Thursday, March 17, 2011

No Longer Chilly (Chili) Outside

A few months ago I ran across an article with lots of chili recipes that looked pretty tasty. Unfortunately, it never seemed the right time to try them out. And unlike soup, you really can't have chili when it's not cold. I mean, can you?

Then it snowed last week while I was planning my menu. A lot. Perfect. No better time to try out a new chili recipe with 4 inches of fresh snow on the ground. Or even two or three! However, by the time the destined night to have my 'chili bar' rolled around, it was almost 70 degrees outside. Gotta love Utah weather!

It just didn't have the same feel, you know. Nevertheless, I found three very good, very different recipes to share with you.

This first recipe was the most mild. I left the onions out (nod to Emily). Also, I forgot and bought boneless meat so I skipped the pulling-it-off-of-the-bone step. However, I think it would be even more flavorful cooking it on the bone first. Nothing beats the taste of slow cooked chicken on the bone. The recipe is from

Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili


6 skinless chicken thighs (1 1/2 lb)
1 large onion, chopped (1 cup)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 3/4 cups Progresso chicken broth
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper sauce (may be increased to 1/2 t. for more kick)
2 cans (15 -16 oz. each) great northern beans, drained, rinsed
1 can (11 oz.) Green giant Niblest white shoepeg corn, drained
3 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro


Remove excess fat from chicken. In 3 1/2 to 4 qt slow cooker, mix onion, garlic, broth, cumin, orgeano, salt and pepper sauce. Add chicken

Cover; cook on low heat setting 4 to 5 hours.

Remove chicken from slow cooker. Use 2 forks to remove bones and shred chicken into pieces. Discard bones; return chicken to slow cooker. Stir in beans, corn, lime juice and cilantro. Cover; cook on Low heat setting 15 to 20 minutes or until beans and corn are hot.

Makes 8 servings

This next one was really flavorful and more robust. I couldn't find smoked chorizo sausage so mine didn't match the picture on the website. I just bought regular chorizo and it was one of the strangest cooking experiences I've had. The sausage instantly lost all of it's shaped and turned into soup. Nevertheless, it turned out well. I would love to hunt down the smoked chorizo and I think it would be even better. Oh, and I didn't use the wine. Although I have heard that for a good wine flavor to use 1/2 c. dark grape juice and 1/2 c. rice vinegar. I've done that before in other recipes and it works well.

Hot and Spicy Chorizo Chili


1 can. (28 oz) Muir Glen organic whole peeled tomatoes, undrained
3 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (from 7 oz. can)
2 lb. smoked chorizo sausage, sliced
3 large onions, chopped (3 cups..I only used about 1/2 this)
3 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried oregano leaves
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 3/4 c. Progresso chicken broth
1 can 12 oz. lemon-lime cabonated beverage
1/2 c. dry red wine or additional chicken broth
1/2 c. water
3 cans (15 oz each) Progresso black beans, drained, rinsed
1 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 container (8 oz.) sour cream


In food processor or blender, place tomatoes and chiles. Cover; process, using quick on-and-off motions, until blended. Set aside.

Heat 5 quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add chorizo and onions; cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened. Add garlic, paprika, cumin, oregano, salt, red pepper and coriander; cook and stir 1 minute.

Stir in tomato mixture, broth, carbonated beverage, wine, water, beans and chocolate. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer uncovered 1 hour.

Stir in lime juice and cilantro. Serve with sour cream.

Note: You can use one can of black beans and one can of kidney if you prefer the difference in textures and color.

Makes 10 servings ( 1 1/2 c. each)

This next one was almost more of a soup but I liked it a lot. I would definitely increase the buffalo sauce as it was a little tame for me. strikes again.

Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Chili


2 1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 large onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
2 medium stalks celery, sliced (about 1 cup)
2 medium carrots, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 can (28 oz. ) Muir glen organic diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (15 oz.) Progresso black beans, drained, rinsed
1 cup Progresso chicken broth
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup buffalo wing sauce (from 12-oz jar)
Crumbled bleu cheese, if desired


Spray 5 to 6 quart slow cooker with cooking spray. In cooker, mix all ingredients except buffalo wing sauce and cheese.

Cover; cook on Low heat setting 8 to 10 hours.

Stir in buffalo wing sauce. Serve sprinkled with blue cheese.

Makes 6 servings (1 1/2 c. each)

Finally, the night I made the Buffalo Chicken Chili I made corn bread from a mix. But the night of the two chili choice; I made these biscuits.. They were a big hit. But for some reason they really went soggy the next day. Not quite sure why. I stored them in a ziploc bag and they might be better in a brown bag. This also came from The recipe could easily be halved. (Note made by another Foodie Family contributor: these biscuits were included last year on the blog. In that blog post, the big batch and the regular batch recipes were included if you don't want to have 40-48 biscuits on your hands! You can view the regular recipe here.)

Big Batch Cheese-Garlic Biscuits


8 cups Original Bisquick mix
2 2/3 c. milk (I used some fat free 1/2 and 1/2 because I like the texture it gives biscuits)
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese (8 oz.)
1 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 teaspoon garlic powder


Heat oven to 450. In 3 1/2 to 4 quart bowl, stir Bisquick mix, milk and cheese until soft dough forms; beat 30 seconds.

On ungreased cooked cookie sheets, drop dough by 40 to 48 spoonfuls about 2 inches apart.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. In small bowl, mix butter and garlic powder; brush on warm biscuits before removing from cookie sheets. Serve warm.

40-48 biscuits

Friday, March 11, 2011

Farewell to Soup Season

For some people, soup knows no season. I know that my sister can eat soup year-round. However, for me, I really only crave soup during the fall and winter. There's just something about September and that first crisp fall feeling in the air that puts me in the mood for soup. I feel the same way about sweaters. The smell and feel of the air is different in the fall and you just want to put on a pretty, comfy sweater.

However, the same holds true for spring. You finally start to hear the birds chirping in the mornings again and it's warm enough for either a light jacket or no jacket at all and you are sick of wearing sweaters! All you want to do is pack up the sweaters and break out the short-sleeved shirts and flip-flops. Once spring hits, I really don't want a bowl of hot soup again for at least six months!

So, now is the time to try out a few more soup recipes before it gets too hot for them. We might still have a few snow storms left in the season for you to exercise your soup skills!

The first two soup recipes are ones that I made myself. The last two soup recipes are ones that people brought in to me after my baby boy was born.

The first recipe is for winter squash soup. However, I had some extra sweet potatoes (yams) that I wanted to use up and I used the sweet potatoes in place of the winter squash. It was a great substitution and it tasted delicious!

The second recipe is for split pea soup. I am a big fan of split pea soup and this one was very simple and very traditional/classic. The funny story about this soup recipe is that I didn't actually get to eat it until about four days after I made it. You see, it is a slow cooker recipe, and I made it in the morning. While I was making it, I suspected that I was going into labor...a few hours later, I was on my way to the hospital and my husband was giving my in-laws the final preparation instructions so that they could enjoy it for dinner that night! While they were enjoying the soup I had prepared that morning, I was welcoming my newest son into the world!

The third recipe is for corn chowder. My Mom brought this in to me for dinner a few days after I got home from the hospital. It is so easy to make! In fact, I believe that my Mom sent this recipe to my sister (who had her baby exactly a week before me--both of us had our babies on our exact due dates!) and her mother-in-law prepared it for her.

The fourth and final recipe is for a cheesy vegetable soup. My sweet brother-in-law and sister-in-law brought this to us to give me a night off from cooking. It is super kid friendly. I knew it was a hit when my first son ate it two days in a row (that just doesn't happen--except with hot dogs!).

Oh, and don't forget the crackers! Each of these soup recipes are nice and creamy...perfect when combined with some of your favorite crackers.

I hope you get a chance to enjoy these before the soup season passes you by.

Pureed Squash Soup aka Katie Brown's Winter Squash Soup


6 tablespoons butter
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 Russet potato, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
2 (14 1/2 ounce) cans low sodium chicken stock
2 (12 ounce) packages frozen winter squash, thawed (or 3-4 large sweet potatoes, peeled, and cut into 1 inch cubes)
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg


Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion, and thyme and cook until onion is translucent, about 3 or 4 minutes.

Add the potato and the chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Continue simmering until potato is cooked through.

Add the frozen winter squash and cook until heated through.

Transfer soup in batches to a blender and puree until smooth. Add back to the pot and bring to a simmer to heat through. Add the heavy cream and nutmeg, and season with salt to taste.

Serves 8.

Source: I found this recipe on a PBS show called The Katie Brown Workshop. I found the printed recipe on her website.

Notes: I got the idea for substituting sweet potatoes for the winter squash from another recipe on the Katie Brown website. It was a recipe for butternut squash soup that said that sweet potatoes could be substituted. I liked this idea because I had a hard time finding frozen winter squash at my grocery store. I added the diced sweet potatoes at the same time as the Russet potatoes and cooked them until they were tender. I then proceeded with the recipe as written. I used whole milk in place of the heavy cream. In order to get the texture, consistency, and thickness that you desire, I would suggest adding more or less milk to the soup. My soup turned out quite thick, so I added more milk than the recipe called for.

Slow Cooker Yellow Split Pea Soup with Canadian Bacon

Makes 8 servings


8 cups water
1 package (1 pound) dried yellow split peas, sorted and rinsed (you can also use green split peas, or a mixture of yellow and green split peas)
3 medium carrots, diced (1 1/2 cups)
1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
1 medium stalk celery, chopped (1/2 cup)
1 cup diced Canadian-style bacon (5 ounces)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon pepper


Mix all ingredients in a slow cooker.

Cover and cook on low heat setting for 8-10 hours or until peas and vegetables are tender.

Place 2 cups of the soup in blender or food processor. Cover and blend on medium speed until smooth; pour into bowl. Repeat with 2 more cups soup. Stir all blended soup into soup in slow cooker.

Nutrition information: 1 serving equals 160 calories, 2 g fat, 10 mg cholesterol, 530 mg sodium, 33 g carbohydrates, 13 g fiber, 16 g protein.

Source: Betty Crocker website.

Notes: My in-laws opted to puree the entire batch of soup, rather than just half of it as the recipe specifies. It was super tasty. I would suggest that you puree as much or as little of the soup as you want--depending on how chunky or creamy you want it to be.

Slow Cooked Corn Chowder


2 1/2 cup 2% milk
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) cream of mushroom soup
1 can (14 3/4 ounces) cream-style corn
1 3/4 cup frozen corn
1 cup frozen shredded hash brown potatoes
1 cup cubed fully cooked ham
1 large onion, chopped
2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
2 tablespoons butter
Salt and Pepper, to taste


Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours.

Yields: 8 servings.

Source: I'm not sure where my Mom found this recipe.

Kristin's Cheesy Vegetable Soup (two ways)

Original Recipe


14 cups water
1/2 cup chicken boullion granuals
1 1/2 cups carrots, sliced
1/2 cup celery, sliced
1/4 cup minced onion
3 potatoes, peeled and cut
1 can corn, drained
1 1/2 cups butter
1 1/2 cups flour
1 jar Cheez Whiz


Boil water and chicken boullion until dissolved. Add carrots, celery, and onion. Cook about 10 minutes, then add potatoes. Cook another 10 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.

In a saucepan, melt butter, add flour, and whisk until smooth. Add butter/flour mixture to broth and vegetables while whisking so that the soup doesn't become lumpy. Add corn and cheese after the soup is the texture that you want.

Kristin's Version

7-8 cups water
1/4 cup chicken boullion granules
8-10 baby red potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 cup diced carrots
1/8 cup minced onion
frozen corn
frozen peas
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup flour
1 small jar of Cheez Whiz


Boil water and chicken boullion until dissolved. Add potatoes, carrots, and minced onion. Boil until potatoes and carrots are tender.

In a saucepan, melt butter and add flour, whisk until smooth. Add butter/flour mixture to broth and vegetables while whisking so that the soup doesn't get lumpy. Add Cheez Whiz and stir until smooth. Add corn and peas.

Source: My sister-in-law sent me this recipe. She said that you can basically make the soup any way you want by adding your favorite veggies. You could add asparagus, cauliflower, broccoli, etc. It really is super kid friendly and very flavorful.