America’s Test Kitchen’s Bucatini with Peas, Kale and Pancetta

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America’s Test Kitchen just recently came out with a new cookbook called Cook It in Your Dutch Oven.  I flipped through three hundred pages of beautiful images of food with easy, mouth-watering recipes before settling on bucatini with peas, kale, and pancetta as a new weeknight meal to try.   Pasta is such a comfort food, especially during a cold New England winter.  Why not add one more in our weekly rotation of comfort food?

This recipe is light but heavy on flavor thanks to the addition of bacon crumbles and lemon infused panko bread crumbs.  Five cups of kale add a healthy green and a bit of a bitter flavor which offsets the rich bacon undertones.  The crunchy, bright breadcrumbs and crisp bacon add excellent texture and depth.  Easy, kid-friendly and all of it made in your Dutch oven, what’s not to like?

Cook It In Your Dutch Oven includes recipes for one-pot dinners, classic soups, hearty stews and chilis, roasts and braises, fried foods, simple sides, bakery style breads, and dessert.  Lamb meatballs with orzo, tomatoes and feta, spicy Thai-style shrimp soup, classic beef stew, roast chicken with cranberry-walnut stuffing, and California-style fried fish tacos are just a few of the recipes that are now on my must make list.  My desire for sweets takes precedence over my desire for savory so I may need to start with chocolate lava cake for a crowd.

Interested in buying a copy?  Head to America’s Test Kitchen or Amazon.  Enjoy!

 

*I reached out to America’s Test Kitchen.  In exchange for testing a recipe and posting it on my blog, I received a free copy of Cook It In Your Dutch Oven. *

 

Bucatini with Peas, Kale and Pancetta

Serves 4 to 6

Recipe from America’s Test Kitchen’s Cookbook Cook It In Your Dutch Oven

Ingredients:

½ cup panko bread crumbs, toasted

1 ½ ounce of Parmesan cheese, about ¾ cup

1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon lemon zest

Salt and pepper ( I used Kosher salt.)

2 ounces of pancetta, cut into ½ inch pieces

2 garlic cloves, minced

½ cup dry white wine

2 ½ cups water, + more as needed

2 cups chicken broth

1-pound bucatini

5 ounces of baby kale, about 5 cups

1 cup of frozen peas

Directions:

Toast breadcrumbs in a small skillet with a bit of olive oil until golden brown.  Next, mix together toasted breadcrumbs, ¼ cup of Parmesan, olive oil, 1 teaspoon of lemon zest, ¼ teaspoon of salt, and ¼ teaspoon of pepper in a small bowl.  Set aside.

Cook pancetta in your Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp, about 6 to 8 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon, remove the pancetta and place on a plate lined with a paper towel.  Set aside until ready to serve pasta.

Add garlic and remaining lemon zest to Dutch oven and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds or so.  Add wine, scraping any browned bits and cook until the wine is almost evaporated, about 3 minutes.

Add water and broth and bring to a boil.  Stir in pasta and return to a strong simmer.  Cook pasta, stirring often until the pasta is tender, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Add kale and peas.  Stir and continue to cook until the peas and kale are tender about 4 minutes.  Add remaining Parmesan and stir until pasta is creamy and completely coated about 30 seconds.  Add extra hot water if pasta seems too dry.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Serve and sprinkle each serving with crispy pancetta and lemon panko breadcrumbs.  Enjoy!

Roasted Shrimp Rice Bowl with Roasted Pineapple Salsa + 5 Rice Bowl Links

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I found balance in a rice bowl.  My everyday life be damned, balance eludes me, just like the runner’s high, never quite fast or far enough to reach bliss.  But.  Yet.  This rice bowl has balance: fresh, tender shrimp roasted until just pink resting on top of warm rice, topped with a sweet and crunchy roasted pineapple salsa, smothered in a silky, rich avocado cream sauce and garnished  with a heavy handful of fresh cilantro and scallions.

Perfection, bliss and balance in a bite.

Roasted Shrimp Rice Bowl with Roasted Pineapple Salsa and Avocado Cream Sauce

Serves 2 generously, 4 as a light meal

Roasted Pineapple Salsa recipe adapted from Epicurious

Roasted Shrimp Recipe adapted from Ina Garten

**Start rice first, as it may take awhile  While rice is cooking prepare salsa and avocado cream sauce.  Set aside.  Lastly, roast shrimp.  I like the shrimp added to the rice bowl fresh from the oven, room temperature is fine, as well.**

Ingredients for roasted pineapple salsa:

2 cups fresh pineapple, chopped into cubes of equal size

Extra-virgin olive oil

1 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed, finely chopped (leave seeds in if you want a spicy salsa)

1/2 red onion, finely chopped

1 orange pepper, ribs and seeds removed, diced

handful of cilantro, roughly chopped

juice of 1 lime

Sea Salt, to taste

Directions:

Toss cut pineapple with a bit of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt.  Roast at 400F until beginning to brown, about 10 minutes.  While the pineapple is roasting, finely chop jalapeno pepper and red onion.  Place in a small bowl.  Dice orange pepper, add to bowl.  Add the juice of 1 lime, sea salt and handful of cilantro.  Stir gently.  Remove pineapple from oven and allow to cool slightly.  Once cool, roughly chop roasted pineapple.  Add to bowl and stir gently.  Add more sea salt, if needed. Allow to sit at room temperature,  while you prepare the rest of the meal.

Ingredients for avocado cream sauce:

1 avocado

1/2 cup Greek yogurt ( I used 2%.)

kosher salt, to taste

freshly ground black pepper. to taste

juice of 1 lime

pinch of garlic powder

Directions:

Remove avocado from skin, discard stone.  Place in a medium bowl and mash avocado with fork or potato masher until most of the lumps are gone.  Add 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt, juice of 1 lime and a pinch of garlic powder.  Mix together with a spoon.  (If you want the avocado cream super silky, mix in a blender until completely smooth.)  Season to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Store in an air-tight container, in the refrigerator until ready to use.  The avocado cream will last for several days.

Ingredients for shrimp:

1/2 lb raw shrimp, peeled and deveined

Extra-virgin olive oil

sea salt

fresh ground black pepper

Directions for shrimp:

Pre-heat your oven to 400F.  Toss shrimp with a heavy drizzle of olive oil, sea salt and pepper. Place on a sheet pan in an even layer and roast until the shrimp is just pink, about 8-10 minutes.  Set aside.

Additional ingredients:

3 cups cooked rice (I used brown rice, cooked according to rice cooker’s instructions)

3 green onions, finely sliced

cilantro

Assembly!

Place rice in bowls.  Top with roasted shrimp, salsa and avocado cream.  Garnish with green onion and cilantro.  Sprinkle on a bit of sea salt, if desired.  Enjoy!

5 Rice Bowl Links You Must Check Out!

When I crave something healthy and vegetarian I head to one of my favorite food blogs, Cookie + Kate.  Check out Kate’s recipe for spicy sweet potato and green rice burrito bowl. It is delicious!

I made Iowa Girl Eats crock pot mojo pork with Cuban style black beans at a recent family gathering and it was a huge hit!

California dreamin’ today? Head to Half Baked Harvest for California chicken, veggie and avocado rice bowl.  If you can’t live there, at least you can eat like a Californian.

Love Korean food?  Check out Sandra’s Easy Cooking vegetarian mixed rice bowl or bibimbap.  I wish this would magically appear in front me right now.

If you love teriyaki, head to Foodie Crush for a 7 spice teriyaki chicken rice bowl recipe. Delicious!

Israeli Couscous Salad with Pickled Shallots, Peas and Feta +5 Salads for Sepetember

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Google “go to” and this is what pops up: relied on or frequently sought out in a particular situation.  I know what your thinking.  Why the hell did she google “go to,” seems pretty self-explanatory.  Your right, it is.  Lately, I need affirmation in the most basic of situations from the all-powerful oracle that is Google.  Three kids later and my brain is mush.  With the definition now confirmed, I discovered I have a lot of “go tos” ( is that a word?) especially when it comes to food.  There is my go to chocolate birthday cake, wow this is good mac and cheese, bad day soup, and just had a baby oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.  (My list is long, certain foods perfectly matched with particular circumstances are all neatly categorized in my head.  I don’t want to bore you.) 

After making Cook’s Illustrated Israeli Couscous salad with lemon, mint, peas, feta and pickled shallots, I now have a serve to company when needing praise or bring to a cookout and watch it disappear salad. I love when one awesome recipe works well for many occasions.

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I love every piece of this savory salad: the candied pickled shallots, salty feta, peppery arugula, bright lemon juice, unexpected bite of mint, the tender couscous and the sweet peas that just look so pretty sitting next to the purple shallots.  I made this salad many times this summer.  No one complained.  Usually all that remained was a lone slice of shallot, a fallen bit of arugula or a smear of feta.  I relished the empty bowl.  Gotta love a go to.

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Israeli Couscous Salad with Lemon, Mint, Peas, Feta and Pickled Shallots

recipe barely adapted from Cook’s Illustrated July/August 2015

Serves 6

Ingredients for Couscous:

2 cups Israeli couscous

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

2+1/2 cups water

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions:

Using a medium saucepan, heat couscous and oil over medium heat for about 6 minutes or until the grains are golden brown.

Add water and salt, stir. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Stir. Reduce heat to low, cover and allow to simmer for about 10 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. Remove pan from heat and let stand, still covered for a few minutes. Next, grab a baking sheet. Spread the couscous in a single layer and cool. Set aside.

Ingredients for salad:

1/3 cup red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons sugar

kosher salt and pepper

2 shallots, sliced thin

3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons lemon juice, plus more for finishing

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

4 ounces or 4 cups of baby arugula, roughly chopped

1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, torn (add more mint, if you love it.)

1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed

3/4 cup feta cheese

Directions:

In a small saucepan, bring vinegar, sugar and a pinch of salt to a simmer over medium heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Add shallots, stir, cover and remove from heat. Allow to cool for about 30 minutes. Drain and roughly chop shallots. Set aside.

Whisk together the oil, lemon juice, mustard, red pepper flakes, and salt in a large bowl. Add couscous, arugula, mint, peas, 1/2 cup feta and shallots. Toss gently. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a pretty bowl. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of feta. Add a squeeze of lemon juice over the salad. Serve chilled or at room temperature. This salad is best the day it is made, but does make nice leftovers for lunch or dinner the next day. Enjoy!

**Pickle shallots before making couscous to save time. Just set aside until ready to use. Also, cooling the couscous on a baking sheet is key. If you allow it to cool in the bowl it will get mushy. The original recipe called for 1/2 cup shelled pistachios, toasted and chopped. If you want some crunch, add them! Worried about a nut allergy? Leave them out.**

5 Salads for September

I head to Cookie + Kate over and over again when I am looking for a feel good salad. Kate’s latest quinoa salad is on my must make list.  Yum!

Tired of zucchini bread? Make Fix Feast and Flair’s cold pasta salad with zucchini, fennel and fresh mozzarella.

Use the last of summer’s peaches for Love & Olive Oil’s peach and roasted vegetable salad.

Need a quick school night meal that even your kids might like?  Check out A Dash of Sanity’s kale and tortellini pasta salad.  I made this a couple of weeks ago and the kids kinda liked it!

Fall is almost here.  When butternut squash is abundant, make What’s Gabby Cooking? roasted butternut squash salad.

Roasted Zucchini, Black Bean and Goat Cheese Enchiladas + 5 Meatless Mains

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Excerpt from dinnertime most days at our house.  Feel free to swap out chicken for anything else that might have some nutritional value.

“Chicken again?!” C groaned.

“Chicken is disgusting. Yuck!” G chimes in.  I clench my jaw, take a deep breath and remind myself they are little.  Little terrors, especially around dinnertime.

“Dip it in ketchup!” Me.

“No.”  Them.

“Three bites or no dessert.” Me again.

“Mac and cheese please!” G. The boy could eat mac and cheese 3 meals a day, everyday.

“Just eat it!” I yell. 

Insert no dessert threat here.

They acquiesce because, just like me, they have a sweet tooth.  After a bite of grilled chicken they gag.  This is where I give up, offer them a small dessert and eat chocolate alone in our pantry.  Where is my mother-of-the-year award?  And so it goes.  Dinnertime is a bust most days at our house, except of course when we have mac and cheese.

Put the chocolate down and make a plan!

In an effort to keep my weekly meals fresh and to serve less chicken, I’ve adapted meatless Mondays and taco Tuesdays.  Oh and I’m bringing back wheatless Wednesdays.  Yup, wheatless Wednesdays was a thing.  In fact, meatless Monday and wheatless Wednesdays started during World War I.  Read more about here.  Thursday through Sunday? Anything goes.

Before meatless Monday rolls around again, I peruse one of my favorite healthy food blogs: The Sprouted Kitchen.  With zucchini now popping up at the market, I choose Sarah’s recipe for roasted zucchini, black bean and goat cheese enchiladas, a meal that is warm, cheesy and, if I’m lucky, kid-friendly.

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Latest excerpt from the witching hour that is dinnertime.

While C and G play in the backyard, I make dinner.  N busies himself with our pots and pans.  I try to ignore the loud clanging sounds that are slowly giving me a headache.  Stay focused!  Make dinner!

The zucchini roasts for 30 minutes and I set it aside to cool.  The black beans, goat cheese, green onions and cooled zucchini are gently tossed together.  I fill each tortilla with a heaping 1/4 cup of the zucchini mixture and placed seam side down in my baking dish.  I pour store-bought enchilada sauce over the top and sprinkle it with a few handfuls of feta cheese. (Cotija cheese will work as well.)  I pop the dish in the oven and bake it at 375F for about 25 minutes.

I do all of this without any interruption.  My kids play independently, never argue or do anything dangerous.  They are angels.  I wish!  I am interrupted constantly and it is frustrating, but occasionally one will say: “It smells good in here Mama,”  and they are back again to angel status.

I pull the enchiladas out of then oven.  The sauce is bubbling, a sure sign the dish is ready.  I place it on the counter, grab my camera and snap a few shots.  I hear splashing and turn to see the baby playing in our dog’s water bowl.

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I have a choice here: ignore the splashing or take the bowl away, continue to take pictures or wrap up for the day.  I let him play and finish shooting.  After my last shot, I remove the bowl and he looses his mind.  Hoping food will emotionally soothe him for a moment, I offer him a bite of the enchilada.  Grunting and gesturing for more, N eats the meatless enchilada with the same gusto as he eats meatballs.

Maybe the delicious smell of the enchiladas lured C and G into the kitchen or maybe it was N’s loud, incessant grunting.  Either way they sat down, lifted their forks and took a bite of something new, and they didn’t complain or gag, because it wasn’t chicken.  However, they did ask: “when can we have mac and cheese again?”

Roasted Zucchini, Black Bean and Goat Cheese Enchiladas

serves 4

recipe barely adapted from The Sprouted Kitchen

Ingredients:

4 medium or 3 large zucchini  1/4′ inch dice (you should have about 4 cups)

3 tsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided

1 1/4 tsp. garlic salt

4 green onions, finely chopped

1 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained

4 oz. soft goat cheese, crumbled

1 oz. crumbled feta cheese

10-12 whole wheat or corn tortillas depending on much you put in each tortilla

12 oz. red enchilada sauce, store-bought

Optional toppings:

1 bunch of cilantro, chopped

2 avocados

squeeze of lime

salsa

Greek yogurt or sour cream

Directions:

Pre-heat your oven to 425F and place diced zucchini on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 teaspoons of olive oil and 1 1/4 teaspoon of garlic salt.  Toss with your hands to coat.  Spread zucchini, one layer, using another rimmed baking sheet, if necessary.  You don’t want a crowded pan because the zucchini will steam instead of roast.  We want to roast.  Roast for about 30 minutes.  Allow to cool and lower your oven’s temperature to 375F.

Using a large mixing bowl, add the finely chopped green onions and black beans.  Crumble 4 oz. of goat cheese in the bowl.  Add cooled zucchini and gently toss everything until well combined.  Set aside.

Lightly char each tortilla over the oven burner, about 1 minute each side.   (You can skip this step if you are running short on time.  If you do have time, go for it!  It adds a nice texture to the tortillas.)

In an oven-proof 9×13 pan, pour 1/2 cup of enchilada sauce covering the bottom of the pan.  Take one tortilla and fill it with 1/4 cup of zucchini filling.  Roll it up and place it in the pan seam side down.  Continue with the rest of the tortillas, placing seam side down.  (You may need to squeeze them in and that’s ok!)  Brush the remaining olive oil over the tortillas.  Pour the rest of the enchilada sauce over the tortillas and sprinkle with 1 oz. of crumbled feta.

Bake for about 20-25 minutes.  Serve warm with chopped cilantro, sliced avocado and a squeeze of lime.  A dollop of salsa and Greek yogurt is also nice.  The leftovers re-heat well and are great the next day for lunch or an easy dinner.  Enjoy!

5 Meatless Main Links

I recently discovered the food blog Foodness Gracious written by a stay-at-home dad with a ton of love for food.  Gerry’s recipe for sweet peas with linguine and parmesan is on my must make list.

If you love portobello mushrooms, check out The First Mess recipe for banh mi with portobellos and pickled vegetables.

Grill your bounty of garden vegetables this summer and make Pioneer Woman’s grilled veggie burritos.

Instead of ordering pizza this week make Seasons & Suppers heirloom tomato pizza or the grilled vegetable and goat cheese pizza.  I want to eat this right now!

 

Strawberry Almond Chicken Salad + 5 Salad Meal Links!

scs169Never underestimate the power of a good lunch to see you through the day, a fresh meal full of color and crunch that keeps one foot moving in front of the other.  Put down your take out container or child’s leftover sandwich crusts and eat a meal that treats your body kindly.  If we care for our bodies like we care for our families and jobs imagine how we could run.

Loaded with raw slivered almonds, fresh strawberries and thinly sliced green onions, this chicken salad sustains you through your afternoon.  A goat cheese and buttermilk dressing with a bit of honey and chopped tarragon lightly coats the shredded, store-bought rotisserie chicken breasts.  Earthy baby spinach rounds out this slightly sweet and creamy chicken salad.  Serve with a couple of pieces of fresh crusty bread or not, roll it into a wrap or eat directly out of the bowl; whatever suits you.

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Strawberry Almond Chicken Salad with Balsamic Goat Cheese Dressing

Goat Cheese Dressing Slightly Adapted from the Food Network

Serves 4

Ingredients for Balsamic Goat Cheese Dressing:

4 ounces goat cheese, at room temperature

2 tablespoons buttermilk

1 teaspoon honey

1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

Pinch of Kosher salt

1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon leaves

Directions:

Grab a medium bowl and whisk together the goat cheese and buttermilk until smooth.  Next, add the honey, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, pepper, salt and chopped tarragon leaves.  Season to taste with additional salt and/or pepper.   Set aside.

Ingredients for Chicken Salad:

1 rotisserie chicken,  breasts shredded

1/4 cup slivered almonds

1 green onion, finely sliced

handful of strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced

sea salt

fresh ground black pepper

balsamic glaze ( I bought a bottle, but you can also make your own.)

Handful of baby spinach, washed and dried

Optional:

Crusty bread, grilled

whole wheat wraps

store-bought croissants

Directions:

Remove the breasts from  your store-bought rotisserie chicken and shred using two forks.  Place shredded chicken in bowl with goat cheese dressing.  Next add almonds and the green onion.  Mix together until combined.  Gently fold in strawberries.  Season to taste with sea salt and fresh ground black pepper.  Scoop out a good portion of chicken salad and place on a bed of baby spinach.  Drizzle with balsamic glaze.  Serve with grilled crusty bread, whole wheat wraps, or store- bought croissants.  Enjoy!

5 Salad Meal Links

I love fruit in chicken salad, but watermelon?  Pinch of Yum’s Balsamic Watermelon Chicken Salad is on my must try list.  I’m so curious about this recipe.  I think my kids might even eat it!

Looking for a hearty vegetarian salad? Check out Edible Perspective’s recipe for avocado pesto chickpea salad.

Peach and roasted vegetables sounds like summer in a bowl.  Head to Love and Lemons for the recipe.

Girl Verses Dough created a new spin on tuna salad: Brussels sprouts tuna salad.  Yum!

It’s Thursday and the weekend is almost here.  Treat yourself and make Joy the Baker’s easy spinach and strawberry chopped salad.

 

Cauliflower Soup + 5 Must Make Soup Links for Fall

cs041Plain and simple.  How often is something, anything plain and simple?  In life? Almost never. In food? Not often enough.  I find most things, including food, muddied by unnecessary additions.  When I came across Paul Bertolli’s recipe for cauliflower soup, I immediately noticed the lack of ingredients.  Where are the spices? Cream? Where are the extras, the additions?  How can this cauliflower soup taste anything, but bland?  The raving reviews and a giant head of cauliflower from our csa persuaded me to try this soup recipe regardless of my questions.

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I am so glad I gave this recipe a shot!  This soup is creamy without cream, a bit nutty and a tad sweet.  The cauliflower shines with through with the help of an onion, olive oil, salt and pepper.  It is fall comfort ford at its best: plain and simple.  What’s better than that?

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Cauliflower Soup

recipe from Food 52 by Paul Bertolli

serves 6-8

Ingredients:

3 tbsp. olive oil

1 medium onion, sliced thin

1 head cauliflower (about 1-1/2 pounds), cut into florets

kosher salt, to taste

5 1/2 cups water, divided

Good quality extra virgin olive oil, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

Heat olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pan over low heat. Sweat the onion in the olive oil for about 15 minutes.  Do not let it brown!

Add the cauliflower florets, a pinch or two of kosher salt, and 1/2 cup hot water. Turn up the heat a bit and cover the pot with a lid. Stew the cauliflower until tender, about 18 minutes.  Add another 4 1/2 cups hot water.  Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered for another 20 minutes.

Purée the soup in a blender until very smooth.   Allow the soup to sit for 20 minutes so it can thicken.

Thin the soup with water, if necessary, and reheat. Add salt and pepper, to taste.  Serve hot, with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, fresh ground black pepper and lots of crusty bread. Enjoy!

5 Must Make Soup Links For Fall

If you like roasted red peppers, try Joy The Baker’s Creamy Roasted Red Pepper soup. Looks like a bowl of comfort to me!

Set your opinions aside about Gwyneth Paltrow and make Goop’s Roasted and Clean Carrot Soup.  I made it last winter and it is delicious!

This butternut squash and apple soup recipe from Dinner A Love Story, is my favorite fall soup. Check it out!

My dad loves lasagna.  In fact, he asks for it every time he comes over for dinner.  Every. Time.  I think next time I’ll switch things up a bit and make Foodie Crush’s Slow Cooker Vegetarian Lasagna Soup. Yum!

Want to learn how to turn any vegetable into a puréed soup? Head to Food 52 for the 5 step recipe.

 

 

Easy Turkey Chili + My Favorite Corn Bread Recipe

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Do you love chili season? Yes? Great! I have two recipes to share with you today: my favorite chili and cornbread recipe. The chili recipe I now consider my creation. I took a basic Whole Foods recipe and added a couple of twists and turns. The end result is a spicy, sweet and comforting chili that is easy to make and healthy for you! My cornbread recipe comes from The Silver Palate Cookbook. If you don’t own this cookbook run out and buy it now! This is a classic that should be part of any home cooks’ library. The cornbread is slightly sweet and has moist tender crumb. Also, it calls for bacon which you can omit if you choose. Either way you will have a crowd pleasing cornbread to enjoy.

Lets start with my chili recipe. Chili is so versatile. Really you can add anything to a basic chili recipe and it will probably taste good. My recipe includes corn, a red pepper, ground turkey, beer and beans, but I think the key to any good chili is good chili powder. I bought a small jar of homemade chili powder from Formaggio Kitchen in Boston’s South End. This chili powder is spicy and smoky. Without sounding too ridiculous now; it adds a nice depth of flavor. I’m not kidding. I can taste the smokiness and the spice is there, but it is not too overwhelming. Typically, I use McCormick’s chili powder with good results but this chili powder was something special. _KH5I add 3 tablespoons of chili powder because I like my chili with a little kick. If you prefer a less spice, only add 2 tablespoons of chili powder.

_KH19After I cook the onions and garlic and brown the meat; I add a jar of diced tomatoes, a bottle of beer and the spices. The corn, beans and red pepper go in last. Then it simmers for a half hour. I find it best to cook this chili a day ahead because the flavors really meld together. If you can’t wait, don’t worry, the chili will still taste fantastic!

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While the chili simmers, I make my favorite cornbread. This time I made, cornbread muffins. The recipe will make 10 muffins or 1 9×9 pan of cornbread. Note: If you make the chili a day ahead, I would make the cornbread the same day you serve the chili. Cornbread tastes best the day it is made. If you need to make it in advance, reheat it cover in aluminum foil for 10 minutes at 350.

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Yummy!

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Once the chili is ready and the cornbread is cooling; it is time to chop up some toppings. I like avocado slices, green onion, thinly sliced radishes and cheddar cheese. A dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt will also taste good._KH84Here I added green onions, grated cheddar cheese and thinly sliced radishes. I ran out of avocados. Next time! After all it is chili season, Bubba’s favorite food season which means lots of chili from now until spring! Enjoy this recipe with a cold beer on a cool fall day. Save the leftovers over for lunch or double the recipe and freeze for a quick and easy weeknight meal.

Kelly’s Turkey Chili

recipe adapted from Whole Foods Turkey Chili

serves 4-6 (4 with leftovers, 6 with none)

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 lb ground turkey (dark meat is best)

1 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes with juice

2 cups good beer ( I typically use a good IPA or Pale Ale)

2-3 Tbsp. chili powder (2 if you like it less spicy)

2 tsp ground cumin

just a pinch of red pepper flakes (omit if you don’t want some heat)

2 Tbsp. brown sugar

2 bay leaves

1 1/2 cups of cooked kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 can of corn, drained or 2 ears of fresh corn, kernels removed

1 red pepper, chopped

Kosher Salt and fresh ground black pepper

Directions:

In a heavy large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add chopped onion and garlic. Add a bit of kosher salt and ground pepper and cook, stirring often until vegetables are soft but not brown, about 10 minutes. Add ground turkey and brown it, breaking it apart with the back of spoon as it cooks.

Add tomatoes, beer, chili powder, cumin, brown sugar, bay leaves and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Stir to combine and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes.

Add beans, corn, chopped red pepper and simmer for 15 minutes longer to blend flavors. Season to taste with salt and ground black pepper. Remove bay leaves and serve immediately with desired toppings and cornbread or your favorite crusty bread. I suggest making it a day ahead to let the flavors blend together. This chili freezes well so make a double batch and freeze the leftovers! Enjoy!

My Favorite Cornbread

Recipe from Silver Palate Cookbook Crackling Cornbread

Makes 9 squares or 10 muffins

Ingredients:

1 cups stone ground cornmeal

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

1/3 cup sugar

21/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp kosher salt

1 cup buttermilk

6 tbsp. of unsalted butter, melted

1 egg, gently beaten

Optional: 1 cup diced, cooked bacon

Directions:

Pre-heat your oven to 400. Line a 12 cup muffin pan with liners or grease with butter a 9×9 square baking pan.

Stir together, cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Then gently stir in buttermilk, melted butter and slightly beaten egg. Add bacon at this time if you are using it.

Pour batter into muffin cups or 9×9 pan. Place on middle rack in oven and bake for about 20 minutes if making muffins or 25 minutes if making bread. Cornbread is done when a toothpick inserted in the center is clean and the edges are a light golden brown. Cool bread in pan on wire rack or cool muffins in pan for 5 minutes on wire rack and then turn out on wire rack to cool completely. Serve warm with lots of butter!