Recipe—Creamy White Chicken Chili

DivaDiCucina_CreamyWhiteChickenChili

Chili is one of my favorite comfort foods and I love that this is a fun twist on the classic bean based dish, and the fact that it is super easy is a huge plus too. I took several different recipes I found online and mixed them all together and came up with this one for creamy white chicken chili. I think it turned out pretty darn fabulous! I used green chilies keeping it really mild so that everyone in the family would eat it but you can substitute jalapeños to give it a good kick. The mild heat is really balanced out nicely with the creaminess of the cheese and the sweetness of the corn. I served it up with some cut up tortillas on the side but a quesadilla would be great too. If you have any chili cook offs coming up give this recipe a shot. You may just get some extra points for thinking outside the box.

Note: To simplify this recipe and shave off some time, pick up a rotisserie chicken at the store and skip the first four steps. You can chop it up while the veggies are cooking.

INGREDIENTS
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
2-4 oz cans diced green chilies (use jalapeños if you like it hot)
15.5 oz can cannellini beans
1 1/2 c chicken broth
8.5 oz can corn
8 oz cream cheese, cut into a few pieces
1/4 c fresh cilantro, chopped

STEPS

  • Cut the chicken into bite size pieces and season with salt and pepper.
  • Melt the butter over medium heat in a large pot or saucepan.
  • Add the chicken and cook through stirring occasionally.
  • Transfer the chicken to a plate and cover with foil.
  • Heat the oil in the same pot and add the onion, bell pepper, garlic, chili powder, and oregano.
  • Season the veggies with salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes stirring ever minute or so.
  • Add the green chilies and cook for another 3 minutes.
  • Add the can of beans and all the juices, the broth, corn, and cooked chicken.
  • Simmer for 25 minutes.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low and add in the cream cheese.
  • Stir the chili until the cream cheese is completely melted and smooth.
  • Allow the chili to simmer on low for 5 minutes.
  • Remove the pot from the stove and stir in the cilantro.
  • Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.
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Recipe—Garlic Roasted Mushrooms

DivaDiCucina_GarlicRoastedMushrooms

How many times have you had mushrooms on hand and you just sautéed and served them up as a lackluster side dish? Never again! Okay, I’m sure we will do it again, but after having these flavor packed oven-roasted mushrooms my eyes have been opened to a whole new super easy way to prepare the fabulous fungi. I won’t deny, I have simply sautéed mushrooms an abundance of times myself but mushrooms deserve so much more than that! These roasted mushrooms are so simple and the flavors come together very nicely. This dish really has an elegant flare to it, perfect for a romantic dinner night. I served it with sliced tri tip and some crusty bread to sop up all those yummy juices. Can’t let wine go to waste after all!

Note: Chop any large mushrooms in half so that they all cook evenly.

INGREDIENTS
1 lb mushrooms (cremini or white)
2 tbsp capers
2 tsp garlic, minced
2 tsp olive oil
1/4 c white wine
salt and pepper
3 tbsp butter, sliced into pieces
2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 c flat leaf parsley, chopped

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 450º F.
  • In a small baking dish toss together the mushrooms, capers, garlic, olive oil, wine, salt, and pepper.
  • Top with sliced butter.
  • Roast stirring occasionally until the mushrooms are tender, about 15–20 minutes.
  • Remove mushrooms from oven and stir in the lemon juice.
  • Top with parsley and serve immediately.

Crowd Pleasing Super Bowl Recipes

DivaDiCocina_SuperBowl

Super Sunday is right around the corner! The Super Bowl is the biggest football game in America. It’s when we get together with family and friends to watch two rival teams have it out on the field (and of course over indulge in delicious food).

Whenever we have a Super Bowl party we typically serve one dish per quarter. Appetizers during the first two, a main course for the third, and of course a super ice cream sundae during the fourth.

I have put together some of my favorite recipes that are perfect for your big bash. Enjoy the game!

Appetizers

DivaDiCucina_QuesoFundido

Queso Fundido

DivaDiCucina_Poppers

Western Bacon Jalapeño Poppers

DivaDiCucina_BuffaloCauliflowerBites

Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

DivaDiCucina_CheesyMushrooms

Cheesy Stuffed Mushrooms Wrapped in Bacon

DivaDiCucina_ShrimpCups

Shrimp Taco Cups with Creamy Cilantro Lime Sauce

Warm-ups

DivaDiCucina_Chili

Chili (The Classic Kind)

DivaDiCucina_ChickenEnchiladaSoup

Crock-Pot Chicken Enchilada Soup

Meals

DivaDiCucina_FrenchDip

Crock-Pot French Dips

DivaDiCucina_PhillySloppyJoes

Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes

DivaDiCucina_ShreddedBeefTacos

Crock-Pot Shredded Beef Tacos

DivaDiCucina_HotHam&Swiss

Hot Ham and Swiss Sammies

DivaDiCucina_BBQChickenSando

Crock-Pot Pale Ale BBQ Chicken Sandos

DivaDiCucina_PopperGrilledCheese

Jalapeño Popper Grilled Cheese

Recipe—Utica Greens (Cooked Escarole)

Note: This picture does not do this dish justice! This should actually be called awesome escarole!

I recently received a bundle of escarole in my organic produce delivery and wasn’t quite sure what to do with it. After doing some research I found that on the West Coast it is commonly used in salads but on the East Coast it is more commonly cooked, Utica style. You can make this recipe with lots of other cooked greens as well. Such as radicchio, kale, and chard. This was a really great way to enjoy the cooked greens and get away from just sautéing them. All the great flavors came together nicely and created a really elegant, delicious, and complex side dish. Definitely a crowd pleaser!

INGREDIENTS
1 large head escarole, cleaned and chopped into large pieces
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 c prosciutto, chopped
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 yellow bell pepper, deseeded and chopped
1/2 c chicken broth
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
salt to taste
1/2 c breadcrumbs
1/4 c parmesan, grated

STEPS

  • Bring a large pot of water to boil.
  • Add the escarole and cook for 5–6 minutes until wilted.
  • While the escarole is cooking heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium-high.
  • Add the prosciutto and garlic and cook for 2–3 minutes making sure not to burn the garlic.
  • Add the bell peppers and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  • Drain the escarole when it is done and add it to the sauté pan along with the chicken broth, red peppers, and salt.
  • Gradually stir in the majority of the breadcrumbs and cheese reserving a little bit to sprinkle on top.
  • Transfer the cooked escarole mixture to a small casserole dish and sprinkle with the remaining breadcrumbs and cheese.
  • Finish off under the broiler for 4–5 minutes.

Recipe—Crock-Pot Loaded Baked Potato Soup

DivaDiCucina_BakedPotatoSoup

It’s been a chilly couple of weeks where I live and I just can’t seem to warm up. One of the only things that really seem to take the bite off is a big bowl of hearty soup. Well this loaded baked potato soup truly is comfort in a bowl and hits the spot on these cold winter days. This is one of those recipes that people of all ages will love. It’s creamy and cheesy just the way baked potato soup should be. It is amazing the amount of flavor you get from a few simple ingredients. Since this does require a little prep before it goes in the crock-pot it may not be the best thing to try and do on a workday. However, it is the perfect crock-pot meal to whip up on the weekend. Perfect for a cozy Sunday lunch or dinner while watching some football. Hope you love this favorite soup of mine as much as I do!

Note: You can certainly use fresh potatoes for this soup. I just use a bag of the frozen ones to save a few extra minutes, after all, that’s the whole reason I use my crock-pot. If you want to use fresh potatoes I recommend using 5–6 cups of russet potatoes peeled and cut into 1/2″ pieces.

INGREDIENTS
8 slices bacon, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp fresh thyme, minced (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
2 tbsp flour
salt and pepper
4 c chicken broth, divided
32 oz bag of frozen diced potatoes (I use Ora Ida Hash Browns, not the shredded ones but the little cubes.)
3 c cheddar cheese, shredded and divided
2/3 c heavy cream
2/3 c sour cream
4 tbsp chives, minced

STEPS

  • In a large skillet cook the bacon over medium high heat until crispy.
  • Transfer the bacon to a paper towel lined plate and place in the fridge until ready to serve the soup.
  • Pour out most of the bacon drippings leaving about 2 tbsp in the skillet.
  • Add the onion to the skillet and cook over medium-high heat until soft and lightly browned.
  • Add the garlic and thyme to the skillet and cook for another 2 minutes.
  • Stir in the flour, salt, and pepper and cook for a minute stirring constantly.
  • Whisk in 1 cup of the chicken broth.
  • Cook until the mixture starts to thicken and then pour into your crock-pot.
  • Add the remaining 3 cups of broth, potatoes, 3/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper to the crock-pot.
  • Cover and cook for 5–6 hours on low heat.
  • Using a hand masher, mash the potatoes in the crock-pot leaving some chunks in there.
  • Stir in the heavy cream, sour cream, and 2 cups of the shredded cheddar cheese.
  • Cook soup for another 20–30 minutes.
  • Right before serving heat the plate of cooked bacon in the microwave for 30 seconds.
  • Ladle the soup into bowl and top with remaining cheddar, bacon pieces, and chives.

Recipe—Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

A couple of weeks ago I got the first beets of the season in a my produce box and I knew right away that I had to put them to use making one of the most rich and elegant green salads I know of. This beet and goat cheese salad is so simple but is full of flavor. Each ingredient really stands out independently but they all are fabulous complements to one another. This salad is earthy, creamy, tart, and sweet, truly a salad from salad heaven, if there is such a place.

Note: This salad calls for roasted beets. You can get them in a can at your local market or you can get some fresh ones in the store and roast them yourself. I like roasting mine at home in the oven. (See here for how to roast your own beets!)

INGREDIENTS
1/4 c olive oil
1/4 c balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp garlic, minced
1 tsp sugar
3 c arugula
3 roasted beets, sliced (See here for how to roast your own beets!)
4 oz goat cheese
1/2 c candied walnuts

STEPS

  • In a small bowl whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, and sugar. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  • Place the arugula in a salad bowl or on individual salad plates.
  • Top the arugula with the roasted beets.
  • Drizzle the salad with the dressing and top with goat cheese and walnuts.

Recipe—Sausage Gravy

DivaDiCucina_SausageGravy

I was never really a huge fan of biscuits and gravy, until I had this recipe. Oh my goodness! Now I am hooked! I am a huge fan of breakfast and this is the perfect side to serve up with some scrambled eggs and potatoes. It is the ultimate in breakfast comfort food (especially after a night of drinking). I actually really like this gravy with Pillsbury biscuits, they are cheap, quick, and convenient. Sausage gravy and biscuits are perfect for a cold winter day and best of all it is super easy to make.

INGREDIENTS
1 lb roll breakfast sausage (not link or patty)
2 tbsp flour
2 c milk
salt and pepper

STEPS

  • In a medium skillet brown the sausage over medium high heat.
  • Remove the sausage when done and set aside.
  • Leaving the drippings in the pan, stir in the flour.
  • Cook over medium heat for 1–2 minutes.
  • Pour in the milk and whisk to combine.
  • Cook over medium or medium-high heat until thickened.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Serve over warm biscuits.

Kitchen Tip—How to Roast Beets

Beets are such a wonderful winter veggie but do you know what to do with them? I love mine roasted in salads. Beets are low in calories, are a good source of fiber, and contain a variety of vitamins and nutrients that can help prevent heart disease and certain types of cancer. I just love the vibrant color of beets. They are a beautiful addition to any dish and bring a unique flavor unlike any other veggie. Here are some step-by-step instructions on how to roast your very own beets.

Note: Roasting beets whole works great for beets the size of a tangerine or smaller but if you have large beets I recommend cutting them into quarters after peeling them. They will cook much faster that way.

INGREDIENTS
raw beets
olive oil
salt and pepper

STEPS

  • Preheat the oven to 400º.
  • Cut the stalks and the roots from the top and bottom of the beets.
  • Using a vegetable brush scrub the beets making sure to get off all the soil.
  • Peel the skin off the raw beets using a vegetable peeler.
  • Place the peeled beets in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat
  • Line a small baking dish with foil and place the beets in it.
  • Using a second sheet of foil “tent” the beets.
  • Place the baking dish in the oven and roast the beets for 35–45 minutes or until they are fork tender.
  • Beets can be eaten right away or you can place them in an airtight container once they cool and kept in the refrigerator. I slice mine right before serving so they don’t dry out.

Recipe—Garlic Shrimp and White Beans

A couple of weeks back I had the opportunity to be a guest blogger over at Rantings of an Amateur Chef. I shared this simple recipe for Garlic Shrimp and White Beans. In case you missed it here it is. 

DivaDiCucina_GarlicShrimpAndBeans

I absolutely love it when I can find a recipe that is not only fabulous but also incredibly quick and easy. Being a working mom those are mandatory criteria for a recipe to make it into our weeknight dinner rotation. This recipe for garlic shrimp and white beans is very simple and yet super flavorful and it only uses one pot making clean up a breeze. Score! I just put the pan right on the kitchen table and let everyone serve it up family style. This rustic recipe goes great with some crusty bread to sop up all the rich tomato sauce and a green salad to balance out the meal. Yum!

Note: If you don’t have a large ovenproof skillet just complete the first 9 steps in a regular skillet and transfer the bean and tomato mixture to an oven safe baking dish and then top with shrimp and finish off under the broiler.

INGREDIENTS
6 tbsp olive oil, divided
4 tsp garlic, minced and divided
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper (more if you like is spicy)
1 bay leaf
15 oz can petite-diced tomatoes, drained
salt and pepper
2 tbsp tomato paste
2-15 oz cans white cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 c chicken broth
1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tsp paprika
2–3 tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped

STEPS

  • Preheat broiler.
  • Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add 2 teaspoons of the garlic, chili powder, crushed red pepper, and bay leaf.
  • Cook stirring constantly for 1–2 minutes making sure not to burn the garlic.
  • Add the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper.
  • Using the backside of the spoon smash up any large chunks of tomatoes and cook until broken down, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the tomato paste and cook stirring constantly until the tomato mixture is a deep red and begins to caramelize, about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the beans and broth and bring to a steady simmer.
  • Cook down until the liquid has reduced and thickened.
  • In a large bowl combine the shrimp, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, remaining 2 teaspoons of garlic, paprika, and salt and pepper tossing to coat.
  • Lay the shrimp over the beans making sure they do not overlap.
  • Place the entire oven safe skillet in the oven under the broiler.
  • Broil until the shrimp are cooked through, about 4–5 minutes.
  • Carefully remove skillet from broiler.
  • Drizzle with dish with the remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil and garnish with the chopped parsley.
  • Enjoy!