Turkey Chili with Sweet Potatoes

Image source: Kalyn’s Kitchen

When the temperature dips below 20 degrees F and we’re covering our faces not because of a virus, but because our cheeks may freeze, hot comfort food is in order! I’ve posted recipes for Vegetarian Chili and Beef Chili, but Turkey Chili with Sweet Potatoes is my new favorite warm-up-in-cold-weather recipe. I made this Turkey Chili in a crockpot, but it can be cooked on a stove. Have extra? Freeze it for another-ummm–chilly day. Do you make Turkey Chili? Do you add sweet potatoes? Have suggestions for other ingredients to add?

Stay warm, hon.

Turkey Chili with Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds ground turkey
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1-2 inch chunks
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans tomatoes (I used one can diced tomatoes and one can crushed tomotoes)
  • 1 (16-ounce) can red kidney beans
  • 1 cup water or 1/2 cup beef broth and 1/2 cup water
  • 2 Tablespoons chili powder (adjust if you like things more or less spicy)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder (yup–cocoa powder)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of pepper

Directions:

1.  Brown ground turkey.

2.  Place browned turkey and remaining ingredients in crock pot, stirring to blend.

3.  Cover and cook on low setting 6 hours.

Don’t have a crock pot?  Don’t worry.

1.  In a frying pan, saute ground beef and onions until soft.

2.  Drain off fat.

3.  Transfer mixture to a large pot.

4.  Add remaining ingredients.

5.  Bring to a boil, them simmer, covered, approx. 45 minutes. Chili’s ready when sweet potatoes can be sliced easily.

Yield:  Approx. 8-10 servings.

Thanksgiving Menu–Autumn, Tomato, Bean and Vegetable Soups

My Thanksgiving menu always includes soup. Velvety Vegetable Soup has been my go-to meal starter for years, but last year I changed it up by serving Roasted Autumn Vegetable Soup. It was delicious! Friday, when the house is full and lunch includes more visitors, I’ve paired Roasted Tomato Soup and Tuscan Rosemary White Bean Soup with paninis and cheese and cracker platters.

Wishing you a healthy and happy Thanksgiving! Hope it’s filled with family, friends and some time to relax.

Best Black Bean Burgers

Photo courtesy of Sally’s Baking Addiction

I love good veggie burgers but, often, one bite in and they fall apart. There I am making a mess, while attempting to use a fork and knife to eat a crumbling burger.  No more with my new favorite Black Bean Burger recipe thanks to Sally’s Baking Addiction. SBA advises partially drying out the black beans to cook “big, thick, hearty, and flavorful” burgers that can be grilled or baked. Whether they’re eaten on a bun, plain, or on a salad, these delicious veggie burgers are “easy, healthy, satisfying, juicy, spicy and NOT MUSHY!” They were a winner with my family and friends.

Happy cooking, hon!

BLACK-BEAN BURGERS

Ingredients:

  • 2 (14 ounce) cans black beans, drained, rinsed, and patted dry
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped bell pepper (1/2 of a pepper)
  • 1 cup finely chopped yellow onion (1/2 of a large onion)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (about 1 Tablespoon)
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs or oat flour
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, optional
  • corn kernels cut off 2 ears cooked corn-on-the-cob, optional (left over from the previous night’s dinner)
  • 2 large eggs (to make vegan & vegetarian, see note)
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (to make vegan & vegetarian, see note)
  • 2 Tablespoons ketchup, mayo, or BBQ sauce
  • pinch salt + pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F (163°C). Spread beans evenly onto a lined baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes until slightly dried out.
  2. In olive oil, sauté chopped pepper, onion, and garlic over medium heat until peppers and onions are soft, about 5-6 minutes. Gently blot some of the moisture out. (My veggies weren’t too liquidy, so I skipped this.)
  3. Place sautéed mixture in a large bowl with remaining ingredients (cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, bread crumbs, cheese, eggs, Worcestershire, ketchup, salt, and pepper). Add beans. In a food processor, pulse everything together. (Tip: you may need to process mixture in small batches.) Alternately, the bean/veggie/spice mixture can be mashed with a fork. Either way, don’t completely mash the beans. Leave some larger chunks of beans to create a “bulky and satisfying texture.”
  4. Form into patties– about 1/3 cup of mixture in each. Shape the black bean burgers however large or small desired, keeping in mind the larger they are, the more unevenly they’ll cook. To bake: Place patties on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake at 375°F (191°C) for 10 minutes on each side, 20 minutes total. To grill: Place patties on greased aluminum foil and grill 8 minutes on each side. “Generally, black bean burgers should grill on medium-high heat about 350°F (177°C) – 400°F (204°C).”
  5. Serve with favorite toppings. Store leftovers in refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Yield: 6 to 7 burgers

Notes:

  1. Freezing Instructions: Stack cooked or uncooked patties between parchment paper in a freezer container or zipped-top bag. Thaw in refrigerator and reheat or, if uncooked, cook according to instructions above. Thawing can be skipped; just cook from frozen for an extra couple minutes.
  2. Vegan & Vegetarian: Since Worcestershire sauce is not vegan or vegetarian, leave out or replace with a condiment such as BBQ sauce. To make burgers vegan burgers, (1) leave out the Worcestershire sauce or replace with favorite vegan condiment, (2) leave out the cheese, and (3) replace the eggs with 1/3 cup mashed sweet potato.
  3. Creative Toppings:  For a light lunch, skip the bun and eat on a salad. Creative toppings ideas are mashed avocado + caramelized onion, pepper jack cheese + spicy mustard + sweet pickles, herbed goat cheese + roasted red peppers, sriracha + sautéed mushrooms, mozzarella + pesto, corn salsa + cheddar cheese, or even chunky mango guacamole, BBQ sauce + Swiss cheese + grilled pineapple

Easy DIY Kids Crafts & Recipes: Popovers

The only question I had when serving these light, airy delicious popovers was…Why didn’t I make them earlier? At some point, I’d kept this kid-friendly recipe from a Nick Jr. Family magazine, but had never tried it. Then, when I wanted to make corn bread to accompany Turkey Chili, but had no cornmeal in the house, I came across this recipe. The popovers were a hit!

I also wanted to post my son’s Turkey Chili recipe but was asked not to because, in the event that he enters a Chili Cook-off one day, he doesn’t want his secret ingredients exposed! LOL!

Happy baking, hon!

Popovers
Ingredients:
  • Cooking spray or butter for greasing muffin cups
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk (I used almond milk to make this non-dairy.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Grease 12 regular-size muffin cups. Grease around the top of the muffin cups to prevent the batter from sticking when the popovers rise.
  2. Melt the butter in a microwave-safe bowl o high for about 30 to 40 seconds. Set aside.
  3. Crack eggs into a large bowl and mix them with a whisk or wooden spoon.
  4. Mix in the milk, salt, and butter. Add the flour, whisk until batter is very smooth, getting out all of the lumps.
  5. Pour or spoon batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling each about three-quarters full.
  6. Bake 15 minutes, then turn down heat to 35o degrees F. Tip: Look through oven window but DO NOT open oven door or the popovers won’t “pop.” Bake another 18 to 20 minutes, until popovers are puffed up and golden brown.
  7. Tip muffin tin over to release popovers. Serve hot or warm with butter or jam.

Yield: 12 popovers

Easy DIY Kids Craft: Mondrian Inspired Food Art

Piet Mondrian, Composition A, 1923

Painterly Plate

One of the After School Enrichment classes for K-2 that I taught focused on food: a combination of easy recipes and “food art” inspired by blogger, Ida Frosk. I became enamored of “The Art Toast Project” which consisted of “edible remakes of major works by famous artists, using a piece of toast as the canvas. The idea was based on the literal interpretation of ‘food art’ and the desire to make art more accessible.” Frosk said the main purpose of the project was “spreading the love of art.”Another cool source of inspiration is Laleh Mohmedi as seen on My Modern Met.

Though my students made dessert versions of “Mondrian Inspired Food Art,” healthier versions can be constructed. Use your imagination to include whatever combination of sweet, salty and healthy ingredients you want. Rather than making these “pictures” on toast, my kids spread icing on wax paper, but toast would give the food art a natural border.

Happy creating, hon!

Mondrian Inspired Food Art

Ingredients:

  • white icing (or cream cheese)
  • Life cereal (Chex cereal, graham crackers, small crackers)
  • Starburst (colorful sliced carrots or peppers cut into squares)
  • Air Heads Extremes (string cheese, linguini noodles cooked, celery, cucumbers or zucchini sliced into thin strips, pretzels)
  • sour candy belts (peppers, tomatoes, or strawberries cut into squares or rectangles)
  • wax paper or toast depending on chosen “canvas”
  • knife for spreading

Directions:

  1. Discuss Mondrian.
  2. Cut candy or veggies into shapes and lengths so that they’re ready to be assembled.
  3. Spread icing or cream cheese on wax paper or toast.
  4. Apply pieces of food into an abstract, graphic piece of “art.”
  5. Eat and enjoy!

 

Barley, Bean and Lentil Soup

Barley, Bean and Lentil Soup

This has been a strange winter, weather-wise, with only one snowstorm early on and lots of wet, gray days. If we are what we eat, then I’m turning into a large bowl of soup! When wondering what to make this week, I decided to combine two recipes, Red Lentil and Barley Soup and Bean and Vegetable Soup. The photo doesn’t do this new recipe justice. It was so delicious, hearty and healthy, that my daughter and I indulged in three servings each!

Tip: Substitute lentils, barley, and beans with what you have in your cabinet. Likewise with veggies and spices. What to do with the small amount of grape tomatoes leftover in the fridge? Cut up and add. Have a random can of interesting beans? Pour in the pot. Don’t have all the spices listed? Add a bit more of what you do have. Barley absorbs liquid, so if the soup gets thick add water and spices as needed.

Happy cooking, hon.

Barley, Bean and Lentil Soup
Ingredients:
  • 1 (19 oz) can tomato basil soup
  • 3 cans of water (use empty soup can as measuring cup)
  • 3 teaspoons vegetable bouillon stirred into 2 cups of hot water
  • 1/2 large onion or 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • approx. 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup red lentils, uncooked
  • 1/4 cup small whole green lentils, uncooked
  • 1/2 cup barley
  • 1 (15.5 oz) can black beans
  • a handful of grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon tumeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste
Directions:
  1. In a large soup pot, pour tomato basil soup, 3 cans of water, and vegetable bouillon stirred in water.
  2. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  3. In batches, sauté onion, carrots, celery, and garlic. Add cooked veggies to soup pot.
  4. Add remaining ingredients. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, approximately cook 1 hour.
  5. Remove and discard bay leaves before serving.

Tip: Add dashes of other spices, such as sage, rosemary, marjoram, etc, as desired.

Cooking Time: 1 hour 25 minutes.

Yield: 8 – 10 

Tortilla Soup

Credit for this excellent recipe is due to the Tree Restaurant at The Lodge at Woodloch and homemade chef extraordinaire Arthur Cohen for serving it at a dinner party. There’s a lot of prep work, but the soup is delicious! I served it with homemade cornbread and cheese quesadillas for dinner. Yum!

Ingredients:

–2 Tablespoons vegetable oil

–1/2 medium onion, medium dice (about 3/4 cup)

–1/2 small carrot, peeled and medium dice (about 1/4 cup)

–1/2 medium celery stalk, medium dice (about 1/4 cup)

–1/2 medium red bell pepper, medium dice (about 1/4 cup)

–1 medium garlic clove, minced

–1/2 teaspoon chili powder

–1 teaspoon ground coriander

–1 teaspoon ground cumin

–1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

–1/2 teaspoon paprika

–1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional

–4 cups (1 quart) stock or low-sodium chicken broth (I used a parve broth.)

–2/3 can crushed tomatoes (15 oz can)

–frozen corn, optional (as much as desired)

–1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed

–1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed

–4 to 5 (6-inch) corn tortillas, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

For the tortilla strips:

–1 1/2 cups vegetable oil

–4 (6-inch) corn tortillas

–kosher salt

–freshly ground black pepper

Directions for the soup:
  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion, carrot, celery, and bell pepper and season with  salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have softened, about 6 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic, chili powder, coriander, cumin, oregano, paprika, and cayenne if using, and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the broth, tomatoes, corn if using, and measured salt and pepper, stir to combine, and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce the heat to low, add the tortillas, and stir to combine. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the tortillas have disintegrated and the soup has thickened, about 1 hour. Meanwhile, make the tortilla strips.
Directions for the tortilla strips:
  1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking (about 35 on a deep-frying/candy thermometer), about 6 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, stack the tortillas on a cutting board. Cut the stack in half, then cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips. Set aside. Line a baking sheet with paper towels; set aside.
  3. When the oil is ready, add half of the tortilla strips and fry, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and crisp, about 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to the prepared baking sheet and season with salt and pepper. Repeat with the remaining tortilla strips; set aside.
To finish:

Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Serve the soup topped with the tortilla strips, passing any desired garnishes on the side.

Tip:

Chicken may be added to this soup. Fry chicken breast strips in oil until cooked through but not over-cooked, add to soup and let simmer for about 15 minutes before adding tortilla strips.

Italian Potato-Pasta Soup With Greens

Italian Potato-Pasta Soup With Greens

Some soups are light and refreshing preludes to a meal; others, like this one, are an entire meal in a bowl. Pasta and potatoes, like pasta and beans, are frequently combined in Italian vegetable dishes. The potatoes should be starchy, like Yukon Golds or russets, so that they lend body to the broth. Short pasta shapes add texture; onion, fennel, garlic, tomato paste and fresh herbs and greens add flavor. The soup may be made a day or so before serving: It improves in the refrigerator and reheats beautifully, but don’t add the pasta in this case until serving.

Once I read this description, I had to try the recipe. It was delicious! Happy cooking, hon!

Italian Potato-Pasta Soup With Greens

Ingredients:

3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more for garnish

2 cups diced onion

1 cup diced carrot

1 cup diced celery or fennel (I used celery)

salt and pepper to taste

1 bay leaf

1 large thyme sprig (I used a couple of dashes of dried thyme)

2 garlic cloves

2 teaspoons paprika

2 Tablespoons tomato paste

3 quarts/12 cups chicken broth, vegetable broth or water (I used veg. broth.)

2 pounds medium-size starchy potatoes, such as Yukon Golds or russets, peeled and cut in 1-inch chunks

8 ounces kale or chard, stems removed, leaves sliced across into ½-inch ribbons (about 4 cups total)

½ pound dried pennette, orecchiette or other small pasta

1 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary or marjoram, for garnish

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish

Directions:

  1. In a large, heavy soup pot or Dutch oven, heat the 3 Tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. When it shimmers, add onion, carrot and celery (or fennel), stir, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until softened and golden, 5 to 10 minutes. Adjust the heat to prevent vegetables from browning or scorching.
  2. Stir in bay leaf, thyme sprig, garlic, paprika and tomato paste and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add broth, potatoes and a large pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a brisk simmer. Cook until potatoes are cooked through but still firm, 12 to 15 minutes. Taste to adjust the seasonings.
  3. Stir in kale and pasta and simmer another 10 minutes, or until greens are well cooked and pasta is done. (Soup can be made up to this point, without the pasta, cooled and refrigerated for up to 3 days.)
  4. Ladle soup into bowls, and sprinkle with chopped rosemary and Parmesan. Drizzle each serving with a teaspoon of olive oil. Pass extra Parmesan at the table. (I didn’t add Parmesan or olive oil on top of servings.)

Yield: 6-8 servings

To make vegan, eliminate Parmesan.

To make gluten-free, use gluten-free pasta.

Source: The New York Times, City Kitchen by David Tanis

Red Lentil and Barley Soup

Red Lentil and Barley Soup

In addition to Vegetarian Chili, Red Lentil and Barley Soup was ready and waiting for company the day after Thanksgiving. It was tame to chili’s spice. I made it ahead to time, froze it, defrosted it at room temperature a day early, and simmered it on a low flame for a few hours. I also froze individual servings to have at a later date. Think snowed in!

Happy cooking, hon.

Red Lentil and Barley Soup

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add onion, carrots, celery, and garlic.
  3. Cook, stirring frequently, 5 minutes.
  4. Add remaining ingredients to saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook 1 hour.
  5. Remove and discard bay leaves before serving.

Tip: Add dashes of other spices, such as sage, rosemary, turmeric, etc, as desired.

Cooking Time: 1 hour 25 minutes.

Yield: 6

Source: http://www.geniuskitchen.com/recipe/red-lentil-and-barley-soup-428528

Vegetarian Chili

Vegetarian Chili

Every year on the Friday after Thanksgiving, out-of-town family visits and I’m in the mood for something other than leftover turkey. This year, Vegetarian Chili and Red Lentil and Barely Soup took center stage with lots of “fixin’s” on the side. As a time-saver, I made the chili ahead and froze it. After defrosting at room temperature for a day, it simmered over a low flame for a few hours. It was a hit! This hearty, healthy chili is so delicious, I’ve already made it again.

Chili is perfect when it’s, ummm, chilly! Stay warm, hon.

Vegetarian Chili

Ingredients:

1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 jalapeno, finely chopped (seeds and veins removed) (I omitted this since my family does’t like things too spicy.)
2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
3 heaping Tbsp tomato paste
3 soft plum tomatoes, chopped
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can pinto or black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup veggie stock or water
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

1.Heat the olive oil in a pan* and add onions and garlic. Saute until translucent. Add the jalapeno (keep some of the vein and/or seeds for more heat) and saute for another minute.

2.Add the chili, cumin and garlic and continue to saute until fragrant. Add the tomato paste and saute for another 1-2 minutes.

3.Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer. Cook, covered, for 1 hour, stirring occasionally so that the chili doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Add additional veggie stock, if needed.

*Tip: The first time I made this recipe, I sautéed the onions and garlic in a saute pan, followed the directions, and then poured the mixture in a large pot to simmer. The second time, I sautéed the onions and garlic directly in the large pot, added the remaining ingredients, and simmered. It was less work and just as yummy.

Source: http://www.busyinbrooklyn.com/vegetarian-chili-cornbread/