All American Chili

It's been cold and rainy here and I've been thinking chili would hit the spot. Chili is another food I used to hate as a kid. What was I thinking? It's hearty, filling and there are so many variatons.

People are fanatical about their recipes with secret ingredients and other tricks. I just found this recipe in Cooking Light back in 2003 and quit looking. I just wish I had the forsight to cook up some of my dried Rancho Gordo beans in place of the canned beans. Next time. A big glob of Daisy sour cream and some shredded cheddar and the bowl is finished.

This recipe makes a LOT of chili but the good news is it freezes very well.


Recipe HERE

Lean Cuisine Susan G. Komen for the Cure Lunch Tote

I bought one of these last year and love it! It's roomy and the quality is very good. People compliment my cute "purse" too.

I just can't decide which design I like best.

Anyway the money goes to a good cause and you won't be disapointed.

Check them out HERE

Light and Easy Potato and Leek Soup

Ughh you wouldn't know it from my picture but this soup is delicious!!! I've been eying leeks at the grocery store and thinking about making a potato leek soup but I've only had it with a cream base and I wasn't up for that.

Then I read Christine's Blue Rose Cafe Blog and found exactly what I was looking for. She posted a review of this soup and mentioned it's chicken broth based yet creamy. Creamy and delicious!

I confess I did use 2 cups of broth and 1/2 cup of water to up the flavor. Some reviewers even used wine in place of some of the broth. I also sauteed a few chopped garlic cloves with the leeks. I used my immersion blender to puree.

The prep and cook time are also very short so this is perfect for a weekday meal. I don't think I'll need the recipe again either.

Recipe HERE courtesy of Gourmet Magazine, March 1992.

Drunken Cheesy Bread

OK how could this NOT be good? And there's so many ways to build on it by switching up the wines and cheeses. Use prosciutto instead of ham. Add vegetables.

The recipe is from Real Simple.

Butter for the pan
1/2 baguette, cut into 2-inch slices
1/2 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
1/8 pound thinly sliced cooked ham
3/4 cup white wine(I used Pinot Grigio)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) grated Gruyère(I used an Italian blend)

Heat oven to 400° F.

Place the bread in a buttered ovenproof skillet, a 9-inch square baking dish, or a casserole. Scatter the onion and ham over the bread. Pour the wine over the onion and ham and sprinkle with the pepper and Gruyère. Bake until the cheese has melted and begun to brown at the edges, about 20 minutes. Spoon onto individual plates.

Tip: If you don't have Gruyère, you can substitute Swiss, Monterey Jack, fontina, or white Cheddar.

Yield: Makes 4 to 6 servings

CALORIES 306 (29% from fat); FAT 10g (sat 6g); CHOLESTEROL 38mg; CARBOHYDRATE 31g; SODIUM 373mg; PROTEIN 15g; FIBER 1g; SUGAR 1g

Bread Soup

This isn't really bread soup but rather a bean and vegetable soup with croutons. This version is from Tuscany.

The croutons are easy to make and delicious. Just cube some bread(I bought one of those mini-baguettes). Heat some olive oil and a crushed garlic clove in a skillet. Add some salt and bread cubes. Toss until brown on all sides. Oh and do not leave the croutons on the counter. You will eat them every time you go stir the soup!

I used kale because it's one of those things that's really good for me but I don't eat enough of it. I've never had collards so I might try that next time.

The soup is hearty and excellent. Definitely use dried or fresh pod beans as they give the broth incredible flavor.

Bread Soup
Zuppa de Pane

Adapted from How to cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman

1 1/2 cup cranberry, pinto or other pink spotted bean. I used cranberry beans.
6 cups vegetable stock
2 medium onions, chopped
1 tsp fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 cups shredded savoy cabbage, spinach, kale, or collards
salt and fresh ground pepper
Croutons (see above)
chopped Italian parsley
Extra Virgin Olive Oil for garnish

Soak beans

Drain beans and combine with stock and one chopped onion. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until beans are very soft(this took about an hour an 40 minutes). Stir occasionally. Add salt, pepper and greens and simmer until tender. Five minutes for spinach, 15 minuted for kale.

Stir in croutons and garnish with parsley, onions and a drizzle of olive oil.