Meatloaf Burgers

Let’s say it’s the middle of the week, and you have a craving for meatloaf.  Let’s also assume you don’t have the time or patience it takes to cook a traditional meatloaf…… which in my experience is forever and even then I often get it wrong.  If this sounds like you, this is probably the perfect recipe for you!  It may not satisfy the pickiest of meatloaf fanatics, but my husband and I definitely felt it had a meatloaf taste without all the hassle.  In fact, I don’t even like meatloaf all that much…shhh…. but even I liked it in this burger form with the BBQ sauce slathered all over it.  Heck, this even saves all those people that end up eating their meatloaf as a sandwich a little extra time!

These definitely comes together quickly and simply.  I used my double burner cast iron grill indoors tonight because it’s Fall and not worth trekking out in the chilly, often wet, weather to uncover the grill and clean it just for a couple burgers.  I couldn’t live without my stove top grill!  Anyway, for some reason I tend to make my burgers rather thick, and occasionally have issues getting them to then cook all the way through, but these turned out well.  I did about 5-6 minutes a side, and then used a roasting pan lid to cover all of them at once with the cheese on at the end to get it nice and melted.  This also probably helped ensure I got them cooked through…. I do NOT like pink in my burger!

I have to admit I was kind of skeptic that these would resemble meatloaf all that much with so few ingredients added and so little of them, but somehow it worked.  The sauce is very sweet, so if you prefer your BBQ sauce a little less so, just adjust the sugar or even leave it out if you want.  I used some potato buns for ours and topped it only with the sauce.  IMO it didn’t need anything more, but I am sure you could add whatever floats your boat.  All in all these were very good and the perfect compromise between my meatloaf loving husband and I.

Not much to the picture… I got a little cheese happy and the burger was almost entirely encased it it lol.  But here is a little peek if you look closely….

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Meatloaf Burgers

Ingredients :

  • 1 lb ground beef (I used grass fed 85/15)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 8 saltines, crushed
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic sauce
  • 4 slices cheddar cheese

Sauce Ingredients :

  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, unpacked
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup bbq sauce
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard powder

Directions :

  1. Mix burger ingredients, minus the cheese, together by hand and form into one big ball.  Score the meat with the side of your hand to make 4 even sections and form those sections into patties.
  2. Grill on medium heat until cooked through, about 4-6 minutes a side.  Once done, top each burger with a slice of cheddar and either close the grill lid or form a tent with a lid or foil if using a stove top grill to allow cheese to melt.
  3. To make sauce combine ingredients in a microwave safe dish and heat for about 45 seconds to 1 minute in the microwave until sugar is melted, Whisk to remove any lumps.
  4. Top each burger with sauce and enjoy!

Recipe from Noshing with the Nolands

Published in: on October 1, 2014 at 6:04 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Macadamia Nut White Chip Pumpkin Cookies

A couple weeks ago, in my excitement over the Fall Season, I bought one of those little recipe booklets you find by the check-out line at your grocery store.  This one was all about Pumpkin!  After quickly thumbing through it I was certain I would try enough of the recipes to make it worth the little splurge…. and THIS was definitely first on my list!  I love white chocolate macadamia nut cookies, so the addition of pumpkin had me drooling just thinking about it.

The verdict… AMAZING!  Like maybe my favorite cookie ever now.  I would say these cookies are dangerously good…. because one day I think I actually ate like 7-8 of them!  They did not last long in my house….  I can never bring myself to make cookies as small as suggested, so I got about 3 dozen out of this recipe.

I did run into a little issue… or maybe not, but it wasn’t what I was expecting.  I thought they would be more cookie-ish I guess, but the texture of mine turned out much softer and more like pumpkin bread.  I even baked them slightly longer than suggested trying to make sure the centers were set up because I could tell they were so soft.  Once I accepted that they weren’t going to firm up however, and embraced the pumpkin bread texture of them I honestly couldn’t have been happier.  I LOVE pumpkin bread lol.  It just made for a harder time storing them without being able to stack them up.  If I had to guess, and I am no expert on the science of baking, I would say there is just too much butter and pumpkin, and not enough flour to get that cookie texture, but as I said I wouldn’t say it was a flaw, just something to be aware of perhaps.

This is definitely one I will make every year to ring in Fall, and I may even share some of them…. maybe.

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Macadamia Nut White Chip Pumpkin Cookies

Yield : 3 dozen

Ingredients :

  • 2 cups all purpose four
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 cups white chocolate chips
  • 2/3 cup chopped macadamia nuts, or walnuts

Directions :

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Combine flour, cinnamon, cloves, and baking soda in a small bowl. 
  3. Beat butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar in a large mixer bowl until creamy.  Beat in pumpkin, egg, and vanilla until well blended.
  4. Gradually beat in flour mixture.  Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.
  5. Drop by rounded tablespoonful onto greased baking sheets (or lined with parchment paper); flatten slightly with back of spoon.
  6. Bake for 11 to 14 minutes or until centers are set. (Read above).  Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Recipe from Pumpkin recipe booklet

Published in: on September 28, 2014 at 5:17 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Healthy One Pot Chili Mac

Look at me, two days in a row cooking… lol.

Anyway, if you can’t tell, I am ready for cooler weather and the kind of foods that warm your belly.  What originally drew me in to this recipe was the “one pot” promise.  Even though in our house the dishes fall mainly on my husband as a sort of way to show his appreciation for all the wonderful meals I make, it’s always nice to have LESS dishes, and especially on a weeknight.  This particular dish also comes together easily and quickly making it perfect for a busy work day.

You could definitely use beef in this recipe, the turkey just goes along with the “healthy” claim.  I didn’t plug the numbers or anything, but I imagine it’s not too bad, though I definitely added more cheese than it called for so that made it slightly less healthy.  Another change I had to make was to use a Serrano pepper because believe it or not my grocery store was completely out of jalapenos the other day.  I am not sure it really makes much difference though.

Chilis vary so greatly from person to person, and what is good to some may not be to others.  So with this in mind I will say I really liked this chili.  For me it had the right amount of chili powder and spices.  I also felt the additions were well balanced in this.  I did use 1.25 lbs of turkey, only because that’s what the package came as and I didn’t want to put .25 lbs back in the freezer.  I realize that the addition of macaroni to chili is probably a strange concept to some, but I grew up with my mom making something quite similar actually (though it was more of a soup) so it wasn’t new to me at all.

One note I would make…. the recipe says to use a large pot, and it shows them using a large saute pan…. I imagine things would be hard to fit in there without making a mess.  I used my dutch oven and it worked perfectly for this.

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Healthy One Pot Chili Mac

Ingredients :

  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, minced (I used a Serrano)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 2 T. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 cans stewed tomatoes
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 1/2 Cups water
  • 1 1/2 Cups macaroni noodles
  • 1 Cup shredded cheddar cheese

Directions :

  1. In a large pot (or dutch oven) over medium heat, add oil and saute the onion, garlic, green pepper, and jalapeno until slightly softened, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add turkey to the pot and break up, cooking until browned.
  3. Add the seasonings, tomatoes, beans, water and macaroni, stir to combine and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, reduce heat to medium low and allow to simmer until macaroni is soft, about 12 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and add the shredded cheese.
  5. Serve with additional cheese on top if desired.

Recipe from Oh, Sweet Basil

Marsala Mushroom, Spinach & Hazelnut Orzo

First things first… some of you may have noticed I took a rather long hiatus from this blog.  There were multiple reasons, it was just basically something I needed to do, but I am ready to get back into things…. I hope lol.  Life is a bit chaotic right now as I am adjusting to new schedules with my baby finally in preschool 3 days a week, but I have been having that urge to not only start meal planning and trying new recipes again, but to blog them as well.  The rest of you, maybe didn’t notice at all, and that’s ok too lol.  I hope in my absence everyone still enjoyed the many wonderful recipes already posted on my blog.

Now for the recipe…

This was definitely a winner in my book.  Such wonderful flavor and a great blend of textures.  I especially liked the crunch and nuttiness of the hazelnuts along side the mushrooms.  This does make a lot, so I am hoping the leftovers are just as good, which I think they will be.

I actually have never cooked with marsala wine before, and it was kind of funny… I was searching all over the wine section for it, when I had to look it up on my phone and realized it would be near the vinegars.  So there, I have saved you that bit of embarrassment if you have never purchased it before.  Anyway, I love a good mushroom dish and this is exactly that.  It called for 3 cups of mushrooms, but I honestly don’t know how you can measure mushrooms by the cup… so I just grabbed like 12-14 and eyeballed it.  I cut them fairly thick so they would stand up to the cooking and retain a bit of meatiness to them and that worked out well.  I actually simmered everything for about 9 minutes, instead of the 5, because I had a late start getting my orzo into the boiling water.  Everything came together very easily, and dinner was ready in a short time which is always a plus on those busy weeknights.

I tried something a little different from my norm, which is just taking a shot at the end… and attempted to get some ingredient shots and even some cooking shots, but it wasn’t hard to realize that’s not my forte!  Not only is the light in my kitchen not very conducive to that sort of thing, but I just don’t have the time while cooking to fiddle with it.  I am usually always doing SOMETHING, and more often than not I am a sweaty, frazzled mess and the last thing I want to do is take pictures lol.  I might try from time to time, but I can’t promise anything.

Because I was in a rush when copying the recipe down I forgot one of the ingredients (which I did put in the dish since I added it in the steps), so it didn’t make it in the picture.  Any guesses as to what it was?  I will give you a hint… it’s not the salt and pepper (though also not pictured) and it’s one of my FAVORITE and most used ingredients…..

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 Marsala Mushroom, Spinach & Hazelnut Orzo

Ingredients :

  • 2 C. uncooked orzo
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 C. cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 C. vegetable stock
  • 3/4  C. marsala cooking wine
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 2 C. fresh spinach
  • 1/2 C. marscapone
  • 1/4 C. pecorino, or an Italian blend like parmesan and romano like I used
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 2/3 C. toasted hazelnuts

Directions :

  1. Cook orzo according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile saute shallot in oil over medium heat until softened (about 2 min.).  Add garlic and saute another 30 seconds or so until fragrant.
  3. Add mushrooms, cook until they begin to brown and soften.  This takes about 3-4 minutes.  Stir often.
  4. Add Vegetable stock, marsala, salt and pepper, making sure to deglaze the pan.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and allow to simmer at least 5 minutes (or longer if you are waiting on your orzo like I was).  Stir often and make sure not to overcook your mushrooms.
  5. Add mushroom mixture to drained orzo, then add your spinach, marscapone, and Italian cheese, stirring until cheeses are melted and spinach is wilted in.
  6. Stir in lemon juice and hazelnuts and serve immediately.

Note : it calls for toasted hazelnuts.  I find it best to do this BEFORE I start cooking so I don’t totally forget about them and end up burning them.  There are two ways to do this…. some people like to do it in the oven, or you can do it like I do, in a skillet over medium heat stirring almost constantly and watching closely.  Once they start to toast they will burn quickly if you aren’t careful.  I prefer the skillet method because I am not only watching them the entire time and not likely to forget them, but I find they cook less evenly when just left on a sheet in the oven and some will still burn in there.


Recipe from Orchard Street Kitchen


Quinoa and Turkey Stuffed Peppers

Going to try to keep this simple because I have a million and one things to do… but as I mentioned on my facebook page, I have been trying to find some healthier recipes to get me back on track after the holidays.  You know how it goes… beginning of the year, time to diet and make all sorts of promises to eat healthier and yadda, yadda, yadda…  Well, for now I really am trying to eat better and we’re counting calories so that means a lot of my usual recipes just don’t make the cut… boo!  So you may find that it takes me longer to get up new recipes as I wade through the world of “healthy recipes”, because after trying many of them I just don’t feel they are blog worthy, or even worth finishing my plate at times.  Anyway, that’s where I am at and why it’s taking me so dang long!

I have made stuffed bell peppers in the past, usually with some sort of rice, and beef.  Jeff claims to have hated them, so I don’t make them often, though I always enjoyed them.  I figured it was time to try again however, and have been wanting to try them with quinoa for quite some time.  So glad we did!  They are definitely filling/satisfying with the quinoa, and the flavors were great.  The recipe I was following didn’t call for any meat… afterall quinoa has a good deal of protein itself, but Jeff is usually more willing to try things if it has some meat in it lol.  I think the addition of the ground turkey I used, seasoned with a bit of chili powder and smoked paprika worked really well in this.  Jeff even gave them rave reviews and said I could make them often… quite the turn around I’d say. 

My only issue with stuffed peppers is that I can never get them tender enough… at least not following the cooking instructions.  I feel like they maybe need a headstart in the oven before stuffing them to really soften them up.  Of course this just depends on your preference for texture.  I don’t mind them firmer, but I think I would like them even more if they were soft.  So my plan next time is to try cooking them a bit first and then finishing with the filling.  As it stood, with these, I ended up cooking them probably closer to 40 minutes and there was still a good deal of crunch to the peppers, but we really didn’t want to wait any longer as it was getting late.

Quinoa & Turkey Stuffed Peppers

Makes : 6 peppers

Ingredients :

  • 6 bell peppers of your choice (make sure to pick well rounded ones that can stand up)
  • 3 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 lb ground turkey (cooked and seasoned to taste)
  • 1 roma tomato, seeded and chopped
  • 1 cup corn kernels (I used frozen and thawed them in a bit of water)
  • 1/2 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 small can green chiles
  • 3 T. chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder (or more to taste)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions :

  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl combine your stuffing ingredients. 
  3. Cut tops off peppers, and remove seeds.  Spoon stuffing in peppers.
  4. Bake until peppers are tender and filling is heated through, about 25-30 minutes (see note above).

Recipe adapted from Damn Delicious

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Skillet Baked Ziti with Sausage

Let me start off by saying that though this is REALLY good, I mean seriously so, a friend that has made real baked ziti many times (something I can’t say that I have ever tried) says this does not resemble it very closely.  She did agree that it was fantastic however.  So whether you want to call it baked ziti or not, you should try this for sure!

The sauce is amazing, and everything together screams comfort food.  I did make a few changes/substitutions in my version as did the friend I mentioned.  So I am going to list the recipe out with those ingredients.  One big change I made was to use fresh roma tomatoes rather than canned peeled tomatoes because I am trying to avoid canned foods as much as possible.  This is a personal choice, but I have been hearing so much about BPA in the lining and I am just really trying to make better food choices for my family where and when I can.  Having never substituted fresh tomatoes for canned in something like this I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect.  I read about how to blanch and peel tomatoes but I didn’t want to go through the hassle.  I knew that might mean I would have pieces of the skin left in my dish but honestly I didn’t notice it if there were.  They blended up nicely in the processor.  The other notable change I made was to use chicken sausages (the kind that are more like hotdogs).  I don’t love sausage, so again this is preference.  I didn’t have any casings to remove, and I ended up chopping it into bite sized pieces.  Since it comes fully cooked I just had to heat it up really and let it get some browning before moving on with the next step.  Of courses I added more cheese… but I will list that as it stated and let you be the judge there.

I made mine in my cast iron skillet, just make sure you are using an oven proof one.  I love dishes like this where you make everything in one skillet.  Saves on dishes… even though admittedly that’s my husband’s job… and it’s just easier.  I really love the rustic look of serving a full dish in a cast iron skillet too.


Skillet Baked Ziti with Sausage

Ingredients :

  • 28oz fresh roma tomatoes (about 5-6)
  • 1 4-pk Italian Chicken Sausages, cut into bite size pieces
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 cups water
  • 12 oz. ziti (I used penne)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 oz. parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 4 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded (or more!)

Directions :

  1. Preheat oven to 475 F.
  2. Add the tomatoes to the bowl of your food processor and pulse until there aren’t any large pieces left, about 12 pulses.
  3. Set a 12-inch skillet over medium heat and add the sausage. Cook until the sausage is slightly browned.  Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook just until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes and the salt (if you’re not using a nonstick pan, now is a good time to scrape the bottom of the pan to release the browned bits). Reduce the heat to medium-low and allow the mixture to simmer gently for about 10 minutes, or until the tomatoes don’t taste raw anymore.
  4. Add the water and pasta to the pan (the pan will probably be quite full, just stir gently to prevent overflow). Cover the pan and turn the heat up to medium to medium-high (adjust as necessary to maintain a vigorous simmer). Cook, stirring frequently to prevent the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pan, for about 15 minutes, or until the pasta is tender. The pasta will not have absorbed all the liquid in the pan.
  5. Add the heavy cream, Parmesan cheese, and parsley to the pan. Stir to incorporate, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Top the pasta with the mozzarella cheese then transfer the pan to the oven and bake for about 10-12 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and browned.

Recipe from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures


Hearty Black Bean Quesadillas

These quesadillas are perfect for a busy weeknight meal, or perhaps a weekend lunch.  They really come together very quickly, and are both flavorful and satisfying.  They are also a great option for a vegetarian dish.  Even my husband didn’t complain of the lack of meat in these.  As an added bonus these are also a very budget friendly meal!

I used whole grain tortillas for these and cheddar cheese, because that’s what I had on hand.  I think a Mexican blend or maybe some pepper jack would be good also.  Everything else I made as listed.  I did top mine with some sour cream though, which is of course optional.  You could also top them with some salsa.

When I said these would be great for a busy weeknight meal I wasn’t kidding.  What’s easier than opening a can of beans (unless you use dried beans that is lol), mixing it with some frozen corn, onions, a few spices, and some cheese and cilantro, then filling the tortillas and giving them a quick turn in the skillet?!  I think someone told me that you can even freeze the extra quesadillas, but I won’t stake my life on that…. I don’t do a lot of freezing of meals so I don’t really know much about what works and what doesn’t.

They may be a tad spicy for kids, but you could cut back on some of the spices if you prefer.

Hearty Black Bean Quesadillas

Ingredients :

  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1/2 small red onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 bunch cilantro
  • 2 cups shredded cheese
  • 1 T. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 10 taco-sized tortillas (I think I got closer to 8 from mine but I was generous with the filling)

Directions :

  1. Drain & rinse beans, and combine in a bowl with the corn.
  2. Rinse cilantro, and give it a rough chop.  Dice onion, and mince garlic.  Combine with the bean and corn mixture. 
  3. Add seasoning and stir well to combine everything.
  4. Spoon 1/2 cup of filling onto one side of your tortilla and fold over.  Cook until brown and cheese has melted, flipping when needed.

*Tip* : To keep them warm while you make the rest place on a glass dish in the oven set to warm or about 200F. 

Recipe from Budget Bytes


Published in: on December 3, 2013 at 9:56 am  Comments (2)  

Paprika Chicken Stroganoff

This dish has almost all the elements that to me make a perfect meal…. pasta, mushrooms, garlic, meat, bold flavor, creamy sauce, and some fresh parsley!  The only thing it IS missing to be a perfect combo of my favorite things is some cheese, but this isn’t really a recipe that needs it, so I guess I will give it a pass on that lol.  This is not only a tasty dish, but is also very visually appealing.  The red/orange color of the sauce, the white of the pasta, and the bright green of the parsley make it look like a piece of art!

As if those elements alone weren’t enough to make me or anyone else want to try this, I was also intrigued by the use of Greek yogurt in the dish.  When I think of stroganoff I think of cream of mushroom soup, or some other variety.  If the recipe is more health conscious or just more involved it at least calls for cream or butter or something to make it so good and creamy, but not quite so healthy.  With this dish there really was no need.  The sauce was thick and creamy from the yogurt and the flour alone.  This for me at least cuts back on the guilt of either using cream and butter or “cream of soup” (which I am trying to phase out in our house).

I didn’t make any changes to the recipe, which for me is rare lol.  So with that, I will just get on with it and share the recipe.

Paprika Chicken Stroganoff

Ingredients :

  • 1 1/4 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 T. paprika
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 T. all-purpose flour
  • 1 T. olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium  yellow onion, diced
  • 8 oz. baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 T. tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 T. all-purpose flour whisked with 1 T. water
  • 1o oz. dry egg noodles
  • fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish

Directions :

  1. In a medium bowl, toss the cubed chicken with the paprika, salt and pepper. Sprinkle the flour on top of the chicken and toss to coat.
  2. Heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until rippling and hot. Add the chicken and cook 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until no longer pink (no need to cook through); remove the chicken onto a plate and set aside.
  3. Add the last teaspoon of oil to the pan and allow to get hot, about 1 minute; stir in the onions and mushrooms. Saute the mixture, stirring occasionally and scraping up the browned bits from the chicken, until the onion is translucent and the onions and mushrooms are browned, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, saute 30 seconds or until fragrant.
  4. Meanwhile, heat 2 quarts of water in a large pot. Bring water to a boil and add noodles. Cook 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain and set aside.
  5. Pour in about 1/4 cup of the chicken broth and deglaze the pan by scraping up any bits from the bottom. Stir in the tomato paste, whisking to combine. Add the rest of the chicken broth and the bay leaf, whisking well. Add the chicken back into the skillet and simmer the mixture over medium-low to medium heat, until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce thickens slightly, about 5-6 minutes. Stir in the yogurt and cook for about 2-3 minutes longer.
  6. Add the flour and water slurry to the simmering mixture in the skillet, whisking quickly to combine. Let the mixture simmer for 2-3 minutes until thickened. Serve over hot noodles and garnish with fresh parsley.

Recipe from Prevention RD


Pumpkin Thai Chicken Pizza

Sounds odd right?  Well I thought so at least, but I am only just starting to come around to using pumpkin in anything other than dessert.  Still, I was intrigued, and put it on my menu as soon as I saw it.  I love Thai pizzas, so I figured why not?  If it turned out I would have an interesting post for my blog, and if not, at least it would be simple to make and I won’t have wasted too much of my time.

Turns out it not only doesn’t taste like pumpkin… something I was rather concerned about given the amount of pumpkin vs the amount of other ingredients… but it tastes great too!  My husband said that he felt it wasn’t too different from a more traditional peanut sauce which is a good thing because that’s definitely his favorite part of Thai pizza, but also the highest portion of fat/calories!  My only critic on this would be that I felt it had room for more flavor.  Perhaps some red peppers!

In regards to the ingredients… I had way more sauce than I needed for one pizza.  I could have probably gotten two out of the amount I had.  The only problem was I didn’t have enough chicken for two pizzas.  I also don’t feel like the amount of cheese listed is enough for a pizza…. I probably used 3 times that to be honest, and I encourage you to use however much you like.  With such a simple pizza I like there to be a nice layer of cheese.  I used a store-bought crust, it was a large square one, that bakes in 8 minutes according to the package, so I ended up basing my time off that, and then at the end I broiled it for just a minute to get some color on the top too.  My last change was to use chicken breast I seasoned with some salt and pepper and cooked in a skillet.

I would definitely make this again, and perhaps try it with the addition of the peppers I mentioned.  It came together easily, and was a nice change from the more traditional pizzas.


Pumpkin Thai Chicken Pizza

Ingredients :

  • pizza dough, prepared (I used a prepared crust)
  • 1 (15oz) can pure pumpkin
  • 1 T. chili garlic sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Thai red curry paste
  • 1 chicken breast from a rotisserie chicken, shredded (see note above)
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella (see note above, I used a lot more)
  • 2 thin slices of onion, chopped
  • handful fresh cilantro, chopped

Directions :

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.  In a large bowl mix together the pumpkin, chili garlic sauce, salt and pepper.
  2. In another smaller bowl mix together the cut chicken, curry paste and lime juice.  Mix together until the chicken is evenly coated with the red curry paste.
  3. Flour your surface and roll out the prepared pizza dough.  Sprinkle the pizza stone or cookie sheet with corn meal and place the dough on the sheet/stone.  Evenly spread the pumpkin mixture on the dough leaving about an inch bare for the crust.  Sprinkle the chicken on top of the pumpkin mixture and evenly place the onion slices on the chicken.
  4.  Finally sprinkle with cheese and bake for 16-18 minutes until cheese has melted and crust is a light golden brown.
  5. While it’s baking chop or tear the cilantro.  After you take the pizza out and it’s cooled sprinkle the cilantro over it and serve.  Enjoy!

Recipe from Seaweed & Sassafras


Broccoli-Chicken Mac & Cheese

Continuing on with my comfort food theme of late I decided to give this Broccoli-Chicken Mac & Cheese a try.  I am not really a fan of basic mac and cheese, but I do like the jazzed up versions.  Nothing screams comfort like pasta, cheesy sauce, and other flavorful bits all mixed in with it!

We both thought this was really good.  It has a rich creamy/cheesy feel to it, but the best part is that you are saving so many calories by using laughing cow cheese in this dish.  I used garlic and herb as suggested in the recipe, but I bet it would be good with the french onion variety or perhaps some of the others as well.  I used oricchiette, but the person who posted it used shell noodles.  The last change I made was to use half and half in place of the milk.  I know it undid some of the benefit of using the laughing cow cheese, but I had some left over from another recipe and I didn’t want to waste it.  I used probably about 1/2 cup of that, and 1/2 cup of fat free milk.

Anyway, this dish is a complete meal, comes together easily, and would please even the pickier eaters (as long as you can actually get yours’ to try things that is lol).  It also looks very nice on the plate with all the colors, I would just suggest tossing it a bit more gently than I did since I broke up a lot of my broccoli in my haste to get dinner on the table.  What can I say, I was hungry! lol


Broccoli-Chicken Mac & Cheese

Ingredients :

  • 8 oz. large macaroni noodles (or whatever noodle you prefer)
  • 3 cups small broccoli florets
  • 2 large chicken breasts (about 1 lb), cut into bite-sized pieces
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tsp. oil (I used oil from the sun-dried tomatoes)
  • 6 oz. laughing cow lite cheese wedges (I used Garlic & Herb)
  • 3/4 – 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped

Directions :

  1. Cook macaroni noodles in a large pot of salted, boiling water. Add broccoli to the pot 3 minutes before noodles are done cooking, then drain well and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, season chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, then add chicken and cook until no longer pink. Remove to a plate and set aside. In the same skillet, add cheese, milk, sun-dried tomatoes, salt, and pepper, then stir until cheese is melted, and sauce is thick. Add cooked chicken, noodles, and broccoli to the skillet then stir well to combine. Add more milk if sauce isn’t creamy enough, then serve.

Recipe from Iowa Girl Eats


Chicken Pot Pie Penne

Chicken Pot Pie…. one of those dishes I have been wanting to make, but unable to convince my husband about.  For years now he’s been telling me he hates it, and so I have held off.  You may notice my husband claims to hate a lot of things… it has taken me years to get him to where he is now in regards to eating/trying new foods.  Perhaps this is the answer to the mystery of why my kids are SO picky about food!  When I met him he was a definite meat and potatoes kind of guy… and dreaded boxed meals.  I assume his hate for chicken pot pie likely came from the fact that he had only had frozen versions before.  I don’t think I have EVER had it, but it looks good to me so I have always been curious.

Well I figured I would meet him halfway this time and make this pasta I came across… after all he loves pasta, and I figured it would be less runny which I assumed to be one of the reasons he wasn’t a fan.  I made the recipe as stated, except I used only 8 oz of mushrooms because I didn’t want to buy two containers or weigh my own because I was in a hurry.  I ended up using 8oz of penne as well because I happened to have half a box left over from a previous recipe.  To cut back on the calories and fat I did go with half and half, but I ended up adding a splash of cream at the end because it just didn’t seem thick enough.  I feel like the amount of flour isn’t enough to thicken so much liquid, or perhaps I needed more time to simmer it (though I did for about 8-10 minutes).  Anyway, it wasn’t as thick as I had hoped, but I didn’t mind serving this in a bowl to contain the extra liquid and towards the bottom of the skillet it got thicker because I had already spooned out so much of it in our bowls.

I felt this had a nice hearty and earthy flavor and it definitely satisfied that comfort food craving I have been had lately.  I could have perhaps used a bit more salt and pepper but I was trying to not go overboard since I know my tastes differ from Jeff’s in that department.  I think what I was really wanting though was a nice buttery salty flaky biscuit to go with it…. Now I really want to try a more traditional Chicken Pot Pie!  It was still a great meal though IMO.  When I asked my husband what he thought he tried to stick to his guns and say he didn’t care for it.  But I think the 2 1/2 heaping bowls he consumed, and then licked clean would argue otherwise.  The most I could get out of him was that it wasn’t as bad as he thought it would be from what he remembered.  Whatever, I will let him keep denying it, but I WILL be making the real thing sooner than later!

On a little side note… does anyone else hate cutting onions as much as I do?!?!  I have tried so many tricks I have read about and I just can’t keep from crying.  And I am not talking about a bit of eye watering, but full on painful burning eyes with so many tears I can’t see to cut them.  I need to start cutting onions before I put my make-up on for the day lol.

Chicken Pot Pie Penne

Ingredients :

  • 2 T. unsalted butter or olive oil (I used 1 and 1)
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 10 oz. white or cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced (I used 8 oz.)
  • 1 T. all purpose flour
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup half and half or heavy cream
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, shredded into bite sized pieces
  • 1 cup frozen peas and carrots mix
  • 1 T. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. minced fresh thyme
  • 1-2 cups whole wheat dry penne pasta (I used 8 oz.)

Directions :

  1. Cook the pasta according to package directions. When done, place hot penne pasta in a large bowl and set aside.
  2. Melt the better (or oil if using) in a large skillet over medium high heat. Cook onion, garlic and mushrooms in the skillet until golden brown.
  3. Sprinkle in the flour over the mushroom mixture in the skillet and stir. Cook for a few seconds to rid the floury smell then add the broth, half & half (or heavy cream) to the skillet. Deglaze the skillet, scraping up any bits of fond at the bottom of the skillet. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, uncovered until the liquid is slightly thickened.
  4. Add the chicken, frozen peas and carrots mix, lemon juice, and thyme to the skillet. Cook until heated through and season with salt & pepper to taste. Place the hot penne pasta into the skillet and toss to combine.  Add the cooked penne pasta and toss to coat pasta.

Recipe from What’s Cookin’ Chicago


Published in: on November 13, 2013 at 8:02 pm  Comments (4)  

Broiled Salmon with Mustard Dill Sauce

Rather than drag the kids to the store with me, which let’s face it is a nightmare, I like to wait until my husband is home before I go grocery shopping.  This is fine, except that by the time I am done it’s getting a bit late, and I often don’t feel like cooking anymore.  This is where super quick and easy meals come in!  Fish is a great option because if you buy fresh you need to use it right away anyway, and most preparations of it are fast.  I had planned to make some roasted potatoes with this, which admittedly would have added a good deal of time to the process, but luckily for me I forgot the potatoes.  I did get some asparagus though, and I knew between the two of us we had more than enough salmon so I just decided that would be dinner.  It ended up being plenty for me, but I am sure my husband would have liked to have the potatoes too.  Anyway, I sauteed the asparagus up while the salmon broiled and this meal came together lightning quick, and with very little work!

I actually can’t recall whether I have broiled fish before.  I have baked it plenty of times, but I guess I worried that the high heat of the broil on the top only would leave the middle uncooked before the top started to burn.  I am happy to report, at least this time, that is the not the case.  It was perfectly cooked through without being dry and had a nice bit of crust on top.   The recipe was originally for a much larger fillet of salmon, but for the two of us I halved the recipe.  That’s still 1.25lbs of fish!  Mine were cut into 4 individual fillets, so they cooked faster than the suggested time, so watch it closely when you put it in.  The sauce is easy to throw together, but if you want to save even more time, or allow for more time for the flavors to marry you could make it that morning and throw it in the fridge or even the night before.  Just make sure to give it a good whisk before serving it.

The flavors, though simple, were fantastic.  I was a little surprised by the step to rub soy sauce on the salmon, but whatever purpose it serves must be worth it because the salmon alone was great.  Combine that with the creamy sauce with that bit of grain and spice of mustard and the tang of the dill and you have a perfect pairing.  I used some of the sauce to drizzle on my asparagus as well.

Salmon isn’t the cheapest protein out there…. I think for 1.25lbs I paid close to 20.00!  To me that’s a lot, but we don’t eat salmon that often so I don’t mind splurging every once in a while.  Because it doesn’t fit into most people’s daily budget, however, I think it often becomes a “company dish”.  This not only has great flavor, but looks beautiful on the plate and would be great to serve to your guests.  I would just suggest rounding out the meal with something like… oh I don’t know… roasted potatoes and asparagus! lol.  Just don’t forget the potatoes like me and you’re golden.


Broiled Salmon with Mustard Dill Sauce

Ingredients :

  • 2.5 – 3 lb salmon fillet
  • soy sauce for rubbing the salmon
  • fresh bay leaves and thyme sprigs for garnish (I didn’t bother)
  • 1/2 cup coarse-grained mustard
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh dill, or to taste

Directions :

  1. To make sauce, in a bowl combine the mustard, water, cream, oil, sugar, and dill.  Whisk together until well combined and set aside.  If making ahead be sure to chill in fridge, and re-whisk before serving.
  2. Preheat broiler.
  3. Rinse salmon and pat dry.  Arrange skin side down (mine were skinless) on a foil-lined pan and rub thoroughly with soy sauce.  Season with salt and pepper and broil about 4 inches from the heat for 12-15 minutes or until just cooked through.  Transfer salmon to a platter and garnish with herbs.
  4. Serve salmon warm or at room temperature with mustard dill sauce.

Recipe from A Chow


Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Green Apple & Bacon

For many years now I have heard people talk of putting cheese and apples together….. I couldn’t wrap my head around it, but I was definitely curious.  When I came across this sandwich I finally got up the courage to give this age-old combo a try.  Honestly I was nervous lol.  I had put it on the menu, bought the stuff, but because it was a busy week I kept pushing it out further and further and I was both anxious to try it, and worried that it wouldn’t be to my liking and we’d have to have a back-up plan.  Another thing that kept me from trying it earlier was my husband’s distaste for cooked apple anything.  Seeing the simplicity of the recipe, and figuring that bacon makes EVERYTHING better I went for it.

I was pleasantly surprised!  I actually found myself really enjoying the combination of flavors and textures in this simple sandwich.  The crisp and salty bacon, the gooey sharp cheese, and the slightly sweet/tart and juicy apple work really well with each other and you can’t go wrong with buttery toast.  Who knew!?  Oh yeah, most of the population lol.  Even my cooked apple hating husband enjoyed these.

I used the very large slices of sourdough from the middle of the loaf, so I just eyeballed the ingredients to cover the surface.  I think for two sandwiches I used about half the apple, and 3-4 slices of bacon per sandwich with 4 slices of cheese per sandwich.  I am just going to copy the recipe as listed below and you can make adjustments as needed like I did based on your bread size or preference.  I would definitely make these again, and maybe I will find other ways to try this flavor combo as well now that I am not afraid anymore lol.

Grilled Sandwich with Green Apple & Bacon

Makes : 1 sandwich

Ingredients :

  • 2 slices sourdough bread
  • 1 T. butter, softened
  • 2 tsp. grainy mustard
  • 2 big slices medium or sharp cheddar cheese
  • 4 thin slices tart green apples
  • 2 bacon slices, crisp cooked and drained

Directions :

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Butter one side of each slice of the sourdough bread. If using mustard, spread mustard on the interior side of one of the buttered slices of bread.
  3. Place a cheese slice on the mustard, followed by apple slices and bacon. Add another cheese slice on top of that, and close the sandwich with the other piece of buttered bread.
  4. Grill the sandwich until crisp and browned on each side and until the cheese is melted (if your cheese is not melting, covering the sandwich with a lid can help, but turn down the heat so that the bread doesn’t over-brown). Remove the sandwich from the pan, slice on the bias, and serve promptly.

Recipe from Alaska From Scratch


Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes

Or as I decided to call them for my son’s Halloween Birthday Party… Witching Hour Cupcakes!  I think these can pretty much be summed up in one word, and that’s MMMMMMMMMM!  At least that is the sound you’ll be making as you bite into one of these indulgent little treats!  I will be the first to admit that I often use boxed cake mix for cupcakes when I am throwing a party.  Why not?  They are quick, and IMO they taste pretty good.  But this year I just wanted to do something different.  Even though I usually make my own frostings, I wanted to make the entire thing from scratch, and I wanted it to be Cupcake Wars worthy!  I’d say I accomplished that this year.

The cake is dark and delicious itself, but then you get to that ganache center and OMG.  The ganache is so melt in your mouth good, I could seriously eat it by the spoonful, and a great contrasting chocolate flavor.  Then as if that weren’t enough to send  you into a chocolate coma they are topped with the best chocolate frosting I have ever had.  I typically don’t like frosting because it is SO sweet.  Afterall you are adding a lot of powdered sugar most of the time, but I promise you this is not one of those overly sweet frostings.  It’s more like someone took a rich and decadent chocolate, whipped it into a frosting, and put it on top of the cupcake.  If you are looking for THE chocolate cupcake recipe stop now, because you have found it!

Now a couple of notes…  I actually couldn’t find dutch processed cocoa powder even though I went to three stores.  I ended up using the Hershey’s special dark which is a combo of regular and dutch cocoas.  I don’t know how different these would have been had I found the right stuff, but they were still nice and dark like the photo from the original blog.  I used Ghirardelli bittersweet 60% cocoa chocolate bars, and Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips.  For the hot coffee, I heated up some of my cold brew espresso, and as a side note to that I wanted to brag that my husband honestly couldn’t taste the coffee in this even though there was a lot.  I have mentioned in the past that he absolutely hates it and usually catches me when I try to slip it into anything.  I doubled the recipe, and even with 1 1/2 cups of coffee, he could only guess that it was in there.  Doubled this made exactly 24 cupcakes as stated, but I did have a good deal of frosting left over.  I suppose this depends on how high you like to pile your frosting, but I figured since making these for kids I better keep it under control…. at least for the parents’ sake.  That and I find it hard to store cupcakes with a mountain of frosting on top anyway.

Anyway, I doubt the pictures will do these justice because I was tired from throwing the party and my light was fading, but you will NOT regret making these!

Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes

Makes : 12 cupcakes (doubles nicely)

Ingredients :

Ganache Filling :

  • 2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 T. powdered sugar

Cupcakes :

  • 3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup hot coffee
  • 3/4 cup bread flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 6 . vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. white vinegar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Frosting :

  • 1 1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 8 oz. chocolate (milk, semisweet, or dark) melted and cooled

Directions :

  1. Make the Ganache Filling: Place the chopped chocolate, heavy cream and powdered sugar in a small bowl. Heat in the microwave on high power until the mixture is warm to the touch, 20 to 30 seconds. Whisk until smooth, then refrigerate until just barely chilled, no longer than 30 minutes.
  2. Make the Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a standard-size muffin pan with liners. Place the chopped chocolate and cocoa powder in a medium bowl. Pour the hot coffee over the mixture and whisk until smooth. Refrigerate mixture for 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl; set aside.
  4. Whisk the oil, eggs, vinegar and vanilla extract into the cooled chocolate mixture until smooth. Add the flour mixture and whisk until smooth.
  5. Divide the batter evenly between the muffin pan cups. Place one slightly rounded teaspoon of ganache filling on top of each cupcake. Bake until the cupcakes are set and just firm to the touch, 17 to 19 minutes. Cool the cupcakes in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove the cupcakes from the pan and place on the wire rack to cool completely, about 1 hour.
  6. Make the Frosting: In a food processor, process the butter, sugar, cocoa powder and salt until smooth, about 30 seconds, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the corn syrup and vanilla extract and process until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Scrape the sides of the bowl, then add the chocolate and pulse until smooth and creamy, 10 to 15 one-second pulses. Frost the cupcakes as desired. The frosted cupcakes can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Notes :

  • The frosting can be kept at room temperature for up to 3 hours before using, or refrigerated for up to 3 days. If refrigerated, let stand at room temperature for 1 hour before using.
  • Regarding timing, what I did to make sure the ganache and chocolate for the cake portion were both in the fridge for the proper amount of time and not longer is I got all my chocolate chopped first, and got both bowls ready to go.  Then I put the ganache into the microwave, and heated my coffee at the same time and got them both into the fridge at about the same time that way.  That way when I took the first out after 20 minutes and finished adding the ingredients to the batter it was the perfect time to take the ganache out to finish up.

Recipe from Brown Eyed Baker


Published in: on October 28, 2013 at 12:41 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Buffalo Chicken Chili

I know I just posted a chili recipe, but that’s one of the things I like about chili.  There are SO many recipes out there, often using the same basic ingredients and spices, yet they all taste so different.  Obviously this particular recipe doesn’t stick to the traditional ingredients, but you all know that as soon as I saw the word Buffalo I had to try it!

This may seriously be my favorite chili recipe, ever!  The buffalo flavor is there, but not overwhelmingly so.  I actually tasted it while it was simmering and felt I wanted a little more so I used about a cup total of the wing sauce.  The recipe also just called for Frank’s hot sauce, which I believe is different than the Frank’s Wing Sauce version…. but whenever I am making something “buffalo” I always go for the wing sauce version.  It just makes sense.

It had a nice bit of heat, but again not overpowering for those that don’t like their mouth to be on fire.  I wasn’t sure about the spice amounts, and felt like too much of the traditional chili spices would mask the buffalo, so I ended up using 1 T. chili powder, 1 T. cumin, and about 1/2 T.  of the paprika.  That was perfect for us.  I used turkey instead of chicken, mainly because I was scared to buy Foster Farms chicken after hearing something on the news recently about maybe listeria or salmonella or something even though they didn’t recall it and said to simply make sure it was fully cooked.  I honestly don’t notice much difference between the two when they are ground up anyway since you are adding so much flavor to the dishes.  I also added a can of white beans to my chili and cut back on the amount of meat to make sure it wouldn’t get too thick.  I know a lot of people don’t like beans, but to me it isn’t chili if there aren’t beans!  The biggest addition I made to this, however, was to top it with some crumbled goat cheese (I gave my husband blue cheese, but I am not a fan) and OMG, that was SO perfect for this.  It melted in beautifully and made it so creamy and added that bit of tanginess that cuts through the heat of the buffalo sauce you would often get from either using blue cheese or ranch dressing.

I seriously couldn’t get enough, and it was just as good the next day for lunch!  If you are looking for a great comfort dish to warm you up as the weather turns cold and dark this is one you won’t want to miss!

Buffalo Chicken Chili

Ingredients :

  • 1 T. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 lbs. ground chicken (see note above, I used 1.25lb turkey)
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 ribs celery, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 T. chili powder (see note above, I used 1 T.)
  • 1 T. ground cumin
  • 1 T. smoked paprika (see note above, I used about 1/2 T.)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2-3/4 cup Frank’s hot sauce (see note above, I used 1 cup Frank’s Wing Sauce)
  • 1 (15oz.) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (15oz.) can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
  • Optional toppings : sliced green onions, shredded cheddar (I used the onions and some crumbled goat cheese for me and crumbled blue cheese for my husband)

Directions :

  1. Set a large pot over medium to medium-high heat and add the oil. Add the ground chicken and cook until browned, breaking it up with a wooden spoon as it cooks.
  2. Stir in the carrots, onion, celery, garlic, chili powder, cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper. Cook for about 8-10 minutes, stirring often, until the veggies have softened.
  3. Add the chicken broth and scrape the bottom of the pan to release any brown bits. Stir in the hot sauce, tomato sauce, and crushed tomatoes. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the veggies are tender and the chili has thickened to your desired consistency. (Best to give it at least an hour)
  4. After simmering, try the chili and add additional seasonings and/or hot sauce to taste, if necessary. Garnish with sliced green onion, shredded cheddar cheese, or any other toppings you’d like before serving!

Recipe from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures




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