Wednesday, November 30, 2011

143.0…White Chicken Chili

My friend recently had surgery and I thought it would be nice to bring over a homemade meal. What’s better on a cool evening than chili? And not just any chili….White Chicken Chili.

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White Chicken Chili (Serves 6)

Slightly adapted from Phillis Carey

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup diced onion
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 Tbsp minced fresh jalapeno
1 ½ tsp. ground cumin
1-14oz. can cream-style corn
1-7 oz. can diced green chilies
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1-15oz can S&W Premium white beans, rinsed and drained (or any small white bean or navy bean)
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
Salt and pepper to taste
1 ½ cups shredded Jalapeno Jack cheese (or white cheddar cheese/jack cheese), divided use

In a large pot heat oil over medium high heat. Cook onion, yellow pepper and jalapeno for 3 or 4 minutes or until softened. Add cumin, corn, green chilies, broth and cream. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.

Lower heat and stir in beans and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally to blend flavors, about 10 minutes. Stir in chicken and season with salt and pepper. Heat a minute or two to warm chicken. Stir in 1 cup cheese, stirring until melted. Serve immediately with remaining ½ cup cheese sprinkled on top.

You can do this ahead but put the chicken in when reheating.

An easy way to cook the chicken: put 2 or 3 chicken breasts with bone & skin in a casserole dish, cover with plastic wrap, poke a few holes and heat for 7-8 minutes per pound. When juices run clear, it’s done. Let the chicken cool a little to handle, and then shred away! Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

Last night we decided to take the kids out to dinner to my daughter’s favorite restaurant: Souplantation. I had a huge salad and chili.

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Plus their amazing pizza bread. Does anyone have the recipe for this? I would love you forever.

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This morning’s breakfast was a toasted English muffin with Teddie peanut butter and some over-ripe cantaloupe which ended up in the trash. Blech.

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I took the kids to school, volunteered for a bit there and then picked up some groceries.

Lunch was a bit of the White Chicken Chili that I made for my friend. Quality control, you know.

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The rest of the day I’ve been baking all the cookies for the The Great Food Blogger Swap 2011. You’ll have to be patient for the recipe but these cookies ROCK!

Favorite chili toppings? I love onions and shredded cheese on my chili!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

141.8…Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

I feel like I can breathe a sigh of relief now that life is returning back to normal after the Thanksgiving holiday. Well, not a sigh of relief exactly as my to-do list this week keeps growing by the minute. Oh well!

Yesterday’s breakfast was fast and simple: Teddie peanut butter on toast.

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Yesterday was spent catching up on email and starting to work on my to-do list. I went to my Cardio Muscle class and picked up kiddos from school. I had plans on doing a bunch of Cyber Monday shopping but I had received SO MANY emails from different companies advertising their deals that I became overwhelmed. I didn’t end up getting anything except what I had planned to buy.

Lunch was also fast and easy: Pea Soup.

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I haven’t been feeling that well so soup sounded perfect!

I had planned on making macaroni and cheese in the slow cooker for Thanksgiving but I nixed it when some people cancelled at the last minute. Less people=make less food. Since I had all the ingredients for it, I made it last night instead! I decided to not do it in the slow cooker but bake in the oven instead.

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Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

Adapted from Paula Deen, Food Network

  • 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni (an 8-ounce box isn't quite 2 cups)
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stuck) butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 1/2 cups (about 10 ounces) grated sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can condensed Cheddar cheese soup
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Directions

Boil the macaroni in a 2 quart saucepan in plenty of water until tender, about 7 minutes. Drain. In a medium saucepan, mix butter and cheese. Stir until the cheese melts. To the cheese/butter mixture,add the sour cream, soup, salt, milk, cream, mustard and pepper and stir well. Then add drained macaroni and stir again. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Printable Recipe

*The original recipe called for 3 eggs. I read through a ton of the comments and some people said leave the eggs out if you like your macaroni and cheese more creamy (I do). Others said just use one or two. I left the eggs completely and added a bit of heavy cream to thicken it and it was a little too creamy. Next time I will add one egg and see what that does.

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I served the macaroni and cheese with some baked chicken and steamed broccoli.

This morning’s breakfast was a toasted waffle with peanut butter and cantaloupe.

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I took the kids to school, went to spin class and came home to change. Then it was off to the mall to buy a bunch of gifts for upcoming birthdays/events. I stopped at Nordstrom for lunch. I ordered a half panini and cup of tomato basil soup.

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I started eating my soup before my panini arrived. :) I love that soup! I mentioned on Twitter today that I need to make it at home. I have their cookbook!

I ran out of time to get all my shopping done before it was time to pick up the kids from school. Guess that means I have to go back huh? :)

Did anyone snag any good Cyber Monday deals?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Tailgating After Turkey Day

Saturday morning I woke up from my post Thanksgiving food coma wanting more food. Breakfast had to be hearty. Enter: egg tacos.

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Two scrambled eggs, two tortillas, shredded pepper jack cheese and tons of hot sauce.

We hit the road for Los Angeles (again!). This time it was for the USC vs. UCLA football game. We checked into our hotel and grabbed some lunch at The Yard House. I enjoyed a glass of wine:

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My husband and I split sliders and fries:

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And I ordered a Seared Ahi Caesar Salad:

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It was really good! I enjoyed my lunch immensely!

Then it was off to USC for some serious tailgating action!

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Eventually it was game time. The game was a shut out: 50-0 USC! Now, that’s the way to do it! :) I split a turkey dog with my husband during the game. After the game we went to our favorite Mexican food shack near campus: Chano’s.

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Hello bean and cheese burrito. After a long day of tailgating, that tasted amazing.

We went back to the hotel and went to bed. I woke up yesterday morning to room service:

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Eggs Benedict=one of my favorite breakfasts ever!

My sister in law, her husband and kids came over to swim at our hotel. Yes, it was 80 degrees in Los Angeles yesterday. We picked up food from The Yard House again. I liked my Seared Ahi Caesar salad so much I had it again:

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I also ate some of the wings we ordered for everyone to share:

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I thought they were going to be spicy buffalo style hot wings but they weren’t. They were more like Asian style spicy wings. Oh well.

At 5PM, we hit the road back to San Diego. By the time I arrived home, I had had it. Exhausted. It was a great few days but I think I’m going to be paying for it for awhile. :(

What’s your favorite item to order at a restaurant for breakfast?

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Thanksgiving Part Two

Friday was my turn to host Thanksgiving dinner. With a total of 31 people scheduled to come, I had a lot on my plate!

First things first: make the pies. I made an apple pie:

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And a pumpkin pie:

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Then it was time to get all my appetizers out. Bean Dip:

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Cheese platter:

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 Cinnamon-Roasted Almonds, Pumpkin Bread and Pumpkin Butter:

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And a few other appetizers that didn’t get included: Taco Dip in the slow cooker and Caramelized Onion and Gruyere Dip. At that point, I started to get so busy that pictures just weren’t happening. My guests started to arrive and Thanksgiving craziness began.

I did mange to snap a picture of the two turkeys before they went into the oven.

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Since my brother was so skilled the night before in carving his turkey, I let him carve one of mine and I had my brother in law, who is a doctor, carve the other. I figured he’d be good with the knife. :) He was.

Soon, it was time to eat!

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We had turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, Gulliver’s Creamed Corn, rolls and peas. None of which got photographed. :(

Eventually I sat down with my family to enjoy all my hard work!

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Just when I thought it was time to relax, it was time to get up and put out the dessert bar!

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We had enough desserts to feed a whole neighborhood. Besides the two pies, I made a cheesecake, chocolate cake, homemade vanilla ice cream and homemade whipped cream.  WOW!

Then the massive clean up project began. I had so many clean up helpers that the job got done pretty quickly. I finished up after everyone left and fell into bed.  My kitchen had never seen so much action. :)

So….what was the best thing you ate during Thanksgiving?

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142.4…Thanksgiving Part One

They came.

They ate.

I conquered.

The past several days has been a eating, traveling and clean up whirlwind. Thanksgiving was a huge success!  I hope everyone had a great one! My kitchen has never seen so much cooking in one day! I’m going to do my best to get you caught up in the next several posts.

Thursday we drove to Los Angeles to have Thanksgiving dinner at my brother’s house. Since we were doing Thanksgiving on Friday this year, they decided to host on Thursday. Thanksgiving twice? Yes please!

My brother and his wife:

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The table was set beautifully!

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When we arrived, we were greeted with an entire table of appetizers! I dominated the cheese and salami. :)

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And I also did some dominating on this:

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Oh yeah.

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Eventually it was turkey time!

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My brother was in charge of carving it. He had never done it before so he consulted You Tube.

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He did an amazing job!

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My sister in law, Stephanie, also did an amazing job on the Thanksgiving meal. Everything was DELICIOUS!

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My plate:

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I went back for seconds. Duh.

Dessert time arrived and I was pretty stuffed. I did manage to try the cake I brought:

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It was pretty darn good! Stay tuned for the recipe later this week!

Thanksgiving Part Two post to come……

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

143.0…Thanksgiving Throw Down

I feel like I participated in some sort of Thanksgiving Throw Down today. The cooking was fast and furious. I think every bowl, spoon and cooking device was used. I was on fire.

Last night I had another “meal from the freezer.” Oven-Fried Greek Chicken Bundles with Lemon Dill Sauce, Orzo and Broccoli.

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The orzo was from the freezer too! I was surprised how well the chicken reheated. Dinner was delicious!

Today was going to be a busy day so I needed to fuel up properly. Toasted English muffin with egg beaters and Swiss cheese and some cantaloupe.

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I took the kids to school, went to a meeting at the school, did some last minute Thanksgiving grocery shopping and grabbed a latte at Starbucks.

I came home and the Thanksgiving cooking bonanza began.

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I made two Bundt cakes, one cheesecake, two batches of brine, another batch of Gulliver’s Creamed Corn (because I didn’t think one batch would be enough),  two batches of cinnamon-roasted almonds, onion dip and I brought out all the cooking equipment/pots/pans needed for the big day.

Tomorrow we are all going to my brother’s house in Los Angeles for Thanksgiving. Then it’s my turn on Friday. I’m hosting 31 people. Yes, 31. Hence, the crazy preparations today.

I’m bringing a Brown Sugar Bundt Cake to my brother’s house. If it turns out, I’ll share the recipe. It sure smelled good when it was baking!

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Eventually I had to break for lunch. It’s times like these when I’m glad to have a quick frozen meal in the freezer.

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I received a few coupons for Michael Angelo’s frozen meals when I attended BlogHer this past summer. So far I’ve been pretty happy with their products. Today was no different. I really enjoyed this vegetable lasagna.

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I made a quick salad to go with it. Great lunch!

Here are the Cinnamon-Roasted Almonds I made:

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They turned out pretty good!! I substituted the water for vanilla extract and doubled the cinnamon.

After all the food was prepared, it was time to set the tables. Table number one:

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Table number two:

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And table number three aka the kids table:

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After all that, there was no way I was cooking dinner tonight. We all headed to Garcia’s Mexican Restaurant. I enjoyed some chips, salsa and wine.

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I ordered the Enchiladas Rancheras for my entree.

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That looks quite the healthy plate of food doesn’t it? :)

I hope everyone has a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Will you be participating in Black Friday shopping?  I did that once and vowed never to do it again.