Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Chicken, Cheese, and Apple Chili

It's tempting to call this more of a stew but there is chili powder in it and beans, so I suppose it is an actual chili. Cheesy and dreamy chili. There is a slight kick from the mexican chili powder I used but it is well balanced by the sweetness of the apples. Great with a side of toasted tortillas.

I'm not sure what makes the bulk chili powder my mom bought for me "mexican", but the result is probably a little spicier than the traditional. I finally remembered to ask her the name of the company she gets her spices from, and then promptly forgot it. So hopefully she'll comment on here as a resource for anyone looking for some great online spice shopping. I recommend their cinnamon, cumin, and cloves, oh and the above chili powder, of course. And ginger too.

The best part of having toasted tortillas around is that any leftovers are reserved for dessert. Slathered with jam. :)



Chicken, Cheese, and Apple Chili

adapted from Everyday Magazine

2 lbs chicken breasts or tenders cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3 apples cut into 1/2 inch peices
1 med onion chopped
2 cloves garlic chopped
4 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
salt and pepper
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup milk
1/4 flour
4 tablespoons butter
2 cans of white beans drained and rinsed
2 cups monterey jack cheese shredded or colby jack blend
toasted tortillas
olive oil

In a dutch oven type pot heat 2 T olive oil over medium heat, add chicken, cumin, and chili powder. Cook for a few minutes and then add chopped garlic, cook another couple of minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove and transfer chicken to bowl. Salt and pepper the chicken.
In same pot add another 2 T of olive oil over medium heat and cook the apples and onions together until soft, about 6 minutes. Remove apples into bowl with cooked chicken.
In same pot melt butter and add flour. Whisk together for one minute over medium/low heat. Add milk and broth and whisk over medium heat for several minutes until thickened.
Add chicken and apple mixtures and bring to a simmer, then add beans and cheese. Stir until heated through.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Israeli Cous Cous with Dried Cranberries & Almonds

We were craving Moroccan flavors last weekend. I found this recipe for a Moroccan lamb tagine (basically, a lamb stew - pictured below) and thought that this delicious cous cous recipe from my friend Beck would be a perfect side.

The cous cous are made with Israeli cous cous, sometimes referred to as pearl cous cous. They have a more pasta-like texture than the traditional variety, and they seem to absorb more flavor while they cook.

You do have to go to the Mediterranean section of the store to find them (they can't be found with the box varieties in the rice aisle). I bought this big container because I knew once I made them again I would want them again very soon.

Thanks, Beck!

Also, I highly recommend the tagine recipe. The lamb was flavorful and moist. I added a touch of greek yogurt for some creaminess, and to balance the spicy kick (from the red pepper flakes I added).


Israeli Cous Cous with Dried Cranberries & Almonds
(I actually forgot to add the almonds this go around - hence the almondless pictures above. Don't make that mistake! They add so much flavor and texture.)

1 med onion minced
1 lrg carrot chopped fine
2 stalks celery chopped fine
l tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp ground tumeric (if you have it, no biggie if you don't)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon (only if you add the tumeric - they work well together)
1 cup Israeli cous cous
2 cups chicken broth (brought to a boil in a separate pot)
1/2 c dried cranberries or raisins
1/2 c slivered almonds

Simmer onion, carrot and celery in olive oil until soft, about 5-7 mins. Add spices, a pinch of salt and pepper and then the dry cous cous. Saute until cous cous are toasted, about 2-4 mins. Stirring regularly. Add hot broth. Add dried cranberries. Cover and simmer on low for 7-8 mins, or until the cous cous taste tender and the liquid is absorbed.

Take off the heat and adjust seasoning to your liking if necessary. Add almonds. Serve! Would be great with some fresh parsley.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Lasagna al Forno

For me, lasagna ranks right up there with my other favorite comfort foods; pizza, arroz con pollo, spaghetti/meatballs, nachos and hot fudge sundaes. When we ventured home from college for a long weekend, that's what we'd request for dinner. Momma G's lasagna can't be beat.

This recipe hit my inbox last week and it looked like a creamy, tasty twist on an old classic. I made some tweaks to make it a bit lighter and more garlic-y. It's really easy to put together, but it does take some time. It would be a great make-ahead meal since it takes approx. 30-40 mins to cook. Vi ate a handful of black beans, a piece of toasted bread, and two steamed mussels (rich's appetizer for the eve) while waiting. She even agreed that it was worth the wait. And she's 4.


Lasagna al Forno


Heat in saute pan:

1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter


1 large carrot chopped fine
2 stalks celery chopped
1 med onion chopped fine

Simmer until very soft: 5-7 mins


3 cloves garlic minced

Saute for 2 mins and add:

1 lb ground beef (I used organic - it's far less greasy than non-organic)

When brown, add:

1/3 cup red wine (or chicken broth)
1 can diced tomatoes
pinch of dried oregano and dried basil
salt and pepper to taste

Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer. Cook as long as you have time for (I cooked mine for about 45 mins. Could cook for up to 2 or so hours to intensify the flavor. If you cook this long though - salt after it's reduced.)

While the ragu simmers, prepare the cream sauce:

Cream Sauce

Melt in sauce pan:

4 tbsp unsalted butter
Add - 1/4 flour

Let cook for 1 min - whisking constantly - then:

Add 1 cup chicken broth
1 cup milk

Whisk on high heat until it comes to a boil

Lower to a simmer and add:

1 cup ricotta
1/4 cup grated parm
sprinkle of garlic powder
salt and pepper
pinch of nutmeg

Turn off heat and whisk until smooth

Build the lasagna:

Ladle some of the cream sauce into the bottom of a 9x13 pan. Place three Barilla no bake lasagna noodles side-by-side. Spoon half of the ragu, sprinkle with shredded mozzarella. Top with more noodles, white sauce, ragu and more mozzarella. Top with noodles and the remaining white sauce, sprinkle heavily with grated parm.

Cover tightly with foil and bake at 375 for 30-40 mins, until noodles are soft. Remove foil and bake 10 mins longer (throw on the broiler if not brown enough on top). Let it sit for at least 10 mins before serving.

Enjoy the rest of the wine. ;)