Chef Spotlight Roundup: Health Conscious Chefs

Thanks to all those that participated in this month’s Chef Spotlight event! We have a tasty and healthy roundup of recipes to start the new year off… and some really great blogs to add to your viewing (drooling) pleasure. For additional healthy recipes, check out the Chef Spotlight Dinner we hosted with friends!

Sarina of TriniGourmet
from Trinidad
Raw Tomato & Macadamia Mozzarella Linguine
Sarina shares with us a healthy dish that’s completely raw! It looks beautiful with the colors! Check out Sarina’s blog for the recipe and for some great information on raw chefs!

Marla of A Pinch of This & That
from Florida
Zucchini Dunkers
Looking for a different way to serve up zucchini? Check out Marla’s blog which has a recipe for Zucchini Dunkers! It’s packed with flavor and crunch and you may not even miss french fries after having these! Go on… click on her blog to check it out!
Laura of Laura’s Home Cooking
Sauteed Turkey Cutlets with Orange Cranberry Sauce
A great flavor that works especially well with poultry is orange and cranberry. Laura shares with us this recipe for Sauteed Turkey Cutlets with Orange Cranberry Sauce and it looks delicious! Check out her blog for the recipe and give this a try!

Jamie of Dinner with the Bickfords
from Maryland
Asian Noodles in Satay Sauce
I’m a sucker for Asian recipes. For the most part, many Asian cuisines lean more towards the healthy side and Jamie’s recipe for Asian Noodles with Satay Sauce is one of them. The colors of this dish is great and is full of vegetables… and we all know we need to add more to our diet (at least I do!) Check out Jamie’s blog for the recipe!

Smitha of Kadumanga
from Trichur, India
Chickpea Salad with Cumin Dressing & Yogurt Sauce
Smitha joins us to share a recipe of a favorite chef of mine, Ellie Krieger. This Chicken Pea Salad looks so refreshing and is a fairly quick recipe to make! Check out Smitha’s blog for this vegetarian salad and enjoy!

Christie of Stump the Chef
from Florida
Tilapia with Cherries & Almonds
I happen to enjoy fish recipes and I wish I could prepare it more often. But Christie certainly does a great job in inspiring me. She shares with us the recipe for Tilapia with Cherries & Almonds and who knew it would work so well with the mild flavors of tilapia! Check out Christie’s blog for the recipe and give this a try to change up your usual fish dinner!

Kara of What’s Kookin in Kara’s Kitchen
from Virginia
Chipotle Chicken & Tomato Soup
Kara joins us to share this recipe… and you know it has to be good if it’s featured in our roundup more than once! (See below). So click click click! Check out Kara’s blog for the recipe!

Karen of Loves To Eat
from Florida
Roasted Chicken with Lemon & Oranges
A classic roast chicken is pretty healthy as it is (assuming it’s not coated with a lot of butter before baking!)… but introducing citrus flavors to this classic dish brings it to a whole new level. Karen roasts her first whole chicken and uses orange and lemon juice to add a burst of freshness. You’ll want to pay a visit to Karen’s blog for the recipe and the results of how her very first roasted chicken turned out!

Amy of Just 2 Good
from Florida
New Potatoes with Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette
Do you think you have all the potato recipes you need? I beg to differ. This potato dish that Amy shares with us is one you’ll want to add to your potato rotation. Why? For one, it’s not full of butter and cream… and it involves a great vinaigrette that has a lot of flavor. Besides, who doesn’t like the caramel sweetness of roasted garlic? Check out Amy’s blog for the recipe and give this a try soon!

Beth of Someone’s in the Kitchen with Brina
from Maryland
Mo-Rockin’ Slow Cooker Stew
If you haven’t pulled out your slow cooker this season, here’s a delicious reason to now. Brina shares her Mo-Rockin’ Slow Cooker Stew which is a recipe that doesn’t call for a canned cream soup that many slow cocker recipes include. If you like flavors of Moroccan cuisine and are looking for a dish to incorporate more vegetables, this is it… and even better is that the dish is cooked in a crockpot! Go ahead, click over to Brina’s blog and check it out. You know you’re intrigued and are itching to use that crockpot!

Kira of Bite This!
from New Jersey
Chipotle Chicken & Tomato Soup
What’s winter without a good bowl of soup? Kira joins us to share this flavorful and healthy bowl of Chipotle Chicken & Tomato Soup. It’s chock full of ingredients that will definitely keep you warm and a nice change of pace from the usual tomato soup. Want the recipe? Click on Kira’s blog!

Julie of Julie’s Foodie
from Kansas City
Blueberry Pound Cake
Sometimes baked goods can be challenging to make healthy, but Julie has found a recipe for Blueberry Pound Cake that manages to keep the flavor and lose some of those unwanted calories. Definitely check out Julie’s blog – she is a big fan of Cooking Light and has many healthy recipes on her blog to choose from!

Gillian of Gillians Goodies
from California
Black Bean Chili
Gillian has a a comforting dish perfect for the winter weather and it’s healthy too! Check out her blog for the recipe, which is full of flavor! (Picture coming soon…)

Tasty Tools: Baking Sheets Round Up!

It’s baking season and the one piece of bakeware used the most this month are baking sheets! We’ve highlighted them for December’s Tasty Tools and we’ve gotten the following recipes using this tool. Thanks to all those that participated and hope you check out these fellow blogs for some great recipes to try!

from Massachusetts

Lumberjack Cookies
These cookies are a fave of Jen’s husband… and if he likes them, I’m sure your loved ones will too! Check out Jen’s blog for the recipe along with many other cookies she’s made for the season!
Katie of The Summertree Cafe
from Kansas
Pomegranate Buttermilk Bites
I really enjoy reading Katie’s blog and I was thrilled to have her join in our Tasty Tools this month. She shares with us these beautiful Pomegranate Buttermilk Bites. What I like about this is that the recipe introduces me to ingredients I don’t normally work with. Check out Katie’s blog for the recipe!
Stephanie of CIA-Cooking In an Apron
from California
Football Cookies
Stephanie has some great decorating skills which is pretty evident in her Football Cookies! These are great and if you’re looking for some inspiration and ideas for the upcoming Superbowl, be sure to check out Stephanie’s blog for the recipe!
Carly of Live. Laugh. Grow.
from West Virginia
Banana Biscotti & Walnut Wafers
Carly hosted a holiday cookie swap and some treats she shared with friends included these Banana Biscotti and Walnut Wafers. These made great holiday food gifts and sweets to keep around the house to enjoy with a hot cup of coffee or cocoa. Check out Carly’s blog for the recipes!
Sarina of TriniGourmet
from Trinidad
Sarina joins us from sunny Trinidad! I’d love to be in Trinidad about now… and far away from the bitter Chicago cold! Although from Trinidad, Sarina shares with us a Venezuelan recipe for arepas. To find out more about arepas and what things she fills them with, check out her blog!
Meghan of Kitchen Notes
from Illinois
Citrus Thumbprint Cookies w/Rose Hip Jam
Meghan is practically a neighbor of mine and I’m delighted she’s joined us in her first blogging event! She shares with us these Citrus Thumbprint Cookies with a special jam. To learn more about Rose Hip Jam and how she used them in this cookie, check out her blog!
Jessica of Cooking Up Memories
from Wisconsin
Santa’s Surprise Cookies
Once I found out what the surprise was in Jessica’s Santa’s Surprise Cookies, I’m willing to play Santa any time of year just to get a taste of these cookies! Wanna know what’s in them? Check out Jessica’s blog for the recipe!
Rick of Gastronomic Gifts
from Canada
Jam Filled Turnovers
Rick shares with us the recipe for Jam Filled Turnovers… which are filled with some delicious sweetness. These make a great addition to any holiday table or even as gifts! Check out Rick’s blog for the recipe!
Carrie of Carrie’s Sweet Life
from Minnesota
Peanut Butter Blossoms
Carrie is a sweetheart for making these Kiss Cookies every year for her mom. Not a fave of Carrie’s but one that her mom enjoys. I’m a big fan of these and somehow they taste better during the holidays than any other time during the year. Check out Carrie’s blog of the recipe!

Robin of Made with Love
from Rhode Island
Katie’s Cheesecake Delights
With lots of baking going on during the holidays, using packaged ingredients is a relief and time saver! Robin shares with us these cookies, Katie’s Cheesecake Delights. It combines sugar cookies, cheesecake pudding, raspberry jam and white chocolate… what’s not to love?! These cookies are sure to be a hit so check out Robin’s blog for the recipe!
Oggi of I Can Do That!
from Virginia
Sweet Potato Rolls
Oggi shares this great looking recipe for Sweet Potato Rolls. Who knew that the humble sweet potato would be the shining superstar of this bread recipe? If you happen to have any leftover sweet potatoes from the holidays, this is a great recipe to try out. Check out Oggi’s blog for the recipe!
Kelsey of Apple a Day
from Arizona
Gumdrop Cookies
Candies are popular add ins for cookies during the holidays and Kelsey shares with us her Gumdrop Cookies. These are not only colorful but so creative! These would be fun to make with children or to enjoy all to yourself. Check out Kelsey’s blog for the recipe!
Karen of Loves to Eat
from Florida
Italian Sprinkle Cookies
Everyone has a great holiday cookie to share and Karen is no exception! These Italian Sprinkle Cookies are packed full of flavor and are perfect for any holiday cookie swap or gift giving as they make quite a bit. Check out Karen’s blog for the recipe!
Jen of Beantown Baker
from Massachusetts
Fresh Cranberry Orange Cookies
Cranberry Orange is a common flavor combination that Jen packs into a cookie. What makes these cookies stand out is the use of fresh cranberries instead of dried! Check out Jen’s blog for the recipe and give these a try!
Nancy of Gaga in the Kitchen
from California
Cheesy Biscuits
Sometimes biscuits need a little oomph and Nancy has a buttery, cheesy oomph of a recipe! Her Cheesy Biscuits were inspired by those infamous biscuits at Red Lobster and used an adapted recipe from Paula Deen. Check out Nancy’s blog for the recipe!
Rachel of The Crispy Cook
from New York
Ginger-Nut Lace Cookies (Gluten Free)
Rachel shares with us these Gluten Free Ginger Nut Lace Cookies… and they’ve gotten the tasty seal of approval from her husband! These are sure to be a hit for anyone, gluten free or not. They’re not too sweet or too spicy… sounds just perfect to me! Check out Rachel’s blog for the recipe and give these a try soon.
Amy of Skinny Food By Amy
Foil Pack Chicken Fajitas
Amy has a great cooking tip by using foil packets to prepare this specific meal. It’s a perfect way to portion control and super easy for clean up! Her Foil Pack Chicken Fajitas simply baked right in the foil on top of a baking sheet… how much easier could it be?! Check out Amy’s blog for the great recipe!
Cathy of Cathy’s Kitchen Journey
from New York
Mock Shake & Bake Chicken
Cathy was looking for a less messy and healthier alternative to classic fried chicken and so her Mock Shake & Bake Chicken was born! This is a great recipe that cuts out the fat from frying and uses your baking sheet as a means to catch any coating from baking. Did I mention that cleanup is a breeze too? Check out Cathy’s blog for the recipe!

Holiday Cookie Swap Adventure Round Up!

Yesterday I hosted my annual Holiday Cookie Swap and had fellow food bloggers join in by submitting their cookie recipes to my virtual party! Here are some wonderful cookies that friends have shared for the party… and I hope you check out their blogs to try some cookie recipes this holiday season!

Jude of Apple Pie, Patis & Pate
from Illinois
Gingersnap Cookies
Jude has got gingersnap cookies down to a science! After a few batches of tweaking, he found the best recipe that works perfectly. To find out what it is, you’ll need to check out his blog… but in the meantime, you can drool over how perfect they are in his picture:

Jen of Beantown Baker
from Massachusetts
Lumberjack Cookies
Jen has shared with us her husband’s favorite cookie, Lumberjacks. The recipe comes from her mother in law and looks like a great chewy, rich cookie… so when you get the recipe from Jen’s blog to make it, have a tall glass of cold milk ready!

Carrie of Carrie’s Sweet Life
from Minnesota
Carrie’s mom is the inspiration for Carrie’s recipe submission for rosettes. Not only are they beautiful, they really make me want to look for a rosette iron to play with! Check out Carrie’s recipe on her blog and these are sure to be a family favorite!

Amy of Sing For Your Supper
from Texas
Oatmeal Cookies with Golden Raisins, Coconut & Pecans
I admire Amy’s creativity because she has taken the traditional Oatmeal Raisin cookie and put her own spin on it! Her recipe for Oatmeal Cookies with Goldren Raisins, Coconut & Pecans is chock full of goodness. What are you waiting for? Check out her blog for the recipe!

Solange of Pebble Soup
from London, England
Refrigerator Cookies
From across the pond, Solange joins us to share a great cookie recipe that allows for many variations. Her recipe for Refrigerator Cookies made for a great base for other cookie flavors such as Mocha Spirals, Maple & Pecan and Spicy Fruits. Check out Solange’s blog for the recipes!

Amber of Amber’s Delectable Delights
from Indiana
Coconut Fudge Cups
Baking has it’s advantages… aside from enjoying the final results. In fact, as Amber could tell you, she learned something new about her husband! After making these Coconut Fudge Cups, she found out how much her husband enjoyed coconut. So if you’re a coconut lover, you’ll want to check out Amber’s blog for this recipe!

Stephanie of Macaroni & Cheesecake
from Tennessee
Black & White Red Velvet Cookies
If you’ve never had the delicious opportunity to taste Red Velvet Cake, you’re missing out! But Stephanie will help you, especially with her recipe for Black & White Red Velvet Cookies. These cookies are not only strikingly beautiful but I have no doubt these will taste amazing too. You know you want the recipe… so click on Stephanie’s blog already to get it!

Karen of Loves to Eat Weblog
from Florida
Ethel’s Sugar Cookie
What would a virtual holiday cookie swap be without sugar cookies? Thankfully, Karen joins us to share her Ethel’s Sugar Cookie recipe. It’s a classic one that her mom made… and I’m sure once you make this, it will taste like sweet childhood days of no responsibilities. (If only I could go back in time myself…) So check out Karen’s blog for the recipe and get to baking!

Tracy of Rah Cha Chow
from New York
Oatmeal, Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chip Cookies
Tracy and I share the same thoughts about Wanna know what that is? You’ll need to check out her blog… and you’ll also understand why her recipe for Oatmeal, Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chip Cookies is so good!

Amy of Tart Reform
from Washington D.C
M&M Cookies
What attracts the eye are colors… and Amy does exactly that with her colorful and tasty M&M cookies. Children and adults alike will definitely fall for these cookies! So if you still have some leftover M&Ms from halloween, here’s a great recipe to put those candies to use. Check out Amy’s blog for the colorful recipe!

Ranae of La Dolce Dente
from United States
A fun recipe to make and say, Ranae joins the virtual cookie swap with her snickerdoodles! These are her ‘go to’ snickerdoodle recipe because the texture is perfect – soft and chewy on the inside and crispy on the inside. Check out her blog for the recipe!

Robin of Made with Love
from Rhode Island
Chocolate Crinkles & Irish Cream Delights
Robin recently hosted her own cookie swap with friends so the timing of our virtual event came right in time! Robin shares with us two delicious recipes for Chocolate Crinkles and Irish Cream Delights. I personally love Chocolate Crinkles and well… I’m game for anything with alcohol in it too! Check out Robin’s blog for these great cookie recipes!

Indian Adventure Round Up!

This past weekend, I spent time with friends exploring Chicago’s Devon Ave. This culinary neighborhood tour inspired me to host an Indian & European Eats Blogging Event. Quite a few bloggers participated and here are the wonderful recipes that they have shared. If you’re intimidated by Indian or European cuisine, hopefully you’ll give these recipes a try and discover how delicious these cuisines are!

Thanks to all my fellow bloggers for participating!

Renee of Savory Safari
from Washington DC
Tandoori ChickenWhat Indian recipe round up would it be without the popular Indian dish, tandoori chicken? Renee shares this recipe and it’s a great dish to try for folks just learning about Indian cuisine. What I really like about the recipe Renee shares is that it uses pantry staples and spices most folks have on hand. Check out her blog and give this recipe a try!

Malani of Cravings
from Maharashtra, a state in India
(currently in California)
Masala OkraMalani taught me that okra is a common fresh vegetable in India. Who knew? The vegetable is actually known as bhindi. Her recipe for Masala Okra is a great way to prepare okra with some Indian flair. Check out her blog for the recipe and to learn about other interesting ingredients used! (I learned a lot from her post and I’m sure you will too!)

Erica of Erica’s Kitchen Adventures
from Pennsylvania
Chicken Korma & Indian Style Basmati Rice
If you’re interested in trying/cooking Indian cuisine for the first time, Erica can totally relate. Her recipes for Chicken Korma and Indian Style Basmati Rice were her first attempt to make and eat Indian cuisine! She did an excellent job and has some great step by step pictures too. Check out her blog for the recipes and give them a try!

Kira of Food alla Puttanesca
from Tennessee
Indian-Inspired Chickpeas & Spinach in a Tomato Cream SauceNot sure how Indian food will taste the follow day? Let Kira reassure you! She made this dish and ended up eating it the following day… and she was blown away. Perhaps this dish may be better the following day but regardless, it’s a recipe you should try. Check out her blog for the recipe!

Tammie of My Little World
from Ohio
Tammie has a great neighbor to learn authentic Indian cooking from. She shares with us her neighbor’s recipe for Upma, a breakfast dish that can be eaten for lunch or snack. Tammie even suggests it as a side dish. Check out Tammie’s blog for the recipe!

Sudeshna of Here I Cook
from Bangalore, India
Baigan BhartaSudeshna joins us from across the globe to share her dish of Baigan Bharta. This dish is made with eggplant and looks like a wonderful side dish. One thing I really enjoyed about Sudeshna’s recipe is that she included both the English and Hindi words for the ingredients. Such a great thing to learn, especially when I hit up the ethnic grocery stores near me! Check out Sudeshna’s blog for a wonderful vegetarian recipe!

Nancy of Gaga in the Kitchen
from California
Naan, Indian Chicken Curry, & Aloo Gobi
Nancy has hit the trifecta with me because she shares with us three of my fave Indian dishes! Naan is a common bread served with an Indian meal and is a great ‘dipper’ to sop up all the deliciousness. Indian Chicken Curry is a rich and flavorful stew, whereas Aloo Gobi is a fragrant and a great dish using cauliflower. Check out her blog for these recipes and have yourself an Indian cuisine night!

"My Kind of Town, Chicago!" Thanksgiving & Round Up!

Every year, we take time out to give thanks for the many blessings we have. For us, one thing we are very thankful for is our group of friends who share the same food passion as we do. As a result, we hosted our annual Thanksgiving party with friends we’ve made from our group, What’s Cookin Chicago. Rather than feasting on classic Thanksgiving fare, we graced our table with Chicago inspired dishes and friends brought dishes that were enjoyed in previous events we’ve hosted.

It was a successful party with over 50 guests celebrating with us. It really made me feel warm & fuzzy to see folks enjoying themselves and knowing our place is here in Chicago. Chicago is really our kind of town and is definitely home. 🙂
For our “My Kind of Town, Chicago” Thanksgiving, I prepared an appetizer buffet & dinner buffet which included the following:

Baked Buffalo Wings platter
served with ranch & blue cheese dressings,
baby carrots & celery sticks

Baked Parmesan & Romano Wings platter

served with marinara sauce
Dip Trio:

Spinach & Artichoke, Chili Cheese, Jalapeno Popper Dip
served with crostini, crackers & tortilla chips
Cocktail meatballs

Warm Pumpkin Walnut Brie

served with crackers

Cranberry Praline Spinach Salad

Lou Malnati’s Chicago Deep Dish Pizzas
ordered from Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria
Chicago Hot Dogs
served with all the fixins
Italian Beef Sandwiches

served with pepperocini peppers
(unpictured unfortunately)

Tilapia DeJonghe
(twist on Chicago’s Shrimp DeJonghe)
served with brown rice pilaf

Palmer House Brownies

Our guests also brought dishes to share including the following… and so much more that weren’t pictured!:

Howard’s Bacon Wrapped Dates Tricia & Barney’s Mac & Cheese Chanese’s Chicago Chicken Vesuvio
Kurt’s Thai Chicken Salad Spread
Robert’s Fava Bean Stew
Teresa’s Rosemary Pork Tenderloin
served with new potatoes
Teresa’s Zucchini Salad
with Miso dressing Emma & Rich’s Tabbouleh Salad Tricia & Barney’s Italian Pasta Salad Jen & Wayne’s Gingerbread Cupcakes
with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting Bethany’s Mini Carrot Cake Cupcakes
Jenn’s Chocolate Texas Sheet Cake
Laura & Mike’s Pear Crumble
Susan’s Coffee Toffee Pie
Paulo’s Papaya Flan
Linda’s Chocolate Raspberry Ganache Tart
John’s White Cheddar & Caramel Popcorn

To join in the fun, my fellow bloggers have submitted recipes specific to their hometown, city, region, and/or country. As I do with each blogging event I host, a lucky blogger receives a giveaway related to the food theme. This event’s winner is Courtney of Cook Like a Champion! Courtney has won a package of Chicago specialities including spices from The Spice House and local foods. Congratulations Courtney and thanks to all that participated in the blogging event! Read on to check out the recipes submitted by my fellow bloggers…

Spicy Living
from Connecticut (India)
Appam & Thenkuzhal
Spicy Living joins us to share some specialities of India – Appam & Thenkuzhal. I loved this entry because I learned about new ingredients, cuisines and dishes! Check out Spicy Living’s blog for recipes and information on specific Indian dishes!
Jen of Beantown Baker
from Massachusetts
Boston Baked Beans
What food comes to mind when you think of Boston? For me, it’s Boston Baked Beans and Jen shares with us her recipe. Even better is that this recipe is made in a crockpot! Check out Jen’s blog and give these a try, even if it’s an excuse to use your crockpot!
Courtney of Cook Like a Champion
from Florida (Alabama)
Fried Pickles
I recently met Courtney and what a sweetheart! I learned about her Alabama roots and her many travels before she settled in Florida. As a native of Alabama, Courtney shares a recipe of Fried Pickles. Fried Pickles is common in the south and most folks may be familiar with it being prepared with pickle chips. Courtney’s entry is made with pickle slices and is one of her faves at a local Alabama restaurant. Check out her blog for the recipe and get a taste of the south!
Jayasree of Experiments in Kailas Kitchen
from Kerala, India
Kappa Cutlet
In Jayasree’s corner of the world, tapioca is a staple ingredient and as a result, she shares a recipe for Kappa (Tapioca) Cutlets. This is a great recipe to try tapioca that isn’t from a box! Check out Jayasree’s blog for the recipe and how she got her hands on a real tapioca plant!
Karen of Loves To Eat Weblog
from Florida (Michigan)
Apple Betty
Although currently living under the Florida sun, Karen is from Michigan and celebrates her roots with her entry. She shares with us her mom’s Apple Betty recipe made with Michigan apples. Michigan is well known for the wonderful apples they produce in the state and Karen loves to prepare them in various ways. Check out her blog for the recipe and give this a try with the many apples available this season!
Harini of Tongue Ticklers
from India
Dal Khichdi
No one likes getting sick… but I’ll admit being sick may be worth it just to give Harini’s Dal Khichdi recipe. Harini shares with us this comforting dish that’s common in India to give to babies as an early food or to coax a cold. Perfect for the fall weather, this is a great recipe to try. Check out Harini’s recipe and make this on a cool fall night to warm up to!
Shayne of One Bite At a Time!
from New Jersey
Dirty Jersey Disco Fries
Who doesn’t like fries… even as a little indulgence now and then? Well Shayne has shared her recipe for Dirty Jersey Disco Fries and boy, talk about indulgence! This happens to be a popular way to serve & enjoy fries in diners of New Jersey & New York. Oven roasted fries, topped with a bechamel sauce and gravy, then garnished with crisp bacon – YUM! Check out Shayne’s blog for a great step by step recipe and get dirty with these disco fries!
Cathy of Cathy’s Kitchen Journey
from New York
New York Style Cheesecake
with Strawberry Topping

One of the first foods that comes to when I think of New York is cheesecake! Cathy represents New York wonderfully with her recipe for New York Style Cheesecake. I’ve had New York Style Cheesecake on a previous trip to NYC and I’m anxious to try Cathy’s recipe. You should too so check out her blog for the recipe!

Food Swap: Soup & Sandwiches!

Food Swaps are a great way to get a sampling of different variations of foods, such as a cookie swap/exchange normally held during the holidays. Well, we can continue this concept throughout the year, not just during the holidays! Food swapping is also becoming a recent food trend in which people are sharing what food they do have for other food they don’t have. With the rising costs of food & groceries, let’s utilize our own cooking/baking skills in the kitchen as an alternative to the grocery store.

For this event, friends brought a slow cooker, Crockpot or a pot of soup, chowder, or chili. We shared our delicious creations by placing them in freezable containers for everyone to take some home and/or enjoy for lunch. To accompany our delicious soups, I provided a panini bar with various breads, cheeses, meats and fillings for some great sandwiches.

As a result of this event, we all took home a whole variety of soups, chowders, and/or chilis to enjoy for the week ahead. What I love about this event is that it not only is an event for friends to score quality local food, but it also fosters a unique community by giving everyone the opportunity to actually meet the people who make what they eat.

Here are the soups that we swapped:

italian chicken bruschetta soup
yellow split pea soup
curried pear & butternut squash soup
smashed potato soup
roasted tomato soup
spicy vegetarian chili

assorted paninis
assorted chips

Megan & Matt’s spinach salad

fudge brownies

October Tasty Tools: Dutch Oven Round Up!

For October’s Tasty Tools, we’re highlighting Dutch Ovens! This is one piece of cookware I must have because of the versatility it offers. This is the time of year I tend to use it more often because it’s such a great vessel to make soups, stews, roasts, and casseroles. Let’s not forget that the old style Dutch ovens can also be used as baking ovens to create biscuits, breads, cakes, pies and even pizza! Here’s the round up of recipes submitted by my readers who used a dutch oven this month! Enjoy these recipes and if you’re unsure of what to make next with your dutch oven, perhaps these will offer some inspiration…

Karen of Loves to Eat Weblog
from Florida
White Bean & Chicken Chili
It’s definitely chili season and Karen shares with us a great variation to the classic red chili. Until some chilis that simmer for quite some time, this chili can be whipped up in minutes! Check out Karen’s blog of this savory and speedy chili recipe!
Renea of Sweet Savory Southern
from Tennessee
Herbed Chicken & Dumplings
If Herbed Chicken & Dumplings doesn’t sound like a comforting fall dish, I don’t know what is! Renea joins us this month to share her Herbed Chicken & Dumplings recipe, a great dish to enjoy on fall days and to nurse yourself back to health. Check out Renea’s blog for the recipe and try it today!
Annie of Annie’s Eats
from Indiana
Beef Stew
One classic dish made with a dutch oven is a Beef Stew and Annie does it well! I especially love the color of her dutch oven… so bright and cheery on a fall day! To check out how her amazing beef stew turned out, click to view her blog and get the recipe (and be inspired to pick up a fun colored dutch oven too!)
Nancy of Gaga in the Kitchen
from California
Japanese Curry
To add some ethnic flair among our dutch oven recipes, Nancy shares her recipe for Japanese Curry. It’s a great way to try curry that’s different from Indian and Thai cuisines. Check out Nancy’s blog for the recipe!
Laura of Laura’s Home Cookin’
from Minnesota
Comfort Chicken
One great thing about the fall season is the amount of one pot meals you can make. Laura shares with us a great Comfort Chicken dish that includes all the components of a well rounded dinner. To get the recipe and start making this for yourself, check out Laura’s blog!
Amy of Just 2 Good
from Florida
Pasta Fagioli
What’s fall without a classic soup like Pasta Fagioli? Amy joins the event with this soup, which is chock full of beans, pasta and sausage. Mmmm… I’m craving a bowl already! Check out Amy’s blog for the recipe!
Erin of It’s All Happening!
from Minnesota
Rustic Cabbage Soup
Erin brings to the table a Rustic Cabbage Soup which is a great change to the usual vegetable soup. I really love how Erin creates this from scratch and from the looks of it, does a delicious job! She’s inspired me to cook with cabbage since it’s been awhile that I’ve cooked with it. Check out Erin’s blog for the recipe and make this soon!

Emily of Rediscovering the Joy of Cooking
from California
White Bean Chicken Chili
Chili is one of those foods that I think is best during the fall season. Emily shares with us a recipe for White Bean Chicken Chili that is easy to make and flavorful too! I especially like the use of green chiles in the recipe (we’re big fans of it) and the creamy texture it has. Check out Emily’s blog for the recipe!

Therese of In the Kitchen
from Illinois
Jambalaya with Shrimp & Sausage
If it’s made with rice, it’s a dish that’s sure to be a hit in our house. Therese’s entry for Jambalaya with Shrimp & Sausage looks hearty and comforting, chock full of many pantry staples too. Check out her blog and give this a try in your dutch oven soon!
Therese of In the Kitchen
from Illinois
Beer Braised Beef Short Ribs
If this doesn’t look like a fabulous fall dish, I don’t know what does! Here, Therese shares with us a recipe for Beer Braised Beef Short Ribs. Inspired by Dave Lieberman, these short ribs take a delicious bath of beer for a couple of hours, resulting in some flavorful eats. Check out Therese’s blog for the recipe!
Therese of In the Kitchen
from Illinois
Chicken Stew with Biscuits
Here’s a recipe from Therese that can be made in either a Dutch Oven or baking dish. This dish looks so comforting that you’ll definitely want to give this a try during the cooler fall months. To get the recipe, check out Therese’s blog!