Archive for the ‘Main Dish’ Category

I realize I haven’t posted since the last time I won my office chili cookoff, which has been a few years.  Yikes!

But, I won again!  I pretty much used the recipe I did before but I had a few tweaks.  I also thought I had a jar of jalapenos but I didn’t.  So I tossed in a can of chipotle peppers w/adobo sauce which added a nice smokiness.  I want to do this version and add a bit of carrot along with the onion and green pepper to up the veggies and add to the flavor – but I didn’t have carrots at home and didn’t want to run out just for carrots.  So, this version is sans carrot.


Not a super picture – but it’s what I was able to snap at work before my hungry coworkers descended.



  • 2 tsp oil
  • 2 cups chopped onion (I used frozen diced onion)
  • 1 large bell pepper chopped
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 lb ground pork sausage
  • 1 lb beef sirloin (small cubes)
  • 1 (14 1/2 oz) can Rotel tomatoes
  • 1 cup strong coffee
  • 2 (6 oz) cans tomato paste
  • 1 small can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 12 – 24 fl oz of beef broth
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp cumin
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp red chili flakes
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp cocoa
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 2 cubes chicken bouillon
  • 1 (15-oz) cans cannellini (white kidney) beans
  • 1 (15-oz) cans dark red kidney beans


  1. Drain the canned beans and rinse them well.
  2. Brown meat, onions and bell pepper.
  3. Add tomatoes, coffee, broth and tomato paste.
  4. Add spices, beans and canned peppers.
  5. Simmer for 2 hours (or longer on low in a crock pot – my preferred method).

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So, my workplace decided to have their first annual chili cook-off today.  And I got 1st place!  Yay!

I used to help my family when I was a teen when my Dad’s chiropractic office entered a local chili cook-off (we were the Spine Tinglers).  So I figured this would be fun.

I couldn’t find any of our old chili recipes (they were always a work-in-progress anyways) so I based my recipe from “The Best Chili You Will Ever Taste” recipe from food.com.  I did tweak it a bit because that’s fun to do.  My version came out about a medium heat (nice and warming but without scorching out your mouth flesh).

2013 Chili Cook-off Recipe


  • 2 tsp oil
  • 2 cups chopped onion (I used frozen diced onion)
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 lb beef sirloin (small cubes)
  • 1 (14 1/2 oz) can Rotel tomatoes
  • 1 cup strong coffee
  • 2 (6 oz) cans tomato paste
  • 1 small can chopped jalepenos
  • 12 – 24 fl oz of beef broth (you can also add a can of dark beer and reduce the amount of broth)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp cocoa
  • 1 tsp marjoram
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 cube chicken bouillon
  • 2 (15-oz) cans light red kidney beans
  • 2 (15-oz) cans dark red kidney beans


  1. Drain the canned beans and rinse them well.
  2. Brown meat and onions.
  3. Add tomatoes, coffee, broth (and beer, if using) and tomato paste.
  4. Add spices, beans and peppers.
  5. Simmer for 2 hours (or longer on low in a crock pot – my preferred method).

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My mother has asked for this recipe and so I figured I’d share it here as well.  It is one of my go to crockpot recipes because it is super easy and super tasty.  I actually took the leftovers of this and put over tortilla chips (instead of rice) and made some rockin’ Salsa Chicken nachos.

The original recipe is from SparkRecipes but I have tweaked it a bit from the original recipe found here: http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=672711.  The original recipe calls for cream of mushroom soup but I prefer the cream of chicken.  They also leave the chicken breasts whole and I prefer to shred it.  Both are personal preferences on my part.  I’m sure it’s tasty either way.  🙂

Salsa Chicken


  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (depending on the size, I only used 2 the last time I made this because the chicken breasts were HUGE)
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup (I use the low sodium/low fat version)
  • 1-2 Tbsp taco seasoning (or 1 packet)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (I use the low fat version)
  • Shredded cheese (Mexican blend) – optional
  • Rice


  1. Mix salsa, soup and seasoning in the crock pot.  Add chicken.  Cook on low heat for 6-8 hours.
  2. Take chicken out and shred it.  Mix chicken back into crock pot and add sour cream.
  3. Serve over cooked rice and sprinkle with shredded cheese if wanted.

The next time I fix this I’ll try to take a picture.

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Since it’s been chilly around here I think it’s time to try out some new soup recipes!

Monday night in preparation for the Ice-pocolypse that was going to hit the south, I decided to try Thai Chicken Soup.

I left the cilantro out of the original recipe since my husband does not like cilantro.  I also thought I had fish sauce in my pantry – but it turned out to be Oyster sauce.  I used that anyways.  I know it’s not the same thing, but I had it.  And it tasted just fine.  I also added more rice noodles than the recipe called for because I didn’t want to deal with a partial package of rice noodles (it wouldn’t go back in the original packaging – at least not well) and I really like noodles anyway.

Other than that, I pretty much followed the original recipe from the Food Network.

Thai Chicken Soup from the Food Network Magazine


1 Tbsp vegetable oil

1 onion, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 Tbsp green curry paste

6 c. low-sodium chicken broth

1 (15oz) can coconut milk ( I used the lite coconut milk)

1 Tbsp fish sauce

2 red bell peppers, thinly sliced

4 oz thin rice noodles, broken into pieces (I ended up using the whole package)

1 lb skinless boneless chicken breasts, very thinly sliced crosswise

1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice

1 cup freshly chopped cilantro (I omitted this and added parsley instead)


1) Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and curry paste and cook, stirring, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the chicken broth, coconut milk and fish sauce; cover and bring to a boil.

2) Add the bell peppers and noodles and simmer, uncovered, until the noodles are al dente, about 3 minutes. Add the chicken and simmer until just cooked through, about 3 more minutes. Stir in the lime juice and cilantro. Add more fish sauce and lime juice, if desired.

But, this was definitely a fun twist on a normal run-of-the-mill chicken noodle soup.  I think next time I have a cold, I’m going to be making this soup.

Last night I made a Roasted Garlic Soup which was also very good.  My husband thought it would be better as a sauce.  I think I might do that with the leftovers, just thicken it up with some pasta and chicken.  Mmmmm…  But I also liked it in soup form.  We definitely kept the vampires at bay because it has a lot of garlic in it.

I based my recipe on the Poached Garlic Soup recipe from foodnetwork.com; however I changed it around from the original recipe and I think it turned out quite well.

Roasted Garlic Soup


6 heads of garlic

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 c. diced onion

1 c. diced leek (white part only)

1 bay leaf

1 c. peeled, diced potatoes

4 c. low-sodium chicken broth

4 c. chopped swiss chard

1 c. heavy cream

1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning

salt & pepper to taste


1) Roast the garlic at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or until the garlic is soft.  Squeeze softened garlic from the peels (I suggest to let the garlic cool a bit before doing this).

2) Heat the olive oil in a heavy pot over medium heat.  Add onion, leek, bay leaf and a little salt.  Cover and cook until the vegetables are soft, but not brown, around 10 minutes.

3) Add the potatoes, roasted garlic, Italian seasoning and chicken stock.   Bring to a boil then reduce the heat cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

4) Add swiss chard and heavy cream and cook an additional minute until the greens wilt.

5) Blend in a blender until smooth.  Be careful to only fill the blender about halfway as the hot liquid will expand when blending

I served this soup with some ham & cheese melts that are basically home-made hot pockets.  I just wrapped some ham deli meat and cheddar cheese in crescent roll dough and baked.

These soups have definitely hit the spot with the weather being cold and nasty.  And I have a whole list of other soups I want to try!

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To finish off my Swedish weekend (even though it is Monday), I fixed Skinkpaj (Smoked Ham Pie) and Pressgurka Sallad (Swedish Cucumber Salad) for dinner.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any photos.  Because we were really hungry and ate it before I thought to take pictures.

Ooops.  But, it was quite good.

The Smoked Ham Pie is basically a kind of quiche.  It was quite good but it needed to cook longer than the recipe stated.  However, I think I overcooked mine a bit because I think it was a bit watery because the eggs were slightly overcooked.  But, it still tasted good.

I used just a regular pie crust which I don’t think is the same kind of crust that mördeg (the crust called for in the recipe) is but it’s Monday night and I really didn’t feel like trying to make crust from scratch.  I’m not the best pie crust maker at the best of times and I figured regular crust would at least taste good.  🙂

The original recipe calls for gruyere or herrgårdsost cheese.  When I went to the store, they didn’t have gruyere (and I don’t think I’ve ever seen or heard of herrgårdsost cheese before).  So, I ended up using just plain old swiss cheese.  I’m sure the flavor is different, but it was quite tasty nonetheless.

Smoked Ham Pie – Swedish Quiche (Skinkpaj) by diner524 at Food.com


1 pie crust (I used the Pillsbury ready made dough sheets – because I’m a pie crust cheater)

8 oz smoked ham, cubed

6 egg yolks

1 c. sour cream

1/4 lb Gruyere cheese, shredded (I used plain Swiss cheese)

1 tsp grated nutmeg

Salt & Pepper to taste


1) Press pastry dough into baking pan.

2) Set oven to 350 degrees F.

3) Combine egg yolks, sour cream, ham & cheese.  Pour over dough.

4) Bake for 20 minutes (I ended up baking mine for 40 minutes which I think might have been about 5 minutes too much).

Along with the Skinkpaj, I fixed a Pressgurka Sallad (cucumber salad).  It was a very nice, refreshing side to go along with the more rich ham pie.  Plus, my husband really likes cucumbers so it’s a win on the vegetable.

The original recipe calls for distilled white vinegar.  I only use distilled white vinegar to clean with because I personally think it is nasty to consume.  I ended up using a white balsalmic I had in my pantry but any white wine vinegar or an apple cider vinegar would do nicely.  I also did not add the caraway seeds since I’m not a huge fan and didn’t have any in my spice cabinet.

Swedish Cucumber Salad – Pressgurka by French Tart at Food.com


2 fresh cucumbers (I used 1 large English cucumber)

1 Tbsp parsley

1-2 tsp rough ground black pepper

1 tsp salt

3 Tbsp sugar

3 Tbsp white distilled vinegar (I used a white balsamic vinegar)

1 tsp caraway seeds – optional


1) Cut the cucumbers into the thinnest possible slices.

2) Arrange slices in a bowl.

3) Whisk together the vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper & parsley.

4) Pour over the cucumbers.

5) Place a plate with a weight over the cucumbers to squeeze out the liquid.

6) Chill for 1 hour.

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Tonight I wanted to try my broccoli a bit differently.  I wanted to roast it.

I’ve roasted lots of other veggies but I had yet to try broccoli and I have to say it was pretty tasty.  Since it was going along with my Crockpot Salsa Chicken I wanted to pep it up a bit which I did with some cumin and red pepper flakes.  But, roasting the broccoli gave it a nice texture and a slightly different flavor.  I think next time it needs a bit of garlic, didn’t think to add it when I was tossing it together but I think it will add a lot to the flavor.

So, here is what I did for my roasted broccoli:

Pepped Up Roasted Broccoli


1 large head of broccoli, cut the florets into bite size pieces

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1 tsp chopped garlic

salt & pepper to taste

Instructions: Toss it all together, spread on a sheet pan.  Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

I found the recipe for the Crockpot Salsa Chicken earlier this year on SparkRecipes. I’ve again tweaked the original recipe a bit to fit my tastes but it is seriously good eats.  The first time I made it I think my husband and I were fighting over the crockpot for seconds.  And given that it has been a bit chilly today, it should hit the spot!

Crockpot Salsa Chicken


4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 cup salsa

1 package of reduced sodium taco seasoning

1 can reduced fat/reduced sodium condensed cream of chicken soup

1 cup reduced fat sour cream

Shredded cheese blend (I usually use colby jack or a mexican blend)


Mix salsa, soup and taco seasoning in the crockpot.  Add the chicken.  Cook on low for 6 – 8 hours.  Right before serving, take the chicken out and shred and add back to sauce.  Add the sour cream and stir to combine.  Serve over rice and sprinkler with shredded cheese.

Like most things out of a crock pot, it’s not going to win any beauty contests – but it sure is tasty!

And for dessert: apple-cranberry crisp.  I don’t normally fix desserts during the week but I had some apples that were starting to look a bit sad and really needed to be used.  This isn’t the first time I’ve made this recipe.  The first time was over Thanksgiving where it got rave reviews.  And I LOVE apple crisps.  And the lovely thing about crisps is they are darned easy to make.

Again, with most recipes, I tweaked the original recipe I found on tasteofhome.com.  I took out the nuts and added cinnamon.  Because I LOVE cinnamon!

FYI, I think this is about the best cinnamon ever.  Well, technically Cassia, but it is made of AWESOME!

Apple-Cranberry Crisp


4 cups chopped, peeled tart apples

2 cups fresh cranberries

1 cup sugar

3 Tbsp. all purpose flour

1 tsp. cinnamon


1 1/2 cups rolled oats

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup butter, melted


Mix together the apples, cranberries, sugar, cinnamon and 3 T of flour.  Place in baking dish.

Combine oats, 1/2 cup flour, cinnamon, brown sugar.  Pour melted butter over oat mixture and stir to combine.  Sprinkle this mixture over crisp.

Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.

I prefer to eat it warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

I certainly don’t think that this is too shabby for a weeknight meal and it honestly didn’t take me long to prepare.


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