Friday, January 23, 2009

White Chili

Here's a secret for you... I'm not the biggest fan of chili. Shhhhh, don't tell. It's alright, but it's definitely not something I crave on a regular basis. Unless we're at Wendy's and it's super cold out. Then, I might order one (off the Value Menu of course -- gotta love Wendy's). So when I saw all the chili recipes in the September issue of Cooking Light, I pretty much skimmed the section until a recipe for White Chili caught my eye.

I'm not the biggest fan of regular chili, but white chili is a different story. First it has chicken, not beef. It's considered okay if it has beans in it. And it can still be as spicy or as mild as you want.

White Chili
Cooking Light, September 2008

2 teaspoons canola oil
1 large onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
5 teaspoons green hot pepper sauce
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/4 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
2 tablespoons stone-ground cornmeal
1 (19-ounce) can cannellini beans or other white beans (we used Great Northern)
1/2 cup plain fat-free yogurt
2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add chopped onion and garlic to pan; cook 5 minutes or until onion is tender, stirring occasionally. Add broth, hot pepper sauce, salt, and chicken to pan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 15 minutes. Remove chicken from broth mixture; cool.

Add cornmeal and beans to broth mixture, stirring with a whisk; simmer 15 minutes. Mash about 1/4 cup beans against side of pan. Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces. Add chicken to pan; simmer 5 minutes or until mixture thickens, stirring frequently. Top each serving with yogurt; sprinkle with green onions.

Serves: 6

Okay, so I have to be honest here -- Adam had definitely made this chili all 3 times we've had it. It takes a little bit to make, but after all it is chili... and Adam was making it, which adds on a little bit of time. ;)

We liked it so much that we even made it for his parents after going to the zoo in 9 degree weather. (Who does that?) But they liked it too!

Nutrition Facts
Amount per serving
Calories 443Calories from fat 44
% Daily Value
Total Fat 4.9g7%
Saturated Fat 0.9g4%
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 56mg19%
Sodium 559mg22%
Total Carbs 60.3g20%
Dietary Fiber 23.1g92%
Sugars 4.6g
Protein 42.7g
Vitamin A 2%Vitamin C 12%
Calcium 18%Iron 42%

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


I promise this is my last Thanksgiving recipe. Promise. And I'm so glad, I am really rather sick of still being back in November. And actually, this is from our "real" Thankgiving dinner -- you know, the one with the turkey, mashed po-taters, and all that good stuff.

I saw these on Chomping the Big Apple, and they completely reminded me of these dinner rolls we had on our honeymoon that I fell in love with. I mean, what's not to like? Cheese inside rolls? Wonderful.

Ruth Reichl, as seen on Chomping the Big Apple

1 c. water
1/4 lb (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1-1/2 tsp salt
1-1/2 c. all-purpose flour
5 eggs
1 c. diced Gruyère cheese (I used swiss)
Pepper to taste
1/2 c. grated Gruyère cheese (I used swiss)

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Combine the water, butter and a teaspoon of the salt in a saucepan and bring it to a boil, stirring until the butter melts. Remove the pan from the heat, let cool slightly, stir in the flour, and mix well. Return pan to the heat and stir with a wooden spoon over high heat until the mixture comes away from the sides of the pan. Remove from the heat.

Stir in the eggs, one at a time until well combined. Add the diced cheese, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper, stirring well.

Drop the dough by rounded tablespoons onto a well-buttered baking pan. Smooth the top and sides of each gougère with a knife, and sprinkle with grated cheese.

Bake in batches for 25 minutes, or until puffed and golden. Serve immediately.

Serves: 8

So yes, we really didn't want to have to sell baby Michael in order to pay for the Gruyère cheese, so we substituted Swiss instead. I'm not really sure how much of an effect this had on the overall taste, but I felt like we could have used a stronger cheese.

Everyone was raving about these, and thought they were really good, but I thought they were just alright. I might try making these again with a different cheese.

Nutrition Facts
Amount per serving
Calories 303Calories from fat 181
% Daily Value
Total Fat 20.1g31%
Saturated Fat 11.8g59%
Cholesterol 165mg55%
Sodium 598mg25%
Total Carbs 19.2g6%
Dietary Fiber 0.6g3%
Sugars 0.5g
Protein 11.5g
Vitamin A 13%Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 18%Iron 9%

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Broccoli with Peppered Parmesan

So for Thanksgiving, I figured I should actually put together a meal, not just an entree for once. While the Beef Tenderloin would have been just fine by itself, seeing as it was Thanksgiving I figured I needed a side -- and I figured this out ON Thanksgiving. Which doesn't really work so hot when it comes for needing ingredients.

I had frozen broccoli, I had parmesan, and I had cracked black peppercorns from the beef, so... why not? This quick and easy combo actually turned out really nice, and complemented the beef quite nicely.

Broccoli with Peppered Parmesan
Original Recipe

1/2 lb. broccoli
3 tbsp. butter
1 tsp. cracked black pepper
3/4 c. Parmesan cheese

Melt butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add broccoli and saute for about 6 minutes or until cooked through. Add cheese and pepper, stirring until cheese melts.

Serves: 4

We rated it (and my parents made it later and gave it this rating too):

Nutrition Facts
Amount per serving
Calories 178Calories from fat 128
% Daily Value
Total Fat 14.2g22%
Saturated Fat 8.7g44%
Cholesterol 39mg13%
Sodium 367mg15%
Total Carbs 4.9g2%
Dietary Fiber 1.6g6%
Sugars 1.1g
Protein 9.0g
Vitamin A 14%Vitamin C 84%
Calcium 24%Iron 4%

Friday, January 9, 2009

Peppercorn Beef Tenderloin with Shallot-Wine Reduction

So according to my husband, I am "unamerican" because I'm not a fan of turkey on Thankgiving. I just don't like gravy, which leaves me with typically dry plain turkey. Can you see why I might not be a fan? Well, seeing as we didn't truly have turkey on Thanksgiving (we waited until Saturday to celebrate with the family) I guess that makes him unamerican too. :-p So there.

I did feel bad though, that we weren't able to celebrate Turkey day on Thursday because I had to work the following day (thus we weren't able to travel until Friday afternoon). So instead of turkey, I decided to step out of my box the other way and go for the beef.

I had seen this in the November issue of Cooking Light, but made a few changes, as I forgot how expensive a 2 lb piece of beef tenderlion is, and I forgot to grab some port before places shut down for the holiday. If you want their recipe, click here.

Peppercorn Beef Tenderloin with Shallot-Wine Reduction
Adapted from Cooking Light, November 2008

2-pounds (4 slices) flank steak, trimmed
1 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 tablespoons cracked black peppercorns
Cooking spray

2 cups dry red wine
1-1/2 cups fat-free, less-sodium beef broth
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 sprigs fresh parsley
1 sprig fresh thyme
1-1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 450°.

In a small bowl, mix 1 teaspoon salt and peppercorns. Sprinkle outside of beef evenly, pressing firmly to adhere. Place beef in a loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 450° for 33 minutes or until a thermometer registers 135° or until desired degree of doneness. Let rest 10 minutes.

For reduction, combine wine and next 5 ingredients (through thyme) in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook about 15 minutes until reduced to 1-1/4 cups. Strain wine mixture through a sieve over a bowl; discard solids. Combine flour and 3 tablespoons water. Return wine mixture to pan; add flour mixture to pan, stirring with a whisk. Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute or until thickened, stirring constantly with a whisk. Remove from heat; stir in butter and vinegar.

This was fairly good, although cooking it when it was already pre-sliced kind of dried out the edges a bit.

Overall, we were pretty happy with it, and it made a good special occasion meal.

Nutrition Facts
Amount per serving
Calories 293Calories from fat 99
% Daily Value
Total Fat 11.0g17%
Saturated Fat 4.8g24%
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 66mg22%
Sodium 460mg19%
Total Carbs 3.8g1%
Protein 32.1g
Vitamin A 3%Vitamin C 2%
Calcium 3%Iron 16%

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Ham and Cheese Stack Pastries

So it's a new year and I am STILL behind on my blogging. I was so close to catching up, and then the holidays arrived. And we were busy/I really didn't feel much like blogging. Sorry.

Anyway. These are from back in November. I wanted to try out a new soup recipe, but I knew if I tried having just that for dinner, I might have a mutiny on my hands from the hubby. What to do? I decided to give the good ol' grilled ham and cheese a little twist. Instead of the regular bread, I decided to wrap the ham and cheese in pastry puff and bake it.

Ham and Cheese Stack Pastries
Original Recipe

2 pastry puff sheets, thawed
36 slices deli-style honey ham
12 slices Swiss cheese

Lay pastry puff sheets flat on parchment paper. Cut 6 3x3-inch squares to use as the base. Using a round cookie cutter (with a diameter smaller than 3 inches), cut cheese into rounds. On each square, alternate two slices of ham with one slice of cheese. There should be three layers of ham and two of cheese.

Using the remaining pastry, cut 4-1/2x4-1/2 inch squares. Lay large square over the top layer of ham, and tuck underneath the bottom pastry square. Bake at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes.

These turned out so much better than I ever expected! Using the pastry puff made these lighter and sweeter than the traditional grilled ham and swiss. This recipe definitely has room for improvement and tinkering though. I think I might try ham and flavored cream cheese next time.

These would work really well to serve as a heavy appetizer at a get-together as it's smaller than a typical sandwich.

We rated it:

Nutrition Facts
Amount per serving
Calories 540Calories from fat 300
% Daily Value
Total Fat 33.5g52%
Saturated Fat 18.0g90%
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 70mg23%
Sodium 1370mg57%
Total Carbs 31.0g10%
Sugars 5.0g
Protein 25g
Vitamin A 14%Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 40%Iron 8%


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