Sunday, October 19, 2014

Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili #SundaySupper

The holidays are approaching fast and if you're budget is anything like mine, things get tight. Or should I say....tighter. Sales, coupons, making meals stretch, all become more focused for the next couple of months. If a meal can be made by only spending a few bucks....and makes enough for lots of leftovers...I'm one happy camper. When said meal tastes wonderfully delicious and is comforting and filling....I'm doing the happy dance. (probably something you don't really want to witness)

A while back I won Erin Chase's cookbook, The $5 Dinner Mom. It's a great cookbook in many ways. The recipes are good, quick and easy to prepare. I don't know if this meal is actually a $5 dinner as prices have gone up since it was published back in 2009. But the key is to purchase on sale, use your coupons and make things from scratch whenever possible. Foods that have been prepared and processed for convenience are pricey, but they lure us in because we all know how busy our lives are. And saving time appeals to us all. Funny thing is....a lot of those processed foods don't really take that much time to make. Especially if you plan accordingly and make it ahead of time.

Making this chili is easy, inexpensive, and doesn't use any processed foods. You're going to have some minor prep work, but trust's simple and worth the few minutes it takes. Not only will you be saving money, but you'll be avoiding a lot of unnecessary ingredients that come with packaged foods.

I did most of the prep work the night before (my time is very limited in the morning and I didn't want to get up any earlier that I had to...5:30am just isn't an option). All I had to do before going to work was toss it all in the slow cooker, turn it on...and bam! Dinner was in the making.

I'm going to be giving you 2 recipes here. One for the chili and one for the homemade basic white sauce. The basic white sauce is one of the major things I made the night before in order to save time in the morning (and it's a big money saver).

Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili

Inspired by The $5 Dinner Mom Cookbook by Erin Chase

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cup into bite sized pieces
1/2 onion, chopped
1 recipe for Homemade Basic White Sauce (recipe below)
6 oz green chilies (either canned or fresh) chopped
4 oz jalapenos (either canned or fresh) chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup dried Great Northern beans
2 ears of corn, kernels cut from the cob
1 zucchini, chopped
4 cups chicken broth (or water)
1 tsp cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
Avocado and cilantro to garnish (optional)

Note: I used about a pound of veggies. Keep this in mind when swapping with other preferred or less expensive veggies.

Combine all of the ingredients into your slow cooker. Set the slow cooker to low and cook for 8 hrs. Garnish if desired and serve.

Homemade Basic White Sauce
4 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons flour
3 cups milk
Salt and pepper to taste

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk the flour into the butter until a paste is formed and it bubbles.

Whisk in the milk and continue to whisk until the butter and flour have dissolved. Cook and stir for about 5 or 6 minutes, being sure that nothing sticks to the bottom or sides. The sauce will thicken a bit as it cools.

Tips: If chicken thighs are less expensive than breast...use them. If you find other veggies that you prefer, or are on sale....use them.

For more wonderful budget friendly meals, check out what the rest of the Sunday Supper team has in store for you!

Scrumptious Mains (Breakfast and Dinner)
Satisfying Sides
Sweet Treats
Sips, Spreads, and Snacks
Sunday Supper Movement Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Slow Cooker Lime Garlic Chicken #SundaySupper

Welcome to Sunday Supper's Slow Cooker edition.

The days are getting shorter but our schedules sure aren't, which is the perfect reason to use your slow cooker and why I'm going to keep this short and sweet!

We have a fantastic line up ranging from breakfast to dessert and everything in between, all made in that fantastic little counter top cooker that we all love and know as a slow cooker (or crock pot if you're old school like me).

If your days are as busy as mine (and maybe even more so) there's no reason you still can't enjoy a good home cooked meal with your family. So let's get started.

Slow Cooker Lime Garlic Chicken

Printable Version

1 1/2 lbs bone-in, skinless chicken thighs
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon summer savory or thyme
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup uncooked brown rice

Place the chicken in a 3-4 quart slow cooker. Add the remaining ingredients except for the rice. Cover and cook on low for about 8-10 hrs. During the last hour of cooking, stir in the rice. Turn the heat to high and continue cooking for another hour or until rice is done.

Remove the chicken. Place the rice on a serving platter and top with the chicken, pouring any remaining juices over the chicken. Serve with a side of your favorite vegetables.

Simple, and delish! Of course the chicken falls off the bone and melts in your mouth. The broth and juices make for an amazing rice. The prep is minimal but the results are major!

Satiating Soups
Scrumptious Mains (Breakfast and Dinner)
Satisfying Sides
Scintillating Sweets
Savory Baking
Sips and Spreads

Sunday Supper Movement Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Homemade Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup

There are a lot of recipes out there that call for cream of chicken soup. I mean....a lot! But I'd cringe whenever I used it. I mean....from the can. It's loaded with all sorts of ingredients that I don't recognize. Plus several that I do recognize as totally They certainly aren't ingredients I have in my pantry.

Guess what.....cream of chicken soup in a can is sooooo not necessary. It's incredibly easy in make. What do you think our great-great-grandmothers use to do? They made it! If you want to get real starts out as a simple rue and then you add a bit of cream and stock.

Basically, that's it.

Hardly any time at all to make and it's totally cheap! junk added. No preservatives. No chemicals. Just wholesome ingredients found in just about any kitchen.

I have some seasonings listed and of course they can be adjusted based on personal taste. Whether you change the quantity or the seasoning all together. Make it the way it tastes best to you. For example, the summer savory can be swapped with thyme. The poultry seasoning can be omitted or swapped with herbs de province, etc. etc. You get the picture.

Homemade Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup

Inspired by: Gimme Some Oven
Makes about 2 cups

1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cup chicken broth
3/4 cup milk
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
1/2 tsp summer savory
1/4 cup chopped chicken

In a sauce pan, over medium low heat, melt butter and add flour, stirring to combine. Stir and simmer for about a minute or so, being careful that it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.

Slowly stir in the chicken broth, mixing until smooth. Add in the milk and the seasoning; salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, poultry seasoning and savory.  Bring to a gentle boil, stirring constantly. Add in the chopped chicken. Reduce heat and continue simmering, stirring often, until thickened. It will thicken even more as it cools. Especially once refrigerated.

Taste and adjust seasoning accordingly.

Remove from heat, allow to cool.

Either use right away or store in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Use like you would any other condensed creamy soup.

What did I do with it? I made a really nice......

Roasted Hatch Chili Creamy Chicken Soup. 

You see, I had tossed some chicken in my slow cooker, along with some roasted hatch chilies (or any chili your little heart desires).

I then sauteed carrots, onion, and celery in a bit of olive oil. (this is what's so great about making soup. You just eyeball it, season it to taste and eat. It's all good).

I took out my condensed cream of chicken soup from the fridge, admired it for a second...loving how nice and thick it was

Added about a cup to my mirepoix (fancy name for the carrots, onion and celery combo)

I stirred in about 1 cup of chicken broth and added in my hatch chilies and chicken. Heated through....buttered up some bread, poured myself a glass of wine and prepared for a relaxing evening watching T.V.

The soup tasted as if it had been cooking all day long...complex flavors in such a short amount of time.

All due to a wonderfully easy, and way better tasting, condensed cream of chicken soup.

Makes me wonder why we allowed the food industry to talk us out of making it ourselves to begin with. Honestly...if you're putting together a casserole, take the extra 10 minutes or so to make your own soup base. I bet your family will be highly impressed with the flavor improvement.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Whole Grain, No-Knead Sourdough Bread #SundaySupper

When it comes to the term "unprocessed", people have various ideas of what that means. I'm not here to tell you what's right or what's wrong. All that matters is what's right for you.

Do you take the term literally? 'unaltered from an original or natural state'. Or do you look at it from a food standard point of view by judging the food as being unprocessed or not, based on the ingredients?

To process means to perform a series of mechanical or chemical operations in order to change or preserve something. Technically, we do this in our kitchens at some level, every time we cook or bake.

My view of "unprocessed" when it comes to food, is all about the ingredients. Bottom line. For example....flour. It goes through a process from it's original state as a grain in order to become the fine powder we bake with. Because I can, and do, buy flour from the store that is unbleached and NOT enriched, even though the grain has gone through a 'process' in order to become flour (and will again when it becomes bread), from a food standard point of view, it is "unprocessed'.

Now let's talk bread! Sourdough bread comes from a sourdough starter, also known as wild yeast. It doesn't like to be kneaded so basically all sourdough breads are no-knead. They're also slow rising.

If you want to make your own sourdough starter (it really is fun and if you have kids, the process could be fun for them too), here's a link to my post about how to make your own Sourdough Starter.

This loaf of bread almost became just a sourdough whole wheat bread. I couldn't find anything that said "whole grain" on the shelves with all the flours. So I went to the bulk bin section (I love stores that sell things in bulk out of bins!) and found some wheat berries. Now I was excited!!! Not that I have a grain mill or anything...but I do have a food processor. And it worked just fine for my purposes. It didn't grind it down as smoothly as a grain mill would, but I love the texture that I ended up with.

Of course, if you don't want to go through this or you can't find wheat berries, just use all whole wheat flour instead.

Another optional addition for this bread is adding Vital Wheat Gluten. Although it is processed it could be an exception that you allow in order to have a lighter loaf of bread. I made one loaf without and one with it. There was a difference in the crumb of course....the vital wheat gluten created a crumb that wasn't as dense, which might be preferable for sandwiches. The flavor was the same in both. I will include it in the ingredients. You choose whether or not you want to add it. Pictured is the loaf with vital wheat gluten added.

Note: If you grind any grains for your bread, I highly recommend weighing the flours rather than using a measuring cup. Flour from a bag has settled and will be more "packed" when measuring as opposed to freshly ground flours which have a lot more air fluff to them. This will result in an inaccurate measuring when using measuring cups. As a guide, 1 cup of whole wheat flour weighs 130 grams or 5 oz. This loaf of bread contains a total or 455 grams of flour. (various kinds of flours have a different weight)

Whole Grain, No-Knead Sourdough Bread

Inspired by: Nourished Kitchen

2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup whole grain wheat flour (ground wheat berries) You can substitute whole wheat flour
3 tablespoons vital wheat gluten (optional)
1/4 vigorous sourdough starter
1 1/2 cups luke warm water (room temperature)
2 teaspoons kosher salt

In a stand mixer, with a dough hook, combine all of the ingredients and mix on medium-low speed until a ball forms and sides of the bowl are clean, about 3 or 4 minutes (this can be done by hand but will take longer).

Oil a large glass bowl, to prevent sticking, and put the dough ball inside.

Cover with plastic wrap and let sit on the counter until it has doubled in size. This could take 6 to 8 hours.

Place a dutch oven or bean pot that is oven safe into the oven and preheat to 450' F.

While your oven is preheating, remove the dough from the bowl, onto a well floured surface. Form into a ball.

Cover it with the bowl and let set for 30 minutes.

Remove the bowl (reshape into a ball if the dough has spread) and carefully place into your preheated dutch oven. Cover with a lid (or foil if you don't have an oven safe lid) and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove the lid and continue baking for an additional 15 minutes or until it's a nice deep brown.

Remove from the oven and let the bread cool on a cooling rack before slicing.

Now let me tell you about a little handy trick I've learned over the years. If you have an electric carving knife....they are perfect for slicing bread!

This will not be anything like your typical store-bought wheat bread. Not only will the flavor be so much better and pure, but the texture will be very different. Because this is a sourdough bread, it will have that slight tang and chewy, 'toothy' texture.

Today's Sunday Supper is all about unprocessed. Enjoy the wholesome recipes below and feel good about what you're eating.

Alluring Appetizers and Stunning Sides
Enticing Entreés
Decadent Desserts
Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Easy Homemade Cream of Mushroom Sauce for October #Unprocessed

Today is the 1st of October. For me, it's a meaningful day this year. I'm taking a challenge by participating in October Unprocessed 2014

I am going to try to stay on track and not eat processed foods for the whole month. This is a challenge that's been going on every October since 2010. Andrew Wilder is the brains behind this wonderful madness. You too can participate in October Unprocessed 2014. Just visit Eating Rules and join in....the experience. I have a feeling your body will thank you.

What does unprocessed mean? I think people have a wide range of how far unprocessed can and cannot go. I personally like Andrew's definition....

"Unprocessed food is any food that could be made by a person with reasonable skill in a home kitchen with whole-food ingredients"

A lot of foods undergo some level of processing. It's just a matter of whether or not it can be done without all of the added junk. Not that you have to do it yourself (unless you want to) but you can eat things like cheese and pasta that you buy, just pay attention to the ingredients. You can use flour, just make sure it's not bleached and that it's not enriched.

Stuff like that is totally fine.

This isn't meant to make your life crazy. No one expects you to churn your own butter...just be mindful of the products you buy. Of course if churning your own butter is a life long dream of yours, and this gives you the perfect 'excuse' to do it....then go for it!

Before I keep going on and on....just visit the Frequently Asked Questions at Eating Rules and you'll see some wonderful posts that will give you some very valuable information about our foods.

With all that said, one of the things I pretty much try and avoid in my cooking in general, are those canned cream soups. There are a gazillion recipes out there that call for them, but they contain so many ingredients that I can't pronounce, identify and don't want in my body.

This recipe is NOT a condensed version. It makes just over 2 cups. If you're going to use it to replace condensed cream of mushroom soup, take into account that 1 cup of broth or milk that you'd be adding to the recipe as well and adjust accordingly.

Homemade Cream of Mushroom Sauce

Printable Version
makes about 2 cups

8 oz mushrooms, chopped or sliced (use whatever variety you choose)
1/2 large onion, chopped or sliced
1 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoons light olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons flour
Splash of vermouth, white wine or chicken broth
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup milk
1/8 tsp nutmeg
Salt and pepper

Heat the butter and olive oil in a skillet over a medium heat. Saute the mushrooms and onions until tender, stirring occasionally. Add in the garlic and saute for an additional minute. You'll know by the magnificent aroma when everything is ready for the next step.

Stir in the flour, and continue stirring for about a minute. Pour in a splash of vermouth, white wine or chicken broth. Stir to deglaze, getting up all that flavor off the bottom of the pan. Pour in the chicken broth and then slowly stir in the milk. Season with nutmeg and then the salt and pepper to taste.

Reduce heat to medium low and continue to stir until it begins to thicken. Make sure to keep it moving so nothing adheres to the bottom and sides of the pan, scraping as needed.

Reduce heat to low and let simmer until desired thickness, stirring frequently.

Now it's ready to add to whatever your heart desires. Like I said early, this makes over 2 cups...maybe 2 1/2?

I use this when making green bean casserole for the holidays. It's great in soup, casseroles or as is, poured over mashed potatoes or even roasted chicken

However you decide to use it, you'll feel so much better about what you're putting in your body. You'll appreciate the natural flavor of the mushrooms that shine in a way that does not happen from a can.

Let's just say...unprocessed just tastes right.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Chai Tea Jello Shots #SundaySupper

Are you all ready for a Fabulous Fall? So are we at Sunday Supper! Check out all of the fabulous recipes linked at the bottom of this post.

When you think of fall foods, does jello flit through your head?

Probably not.

What if the jello flavor were....chai tea? And what if we took it a step further by adding some spiced rum?

And then went even 5 steps further and topped it with pumpkin pudding?! Now we're talking!

This really is a fun little appetizer type dessert-ish un-drink almost cocktail, that would be great for your fall get-togethers. If you're not into rum, thats fine. Just leave it out. No worries. The beauty of this is that you control the strength of everything, from how strong and sweet the tea is to how strong (or non-existent) the alcohol  is.

Chai Tea Jello Shots
Makes approximately 12 shots (depending on the shot size)

2 cups boiling water
1/2 cup sugar, or according to taste. I recommend making it a bit extra sweet to balance the rum.
3 chai tea bags
2 packets of unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup spiced rum or according to taste (optional)
12 spoonfuls of pumpkin pudding (recipe to follow if needed)
Ground cinnamon
Ground nutmeg
12 whole roasted pepita seeds plus more for grinding

Stir the sugar into the boiling water until dissolved. Remove from heat and add the tea bags. Allow to steep for several minutes. Remove teabags, squeezing out the excess "tea" from the bags. Taste, adjust sugar if needed.

Stir in the gelatin and stir continuously until thoroughly dissolved, about 5 minutes. Add in the rum. Taste, adjust accordingly.

Carefully fill your shot glasses

Refrigerate for a few hours or over night.

Meanwhile, make some pumpkin pudding. The recipe below makes more than you'll need, but it's really good, so you'll want to eat it anyway. (or make more shots hee hee)

Pumpkin pudding:
Inspired by: My Recipes

6 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 3/4 cups milk (I didn't have enough milk so I used cream and it was wonderful)
1 large egg
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Combine the sugar and cornstarch in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Combine the milk and the egg, whisking together thoroughly. Gradually add to the sugar and cornstarch and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Whisk and stir for 1 minute. Remove from heat.

Combine the pumpkin, vanilla extract, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg in a bowl. Slowly add the pumpkin mixture to the milk mixture, whisking constantly. Place the pan over low heat and cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly, until thoroughly heated. DO NOT BOIL!

Divide among 4 dessert bowls (or one big bowl), cover the surface with plastic wrap and chill.

Once everything is chilled, take a handful of pepitas and grind them up in a spice grinder (I have an extra coffee grinder that I use just for spices).

Set up garnish station with a bit of cinnamon, nutmeg and extra pepitas

Place a dollop of pumpkin pudding on each shot, sprinkle with cinnamon, nutmeg and ground pepitas and top with a whole pepita seed. 

Serve with tiny spoons and enjoy leisurely. 

.Appetizers and Drinks
Soups, Stews, Chili, and Casserole
Salads and Side Dishes
Main Dishes
Desserts and Baked Goods
Sunday SupperJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy! You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Roasted Kabocha Squash #SundaySupper

Squash. When I was a kid, I didn't think I liked "squash". Probably more cuz of the name than anything. It just didn't sound right. Squash. Thank God, I figured out as an adult that I really love the stuff!

Learning all the wonderful ways squash can be made didn't hurt either. Steamed, pureed in a pie, soup, sauce, roasted, BBQ'd etc,'s all good. My favorite is roasted. Soups and sauces are runner-ups for sure. Oh oh man. Like I said...its all good!

It is the season for squash-a-plenty. This Sunday Supper is all about giving you ideas on what to do with your squash and how to enjoy the bounty, whether its from your garden, the farmers market or your local grocery store. Do you know what I recommend? Make a pledge to try a new kind of squash this season. There are so many different kinds out there....why limit yourself to the well known few?

When I saw this kabocha sitting in the bin at the market, I had no clue what it was. I wasn't even sure it was edible. Whaaaaat? I dunno....maybe it was one of those kinds you use to decorate, ya know? So I googled it right then and there and bought it.

Kabocha is an Asian winter squash, commonly called a Japanese pumpkin. It resembles a pumpkin in texture but is more like a mild butternut squash, maybe a bit sweeter. The sweetness will vary depending on how ripe your kabocha is.

(note: I noticed as I was about to begin making my dish that there was a "blemish" on top of my kabocha. Once I cut it open, I saw that it was very superficial and just cut it out. Not point in wasting the whole thing for one small area.)

To prepare, I sliced it in half, scooped out the seeds, cut it into manageable sections, then cut the skin away.

Easy peasy....chop it up and its ready to roast.

Roasted Kabocha
Inspired by Anne Burrell

4 cups kabucha cut into 1/2" cubes
Olive Oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Crushed red pepper flakes to taste
1 lb greens beans
1 lb fresh mushrooms (I used crimini), sliced
1/2 cup roasted pepitas for garnish
1 bunch fresh chives, finely diced for garnish

Preheat the oven to 375' F

In a large bowl, toss the squash with olive oil, cinnamon, crushed red pepper flakes and salt. Spread out onto a baking sheet and roast until very soft, about 30 minutes.

In a large bowl, toss the green beans in olive oil, crushed red pepper flakes and salt. Spread out onto a baking sheet and roast for about 15 - 20 minutes.

In a large bowl, toss the mushrooms in olive oil, crushed red pepper flakes and salt. Soread out onto a baking sheet and roast for about 7 - 10 minutes.

Once everything has roasted, combine them all together.

Look at those bright, beautiful colors! Everything roasted separately to keep their flavors individual. Garnish with the pepitas and chives and serve warm.

This was the perfect side dish for crispy lemon chicken. I even drizzled the vegetables with a bit of lemon and it was delish!

I was telling my daughter that this might even make it on this years Thanksgiving table. I'm always looking for ways to cook vegetables that will stand up to a turkey and I believe I have found the perfect mix.

There are so many difference kinds of squash and ways to use prepare them, check out the rest of Sunday Supper's squash recipes below.

Starters – Appetizers & Cocktails:
Pickles & Relish:
Soups & Salads:
Main Dishes
Side Dishes:
Sweets to Start or End the Day:
Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.