Thursday, October 30, 2008

Recipe Exchange--Chili

I love chili. Love it, love it, love it. So when I got this recipe in the What's Cooking? Fall Recipe Swap, I was really happy. Though I definitely have my favorite chili recipe, I'm always up for trying new ones. Plus, this one seemed to be very Ellie Krieger-esque and I have really enjoyed all of her recipes.

This recipe was good. From reading the recipe, I could tell it wouldn't be as highly spiced as I would normally like, but I wanted to stay true to the recipe so I could get a real sense of it. As I said, it was good. My mom and I definitely enjoyed it. My mom made the comment that it would be really great with macaroni, which isn't usually how we eat our chili, but she's right. I will absolutely make this recipe again, but as chili mac.

Thank you to the fabulous Nestie who put this recipe in!

Beef and Bean Chili


1 lb. ground round
1 c. chopped onion
4 garlic cloves, minced

1 (15-oz.) can no-salt-added kidney beans, undrained

1 (14.5-oz.) can no-salt-added stewed tomatoes

2 (8-z.) cans no-salt-added tomato sauce
1 TBSP dried oregano
1 1/2 tsp chili powder

1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt

1/4 ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp pepper
7 TBSP nonfat sour cream

Sliced green or red onions (optional)


1. Brown meat, onion, and garlic in a non-stick pan. Cook until the meat is browned, stirring to crumble. Drain well.

2. Pour drained meat mixture in a pot. Add beans and the next 8 ingredients (beans through pepper); stir well. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes.

3. Serve with sour cream. Garnish with sliced green or red onions, if desired.

Serves 7.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Spiced Molasses Cookies

I just can't get enough of the comforting and warming fall flavors. Tonight I turned to a fall/winter classic--molasses cookies. I have loved these since I was a little girl. After tasting one fresh out of the oven tonight, I know my love for molasses cookies lives on. Is there anything better than a nostalgic batch of cookies on a fall evening?

Spiced Molasses Cookies


2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. freshly-grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. salt
12 TBSP (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 c. firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 c. unsulfured molasses
about 3 TBSP raw turbinado or granulated sugar


1. In a bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, cloves and salt.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat together the butter and brown sugar until fluffy.  Beat in the egg and molasses.

3. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture, mixing until blended.

4. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or for up to 8 hours.

5. Preheat an oven to 350° F. Grease 2 baking sheets.

6. Place a large sheet of waxed paper on a work surface and sprinkle it with the granulated sugar. Using your palms, shape the dough into balls 1 1/4 inches in diameter. Then roll the balls in the granulated sugar, coating them evenly. Arrange the balls on the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 2 inches apart.

7. Using the tines of a fork, press the fork into each cookie, pushing down to create a decorative top.

8. Bake until just set and lightly browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on the sheets for 10 minutes.  Gently transfer cookies to racks and let cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

yield: about 40 cookies.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Baked Whole-Wheat Penne with Roasted Vegetables

I've been wanting to make an Italian dinner for a while now. I'm really not sure why I've had this craving, but it's been lingering for about two weeks now. Tonight I finally gave in and made this baked penne with roasted vegetables. It took some time, especially because I made the marinara from scratch, but it turned out great! It serves eight, so it's also great for company. If you have a mixed crowd, you could easily put some sliced Italian sausage on the side for more carnivorous guests.

Baked Whole-Wheat Penne with Roasted Vegetables
adapted from Giada DeLaurentiis

2 red peppers, cored and cut into 1-in. wide strips
2 zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into 1-in. segments
6 baby bella mushrooms, halved
1 red onion, peeled and sliced into 1-in. strips
1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp. salt, divided
2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 TBSP dried Italian herb mix
1 lb. whole-wheat penne pasta
3 c. homemade Classic Marinara
1 c. part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/2 c. grated Pecorino Romano, half reserved for top


1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

2. On a baking sheet, toss the peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, and onions with olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and dried herbs. Roast until tender, about 15 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook for about 6 minutes. Since you will be cooking the pasta a second time in the oven, you want to make sure the inside is still hard. Drain in a colander.

4. In a large bowl, toss the drained pasta with the roasted vegetables, marinara sauce, cheeses, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Using a wooden spoon, gently mix, until all the pasta is coated with the sauce and the ingredients are combined.

5. Pour the pasta into a greased 9 by 13-inch pan. Top with the remaining 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano. Bake until top is golden and cheese melts, about 25 minutes.

Look at these yummy roasted vegetables!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Black Bean Soup with Cumin Crema

This was so tasty. Unfortunately, it didn't photograph nearly as well. Okay, I'll be honest. I didn't really try to get a great photo because I knew it wouldn't turn out well. It's dark brown and mostly liquid; not exactly beauty food. But take my word for it, it was SOOOO tasty. If you're looking for a hearty meal that isn't meat based, this is it! 

Black Bean Soup with Cumin Crema
adapted from Bobby Flay, Mesa Grill Cookbook


3 (15.5 oz.) cans black beans
2 TBSP olive oil

1 medium carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped

3 cloves garlic, coarsely choppes

1 c. red wine

1 to 1 1/2 chipotle chiles in adobo

4 c. chicken stock (use vegetable stock to make vegetarian)
2 TBSP fresh lime juice
salt and freshly ground pepper
8 oz. Mexican crema, creme fraiche, or sour cream

1 scant TBSP ground cumin

1 TBSP fresh lime juice


1. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the carrots, onion, and garlic and good for about five minutes, or until onion is translucent.

2. Add the wine, bring to a boil, and cook until reduced by half.

3. Add the beans and reduce the heat to medium. Add the chipotles and stock and simmer for 30 minutes.

4. While soup is simmering, make crema by combining last three ingredients.

5. Remove from the heata nd ass the lime juice, salt, and pepper to taste. Using a blender or immersion blender, puree half the soup and return it to the pot.

6. Bring to a simmer before serving. ladle into bowls and top with crema.