Friday, December 23, 2011

Amazing Turkey Chili

Unless you're a vegetarian, chili is a dish everyone enjoys. Even then, you can make chili with no meat, but where's the fun in that?? This type of one-pot meal is fabulous. Lots of flavor, lots of protein and fiber, and its even better with a big chunk of freshly made cornbread. Also, this meal consists of items regularly held in a moderately stocked pantry. Beans, tomatoes and sauce can take you a long, long way. In this case, they take you to Chili-Town.

This is the recipe I've been making chili with for years. Originally my mom showed me how to make it. And other the years it's become mine. It's a Super Bowl staple for me. Seriously, why even bother watching the game without a big bowl of hearty, spicy chili to go with?? Beyond the Super Bowl, this is another amazing meal on a cold night.

Also note, most chilis have beef in them, but the ground turkey cuts down on a lot of the fat, making this meal a lot less guilt-inducing. So yea, have seconds!!

Amazing Turkey Chili
Serves 4

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 lb. lean ground turkey (I prefer Jenny-O over any other brand)
1 28ounce can of crushed tomatoes
1 28ounce can of tomato sauce
1 12ounce can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 12ounce can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons granulated garlic
1/4-1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (depending on how spicy you like it!)
2 heaping tablespoons ground cumin
2 pinches of salt (or more to taste)
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

In a medium sized soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the diced onion and saute until tender, about 5 minutes.
Add the ground turkey to the pot with half the garlic and half the cumin. Use a spatula to break up the meat and cook until almost cooked through.
Pour the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce and both types of beans into the pot, along with the rest of the spices. Stir well to combine.
Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cover.
Let simmer for a minimum of 2 hours. This really allows the flavors to combine. Add salt last to taste.
Serve in bowls with a pinch of cheese on top.

***I'd definitely recommend baking up some fresh cornbread to go with! Marie Callender's is quick and all you have to add to the mix is water! Do it!!!!***

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Egg Drop Soup

For anyone that's ever been to a Chinese restaurant, and seen the egg drop (also called egg flower) soup, with its bits of egg seemingly suspending in a slightly gelatinous broth....and actually ENJOYED it...this is a recipe for you.

I was literally amazing at how easy this soup is to prepare. Even more so, Mike damn near licked his bowl. It was that good. In my opinion, this is better then anything you'd get at your local China Kitchen. I served this soup with Fried Rice and it was filling, healthy, and delish. Not much more I can say, this is an easy, quick, protein packed meal!

Egg Drop Soup
Serves 2 (this recipe is EASILY doubled)

2 cups chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon cold water
2 eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons chopped chives
Salt & Pepper to taste

In a saucepan, combine and chicken broth, soy sauce and sesame oil. Bring this mixture to a boil.
Stir together the cornstarch and cold water until the cornstarch is dissolved and then pour into the boiling broth.
With a spoon or small spatula, stir the soup gently while you slowly pour the beaten eggs into the saucepan. Season with chives, salt and pepper and serve while hot.
***According to Mike, this soup reheats well the next day as well!***

Monday, December 19, 2011

Refried Bean Soup

Every once in a while I stumble across a recipe that, well, sounds completely terrible. And then I make it and I'm completely shocked by how tasty it turns out. This was definitely the case with the following recipe, Refried Bean Soup. Even the name seems a little odd to me. However, the end product is completely worth it. It's a super silky, healthy, delicious soup. The refried beans do absolute wonders for thickening soup in a hurry. And it's awesome on a cold night with some crunched up tortilla chips in it!

Mike and I love this soup, and I'd bet you and yours will too. It's very hearty whether you make it vegetarian or not. The amount of protein and fiber in this dish are pretty high, so it fills you up and keeps you full a good long time.

This recipe originally came from the cookbook Cheap. Fast. Good!
This cookbook is one of my favorites. It's completely centered on feeding your family without breaking the bank or eating Top Ramen all the time. Fantastic budget meals. Can't recommend it enough if you're a little cash poor and need some stick-to-your-ribs meals without declaring bankruptcy.

I have adapted this recipe to include some chicken, which adds even more protein to this meal. Lastly, this meal comes together in a snap. So you know, it's one of those 1-pot miracles I've been depending on so heavily as of late. This was only the 2nd or 3rd time I've made this soup, but I think it's looking like an addition to my normal rotation.

Refried Bean Soup
Serves 2 with leftovers

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 large chicken breast, cubed
1 cup frozen bell peppers
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
1 can chicken broth
2 cans fat-free refried beans
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 pinch ground cayenne pepper
Salt & Pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and saute for 2 or 3 minutes.
Add the cubed chicken into the pot and cook until lightly browned on all sides, 3 to 4 minutes.
Toss the frozen bell peppers in the pot along with the garlic, chicken broth, refried beans and cumin and stir well.
Cover the pot bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Mu Shu Style Chicken and Veggies

This is a pretty fast and healthy dinner. The quick cooking keeps the veggies slightly crisp, which I think is key to a good stir fry. What was best about this is the sauce. Traditionally a Mu Shu dish has shredded cabbage and mung bean sprouts, and I didn't have any of that. Instead I used a bag of frozen Trader Joe's Asian Vegetables with Beijing Style Soy Sauce. I did not use the sauce that came with, and mixed up my own. In fact, it's still sitting in the freezer....looks like I'll be stir-frying in the near future. Oh darn. ;)

Regardless, try this recipe out. The combination of the hoisin sauce and sesame oil is awesome. I served the chicken and veggies with some simple steamed white rice.

Mu Shu Style Chicken and Veggies
Serves 2

1 large or 2 small chicken breasts, cubed
3 teaspoons sesame oil
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger (fresh is better, but I don't ever buy it)
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
1 bag frozen Asian Vegetables (minus the Beijing soy sauce!!)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce

Heat 1 teaspoon of the sesame oil in a wok over medium heat. Add the eggs and cook until set. Remove them to a plate.
Add the chicken to the wok and saute until cooked through. Cubing the chicken greatly reduces the cooking time on this, making it quick and easy. Once the chicken is cooked, remove it to the plate with the eggs.
Wipe the pan out, and heat the remaining sesame oil. Add the vegetables, ginger, garlic, soy sauce and vinegar. Stir to combine and cook, covered to steam the veggies about 4-5 minutes. You want the veggies to defrost and steam lightly.
Add the reserved eggs and chicken and stir, then add the hoisin sauce and mix well to incorporate. Cook until everything is heated through, about 2 minutes. Serve immediately with white rice.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Easy Cream of Broccoli

Here we go kids! I originally wanted to make this soup on Halloween night, but that didn't pan out. So we had it for dinner the following week. It turned out so good. Really simple and delicious.

I adapted a recipe from and made it my own. I wanted to keep lots of earthy broccoli flavor, but cut down on the fat. Most creamy soups are made with whole milk or straight up cream for the awesome consistency it lends to soups. I chose to use low-fat milk instead, cutting out a ton of fat and calories in the process. Additionally, instead of using all dairy for the broth base, I substituted about half chicken broth for milk. It worked out so well. Mike gave it 2 thumbs up. Even better, it reheated well the next day for leftovers. Total win. Just be sure to use really nice, fresh broccoli, I think frozen wouldn't have been as good.

Cream of Broccoli Soup
Serves 4, or 2 with leftovers

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 stalk of celery, roughly chopped
8 cups fresh broccoli florets
3 cups chicken broth
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons AP flour
2 cups milk
Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a medium sized pot. Add the onion and celery and saute until tender.
Add the broccoli and broth, then cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
Pour the soup into a blender, you will probably have to do this in batches. I believe it took me 3 rounds of blending.
Puree the soup until it is smooth and pour it into a clean pot.
***Make sure you hold the lid of the blender down with a kitchen towel while the blender is on. The pressure created by blending a hot liquid can cause liquid hot broccoli magma to spew all over your kitchen. Not fun.***
In a small saucepan, melt the butter. When the butter is melted, stir in the flour and then add the milk. Stir this mixture until it is thick and bubbly, and then it to the soup.
Season with salt and pepper and serve!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Making Time

Hey guys. Ok...I'm a bad bad little blogger and I deserve to be banished to the depths of Blogger Hell...

Seems a little dramatic, no?

But really..I've missed this. Finished my finals last week, and here I am. Hoping to share my thoughts, recipes and love of food again. So dear readers....if you'll take me back, I have some yummy recipes to share.

In the past month I've been incredibly busy, Mike as well. But we managed not to eat fast food all that often. Though I must tell you, some nights I really want to say, "Screw it, let's get tacos." But we persisted. And most nights the food was great. That definitely makes me proud.

A month of cooking is a lot to "sum up." In fact, it's too much. Let's divide and conquer shall we? Below, you will find a list of new recipes of mine from the past month...and over the next day or two, I'll get the recipes posted. Unfortunately, cooking dinner at 9pm after 8 hours of work and 3 hours of school doesn't compute with photo-blogging, so these posts will be graphically challenged. But now with more time on my hands, I'll get back into it.

Here's the list:

1) Cream of Broccoli Soup (which we had Halloween week, so I renamed it S'cream of Broccoli soup...muahahahaha)
2) Mu Shu style Chicken
3) Out Of This World Pumpkin Soup
4) Refried Bean Soup
5) Egg Drop Soup
6) Amazing Turkey Chili

So stay tuned. Lot's of good stuff to some awesome holiday cookie recipes!