granola, or over one sheed for a chewier version.
Bake stirring often (***every 4 min or so, especially near the end) about 15 min (***more like 12 min, just watch it carefully after the 10 min mark)
Once it's cool, combine with dried fruit and coconut and enjoy! Keeps for a month or so in an airtight container.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Fresh Pesto

This is from Joy of Cooking and it turned out pretty well. We only used half a pound of pasta (Linguine is best) so it had lots of sauce.

Process to a rough paste in a food processor:
2 cups loosley packed fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup pine nuts
2 med cloves garlic
1/2 cup parmesean cheese (please...don't use the kraft kind from the pasta will be yucky)

With the machine running , slowly pour through the feed tube:
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
If it seems dry, add more oil, it should be a thick paste.

Season with salt and ground pepper to taste, serve immediately over Linguine.

Note: the stuff you buy in the store must be treated with a perservative, because the fresh home made stuff turns brown pretty fast. Still taste's great though. Can be stored in the fridge in a glass container for 1 week, you can freeze it before adding nuts and cheese.

The Dreaded Question

Funny story: My mother in law told me that her teenage kids would call her from home while she was at work and ask HER "Mom, what's for dinner?"
Here's my own attempt to answer the dreaded question... I'll try to post our successful experiments and recipes (and yes...the failures too because frankly sometimes it's just funny).
Happy cooking!