Wednesday, October 2, 2013

White Chicken Chili

There are versions of this recipe floating all over the web. The first time I had something like it was at a neighborhood chili cook-off, where it won the contest by a large margin. Unfortunately, many of the recipes I've seen are littered with processed ingredients. I've tried making it a few times sans packets and cans, and this has been my favorite incarnation.

White Chicken Chili 

2 chicken breasts
1 1/2 tsp, oregano
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. pepper 
1 onion-diced
2 stalks celery--diced
1 green pepper--diced 
1 jalapeƱo--diced
1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
2 tsp. chicken base
4 oz. cream cheese
2 1/2 water 
Place all ingredients in a Crock Pot and cook on low for 6 hours. Shred Chicken and stir-in cream cheese until it's incorporated. Cook on low for one more hour. Serve with crusty bread, shredded cheese, green onions, tortilla chips, or whatever you'd like.

30 Minute Pork Chop "Thanksgiving"

Now that it's Fall, you may be craving heavy meals infused with warm spices and topped with gravy. If you don't want to wait until Thanksgiving or spend two days in the kitchen, this meal for you.

2 pork chops
salt and pepper
butter and olive oil
1/2 onion--sliced
1 apple--peeled and sliced
1 celery stalk--sliced

For the braising liquid:
1/4 cup canned whole-berry cranberry sauce
1 cup chicken stock
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 Tbsp. dijon mustard
small sprinkling of dried thyme, cinamon, allspice, and nutmeg
1 bay leaf

For the gravy:
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. flour

mashed potatoes
green beans

1. Season the pork chops with salt and pepper and sear them on both sides in a small amount of butter and olive oil over medium heat.
2. Remove pork from pan and add onions, apple, and celery. Cook until soft.
3. Mix all ingredients for the braising liquid. Return pork to the pan and cover with braising liquid. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes on medium-low heat or until pork is cooked through but not overdone.
4. Remove pork chops. Strain braising liquid. Reserve the onions, apples and celery to serve over the pork chops. Use the liquid to make the gravy.
5. To make the gravy, add butter to the pan and melt. Add flour and cook on medium for a minute or so. Add reserved braising liquid and bring to a bubble.
6. To make this meal really Thanksgivingy, serve with mashed potatoes and green beans. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Last week, I got a head of butter lettuce from Bountiful Baskets. If you've used or purchased this stuff, you know it can be a little unsettling to put a living head of lettuce, complete with dirty root ball, into your refrigerator. The perfectly cup-shaped leaves made my mind immediately think lettuce wraps. Here is how I made them:

1 head of butter lettuce or 1/2 head of iceberg lettuce
1 chicken breast
salt and pepper
1/2 yellow onion--diced
2 carrots--diced
2 stalks celery--diced
1/2 cup mushrooms--diced
a handful of cashews--roughly chopped

For the sauce:
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp brown sugar
a squirt of siracha, depending on how hot you like it
2 garlic cloves--minced
1 tsp. fresh grated ginger
1 Tbsp. peanut butter
a splash of rice wine vinegar 
1/2 lime--juiced
1. Season both sides of the chicken breast with salt and pepper and sear it on both sides in a tsp. of canola oil on a medium-high wok. Once the chicken is seared on both sides, "grind" it up. I use this fancy meat tenderizer/breaker-upper that I got from The Pampered Chef, but you could just use a regular meat tenderizer or a knife. I really like the texture of tiny chicken bites in my lettuce wraps. You could also just use ground chicken, turkey, or beef.
2. Add the veggies and some salt and pepper to the ground chicken and saute until the veggies are soft.
3. Mix all of the ingredients for the sauce in a separate container. When the veggies are soft, add the sauce and cook until it comes to a bubble.
4. Serve inside washed lettuce leaves. Adding rice makes it a complete meal.