Spicy vegetarian chili

This soup was made for my Soup & Sandwich Swap event, which you can read about HERE for more recipes and pictures.

Betsy’s spicy vegetarian chili

1 teaspoon olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
1 medium green pepper, chopped
1 medium red pepper, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups black beans, cooked
1 can diced tomatoes
1 cup salsa, medium
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup canned corn niblet

Heat oil in a large pot, saute onions, peppers and garilc for 5 minutes on medium heat.
Add remaining ingredients except corn.
Increase heat to high to bring to a boil.
Decrease heat to medium and simmer, covered, for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Stir in corn, simmer until heated through.
Makes about 10 cups or 6-7 servings of 1 1/2 cups.

Tostaditas with Black Bean & Scallop Ceviche

Tostaditas with Black Bean & Scallop Ceviche
(sadly, no picture available since we ate it all up!)


For the black bean spread:

original Joelen recipe
1 can black beans, rinsed & drained
2 tablespoons finely minced cilantro
3 tablespoons light sour cream
salt & pepper to taste

In a bowl, mash black beans to paste, leaving it slightly chunky for texture.
Add remaining ingredients and fold in until combined and incorporated; set aside.

For the ceviche:
adapted ceviche recipe courtesy of Food Network
1/4 cup lime juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cilantro
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 pound fresh diver-harvested sea scallops or any other fresh scallop of high quality
1/4 cup diced red or yellow onion
1/2 minced, seeded jalapeno
1 plum tomato, seeded, finely diced
2 tablespoons fresh minced cilantro leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine lime zest, juice, and spices. Set mixture aside. Clean and wash the scallops, then cut each 1 in 1/2 lengthwise. Add scallops to lime juice mixture, stir well and set aside in cooler. Add the vegetables and cilantro to the scallop mixture. Stir well. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cover and chill at least 3 hours.

To prepare & assemble the Tostaditas:
prepared black bean spread
prepared scallop ceviche above
tortilla chips
1/2 cup sour cream
1-2 tablespoons water

Spread black bean spread on a tortilla chip.
Top with scallop ceviche.
Combine sour cream and water in a small bowl and drizzle over the top of the tostadita.
Serve immediately or have guests make them as they eat.

Sixteen Spice Chicken w/Cilantro Cream Sauce

So what’s for dinner? Well, we couldn’t decide on whether to have burgers or BBQ. I figured chicken would be our best bet and decided on Bobby Flay’s recipe for 16 Spice Chicken. This was the entree I ordered when I visited his restaurant, Mesa Grill, in Vegas this past January. It was so wonderfully seasoned, I definitely wanted to try recreating it at home. Why not today?
Here’s Bobby Flay’s recipe for Sixteen Spice Chicken:

3 tablespoons ancho chile powder
3 tablespoons pasilla chile powder
3 tablespoons ground cumin
3 tablespoons ground coriander
3 tablespoons ground ginger
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons onion powder
1 tablespoon allspice
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon ground fennel seed
1 teaspoon chile de arbol
3 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Boneless skinless chicken breasts
Canola oil

Combine spices in a bowl. Rub chicken breasts on both sides with rub. Marinate at least an hour or overnight. Oil up the grill until well coated (so it won’t stick) and grill for 10-12 minutes.

With the chicken entree I ordered, I recall having a cilantro cream sauce. So with that, I also made this great Cilantro Cream Sauce.

My husband is a big fan of cilantro and it worked out perfectly with the chicken! Eek, blurry pic, but trust me with how well it tastes! It would work as a great dip with chips and salsa too.
Here’s my slightly adapted recipe for Cilantro Cream sauce, using some of the great Florida food gifts I received:

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon sour cream
1 cup prepared salsa verde
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon celery salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon bottled or fresh key lime juice

Combine cream cheese, sour cream, salsa, pepper, celery salt, cumin, garlic powder, cilantro and lime juice in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth and creamy. Place in a serving bowl.

Freezer Meals: The Recipes

In my initial freezer cooking post, I didn’t include the recipes since I was still recovering from the day of cooking. But here are the recipes for some of the dishes I made, including the Chicken Pot Pie & the Southwestern Turkey Chili:

Chicken Pot Pie

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/2 cup heavy cream
3-4 cups chicken broth
salt & pepper to taste
frozen mixed vegetables, kept frozen
1-2 cups cooked chicken
prepared pie crust

In a dutch oven, saute onions and garlic in oil.
When onions soften, add the butter.
Once butter melts down, add the flour and stir, cooking for about 1 minute.
Slowly add the heavy cream and stir.
Once you have a roux and cream is all mixed in, add the broth.
Simmer until it thickens.
Add frozen veggies and chicken, seasoning to taste.
You can also add your choice of dried herbs like basil, rosemary, oregano, etc.
Place mixture in a disposable loaf pan.
Mixture should be luke warm and once cooled completely, cut prepared pie crust to fit the top of the loaf pan, to sit above the filling.
Cover with foil and place in heavy duty freezer bag.

To cook, preheat oven to 350.
Place thawed pot pie on a baking sheet uncovered and bake for 45-50 min.

Southwestern Chicken Chili

Chili is a great dish to freeze and is great during these cold winter months too. I made a southwestern chili and once it cooled, I ladled it into quart size freezer bags. The bags hold a perfect serving amount for 2 people and I like how I can freeze them flat like a book – maximizing the space in my freezer!

(you could even make this in a crock pot, cool then place in heavy duty freezer bags)

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 pounds ground chicken or turkey breast
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can tomato puree
1 (15-ounce) can dark red kidney beans or great northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15-ounce) can sweet corn, drained and rinsed
2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans chicken broth
2 tablespoons dark chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
flour as needed

In a large pot, heat vegetable oil over medium heat.
Add bell pepper, onion and garlic. Saute about 5 minutes, until onion is translucent.
Add ground turkey and cook, stirring occasionally and breaking up large chunks, until turkey is browned. Do not drain fat.
Add tomatoes, tomato puree, kidney beans and corn. Stir in broth.
Stir in the chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper and cayenne.
Bring to simmer, then reduce heat, cover and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking or scalding.
If the chili is too thick, add additional broth. If it is thin, stir 1/4 cup masa flour into an equal amount of water, then stir into the chili. Cook 5 minutes.
If the chili is still thin, repeat with an additional 1/4 cup masa flour.
Taste the chili and adjust the seasonings and spices to taste.

Leftover Lasagna Fiesta!

Finally, the cooler weather has set in! I’ve dug up some leftovers from my freezer and found a chicken & black bean filling waiting to be used up. This filling was initially made for my previous Calzone/Ravioli party a few weeks ago. It includes shredded chicken, sliced bell peppers (green, red & yellow), onions, garlic, black beans and green chilies. With my leftover filling, I decided to make a chicken mexican lasagna.Here is my recipe for Chicken Mexican Lasagna

1 lb chicken breast or thighs, boiled & deboned
salt, pepper, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder to taste
1 can black beans
1/2 cup each sliced bell peppers – green, red & yellow
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
1 jar salsa
1 bag mexican blend cheese
18 corn tortillas

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except salsa, cheese & tortillas.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a 9×13 baking dish, spray the bottom & sides with cooking spray.
Place 6 tortillas in the dish to cover the bottom.
Add half the chicken mixture over the tortilla layer.
Sprinkle with 1/3 bag of cheese.
Place another layer of tortillas over the cheese.
Add the remaining chicken mixture over the tortilla layer.
Sprinkle with 1/3 bag of cheese.
Place another layer of tortillas over the cheese.
Pour jar of salsa over the tortillas.
Sprinke with remaining cheese.
Cover with foil & bake for 45 minutes – one hour.

I served this with sour cream and extra salsa.

Autumn in my Kitchen

I love the fall weather! To celebrate the first weekend of fall-like weather here in Chicago, I prepared maple braised pork ribs which I served with a butternut squash risotto.

Here is my recipe for the maple braised pork ribs, which is versatile enough for making in both a crockpot or conventional oven:

1-2 lbs pork ribs
maple rub (recipe below)

Maple Rub
2 tablespoons real maple syrup
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon brown sugar
splash of worchestershire sauce
salt & pepper to taste

Combine above ingredients in a bowl.
Consistency will slightly clumpy and paste like.
Coat pork ribs with this paste using your hands – a basting brush isn’t as effective.
Place coated pork in a dutch oven or shallow baking pan.
Bake in a preheated oven at 300 degrees for 3-4 hours OR
Place coated pork in your crockpot and cook on low for 6 hours.

I served this with a butternut squash risotto, using a jarred butternut squash puree which I got from Wiliams Sonoma.

When I made my basic risotto recipe, I used chicken broth and about 1/2 cup of the puree I stirred in while my risotto cooked. I also added 2 cloves of minced garlic, finely chopped small onion and a few springs of fresh thyme leaves.

Tex mex chopped salad

Tex mex chopped salad w/spicy roasted chicken
& cilantro lime vinaigrette

Spicy Roasted Chicken:
cut up chicken pieces
olive oil
Seasonings: 1 teaspoon of each
salt
black pepper
cumin
chili powder
onion powder
garlic powder
paprika
sazon seasoning w/cilantro

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine all seasonings in a small bowl and mix.
Season chicken pieces with seasoning mix liberally.
Place seasoned chicken in dutch oven.
Pour olive oil over chicken.
Bake in preheated oven uncovered for 1 hour.
Allow chicken to cool.
Debone chicken and add to the following salad…
Tex Mex Chopped Salad:
romaine lettuce, chopped
spinach leaves, chopped
1 avocado, cubed
1/2 can of black beans, rinsed
1/2 can of sweet corn, drained
1 small cucumber or pickle, diced
1 roma tomato, seeded & chopped
a few baby carrots, diced
handful of cilantro, chopped
chopped, deboned spicy roasted chicken
crushed tortilla chips

Combine above salad ingredients except tortilla chips and toss.
Serve with the cilantro lime vinaigrette below.
Top with crushed tortilla chips.

Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette:
juice of 1 lime
olive oil
handful of chopped cilantro (or to your taste)
salt, pepper & sazon con cilantro to taste