Creamy Chicken Chili

Some weeks in the Midwest, the weather starts at 80 degrees on Monday and by Friday, you see snowflakes in the air.  Or, at least, that’s the kind of week I had in mid-October.  So, that Friday, when I returned home in the late afternoon and was headed out soon to see our volleyball team win on the court, I remembered I had this recipe (and had picked up all the ingredients) from Abel James Ketogenic Instant Pot Cookbook.  So, as you can see, the cream cheese didn’t completely break down, but I completely blame that on user error, because I didn’t keep stirring it until it melted — I left for the game instead.  (Darn warmup time for the Instant Pot!)  But, I ate on it for a few days — it made way more soup than I was expecting it to make!  And, I was really pleased with it!

Creamy Chicken Chili.jpg

Creamy Chicken Chili

2 lb grassfed frozen chicken breast
1 10 oz can sugar-free diced tomatoes with green chiles
1 can green chiles
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp chili powder
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 c chicken broth
8 oz softened cream cheese
¼ c sour cream

In the pot of Instant Pot, add all ingredients except the cream cheese and sour cream and stir to combine.  Secure the lid and place the pressure valve to “Seal” position.  Select the “Soup” and just use the default time of 15-20 minutes.  Select the “Cancel” and carefully do a natural release for about 15 minutes and then do a quick release.  Remove the lid and stir well.  Add the cream cheese.  Serve hot with the topping of sour cream.

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Kale, Sausage, and Mushroom Stew

This time of year just asks for something quite hardy, doesn’t it?  With the end of seasonal vegetables and wanting to eat things that are of the earth, this kale, sausage, and mushroom stew has been in my queue to make for a hot minute.  (Let’s face it, there are about 100 recipes that I have already typed up and want to make, and another 500 that are flagged and tagged in my various cookbooks to type up and make at some point).  But, when I realized I had an abundance of kale, and a few nights worth of dinners to make, I found this recipe from Mark Bittman’s Quick and Easy Recipes.  It didn’t end up cooking down to the total stew stage for me — perhaps I should have cooked it a little longer on the stovetop, but the flavor combination was definitely of the earth, so I met those expectations.

Kale, Sausage, and Mushroom Stew.jpg

Kale, Mushroom, and Sausage Stew

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb Italian sausage
1 lb kale, leaves stripped from stems
1/2 pound mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
1 Tbsp garlic
1 tsp hot red pepper flakes, or to taste
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 c stock or water

Put the olive oil in a large, deep skillet or casserole over medium-high heat; a minute later, add the sausage and cook without stirring until the sausage browns well on one side, about 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, chop the stems of kale into about 1/2 inch lengths and shred the leaves.

Stir the sausage and let it brown a bit more.  REmove it with a slotted spoon (don’t worry if it isn’t cooked through).  Cook the mushrooms in the remaining fat with the heat still on medium-high, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 10 minutes.  Remove with a slotted spoon and keep warm.

Add the kale stems and cook, stirring frequently, until they begin to brown, 3 or 4 minutes.  Turn the heat to medium and add the garlic, hot pepper, kale leaves, salt, and pepper; stir and cook for about 1 minute.  Return the sausage to the pan and add teh stock or water.  Raise the heat to high and cook for about 5 minutes, stirirng occasionally and scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.  Add salt and pepper to taste and ladle into bowls, topping with the reserved mushrooms.

Curried Vegetable Salad

Last month, a young woman in our community who had been diagnosed with breast cancer not long ago passed away.  When it was time for the funeral, the usual call came out, seeking salads and desserts, and I put together this curried vegetable salad from the Minnesota Catholic Daughter’s Cookbook.  A good mix of broccoli and cauliflower, with some dried cranberries, it seemed fresh and crisp for a day in the middle of a week when rain wouldn’t stop and the world seemed a little extra dark.

Curried Vegetable Salad Broccoli

Curried Vegetable Salad

2 1/2 c broccoli florets
2 1/2 c cauliflower florets
6 oz pkg dried cranberries
1/4 tsp minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp soy sauce

Dressing
1/4 c oil
2 Tbsp + 2 tsp vinegar
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp curry powder

Cut up fresh veggies, add cranberries.  Add dressing, whisked together – pour on.  Add 1/3 c toasted slivered almonds just before serving.

Roast Beef for Buns

Sometimes good sandwich meat is what fits the bill.  And, with a new baby at home, I imagined that having some sandwich meat in the freezer was probably just what the doctor ordered.  So when it came time to put together a meal for my colleague and her new family, I was delighted to find this recipe in the Minnesota Catholic Daughters Cookbook.  I adapted it slightly to put it together in the crockpot one night.  I cooked it low and slow overnight as I slept, and then it shredded up in about 5 minutes.  It couldn’t have been any easier to put together.

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Roast Beef for Buns

4-6 lbs beef roast
1 pkg dry onion soup
3 beef bouillon cubes
1 c water
1/2 c catsup
salt and pepper

Bake at 275 degrees for 6 hours.  Serve on buns.

Sweet Potatoes with Apples

Like in the last post, this is another item I brought over to our staff member with the new baby, along with the upcoming post.  I was happy to embrace more fall flavors with sweet potatoes and apples, and was really pleased with how this turned out.  The sweet potatoes took a little longer to boil than I was expecting, but it worked out okay.  They smelled delicious and reheated nicely when I took them over the next afternoon.  I found the recipe in the Minnesota Catholic Daughters Cookbook, when I was looking for some good fall-related home cooking recipes.  This absolutely fit the bill.

Sweet Potatoes with Apples

Sweet Potatoes with Apples

3-3 1/2 lbs sweet potatoes
2 tart apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
1/2 c orange juice
1/4 c brown sugar
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp butter

Cover sweet potatoes with water.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until done.  Drain and cool slightly.  Alternate layers of sliced sweet potatoes and apples in greased 9×13 pan.  Pour orange juice over the top.  Mix brown sugar and spices.  Sprinkle over potatoes and apples.  Dot with butter.  Bake uncovered at 350 degrees, 35-45 minutes or until apples are tender.

Apple Brown Betty

One of our newest staff members on campus had a baby last month and so we started a little food train and brought dinner to her and her family every few days for a couple weeks.  Her husband is originally from England, so I found myself looking through the Sundays at Moosewood Cookbook in the British Isles section for something that might look tasty.  With it being October and still in the heart of apple season, I found this recipe for Apple Brown Betty that looked intriguing.  I have no idea if it tasted good or not or at all resembled something he knew from before he moved to the states, but it looked to have turned out all right and was a good reason to bring the apple slicer and peeler out of the cupboard.

Apple Brown Betty

Apple Brown Betty

2 Tbsp butter
3 c whole wheat bread crumbs (about 5 slices)
1 lemon
1/4 c sugar
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp water
5 large granny smith apples
2 Tbsp butter

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Liberally butter a 2 quart round baking dish.  Melt 2 tablespoons of butter, pour it on the bread crumbs, and mix well.  Set aside.

Grate the lemon rind.  In a small bowl, mix the grated rind with the sugar, nutmeg, and cinnamon.  Set aside.

Squeeze the juice of the lemon into a small bowl, add the water, and set aside.  Peel, core, and slice the apples thinly.  Place 1/3 of the breadcrumbs in the bottom of the baking dish.  Cover with 1/2 the apples.  Sprinkle 1/2 the sugar-lemon mixture on the baking dish.  Cover with another 1/3 of the breadcrumbs, then the remaining apples.  Sprinkle the rest of the sugar-lemon mixture on top of the apples.  Pour over the lemon water and cover with the rest of the bread crumbs.  Dot with 2 tablespoons of butter.

Cover the dish and place it in the 450-degree oven.  Immediately reduce the heat to 350 degrees.  Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, then remove the cover and bake for 10 to 15 minutes longer, until browned.  Allow to cool for 15 minutes.  Loosen the edges with a knife, then turn it out, upside down, onto a plate.  Serve warm.

Tomato and Squash Soup

Is there anything better than fall?  I love the change in the weather so much.  And, tomatoes and squash are absolutely in season.  When I found this recipe in the Molly on the Range cookbook, as the weather became cooler, I knew I wanted to cook and eat it on a Saturday, while curling up in a blanket with my dog and a book.

Tomato and Squash Soup

Tomato and Squash Soup

1 butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
2 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
3/4 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
Black pepper
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp cloves
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
leaves from 4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 cans fire-roasted tomatoes
3 c vegetable broth
Parmesan cheese, for serving

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Place the squash halves cut side up on a baking sheet and brush the insides with 1/2 tablespoon of the olive oil.  Sprinkle evenly with 1/4 tsp salt, a few turns of black pepper, the cinnamon, paprika, cayenne, and cloves and bake until a fork pokes easily into the center.  Begin checking for doneness after 1 hour.

Meanwhile, in a large pot, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onion and remaining 1/2 tsp salt.  Cook, stirring, until the onion is soft and translucent, 5 to 7 minutes.  add the garlic and thyme and cook for 2 more minutes.  Transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor, add the tomatoes with their juices, and blend until very smooth.

Scoop out the insides of the squash and place it in the blender with the vegetable broth and blend until very smooth.  Add it to the pot, bring it to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a simmer.  Simmer, covered, for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.  Ladle into bowls, drizzle with olive oil, and top with grated Parmesan.