Awesome Recipe-Spicy Chicken Chili

After a long hiatus, I’ve decided to return today with a recipe for a bowl of hearty chili, rather than contributing a photo of the freezing landscape. I’m including a link to Food and Wine, where I found the original recipe, but as usual I modified it somewhat.

Spicy Chicken Chili

2 tbsp. oil
1 chopped onion
2 cloves minced garlic
boneless chicken breasts, sliced into strips
4 tsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. salt (try less to taste)
1 1/2 c. canned diced tomatoes with juice
2 /12 c. organic low-sodium chicken broth
1 15 oz. can organic great northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 15 oz. can organic black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 tsp. fresh ground pepper

In a large saucepan, heat the oil over moderately low heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until tender. Increase the heat to medium and ass the chicken strips. Cook until chicken is no longer pink.

Stir in chili powder, cumin, oregano, and salt. Add tomatoes with juice and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes.

Uncover and stir in beans and black pepper. Simmer until thickened, about 15 minutes.

Serve with a crusty bread and enjoy!

Suggested modification: I will next try using ground chicken, and substitute garbanzo beans for the northern beans.

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Awesome Recipe – Sautéed Shrimp

Here’s a fast and easy recipe shared by a fellow writer from the Ohio Valley Writers Network. It is delicious and can be served for special occasions with some fancier side dishes. I used frozen wild-caught, medium-sized shrimp from Fresh Market, which always have very good flavor.

Sautéed Shrimp

Oil
Butter
½-1 tsp. Dijon mustard (amount according to taste, and you’ll probably want more than this)
¼ tsp. pork barbecue rub spice (according to taste; ditto)
Shallots or onions
Salt and pepper to taste
Raw shrimp with tail on
Pasta

Cook pasta and reserve some of the water from it.

In large frying pan, heat oil and butter (in equal measure). Sauté shallots. Mix together the mustard and barbecue rub. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add to the pan. Then add shrimp and sauté until no longer translucent (not long). Add a little water from the pasta to create a smooth sauce.

My modifications:

I added the following to the sauté before I added the mustard and barbecue rub mix. My market sells a bag of very small orange and red peppers that are meant for snacking. They are about 3 inches long, 1½ inches in diameter, and thus have very thin walls. I sliced three of these crosswise into thin pieces. I took three medium-sized white mushrooms, sliced them very thin, and chopped the slices into smaller pieces. The shallots were also chopped into small pieces so everything could cook in the same amount of time.

I served the shrimp dish over brown rice and with simple fresh steamed broccoli as a side dish. Since I didn’t have pasta water, I used about a half cup of the broccoli water to make more sauce.

Yummy. I think I will make this again soon because writing about it is making me hungry!

Today’s Photo

In honor of my birthday, I share a photo that took me by surprise and then gave me a good laugh.

Yes, I admit that I am a creature of some habits. With my morning cup of tea and my usual blueberry jam-covered waffle, I sometimes add a piece of sausage (soy-based protein, of course).

Apparently the way I eat my food is a habit, too.

Lo and behold, one morning I went to put my waffle back onto the plate and take another bite of sausage, when Mother Nature decided to play. What you see in the photo is exactly how the waffle landed on my plate – I didn’t rearrange a thing. Talk about similar polygons! I had to run and get my camera.

I’ll never see my breakfast in quite the same way again. Hope it makes you smile!

IMG_1343

Awesome Recipe-Rigatoni with Sauteed Eggplant and Tomatoes

This delicious, fast, and easy recipe is from Lidia’s Italy. Check out some of her other recipes here.

I modified the recipe a tad, mostly by using basil instead of fresh mint. I will try it sometime with mint, which I’m sure must give it a very different twist, but I will vouch for the basil. It was yummy. I’d also like to try the ricotta salata instead of the usual Parmesan cheese.

This dish tasted great as leftovers, too. 🙂

Rigatoni with Sautéed Eggplant and Tomatoes

Ingredients
• 12 ounces (5 1/2 cups) rigatoni (I used penne)
• 3 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 medium eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
• kosher salt and pepper
• 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
• 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
• 1/4 cup fresh mint, torn (I used basil)
• 1/2 cup grated ricotta salata or Parmesan

Directions
1. Cook the rigatoni according to the package directions. Drain.
2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
3. Add the eggplant, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 8 minutes.
4. Add the garlic and tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes begin to soften, 3 to 4 minutes.
5. Add the drained rigatoni and mint and toss. Divide among bowls and top with the ricotta salata or Parmesan.

Awesome Recipe – Stir-fried Eggplant and Tofu

Here’s a recipe that’s easy and quick to prepare, and it tastes great! I was looking for something to make with tofu, and I also had an eggplant to use. Lo and behold, I found one recipe that uses both. The link to the recipe is on MyRecipes.com, but I made a few modifications as noted below. Also, I plan to try the basic recipe with some other type of sauce (other than soy sauce) and will report back if it is successful.

 

STIR-FRIED EGGPLANT AND TOFU

25 minutes; serves four.

INGREDIENTS

3 tbsp. vegetable oil    (I used light sesame oil)

1 pkg. (18 oz.) firm tofu, drained, cut into 1-1/2 x 2″ chunks

2 garlic cloves, minced (I used 3 medium-large cloves)

1 lb. eggplant, cut into 1 x 3″ strips

1 small red or green pepper, cut into 1 in. pieces (I used red pepper, which added a sweet flavor)

1/3 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce (I used a bit less and added water to make up the difference)

2 tbsp. sugar (I used about 1 tbsp. honey)

2 tbsp. oyster sauce (I omitted this altogether; too salty for my taste)

1/4 cup fresh basil leaves

HEAT OIL IN A LARGE, NONSTICK FRYING PAN OVER HIGH HEAT. ADD TOFU AND COOK GENTLY, TURNING OCCASIONALLY, UNTIL BROWNED SLIGHTLY (ABOUT 5 MIN.). TRANSFER TOFU TO A PLATE.

COOK GARLIC, EGGPLANT, AND BELL PEPPER IN PAN UNTIL SOFTENED, STIRRING OCCASIONALLY, 8 TO 10 MIN.

ADD SOY SAUCE, SUGAR, AND OYSTER SAUCE, AND COOK UNTIL HEATED THROUGH (ABOUT 2 MIN.). RETURN TOFU TO PAN AND GENTLY STIR TO COAT. REMOVE FROM HEAT AND ADD IN BASIL LEAVES.

SERVE WITH RICE (I RECOMMEND BROWN RICE).

YUMMY.

Awesome recipe-Fruit Salad with Honey-lime Dressing

This recipe is from the Vegetarian Times Complete Cookbook (note that I have the 1995 version; idk if the same recipe’s in the 2nd edition). I changed up the fruit somewhat and decided not to add the bananas at the end. The dressing itself is yummy. The amounts called for made far more dressing than I needed (even though I used a lot of fruit), so I kept some aside. It lasted in the refrigerator for a couple of days.

FRESH FRUIT WITH HONEY-LIME DRESSING

Serves 6 (at least)

Dressing:

3/4 c. mild honey or barley syrup

1/3 c. fresh lime juice, preferably from key limes

6 tbsp. crushed pineapple with juice

Pinch of salt

Fruit:

2 c. fresh or frozen peaches, diced

1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

2 c. seedless grapes

2 c. seeded or seedless watermelon, diced

2 c. diced honeydew melon

2 bananas

1 c. fresh or frozen raspberries

Dressing:

Combine the honey, lime juice, pineapple and salt in blender or food processor; process until mixture is well blended (15 sec.) and set aside.

Fruit:

For fresh peaches, remove pits and cut into 1-inch cubes; sprinkle peach cubes with lemon juice to prevent darkening. Place in a bowl. Pile the grapes on top, then the watermelon and honeydew melon. Spoon 1/2 c. dressing over all, cover, and refrigerate.

Before serving:

Slice bananas and arrange in a circle around the edge of the bowl. Last, pile raspberries in the middle. Dribble with a little more dressing and pass the remaining dressing separately.

My version:

Since I couldn’t find key limes, I just used regular. I crushed some fresh pineapple before putting it into the blender with its juice, but decided to skip the peaches altogether, since the ones in the produce section were hard as rocks and I didn’t want to use frozen. The watermelon I used was a little pale and not as flavorful as I would have liked, but when served with the dressing, it was okay. The honeydew, which was a bit sweeter, and some fresh red raspberries worked great. As mentioned above, I skipped the bananas, since there was enough to go around.

I suggest that the type of honey you use will have an effect on the taste of the dressing. I used Deer Creek Honey Farms clover honey, and could detect an almost smoky flavor underlying the lime and the sweet pineapple juice.

I’m considering using this recipe for a sweet slaw dressing, maybe adding some raisins for contrast. As usual, I will report back if I do.

ENJOY!

Awesome eggplant recipe – Caponata

Yum.

If you are an eggplant lover like I am (what is it with those nightshade veggies? – I love them all!), here is a recipe that is delicious and easy to prepare, despite the number of ingredients. Once you get the eggplant cooking, each step can be done while the previous one is in progress,  so it goes fast. The dish can served as a side dish or atop pasta or brown rice. It stayed in the refrig for a few days with no loss of flavor.

Thanks to my friend Vivian for sharing this recipe with me. It was combined from a few sources.

Caponata

1 medium eggplant (buy organic and leave the skin on)

1/2 cup canola or olive oil

1/4 cup raisins

4 tbs. red wine vinegar

1 chopped onion

1 small red bell pepper, cut into small chunks

1 can diced tomatoes (use fresh when you have them and include the juices)

1-2 ribs diced celery

2 ozs. capers, drained and rinsed

2 tbs. pine nuts, lightly toasted

1/4 cup pitted and sliced black or green olives

2 tbs. sugar

salt and pepper to taste

Wash and dry eggplant. Dice into 1-inch cubes. Saute in VERY HOT oil for about 10 minutes, until soft and slightly browned. While that’s still cooking, soak raisins in wine vinegar and prepare other ingredients.

Remove eggplant from pan and place in large saucepan. Saute the onion and bell pepper in the same oil for about 3 min. (add a little oil if needed). When onions are golden brown and pepper is softened, add tomatoes and celery and simmer for about 15 min. or until celery is tender. Add capers, pine nuts, and olives. Add mixture to the eggplant.

Add sugar to raisins and vinegar, and then salt and pepper to taste. Heat in pan for a few minutes to dissolve sugar. Add to the eggplant, cover, and simmer for about 20 min. over low heat. Stir occasionally. Place in bowl and allow to cool.

Serve at room temperature.  Serves 4-6.

Enjoy!