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.

Black & Green Tapenade

The following recipe was shared during my Chef Spotlight Dinner highlighting recipes of Chef Wolfgang Puck. You can view other recipes and pictures of the event HERE.

Black & Green Tapenade
shared at the event by Jenn
Original recipe here
The tapenade can be served as an hors d’oeuvre, in a small bowl, surrounded with tiny toasted bread slices or crackers. At Spago, we spread goat cheese onto lightly toasted croutons, top them with the tapenade.

1 cup Ni├žoise olives, pitted
1 cup small green French olives (Picholine), pitted
1/4 cup oven dried tomatoes, drained
1 tablespoon capers
1 garlic clove
1 anchovy fillet
1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves
1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/4 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

In a food processor, combine all the ingredients except the olive oil. Using the pulse button, process until coarsely chopped and well blended. Continue to process, slowly adding the olive oil. Refrigerate in a covered container. Use as needed.

To prepare ahead: Tapenade will keep up to 1 week, refrigerated, in a covered container.

S is for Salad & Salsa.

I came home early today because I’m not feeling too well… and after a 3 hour nap, I decided to get some culinary therapy. There were quite a bit of random fruits, veggies, cheeses and misc foodstuff to be used – all of which were in varying proportions. So I decided to put my Iron Chef thinking cap on to create 2 things – salad and salsa.Here is my recipe for a Mediterranean Inspired Orzo Salad:

1 1/2 cups orzo pasta
water for boiling
1 teapsoon olive oil
1cup baby grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup sliced black olives
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup finely diced red onion
crumbled feta cheese to your preference
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
salt & pepper to taste

Boil water in pot and cook orzo.
Drain orzo and place in large boil with 1 teaspoon olive oil; stir.
Add remaining ingredients and fold in.
Here is my recipe for Spicy Mango Peach Salsa, which I will be using later tonight with dinner:

1 ripe mango, diced
2 ripe peaches, diced
1 roma tomato, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup finely diced red onion
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
juice of 1 lime

Combine the above ingredients; chill.

Feta & Spinach Pasta Salad

Independence Day is normally celebrated with a traditional cookout of burgers, brats and hotdogs… and this year, I made this Mediterranean inspired pasta salad:

Feta & Spinach Pasta Salad
with balsamic vinegrette

Here’s my recipe for the Feta & Spinach Pasta Salad:
1/2 box of bowtie pasta
3/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 bag fresh spinach
1/2 cup sliced black olives
3-4 baby yellow bell peppers, sliced
1 tomato, diced
1 jar marinated mushrooms
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 cup balsamic vinegarette dressing

Cook pasta until al dente.
In a large salad bowl, add the cooked hot pasta, spinach, feta, olives, peppers, mushroom, oregano.
Pour dressing over the mixture and toss.
Top with chopped tomatoes and serve.

‘Mac It Up

Macaroni shouldn’t always be associated with cheese. In fact, in our house, it’s given fair treatment as other pastas we cook with. Tonight, I made my meaty macaroni that’s chock full of vegetables, italian sausage, ground beef and parmesan cheese. In fact, I used my previously made bolognese sauce (which I made & froze) and added some additional vegetables (green pepper, mushrooms, chopped basil & 1 plum tomato) to help “wake it up.”
Here’s my recipe for Meaty Macaroni, where my bolognese sauce takes center stage:

1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup baby carrots, diced
1 small green bell pepper, diced
2 cups white mushrooms, sliced
1 bunch fresh basil, chopped
1 large tomato
1 can diced tomato
1 can tomato sauce
1 can tomato paste
1/2 cup red wine
1 lb ground beef
1 lb italian sausage, casings removed
spices: garlic/onion powder, salt, pepper, italian seasoning, oregano, sugar

In a pan, saute garlic and onion.
Add & brown the beef & sausage.
Add browned meats to crockpot.
Add remaining ingredients to crockpot.
Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-6 hours.
Adjust seasonings to your taste.
Use sauce in lasagnas or your fave pasta dish. Tonight I tossed it with cooked macaroni and added grated parmesan cheese for a filling meal.

Mediterranean Meatloaf

Mediterranean Meatloaf

1/2 cup sundried tomatoes
1 (10oz) pg frozen chopped spinach, thawed & drained
1 cup feta cheese
2 1/2 lbs ground turkey
1 1/2 cups panko or breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
1/2 tablespoon ground black pepper
3/4 can of evaporated milk

– Heat oven to 400 degrees.
– In large bowl, combine all ingredients and shape into a loaf.
– Bake 45 minutes or until juices run clear.
– Let stand 5 minutes before slicing.

‘Sketti please..

I intended to make a lovely shrimp stir fry for dinner tonight however, I decided on some good ol’ spaghetti & meatballs to clear up some freezer space.
Nothing really special about my spaghetti & meatballs, aside from both the sauce and meatballs that were prepared in advance. Although I don’t have exact measurements, this is what normally goes into my spaghetti sauce:

browned ground beef
browned sweet italian sausage
chopped onion
minced garlic
chopped carrots
sliced mushrooms
diced green pepper
canned whole tomatoes
canned diced tomatoes
tomato paste
beef bouillon cubes
red wine
garlic/onion powder

In a pan, brown ground beef & sausage.
Remove from pan and place in crockpot.
In same pan, add carrots, green pepper, onions, garlic & mushroom.
Cook until softened and add to crockpot.
Add remaining ingredients to crockpot.
Stir and cook on low 6-8 hours or n high 4-6 hours.
Allow to cool before freezing.

MMM… Marsala!

Nothing beats a dinner you can make quickly, with few ingredients and packed with flavor. Tonight I decided to make Chicken Marsala .

Marsala wine is frequently used in cooking, and is especially prevalent in Italian restaurants. A typical Marsala sauce, involves reducing marsala wine almost to a syrup with onions or shallots, then adding mushrooms & herbs. The most popular Marsala recipe is Chicken Marsala, in which flour-coated pounded chicken breast halves are braised in a mixture of Marsala, butter, olive oil, mushrooms, and spices. Marsala is also used in some risotto recipes, and is used to produce rich Italian desserts such as zabagloine and tirsmisu.
For the chicken marsala I made, there were a few alterations to a traditional recipe to save time and use what I had on hand. You can certainly use pounded chicken breasts in place for the drummettes I used. Here is my recipe for chicken marsala:

1-2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 onion, chopped
cooking oil
1.5 lbs chicken drummettes
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground, black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1.5 cups sliced baby portabella mushrooms
1/2 cup marsala wine
1/2 cup chicken stock (or 1/4 cup cooking sherry)
juice of 1/2 lemon

In a pan, saute garlic & onions in a little oil.
Season chicken with salt, pepper & oregano.
Add chicken and brown, cooking thoroughly.. and remove from pan.
Add mushrooms to pan and cook until it starts to caramelize.
Add marsala wine, chicken stock, lemon juice and deglaze pan.
Add chicken back to pan & simmer in sauce 15-20 minutes.
Season to taste.

** I served this over mashed buttery yukon gold potatoes & garnished with chopped parsley.

Hodge Podge Souper Sunday

It’s a perfect day for soup! So I pulled out my trust crockpot and made a hodge podge Chicken Vegetable soup with leftover veggies and chicken, and some barley for good measure.

Barley‘s been feeding humans for millennia, though it fell out of favor during the last one as people came to see it as low-brow peasant fare. It’s most often used in soups and stews, where it serves as both a puffy grain and a thickener, but it also makes a nice side dish or salad. At most stores, there are two types of barley available. Hulled barley is the most nutritious, since only the tough outer hulls are polished off. Pearl barley is polished some more, so that the outer bran layer is also scrubbed off… but it’s less nutritious and more popular since it’s not as chewy as hulled barley and it cooks faster. For my soup, I chose to use the pearl barley.

Here is my recipe for Chicken Vegetable Barley Soup:

1 cup frozen, cooked and drained spinach
1 zucchini, diced
1 cup of carrots, diced
1 cup of mushooms, sliced
2 cups frozen or canned corn
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 small onion, diced
2 cups of crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon black pepper
8 cups water or chicken stock/broth
2 chicken buillon cubes – omit if using stock/broth
3/4 dried barley
1 cup shredded cooked chicken
1 cup chicken sausage, diced

– Combine all ingredients in crockpot and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-6 hours.

I served this with crusty french bread & a fresh green salad. Yum.. filling and good for you!