Monday, September 28, 2009

Farmer's Market Chili ~ 9.28.09

One of my favorite places to hunt down recipes has always been the newspaper. Funny though because I don't even subscribe! Yet, I know every Thursday, the food section will be in the Post Gazette and if I don't clip it from my parent's stash of papers (which they drop off to me so that I can recycle them at our school) then I can simply go online to find some inspiration.

This recipe appeared a several weeks back when zucchini were abundant and taking over everyone's garden. Unfortunately, by the time I got around to trying this recipe... zucchinis were non-existent at our farmer's market. Not even ONE zucchini was left to sell! I had to trek to the grocery store to buy mine, but it was well worth the price.

I've adapted this recipe that was submitted by Lori of McMurray, Pa and renamed it to make it more appealing to my very discriminating in-house critics (aka my children).

One of the ingredients to this Farmer's Market Chili -that I've only recently starting using in the past year or so -is this Adobo seasoning with pepper (I buy the red capped bottle).

It has appeared in at least a handful of my favorite recipes and I added it to this one as well. You'll be surprised how much you use it once you've tasted it! I promise to post my favorite Mushroom and Artichoke Pasta that incorporates this seasoning very soon- I've been craving it anyway.

You'll notice my chili sits atop a fluffy cloud of homemade mashed potatoes. I never ate chili any other way growing up and thought everyone else did the same, until I got married! The night I made this I offered the kids a choice of baked potatoes or mashed potatoes. They all chose baked! The best part was that 3 out of 4 of them gobbled this up and declared it "DELICIOUS!" I'll add this to the running list of "ways I got my kids to eat vegetables".

Farmer's Market Chili
2 Tbs canola/vegetable oil
2-3 onions, small, chopped
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Adobo seasoning with peppers, optional
1-2 Tbs chili powder- I used 1, but may go 1 1/2 next time
1/4 tsp dried basil- I opted for the frozen cubes of basil from Trader Joe's in my freezer
1/2 tsp cumin
2 cups zucchini, diced- I used a combo of summer squash and zucchini
3-4 carrots, peeled and diced
2 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes- I used crushed b/c that's what I had
1 15 oz can white beans- cannelini, drained and rinsed
1 15 oz can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can water
In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat and saute onion until soft and tender. Add carrots and saute until softened (I did not do this the first go of the recipe and it took the carrots FOREVER to tenderize- so I'll try this the next time). Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and let simmer 35 minutes. (I let my simmer much longer, as a good chili should) Taste and adjust the seasonings- I added more Adobo to mine.
If the chili is too thick for your preference, you can add a can of tomato sauce and a small amount of water towards the end of the cook time.
The original recipe says this yields 6 servings. I filled three yogurt quart containers!
Serve a la your favorite way to eat chili... mine is pictured up at the top!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Chicken Crescents and bonus dessert! ~9.23.09

I might be exaggerating to say that my life changed quite a bit when I discovered this recipe, but not by much. The entire Costain crew loves these Chicken Crescents and that makes for a very happy momma. They don't even pick out the "red things" anymore! I know that crescent rolls might not be the healthiest of foods, but they are, in fact, the coolest food invention in my book and I depend on them for quick meals/appetizers/desserts often.

The original recipe can be found in the Three Rivers Cookbook III (known in our family as the "blue one") on pg 111.


  • 1 can crescent rolls
  • 3 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 2 cups chicken, cooked and cubed/shredded (whatever you want)
  • 1 Tbsp chopped pimento- I do not stress if I don't have this in the house, optional
  • 1/2 red pepper, diced and sauteed
  • 1/2 pound mushrooms, diced and sauteed
  • 3-4 green onions, chopped and sauteed
  • S & P
  • 2 Tbsp milk
  • 1/2 Tbsp chopped parsley

After I preheat the oven to 350 degrees, I start by putting the cream cheese and butter in a bowl and popping them in the microwave a few secs to soften. I mush them together with a fork with the chopped parsley.

Then I saute up the peppers, green onions and mushrooms. I season them with Salt and Pepper, to taste, at this junction, too. The amounts for this vary in my house depending on what I have. The original recipe calls for green pepper (only 1 Tbsp sauteed) and only 2 Tbsp chopped sauteed mushrooms. I use A LOT more than that, prefer red peppers and these are still stellar and filling! Don't they look delish all sauteed up...

And the star of this dinner... most versatile food invention evah... CRESCENT ROLLS! AND I'm not brand specific either. I prefer pillsbury, but I've bought store brand, "wally world" brand and others. Whatever floats your pocketbook's boat, in my opinion. If you are using these, don't forget to snip off the box tops and send them to a school you love!
You'll need to keep these in rectangles. So open the package and put them on a greased or silpat lined baking sheet. Smoosh the perforated edges together to form 4 rectangles.
Now, let's get the filling ready to go...

So, after you sautee the veggies, let them cool for a few in the pan or in a bowl. Then if you need to cut up your chicken, do that now. I almost always use leftover rotisserie chicken for this. However I have poached chicken to use specifically for this recipe and if I do this, I do double and freeze the other half for a day when I need cooked chicken in a recipe. (do you know how to poach chicken? I'll teach you if you'd like... Sarah Moulton taught me, she used to be on Food Network, I've learned a lot from that channel).

Okay, chicken's ready, put it in the bowl with the cream cheese, butter and parsley.
Add your sauteed veggies and the 2 Tbsp of milk. The milk helps it all to go together nice and smooth. It should be creamy looking- you're ready to fill those crescents.
Spoon about a 1/2 cup of the mixture on each crescent (if you have more, save it or open up another can of crescents- I can tell you what to do with "leftover crescents" later).
If only I took pics of this next part- you bring the four corners of the crescent roll together in the middle and twist... can you envision that? I hope so. It will look like a little purse, of sorts.

Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes. You'll want them to look like this... all golden and delicious!

If for some reason you have leftover crescent rolls b/c you have more than enough filling... consider yourself lucky!

Grab some chocolate chips or cinnamon chips or butterscotch chips or nutella-- something sweet that melts. And put a little bit in the large end of a crescent triangle. You want to roll it up in a crescent roll shape and make sure that the chips are hidden inside... they may oooze out while baking. Bake for about 9-13 minutes and you'll have chocolate crescents (or whatever flavor you put inside there). Nutella rocks, by the way.

Serve with rice and a salad! Buon Apetito!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Wild Rice Salad with Cranberries ~ 9.14.09

Wild Rice Salad with Cranberries
from The Three Rivers Renaissance Cookbook IV, Rania Harris
serves 8-10

I've made a few changes to this recipe over the past several times I've made it as I often have a bit of a hard time finding wild rice that doesn't come in a box with a flavoring packet. Trader Joe's to the rescue. I've used their version of wild rice and also added a brown mixed rice to it as well. No other changes were made to the recipe except that I used 2 cups of uncooked rice (cooked separately as their cook times were different). If you're doubling this, know that you can double the rice (as I stated above) and the other ingredients and you will still have plenty of dressing. Lastly, I only used olive oil, but you can certainly stick to the recipe and use 1/2 oo and 1/2 canola.

Cooked wild rice- begin with 1 cup and follow package instructions for cooking
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced red pepper
1/2 cup diced yellow pepper
1/2 cup toasted chopped pecans (toast first, then chop)
3/4 cup dried cranberries (I've also used this lovely little mix from Trader Joe's of cranberries, cherries and pomegranate seeds, mmmm)

6 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
1/2 cup olive oil
salt and pepper

Cook rice and drain any excess water and cool.

Combine rice with celery, peppers, pecans and cranberries.

Combine dressing ingredients in a lidded jar and shake shake shake!

Dress the salad with enough dressing to coat and flavor well. Refrigerate and taste before serving. (I often add the rest of the dressing after letting the salad sit in the fridge overnight- add salt and pepper to taste, too)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Back to School ~9.10.09

Made these from family fun Sept. 08. so cute and delicious, of course.

We are back to school over here and that means I need to get back to posting...

I'll be bringing you a week of recipes beginning next week and I promise to get those Taquitos, spinach balls, wild rice salad and a few more newbies up for you to see and try soon! You will not be disappointed!
Stay tuned....