Monday, April 23, 2012

White Bean Chicken Chili


When I first saw the snow this morning I knew right away that dinner would be some sort of comfort food.  As much as my waistline needs the wonderful fresh veggies and low-fat foods that come along with summer, I always miss a bowl of warm flavourful chili. Although this one can't be all bad for you, chicken, beans, corn and spinach.  As long as you don't over indulge and keep in mind portion control you won't do to much damage.

The pictures came out really bad for this one,  I swear the photo doesn't do this recipe any justice. I especially love the combination of spices, cumin, fennel, oregano and chili powder. The smell traveled through the entire house. The hubby smelt it as he pulled into the driveway and right away asked about dinner. Which is funny because this morning when he asked what was for dinner and I replied Chicken Chili, a look of disappointment came across his face. I assure you that look was nowhere to be found while he chowed down a nice big bowl of this stuff.



White Bean and Chicken Chili

Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 pounds ground chicken
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 2 (15-ounce cans) white kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 lb baby spinach
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen corn
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Freshly ground black pepper for seasoning
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese, your choice I used Monterey Jack
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Directions

1.      In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.

2.     Add the ground chicken, 1 teaspoon salt, cumin, fennel seeds, oregano, and chili powder. Cook, stirring frequently, until the chicken is cooked through, about 8 minutes.

3.     Stir the flour into the chicken mixture. Add the beans, spinach, corn, and chicken stock. Bring the mixture to a simmer, scraping up the brown bits that cling to the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.

4.     Simmer for one hour until the liquid has reduced by about half and the chili has thickened.

5.      Add the red pepper flakes and simmer for another 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

6.      Ladle the chili into serving bowls. Sprinkle with the cheese and chopped parsley.

ENJOY!!!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Caesar Style Kale Pesto Pasta

Wow, time flies!  I can’t believe it’s been so long since I last blogged.  Trust me, I haven’t forgotten about my blog.  I have been taking photos of lots of food and I am going to be on a mission to get all of it posted.  This was one that I have had on my mind for a couple of weeks because it was so delicious!   

I’ve been busy chasing after a very active 5 ½ month old and by the time bed time rolls around blogging is the last thing on my mind.  But today I’m lucky enough that she’s taking a good nap so I have time to get this one posted.   

The recipe comes from Rachael Ray.  I find when you make a pesto it can be hard to follow a recipe.  Your bunch of kale can be bigger or smaller than the recipe calls for so use your judgement.  You might need more or less garlic, oil or Parmesan for your liking.  Don’t be shy just do what feels right to get the consistency you’re looking for.  My pesto made enough to freeze half for later and I can’t wait to use it this summer with BBQ chicken or even a nice piece of grilled fish. 

My Mom and I enjoyed this on its own and we loved it!  Adding the starchy pasta water to help the pasta and pesto come together makes the dish creamy and smooth.  Be sure to toss the dish together for a good couple of minutes to make sure everything is well mixed.  And how can you go wrong with a healthy super food like kale. 


Caesar Style Kale Pesto Pasta

Ingredients

· 1 head garlic
· ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
· salt and pepper
· 1 pound spaghetti
· 1 bunch kale
· 1/3 cup grated Parmesan
· juice from 1 lemon
· 1 tbsp Dijon
· 1 tsp anchovy paste
· 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
· 3 tbsp pine nuts, toasted 

Directions

1.      Preheat oven to 400F.  Cut the end off the garlic bulb, exposing the tops of the cloves.  Place on a piece of foil and drizzle with oil, salt and pepper. Wrap the garlic up in the foil and roast for 45-50 minutes. Let cool, then squish out the garlic cloves from the skins into a food processor.

2.      While the garlic is roasting, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt it, add the spaghetti and cook to al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the starchy cooking water.

3.      Bring another large pot of water to a boil. Add salt and the kale and cook for about a minute; drain and squeeze dry.

4.      Add the kale, cheese, lemon juice, mustard, anchovy paste and Worcestershire sauce into a food processor with the garlic cloves and puree. Season with pepper. Add the pine nuts and about 1/4 cup of olive oil. Process, streaming in additional olive oil to form a thick pesto; season with salt.

5.      In a pasta bowl, combine the pasta, pesto and reserved pasta cooking water; toss to combine.   Serve with more cheese at the table.


ENJOY!