Monday, April 23, 2012

White Bean Chicken Chili


When I first saw the snow this morning I knew right away that dinner would be some sort of comfort food.  As much as my waistline needs the wonderful fresh veggies and low-fat foods that come along with summer, I always miss a bowl of warm flavourful chili. Although this one can't be all bad for you, chicken, beans, corn and spinach.  As long as you don't over indulge and keep in mind portion control you won't do to much damage.

The pictures came out really bad for this one,  I swear the photo doesn't do this recipe any justice. I especially love the combination of spices, cumin, fennel, oregano and chili powder. The smell traveled through the entire house. The hubby smelt it as he pulled into the driveway and right away asked about dinner. Which is funny because this morning when he asked what was for dinner and I replied Chicken Chili, a look of disappointment came across his face. I assure you that look was nowhere to be found while he chowed down a nice big bowl of this stuff.



White Bean and Chicken Chili

Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 pounds ground chicken
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 2 (15-ounce cans) white kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 lb baby spinach
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen corn
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Freshly ground black pepper for seasoning
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese, your choice I used Monterey Jack
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Directions

1.      In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.

2.     Add the ground chicken, 1 teaspoon salt, cumin, fennel seeds, oregano, and chili powder. Cook, stirring frequently, until the chicken is cooked through, about 8 minutes.

3.     Stir the flour into the chicken mixture. Add the beans, spinach, corn, and chicken stock. Bring the mixture to a simmer, scraping up the brown bits that cling to the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.

4.     Simmer for one hour until the liquid has reduced by about half and the chili has thickened.

5.      Add the red pepper flakes and simmer for another 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

6.      Ladle the chili into serving bowls. Sprinkle with the cheese and chopped parsley.

ENJOY!!!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Caesar Style Kale Pesto Pasta

Wow, time flies!  I can’t believe it’s been so long since I last blogged.  Trust me, I haven’t forgotten about my blog.  I have been taking photos of lots of food and I am going to be on a mission to get all of it posted.  This was one that I have had on my mind for a couple of weeks because it was so delicious!   

I’ve been busy chasing after a very active 5 ½ month old and by the time bed time rolls around blogging is the last thing on my mind.  But today I’m lucky enough that she’s taking a good nap so I have time to get this one posted.   

The recipe comes from Rachael Ray.  I find when you make a pesto it can be hard to follow a recipe.  Your bunch of kale can be bigger or smaller than the recipe calls for so use your judgement.  You might need more or less garlic, oil or Parmesan for your liking.  Don’t be shy just do what feels right to get the consistency you’re looking for.  My pesto made enough to freeze half for later and I can’t wait to use it this summer with BBQ chicken or even a nice piece of grilled fish. 

My Mom and I enjoyed this on its own and we loved it!  Adding the starchy pasta water to help the pasta and pesto come together makes the dish creamy and smooth.  Be sure to toss the dish together for a good couple of minutes to make sure everything is well mixed.  And how can you go wrong with a healthy super food like kale. 


Caesar Style Kale Pesto Pasta

Ingredients

· 1 head garlic
· ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
· salt and pepper
· 1 pound spaghetti
· 1 bunch kale
· 1/3 cup grated Parmesan
· juice from 1 lemon
· 1 tbsp Dijon
· 1 tsp anchovy paste
· 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
· 3 tbsp pine nuts, toasted 

Directions

1.      Preheat oven to 400F.  Cut the end off the garlic bulb, exposing the tops of the cloves.  Place on a piece of foil and drizzle with oil, salt and pepper. Wrap the garlic up in the foil and roast for 45-50 minutes. Let cool, then squish out the garlic cloves from the skins into a food processor.

2.      While the garlic is roasting, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt it, add the spaghetti and cook to al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the starchy cooking water.

3.      Bring another large pot of water to a boil. Add salt and the kale and cook for about a minute; drain and squeeze dry.

4.      Add the kale, cheese, lemon juice, mustard, anchovy paste and Worcestershire sauce into a food processor with the garlic cloves and puree. Season with pepper. Add the pine nuts and about 1/4 cup of olive oil. Process, streaming in additional olive oil to form a thick pesto; season with salt.

5.      In a pasta bowl, combine the pasta, pesto and reserved pasta cooking water; toss to combine.   Serve with more cheese at the table.


ENJOY!




Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Cookies good enough to sell a house, Big Soft Ginger Cookies


I might have told this story before but I'm going to use it again.  When we sold our townhouse 3 years ago I made cookies for every open house and the couple that bought our house commented that the cookies definitely helped to make an impression because they were so delicious.  I bring that up with the hubby all the time, mostly to remind him of how lucky he is to have such a great wife:)

These cookies were great because the batter store easily in the refrigerator.  All you have to do is complete everything to the end of step 2 and toss them in the refrigerator.  I would bake up a dozen of them before visitors arrived and it left the house smelling great and there was a nice plate of cookies for people to enjoy while they checked out the house.

For the next couple of weeks my basement is getting worked on to repair the damages left from a flood last spring so I made these for the guys.  I hope they eat them all because I sure don't need the extra calories.  Today is day 2 of 12 weeks of training for the half marathon race weekend.  Tonight I'll be getting in my first outdoor run since late August. Should be interesting and cold, but warmer weather is in store so it will only get better from here.

The recipe comes from allrecipes.com, which I'm sure most of you know.  There is a lot of good stuff on that site if you haven't checked it out give it a try.  I get a lot of my cookie ideas from the site.

Big Soft Ginger Cookies

Ingredients
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup margarine, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
Directions       
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Sift together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, then stir in the water and molasses. Gradually stir the sifted ingredients into the molasses mixture. Shape dough into walnut sized balls, and roll them in the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. Place the cookies 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet, and flatten slightly.
  3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Blueberry Breakfast Parfait


As part of my healthier eating I put together this delicious Blueberry Parfait for breakfast. I loved it and we had this for breakfast a couple of times this week. The hubby even said he would eat it again. Making this was a bit of a risk because I know he isn't a fan of crumble and yogurt but it worked out.


Hope you give it a try!


Blueberry Breakfast Parfait
makes 1 parfait


Ingredients
  • 1 cup vanilla flavoured Grec Yogurt
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries, thawed
  • 1/2 cup Go Lean Crunch Kashi Cereal
  • 1 tsp flaxseed
  • 2 tsp honey
Directions
  1. In the bottom of a tall glass layer, 1/2 cup yogurt, 1/4 cup blueberries, 1/4 cup cereal, 1/2 tsp flaxseed and 1 tsp honey.
  2. Repeat another layer of each ingredient.
ENJOY!