Yet Another Chili Recipe

Wait. Am I really blogging two days in a row? Wow!

The kitty’s surprised, but not as much as she will be once she sees she’s being stalked by a sheep!

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Sneaky Sheep

Anyway, here’s another chili recipe – and since we love chili so much, it probably won’t be the last. This time I decided to go lighter on the tomato base and play up the beef aspect more. Again, I’ve said this many times, but I don’t really measure for these types of dishes so everything below is a rough estimate and it’s meant to be a base from which to jump off of and make your own creation. And it’s FODMAP friendly -  no onion and garlic-infused olive oil instead of pieces of garlic.

Beef Chili with Beans

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 cans of beans (I used borlotti)
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1-2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1-2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1-2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • dash of hot sauce
  • dash of whiskey (this time I used Bushmills Irish Whiskey)
  • 2-4 cups of beef broth
  • salt/pepper to taste
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Cooking away

Directions:

  • heat the olive oil and add the celery, sauté for a couple minutes, stirring frequently
  • add beef and season with salt and pepper and cook through
  • add beans and tomatoes
  • add all seasonings (herbs, spices, and sauces) and stir
  • add broth and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cover and let simmer for 30-60 minutes
  • server over boiled rice

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Sorry, these photos aren’t great cause I used my phone and the camera on it has seen better days! 

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Philadelphia Cream Cheese Lemon Chicken Pasta

Here is yet another really simple dish to make on a weeknight that is super tasty and filling. This is one where you’ll definitely go back for seconds. Although cream cheese is definitely on my don’t-eat list, I couldn’t resist making this dish in spite of that and just made sure to take some meds as needed. It also didn’t feel too unhealthy since I used the reduced fat cream cheese.

Philadelphia Cream Cheese Lemon Chicken Pasta

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups penne pasta
  • 1 cup green beans
  • 2 large skinless chicken breasts, cut into pieces.
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup Philadelphia Light with Garlic & Herbs
  • 4 tbsp chicken stock

Directions:

  • Cook the pasta in a large pan of boiling water as directed on the packet. Five minutes before the end of the cooking time add the beans to the pasta. Drain when cooked.
  • Meanwhile, cut the chicken breasts into slices. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and add the chicken. Cook the chicken until it is browned and cooked through. Then stir in the lemon juice.
  • Add the stock and Philly. Heat gently until the Philly has melted and formed a sauce but do not boil.
  • Add the pasta and beans to the lemony chicken mixture and stir together. Serve immediately.

To cut down even further on prep time, I bought pre-cut chicken. You can also use any veggie: broccoli florets, asparagus, zucchini, etc.

Do you ever use recipes from the websites of cooking or food products?

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Sausage Stew

I saw this recipe on one of those morning talk shows, and it looked so good, and easy (a key deciding factor for recipes these day) that I decided to try it for myself. I did this on a Sunday night as it does require a bit of cooking time in the oven. But it definitely can be done on any other night when you can get an early start so you leave yourself plenty of time for cooking.

Winter Sausage Stew

Ingredients:

  • 6-8 sausages
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil (I used garlic-infused)
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 apples, cut into wedges (with skin on)
  • 2 cups red potatoes cut into wedges (with skin on)
  • 2/3 cup chicken stock
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Heat oil in pan and brown sausages for a couple of minutes, then set aside in a baking dish
  • Add onion and sauté until softened
  • Add apples and potatoes and a little salt/pepper and cook for about 5 minutes or so until your fruit/veg are browning up some.
  • Add them to the baking dish with the sausages.
  • Pour in the chicken stock and add the rosemary sprigs
  • Cover with aluminium foil and bake for 30 minutes.
  • Uncover and check if the dish is dried out add a little more stock then cook for another 15-20 minutes.

I made some roasted Brussels sprouts for a side dish (halved and topped with olive oil/salt/pepper). Also, I replaced the regular onion with a green onion sliced lengthwise as onions are high on the list of foods I have to avoid. So, if you use green onions pull them out before adding the potato and apples as they tend to burn a bit more since they’re not as juicy as a regular onion.

The apples tasted so good and added a really mild sweetness and great contrast to the savoury sausage and the texture of the potatoes.

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Tortellini Soup

I just haven’t been in the blogging mood these days. With so much going on from travel, to class work, hosting New Years Eve, being away for Christmas, and more it’s just not something I’ve been feeling. But I do feel badly and I had amassed a handful of recipes/post ideas from the last couple months. So, I decided to share with you a quick and easy tortellini soup recipe that I was inspired to make from the Inquiring Chef.

Tortellini Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp garlic infused olive oil
  • 1-quart chicken broth
  • 6 oz. fresh or frozen tortellini
  • 14 oz. canned diced tomatoes with herbs (include juice, don’t drain)
  • 2 zucchini, chopped
  • 8 – 10 leaves of basil, rolled up and sliced into ribbons
  • Fresh thin slices of Parmesan chees
  • Salt/pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Melt the butter and heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add broth and bring to a boil.
  • Add the tomatoes and zucchini and cook till just starting to get tender. Add in tortellini and cook until done (they’ll float as soon as they’re done).
  • Stir in the basil and cook just 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Serve and sprinkled with the thin slices from a block of Parmigiano Reggiano.

Hopefully this will warm you right up with these cold winter days!

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Stovetop Chilli

A few weeks back we randomly decided to make chilli. It was the perfect day for it. Overcast and chilly. As with the bolognese sauce I didn’t follow a specific recipe and because its one of those things I’ve made so often I didn’t pay attention to measurements too much. So, I’ve included a recipe below that is roughly what I did. The best part about chilli, like pasta sauce is you can make it your own. Just follow the basics and then add in all kinds of things to your liking. Make it as mild or as spicy as you’d like- I added in some home made Serrano chillis that my dad sent me. Feel free to adjust the spices and seasoning according to taste and use different ones or add in others than what I’ve noted below. I also made mine FODMAP-friendly, which means I used green onions instead of regular onions, I used garlic infused oil instead of garlic, and I used bortoli beans instead of red kidney beans. E. also topped his with salsa, shredded and sour cream, which was great as it gave me better photos!

Cold Day Chilli

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 strip thick cut bacon (or 2-3 thin slices)
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • garlic infused olive oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, de-seeded and diced
  • 1 can white beans, drained
  • 1 can red or brown beans (kidney, pinto, etc), drained
  • roughly 1-2 cups beef broth
  • seeds from 1 dried Serrano chilli (or red pepper flakes work well)
  • 1 large can of stewed tomatoes
  • 1 small can of chopped tomatoes
  • ground cumin (about 2 tspns)
  • ground chilli powder (about 1-2 tspns)
  • cayenne pepper (about 1 tspn)
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • small shot of good Scotch or whiskey
  • dash of Worcestershire sauce

Directions:

  • Heat oil then add green onions, celery, and red bell pepper and sauté for about 4 minutes.
  • Add bacon and cook through.
  • Add beef and spices/seasoning’s and cook till browned.
  • Add beans, canned tomatoes, beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, and whiskey.
  • Stir well and add a bay leaf.
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover leaving a small opening. Stir occasionally.

I let ours simmer for about 2 hours, but again, depending on how thick you want it or how much time you have adjust the time to your liking. As quickly as 30-45 minutes would probably do the trick as well.

 Do you have any special ingredients you put in your chilli recipe?

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Homemade Bolognese Sauce

One of the other must-have foods I insist on indulging in when I am in California, is my dad’s home made pasta bolognese. By using fresh ingredients and plenty of seasoning this is a delicious and healthy sauce. So, when I got back from my visit I decided to recreate the sauce. I even made it FODMAP-friendly by using gluten-free pasta. My sauce didn’t taste exactly like my dad’s, but it came out awesome nonetheless. By adding carrot the sauce gets a nice sweetness to it without any added sugar.

So, the thing with this sauce is there’s no real exact recipe. Make the base with the tomatoes and then add in as little or as much of anything you want. I went ahead and added rough measurements below, but feel free to experiment!

Pasta Bolognese

Ingredients:

  • ½ a small carrot, grated
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • a dozen small-medium tomatoes
  • 5-6 basil leaves
  • 1 small can of tomato sauce
  • 1-2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 2-3 tablespoons of dried oregano
  • 2-3 green onions, sliced thin

 

Directions:

  • Rough chop fresh tomatoes and blend with tomato sauce and ½ the basil and ½ the green onion
  • Pour puréed tomatoes into a large pot add a little salt/pepper and tomato paste. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer.
  • Cook the ground beef, add in oregano, garlic, the remaining green onion, and a little salt/pepper.
  • Once the beef is cooked through drain the fat and add beef to the tomato sauce. Add the remaining basil and oregano.
  • Continue to simmer the sauce for 45 minutes up to 2-3 hours. Occasionally stir it and taste it as you go. Pull it off the heat once it has your desired taste and thickness.
  • Cook pasta a few minutes before the sauce is ready. Add sauce to pasta and serve.

When I made the sauce I also cooked some broccolini on the side to get a little greens as well. I think this is clean eating at it’s best. Fresh, whole ingredients combined to make a hearty, healthy and warming meal. Great for the fall days we’re currently experiencing!

Do you have a home made pasta sauce recipe? What ingredients do you like to include?

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Taco Casserole

So, classes kicked off this past week and so far loving them! But of course that has meant a couple nights in class till 7:30p, and days full of class work and more. But, despite being busy I knew I wanted to cook as much as possible. So, I set out to pick some recipes that would be easy to prepare, wouldn’t require too many ingredients (now that I must carry all my shopping home), and would give me more than one meal from each dish. I decided on a few including tonight’s dish of Taco Casserole as well as Pot Roast and Mac n Cheese. I’ll be sure to share both of those with you as well!

I found this recipe at CooKen-Casseroles, and just changed a few things. For one, I couldn’t find Fritos anywhere, so I went with tortilla chips. I also omitted the onion to stay as low-FODMAP friendly as possible. Since I knew the salsa and taco seasoning would have onions and garlic, I figured I didn’t need to add any more. Honestly I didn’t miss it the onion at all. And speaking of salsa, the only kind I could find during my last grocery store visit was a squeezable one. I was a bit wary, but it turns out it wasn’t so bad after all. I managed to forget to look for chiles, so those didn’t make it this time. Upon serving I added lettuce leaves and fresh chopped tomatoes, cilantro, and more salsa.

Taco Casserole

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 packet taco seasoning
  • 2 cup salsa
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cups Fritos or tortilla chips
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • Optional: fresh tomato, lettuce, cilantro, sliced olives

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Layer the bottom of a baking dish with a layer of chips
  • Cook the meat, drain, then add salsa, water and taco seasoning.
  • Simmer meat for another 5 minutes
  • Layer the meat mixture onto the chips
  • Put another layer of chips and cover with cheese
  • Bake for 40 minutes

This dish was really tasty! Although, since I did use the tortilla chips the dish sort of was like fancy nachos. But, nevertheless was delicious. I sat down to a comfy meal with a nice pint of Pear Cider and I get to have more for lunch tomorrow!

Do you have any casserole or easy meal ideas that deliver not just dinner but also leftovers for lunch the next day?

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Chicken Pasta e Fagioli

I love when I can get two meals out of one. Last week when we bought the pre-seasoned and stuffed chicken I knew we could get at least two meals out of the bird. The first meal was roasted veg along with meat and stuffing from the chicken. It came out delicious! That night we carved and pulled off all the meat and set the leftovers aside. The following night I made my version of Pasta e Fagioli, an Italian soup with beans and pasta and all kinds of goodness. I threw in what was left of the chicken for some added flavor and protein. My soup wasn’t the exact definition of Pasta e Fagioli,  but I figured since it had the beans and pasta I’d call it that anyway.

Chicken Pasta e Fagioli

Ingredients:

  • Pre-roasted chicken meat (about 1-2 breasts)
  • 1 cup pasta (I used gluten free, works great as well!)
  • 1 14 oz can cannelloni beans, drained
  • 1 14 oz can canned tomatoes
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2-3 cups water
  • 2 zucchini, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1-2 carrots, diced
  • 1 large sprig of rosemary
  • 1/2 leek, diced
  • olive oil
  • salt/pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and saute the leeks, carrots, and celery until tender. The carrots may not be too tender, but they’ll soften up during the rest of the cooking process.
  • Add the broth, water, tomatoes, beans, and herbs.
  • Cover and bring to a boil over high heat, then decrease the heat to medium and simmer.
  • Remove the herbs.
  • Add the zucchini, chicken and pasta and bring back to a boil then simmer until zucchini is tender and the pasta is cooked.

Because I need to avoid certain foods that don’t love me as much as I love them, I did leeks instead of onions, cannelloni beans instead of kidney beans, and I didn’t add garlic. But all of these can be swapped/added as desired. You can also add bay leaves, thyme, and pancetta if you’d like. We just didn’t have them on hand and I didn’t feel like another trip to the grocery store. Either way the soup came out wonderful the way we made it. Whether or not its a true Pasta e Fagioli recipe or not!

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Comfort Food Without the Hassle

Here’s a photo of our dinner from last night. It was a pre-seasoned/stuffed chicken that we just had to pop in the oven and roast. I added some carrots, leeks, and celery as well. It felt like the lazy-man’s dinner. Not a proper recipe, and nothing but a quick photo to share with my readers. As a food blogger I couldn’t help but feel a bit disappointed in myself.

Then I decided to give myself a break. We just moved to a new country three weeks ago. One week ago we moved from a temporary flat to a more permanent one. Thankfully the owner of the flat we’re now renting is a huge cook and foodie. She left behind more than enough utensils, cooking gadgets, bowls and everything else we’d need to make a feast every night if we so wish to. She also has a self-proclaimed addiction to cookbooks, all of which she left behind. I’ll definitely have to share some of the amazing books and recipes I hope to make in the future!

But, for now we’re still getting settled. Heck, I still can’t seem to find a place that sells regular old brooms and dustpans or dry swiffer wipes. As much as I love embracing how things are done here, and finding new stores and restaurants, etc… there is a part of me that is seriously missing Target and Dunkin Donuts and just knowing how to do things and where to go to get what I need. Is there a place here, in this city, accessible via walking/subway, that sells those things one needs like superglue, brooms, dustpans, or mini trash cans for the bathroom? Your guess is as good as mine.

We’re also dealing with the general moving pains of setting up phones, getting decent internet, realizing that the neighborhood we live in is not one where we’ll easily pop out on a Saturday night for dinner without a reservation. It’s been wonderful and fun, but also frustrating and occasionally tear-inducing for sure.

So, last night we didn’t put a lot of work or effort into dinner and I don’t have a recipe to share. But, we had a healthy, comforting, and delicious dinner. And sometimes that’s all you need to feel a little bit more at home.

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Melon and Elderflower Sorbet

Hello, I’m Carol Anne from Rock Salt, and I will be your blogger for today. When I was asked to write a guest post for the blog I was really excited, but kind of nervous, too. I’ve never written for anyone else’s blog before, and I didn’t want to lower the tone of her blog with any old drivel… Thank you for inviting me, I am pleased to be here.

You’d expect me to be waxing lyrical about one of our Scottish delicacies. Haggis, maybe, or venison, or cranachan or something whiskey related. I did want to feature something Scottish in this post, but you know, I just couldn’t seem to get it together. A lot of the foods we hold dear are really designed for cold weather – for obvious reasons – and I’m given to understand that much of the Northern hemisphere is experiencing something called ‘summer’ right now, even if we aren’t… So I thought I’d try my hand at something a bit lighter, more refreshing and perfect for hot and sunny weather – a sorbet.

This sorbet was a chance meeting of ingredients that had been rattling around my kitchen for a little too long; a galia melon which had taken up what felt like permanent residence in the fridge, and a bottle of elderflower presse which had been living on the counter since I’d opened it to use in a cocktail and callously abandoned it, months ago. One day I looked at the melon, looked at the presse, looked back at the melon… An idea took form. The fact that I was given an ice cream maker recently probably had quite a lot to do with it.

This is such a simple recipe, I’m not even sure if it counts as one. Perhaps it’s more of an idea than an actual recipe. I did, however, add one ingredient right out of left field – it’s optional, but it gave the flavours a real boost. It’s celery cocktail bitters. I know. Not something most people have in the cupboard. I happen to be the kind of person who does, and I’m glad of it more often than you might imagine. Here’s the lowdown on the sherbet:

  • 1 ripe galia melon
  • 1 cup sparkling elderflower presse (this is ready to drink, not to be confused with concentrated cordial)
  • 40 drops celery bitters

One of the things I love about this sorbet is its delicate colour, which of course comes straight from the melon. It’s almost a pastel shade, very delicate and gentle. Start by quartering the fruit and scooping out the seeds with a spoon.

Slide a sharp knife in under the rind of each quarter to take it off in one fell swoop, then cut the flesh into cubes and place in a blender. Add the elderflower presse and puree until liquid.

You will find that there is some melon pulp that doesn’t want to join in the party, giving the puree a cloudy appearance. You can leave it, if you like, but I wanted a smooth sorbet that would dissolve on the tongue. To achieve this, I passed the puree through a fine mesh strainer into a jug, a little at a time. I used a wooden spatula to press the more recalcitrant parts of the pulp through and in the end there was only a small amount left that wouldn’t play along; most of the pulp broke down sufficiently to pass through the strainer.

At this stage I had an interesting layered effect in the jug, with the juice at the bottom and the strained pulp at the top. I also thought that the colour had become more intense over time – what do you think? I added the celery bitters to the jug and mixed well, before chilling in the fridge for several hours. The trick to my ice cream maker is ensuring that the mixture you want to freeze is very cold before you start. You could also just pour the strained puree into a shallow lidded dish and freeze it as-is – the texture wouldn’t be as smooth but the taste would be just as good.

Once the melon and elderflower puree was thoroughly chilled, I started up the ice cream maker and got churning. After about ten minutes I could see that the sorbet was mostly frozen, with just a little liquid remaining at the bottom. I stopped the machine, gave it a quick stir and churned for another five minutes, at which time I had a nice softly set sorbet. I scooped this into a lidded dish and put into the freezer overnight.

The next day, my sorbet was ready! The colour is so pretty, I definitely think it intensifies as the process goes on, but it’s miles away from the garish, glowing green of a melon liqueur. Sometimes nature does colours well enough on its own, people. It smells wonderful too – very delicate and floral, no sticky sweetness here. The texture is very fragile, meaning you can’t just get a hearty scoop of it out of the tub but have to do a bit of scraping around. It flakes apart in the bowl and on the tongue. Very refreshing!

You can serve the sorbet as it comes as a palate cleanser between courses, or for dessert, or for a snack on a hot day. If you want to take it up a notch, you can pour over a little of a suitable alcoholic treat. That garish melon liqueur would be appropriate (I do have a soft spot for it), or if you are very fancy you might have some St. Germain, which is made with elderflowers and would probably be exactly right for the job. You could also experiment with a little prosecco, the bubbles would complement the light sorbet just beautifully.

Posted in Blogs I Love, Food, Guest Posts, Recipes | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments