Tag Archives: comfort

White Bean Chicken Chili with Polenta Croutons

White Bean Chicken Chili with Polenta Croutons

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: easy
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White Bean Chicken Chili with Polenta Croutons
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Tonight I made a white bean chicken chili and it was glorious. Salty with some mild heat from the green chilies and freshness from the cilantro. I was going to do a mexican lasagna but last minute decided to forgo the cheese and noodles for a soup and I am glad I did.

With my soups I like a cracker, piece of bread or crouton. I thought polenta would add a touch of sweetness to it. I bought one of those store bought logs instead of making it fresh and that was a visual mistake. I wanted to add some cheddar to it so tried to food process it and I couldn’t get them to bind so I added some sour cream. I formed them and put them on high heat and they turned to goo. So I ended up just making one big blob and put a crust on both sides. So while ugly the polenta was a perfect complement to this soup. Next time I will make it fresh and bake it off in the oven.

Ingredients:
2 rotisserie chicken breast diced
1 onion diced
2 cloves of garlic diced
2 cans of rinsed White Beans
2 4oz cans of diced green chilies
1 head of cilantro
2 cartons of Chicken Broth
1 tbs of cumin
1 tbs of chili powder
3 tsp of oregano

Store bought Polenta combined with cheddar and sour cream and fried as delicious but hideous blob.


Instructions:

1. Prep Dice your onion, cut your chicken, open your cans of beans and green chilies, dice your cilantro.

2. In a large pot on medium heat add some olive oil and drop in your diced onions and cook them until they are soft and translucent. Next add your chilies and minced garlic. Now add your spices and let them bloom for one minute.

3. Next add your chicken stock, chicken and beans. Simmer for 30 minutes and then add your chopped cilantro.
Serve in a bowl and top with your fried polenta croutons.

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Pea Salad

Pea Salad

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Pea Salad
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When trying to build an Easter meal, it’s hard to ignore peas, asparagus and ham. Peas just seem like Spring..deep green and bright. I saw this on the Pioneer Woman and thought I would adapt her recipe. I think what drew me in was her use of little chunks of cheese. I like peas in pasta and figured the little cheese chunks would be similar.

Pop of peas, with tangy sour cream, salty cheese and tiny red onions cutting through it all. Super easy but hit the spot and complimented the ham and potatoes.

Ingredients:
1 package of Peas (2 cups)
4 slices of crispy bacon (diced)
Red onion (diced tiny) I used about 2 tbs use your onion sense
3 ounces of fresh cheddar cut into little cubes (a little bigger than the pea)
1/4 cup of Sour cream
1 tsp of Dukes Mayo
1 tsp of White Wine Vinegar
Parsley

Directions:
1. Dice your onions and cheddar. If you are not an onion fan use less and be sure to chop finely.
When your peas are thawed out mix your wet ingredients and pour into a bowl with your peas, onions and cheese chunks. Mix well and refrigerate until ready to serve.

2. I wanted my bacon to stay crispy so cooked it, chopped it and waited to incorporate just before serving. Top with Parsley for a touch of freshness and attractiveness.
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Chicken Tikka Masala #3

Chicken Tikka Masala #3

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Chicken Tikka Masala #3

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Still on my quest for the best Tikka Masala. I saw this one from Kevin Townsley on Food 52 and it like I have said before most recipes for Tikka Masala have similar ingredients. So it’s those few extra techniques and seasoning amounts that make a difference. A few things that jumped out from his recipe were the cloves and caramelized onions. He was very emphatic about cooking them for 20mins. When a cook calls out a step and underscores its importance, you had better take note that they likely found “it”.

This was a good one and certainly I will take a few of the techniques as I continue on my quest. I did bump up the heat with 3 Serrano peppers which was probably a little over the line for many peoples tastes. The spices and chicken were all on point. I am my worst critic and while eating I am always thinking how can I make this even better and here is what I am going to try next time. I want to bump up the tomato profile so I will add a small can of tomato paste and I will let that simmer and reduce longer before adding back the cream and chicken.

Love this stuff.
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Adapted Kevin Townsley of Food52.com
Ingredients:
Tikka Marinade
2-3 Chicken Breasts cubed into bite sized pieces
1 cup Plain Bulgarian Yogurt (or Greek)
Juice of half a lemon
1 tbs ginger minced
3 cloves of garlic minced
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp garam masala
2 tsp cayenne
8 whole cloves
2 pinches of black pepper
2 pinches of Kosher salt

Sauce
1 large onion sliced in thin ribbons
4 cloves of garlic finely minced
3 Serrano chilies roasted (seeded and minced)
28-ounce can San Marzano whole peeled plum tomatoes
1 cup heavy cream
1 tbs ground cumin
2 tsp paprika
1 tbs garam masala
Kosher Salt to taste

Basmati Rice
Naan Bread
Cilantro
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Directions:
1. Dice and trim your chicken. Mix the marinade together with the chicken. Marinate for at least 24 hrs.

2. Turn on your stove and char your Serrano peppers until their skin is black and put into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap to steam them so the outside comes off easily.

3. In a large pot of an oiled pot (2-3 tbs) on medium heat. Add your sliced ribbon onions and Kevin suggests 20mins with constant stirring. He claims it’s the secret so I did it just as he directed.
-When you onions are done, add your garlic and chilies and let them sweat out for 2mins.
-Add your spices and let them release their flavors (1-2mins)
-Pour in your canned tomatoes and let this simmer.
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4. Take your marinated chicken and shake off excess marinade and grill it (either outside or on grill pan inside). Put a char on the chicken and set it aside.
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5. Back to the sauce, remove from heat or at least turn it all the way down. Add you cream and stir for a few minutes. Salt, pepper and season accordingly and stir in the grilled chicken and let all flavors meld. Remember the chicken has been marinated already so it will add flavor. Just bring it up as you get your seasoning right.

6. Stir in cilantro and serve over rice with Naan bread.
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Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons

Tomato Soup with Grill Cheese Croutons

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Tomato Soup with Grill Cheese Croutons

Adapted this recipe from Ree Drummond. I prefer my tomato soup on the savory side so I didn’t add as much sugar as her but still found it a little sweet for my taste so adjust per your pallet. I will write this up per my adjustments I would make for next time which basically play down the sweet and bump up the savory.
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Ingredients:
Yellow onion
2 cloves of garlic
2 cans of diced tomatoes (14.5 oz)
24 oz of Tomato Juice
24 oz of Tomato puree
3 tbs of Tomato paste
3 chicken bouillon cubes
2 tbs of sugar
6 tbs of Butter
2 tbs of black pepper
3 glugs of Congac or Sherry
1.5 cups of Cream
¼ cup of chopped basil

Gilled cheese Croutons
Butter
American cheese
Cheddar cheese
Sourdough bread.

Directions:
1. Dice you onion and add to medium heated pot with the butter and let them sweat out. Add your minced garlic and stir for another minute.

2. Add your canned tomatoes and juice, paste and puree. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer. Add everything except the cream and basil. Blend with immersion blender if you prefer smooth (optional if you like it smooth).

3. Make your grilled cheese by buttering the outside of the bread and adding your cheese. I used a Panini press but a griddle would work if you don’t have one.

4. Back to the soup… turn off the heat and stir in your cream and basil and stir until fully combined.
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Mac and Cheese #1

Mac and Cheese #1

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Mac and Cheese #1
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Over the course of time I will likely have several recipes of Mac and Cheese. This one is a stove top version that includes some onions, garlic and crispy bacon. I also play around with cheese blends but this one is pretty awesome.

Ingredients
Elbow Macaroni (half a box)
4 tbs of butter
2 tbs of AP flour
1 cup of cream
4 oz of Gruyere
4 oz of Cheddar (again buy the block and shred it yourself)
3 slices of Bacon
1 shallot
3 cloves of garlic
Cayenne pepper
Black Pepper
Kosher Salt
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Directions:
1. Cook your bacon on low to medium heat until crispy. Remove to a paper towel. Remove some of the grease but keep a tablespoon or so and then add shallots and cook until soft followed by minced garlic. Remove from heat and set aside and crumble bacon back into the pan and stir.

2. Cook your pasta according to the package. Set aside a little pasta water.

3. Now lets make a rue by taking a large pot and put it on medium low heat. Melt the better and then add the flour and stir until light brown. Add your cream and stir until it thickens into a béchamel. Start adding your cheeses slowly letting them melt. When you get the consistency you want add the bacon, onions and remaining spices and stir. The slowly add your pasta until completely coated. Taste and salt and pepper accordingly.

Turkey Manicotti

Turkey Manicotti

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Turkey Manicotti
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Jill likes pasta. When I am not traveling I like to work in a few comfort dishes so that she doesn’t feel like my taste kitchen. I wasn’t ready to commit to lasagna but wanted something beyond spaghetti so settled on Manicotti. I added a little ground turkey to make it more substantial.

I used up some sauce I made for my pizza last week and ran a little short for this one. It’s not lost on me how sad this pic is but I was in a hurry. It tasted great and while I would have had more sauce I would have put some on the bottom before laying in the Manicotti it really was nicely balanced with creaminess, al dente pasta and “tomato-y” zest.

Ingredients
Manicotti noodles
Mozzarella Cheese

Filling
Ricotta Cheese
1/2 lb of ground turkey
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
1 egg
1 tbs chopped Italian parsley
Kosher Salt and Pepper

Sauce
1 28 oz of Cento tomatoes
4 cloves of garlic
1 tbs of sugar
½ yellow onion
Handful of basil
Kosher Salt and Pepper to taste
Olive oil

Directions:
1. Make the marinara by putting the onions in a pan and cook until soft. Add garlic and cook for 1mins. Then add everything else and cook for 30mins stirring occasionally. Turn off heat cool and put into a blender and make a smooth sauce. If you like it chunky skip this step.

2. Make the stuffing. Brown the turkey in a medium heated skillet with a little minced onion and garlic. Let it cool to room temperature. In a separate bowl mix the meat, egg, ricotta, parm together.

3. Cook your noodles per the directions on the box. Let them cool.

4. Assembly: Ideally ladle tomato sauce in the bottom of a 9×11 glass pan (I didn’t have enough but you will if you follow the sauce recipe. I used half on my pizza last week). Then fill each manicotti noodle with the filling and place them into the pan. Once completed top with sauce and mozzarella and cook in a 350 degree oven until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Mean Greens: Collards & Kale

Collards & Kale

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Love my greens earnestly vs Kale "preaching."
Love my greens earnestly vs Kale “preaching.”

Ingredients:
1 Bushel of Collard Greens (spine removed)
1 Bushel of Purple Kale (spine removed)
1 Bushel of Green Kale (spine removed)
4 Strips of Peppered Bacon
3 Carrots
1 Onion (White, yellow or Red)
3 garlic cloves
2 tbs White Vinegar
3 cups of Chicken Stock (use enough to keep it moist – add when needed)
4 shots of Tabasco or a few pinches of cayenne pepper

Directions:
1. Remove the spines from the greens and curl them up like a cigar. Cut thinly into ribbons.
2. Heat a large pot on medium heat.
3. Slice and dice onion, carrot, garlic and bacon and add to hot pan (until softened)
4. Add greens (spine removed, rolled and sliced into ribbons) Don’t worry it will look like you have too much but it will wilt down a lot.
5. Add two cups of chicken stock and cover pot for 30-40mins.
6. After 30/40 mins I then add my vinegar and heat(Tabasco)
Mine cook about an hour but I keep my eye on the moisture level and add chicken stock as needed. Beer might be a good option after the first two cups of chicken stock. Also adding in ChowChow or a relish is nice at the end.
Salt & Pepper & Spice accordingly

Ingredients
Ingredients
First into the Pot
First into the Pot
Greens in the pot
Greens in the pot