Friday, October 29, 2021

Easy White Chicken Chili


Usually, on Halloween, I like to post a soup recipe, but this year, I think this chili recipe will do just as nicely. (Yes, I know I already have another posted white chicken chili recipe, but more is more, dontcha think?)
So, why soup on Halloween? Well, for one thing, you’re answering the door all afternoon giving trick-or-treaters their coveted sweets. Who has time to cook a dinner with all of those interruptions? Also, if you have a houseful of kids like we did growing up, with all of us coming and going at different times of day, this was the easiest way to fill everyone’s belly. Everyone was able to just serve themselves whenever they came home. Chances are all of your ghouls and goblins will be thankful for a nice steamy bowl of goodness to warm them up after being outside in the chilly Autumn weather.
And most importantly, I do it, because my Mom did. So that settles it.
 So anyway, let’s talk about this chili, want to?
I was recently doing some canning, and my unofficial 5th sister, Roz, came over to help. She had just finished making a crock pot full of apple butter to be canned, and of course I had several canning projects going on at the same time. Since I had so much multitasking going on, she was nice enough to bring lunch, and this was it!
 The recipe is from Bush’s Beans, and the recipe was right on the side of the can. It’s so easy, it comes together in a snap! And it uses a rotisserie chicken, which makes it a HUGE time saver.
 So the next time you need something quick and hearty, try this recipe. It’s an instant hit!

2 cans (15.5 oz) Bush's White Chili Beans, undrained
1 can (10 oz) diced tomatoes and green chiles, undrained
1 can (14 oz) reduced sodium chicken broth
1 can (10.5 oz) cream of chicken soup
1-2 medium jalapeños, seeded and diced
1 cooked rotisserie chicken, remove meat from bone and dice

Optional Toppings:
shredded Cheddar cheese, sour cream, cilantro, tortilla strips, avocado, lime wedge

In a 4-quart stock pot, add 1 1/2 cans of beans, mash the remaining 1/2 can chili beans with a fork and add to the pot.
Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add optional toppings, if desired.

Not of fan of heat, leave out the jalapeños. Want more heat? Add more! Or add a hotter pepper. As hot as you like it!
The best way to keep this warm is just to throw everything into a crock pot. Easy peasy! Feeding a crowd? Double everything!

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Joey's Garlic Pickled Brussels Sprouts


This recipe is kind of a side step from my usual mid-October posts. Usually, I would post something pumpkin or apple or Halloween-ish, but today, I thought I’d do some canning.
People often refer to summertime as “canning season” because that’s when you have your fresh produce, etc, but I like canning throughout the entire year, not just during the summer.
 So today, I decided to pickle some Brussels sprouts. WHAT??? yes, it’s true. When making pickles, you don’t HAVE to always use cucumbers. I’ve pickled peppers, onions, asparagus, even radishes! Pickle whatever you like!! And the best part is that you can change up your pickling brine to suit your fancy! If I’m doing sliced cucumbers or radishes, I like a nice sweet bread and butter pickle. But if I’m doing spears, or asparagus, or in this case, sprouts, I like a nice tangy garlicky dill.
So if you’re a fan of pickles, try pickling something other than cucumbers next time. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised! Have fun!

3-4 lbs Brussels sprouts
7 large cloves garlic
4 cups white vinegar
3 cups water
2 tbs yellow mustard seeds
2 tsp celery seed
1 tbs mixed peppercorns
2 tbs dill weed
2 tbs sugar
2 tbs salt
pinch red pepper flakes

Combine brine ingredients in a medium sauce pot over high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer. Let it simmer for about 5-10 minutes.
Meanwhile, using a sharp knife, trim the root ends of the sprouts, then slice them in half through the root. (if you slice it through the equator, the leaves will fall apart!). Also slice your garlic cloves in half. If you’re not going to can them, let the brine cool slightly so that it’s not boiling hot. Place the sprouts and garlic cloves in large glass container, then pour brine over. Let cool completely, then store in the fridge.
For canning, wash and heat your pint sized jars. (this made 7 pint jars for me). Fill your jars with sprouts, and two pieces of garlic each. Pour your hot brine over them until full, leaving an inch head space. Use a plastic knife to debubble, wipe your rims, then center your lids and place your rings finger tight. Waterbath or steam can them for 10 minutes, turn off heat and let them sit in canner for an extra 5 minutes, then move them to a towel lined counter to cool completely.
For best flavor, let them sit for a few weeks before cracking into them.

Ok, yes, I know, I know. A few weeks is a long time to wait, but I promise it’ll be worth the wait! I was thinking of serving these at Thanksgiving, so that’s why I’m making them now!
Switch up the brine however you like. Do you have a favorite pickle recipe, use it!
Want it to be more garlicky? Add more garlic! Want it to be spicier? Add more pepper flakes. It’s whatever you like!
Most pickle brines call for equal parts water and vinegar, but I like a stronger hit of sour, so I always go a little extra on the vinegar side.
Wanna add some fresh herbs? Go for it. I think I may use fresh dill next time. Want it to be sweeter? You can literally add up to 2 cups of sugar to this recipe. Don’t have any of these spices? Just add a couple tablespoons of purchased pickling spice and call it a day. It will all work.

Monday, October 4, 2021

Sweet Potato Cake Squares


Usually, when Autumn rolls around, I immediately jump into “pumpkin everything” mode. But this time, I thought, how about sweet potatoes instead? They’re pretty much interchangeable in baking, so I figured Why Not? Then I found a pumpkin cake recipe, gave it a few tweaks, and this is where I landed. It turned out perfectly! The flavors are very similar, but just the tiniest bit lighter, I think. And it came together in a snap.
 I made them for some of my dearest friends, and everyone absolutely loved them. I know your friends will love ‘em too! Enjoy!

For the Cake:
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice blend
1 tsp cinnamon
4 eggs
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups cooked sweet potatoes 

For the Icing
6 oz soft cream cheese
5 tbs soft butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Heat oven to 350ºF.
 In a medium bowl, sift flour, baking powder, salt, and spices. Set aside.
 In a mixing bowl, beat eggs and sugar.
Mix oil and mashed sweet potatoes into liquid mixture and beat until well mixed. Add sifted dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. 
Pour into a greased and floured 9x13 baking pan.
 Bake for 30 - 40 minutes or until cake tests done. 

Beat cream cheese and butter. 
Slowly beat in powdered sugar and vanilla extract until completely smooth. 
Spread over cooled cake and cut into squares.

The two biggest things to remember: don’t over mix, and don’t over bake. Other than that, it’s all pretty straight forward!
Don’t have sweet potatoes? Use pumpkin or butternut squash instead!