Southwest White Chicken Chili

White chili is not something that ever really intrigued me in the past.  It never looks that appetizing in pictures and I always overlooked it.  I now realize I was making a mistake.  I had no idea what I was missing!

This chili, while vastly different from my traditional chili, is very good and very flavorful.  It had just the right amount of spiciness from the peppers, creaminess from the soup, and heartiness from the chicken.  It is a real winner and I’ll definitely make it again.

This picture looks like chicken and dumplings, doesn’t it?  Next time, I’ll cut the chicken into smaller pieces.  🙂

Southwest White Chicken Chili

source:  adapted from


1 Tbsp olive oil

3 large chicken breasts, cut into small cubes

4 tsp chili powder

2 tsp ground cumin

pinch of red pepper flakes

1 large onion, chopped

2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1 can reduced fat condensed cream of chicken soup

1 soup can of water

1.5 cups frozen whole kernel corn

1 can white beans {Canellini or Great Northern}, rinsed and drained

1 cup of low sodium chicken broth – optional {use more or less to reach desired consistency}


Heat oil in a deep soup pot over med-high heat.  Add the chicken, onions, pepper, and spices.  Cook until chicken is cooked through, stirring often.

Add soup, water, corn, beans, and chicken stock.  Heat to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer at least 5 minutes.  Taste and adjust seasoning and add more broth accordingly.

Can serve with shredded cheese on top, but we didn’t.

Christmas Salad

Tim’s cousin made this salad for a family function a few months ago and I tried to recreate it at home not long ago.   I kick myself for not getting the exact recipe from her because I know there is something different about the way she made it.  I can’t quite put my finger on exactly what it is though.  For one thing, I know she soaked dry chickpeas, but I went ahead and used canned.  In any case, it is still delicious.   I’ll caution that you start small on the amount of onion that you use.  I have found that a little bit of raw onion goes a very long way.

Instead of a salad, I could see this used like a relish for grilled or roasted meat such as pork tenderloin.  And I could also see it used as a salsa.  With the addition of chopped tomato it would be fantastic scooped up with tortilla chips.

Named for the red and green colors, it is a beautiful salad any time of year that pomegranates are in season.  Not just at Christmas time.

Christmas Salad

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

seeds from one large pomegranate

1/2 of a small red onion, very finely chopped {or less}

bunch of cilantro, chopped {about 1/4 cup}

juice of one lime

s & p to taste

1 tsp cumin or to taste

drizzle of extra virgin olive oil {about 2-3 tablespoons)


Combine everything in a large bowl and allow flavors to meld for 1 hour before serving.

Jalapeno Hummus

I’ve commented over and over again about how much I love hummus, so I won’t go into it again.  I’ll just leave you with this kicked up version of hummus for the folks who love jalapeno like us.  Enjoy!

Sorry no picture here, but it looks just like my regular hummus only with tiny green flecks in it from the jalapeno.

Jalapeno Hummus

2 jalapeno peppers, ribbed and seeded {You could go with 1-3 depending on your tastes}

2 small cloves of garlic, peeled

1 (14 oz) can of chickpeas, drained

juice of 2 small lemons

1/4 cup tahini

4-6 Tbsp water

2-3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

pinch of salt

1/4 tsp cumin

Combine the jalapenos, garlic, and chickpeas in the bowl of a large food processor.  Pulse into coarse paste.  Add lemon juice, tahini, some water {start with 4 Tbsp}, salt, and cumin.  Process until fully ground.  Scrape down sides of bowl.  With the machine running, add the oil through the feed tube.  Scrape sides of bowl again and then process for a few more seconds to ensure that everything is combined.  May need to add more water to reach desired consistency.

Transfer to a storage container and refrigerate before serving to allow flavors to blend.

Berry Granola Bars

Here’s a new granola bar recipe that I tried out.  Even though I doubled the original recipe, it still makes a smaller batch than any of my other granola bar recipes.  It is a nice and quick recipe though that yields a thick cookie-like bar.  I have listed the ingredients as I made it {doubled}, if you want to cut it in half, use an 8 x 4-inch loaf pan for baking and cut into 8 bars.

We ate them way too fast to warrant freezing them, but the recipe indicates that they freeze extremely well.

Berry Granola Bars

Source:  cooking for 2 magazine, Spring 2009.


4 Tbsp butter, soft

4 Tbsp brown sugar

2 eggs

4 tsp corn syrup

2 tsp molasses

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1-1/3 cup old-fashioned oats

6 Tbsp all-purpose flour

1 tsp cinnamon

1/3 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup chopped pecan

1/2 cup dried mixed berries {blueberries, strawberries, cherries, cranberries…any combo totaling 1/2 cup is fine}


Cream butter and brown sugar.  Beat in the eggs, corn syrup, molasses, and vanilla.

Combine the oats, flour, cinnamon, and baking soda; gradually add to the creamed mixture and mix well.  Stir in pecans and dried fruit,

Spread into a lightly greased 8″ or 9″ square pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until set and edges are browned.  Cool completely and then cut into bars.

RP: Hummus

Sliced cucumbers with hummus is one of my favorite snacks, especially at my desk during the workday.  And we have tons of cucumbers coming out of our garden, so I decided to whip up a batch of hummus.  I have posted this recipe before, but it’s another one that I feel got lost within another post from over a year ago.  So, here it is again.


(adapted from Good Things Catered)

one 12-oz can chick peas
1-2 large cloves garlic {I prefer one}
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2-3 heaping Tbsp tahini {sesame paste}
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 tsp salt

Optional- pinch of cumin and pinch of paprika


-Drain water from the can of chick peas into a small bowl and reserve.
-In a food processor, mix together the chick peas with the remaining ingredients, being careful to add second half of lemon juice and tahini slowly, stopping to taste.
-Slowly add some of the reserved liquid from beans for correct consistency, (about 1-2 minutes) until a smooth, slightly fluid paste is formed.
-Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to meld.

Can top with a drizzle more of EVOO and chopped parsley for serving if you like.

RP: Granola Bars

I’m re-posting {RP} this recipe since it was buried in a post with 2 other recipes {both of which I still love}.  But, I just wanted to bring attention to this recipe again since I’m back on a kick of making homemade granola bars and this recipe is perfect for summer since you don’t have to use your oven.

These bars are ideal to take along to all sorts of summertime activities like picnics, biking, hiking, boating, and whatever else you can think of…even just for breakfast on your way to work.

Peanut Butter Granola Bars

Source:  adapted from Stephanie Cooks


2 1/2 cups Fiber One cereal {the kind that looks like twigs} OR Rice Crispies

2 cups quick-cooking oats

1/4 cup chopped nuts {I have used almonds and walnuts}

1/3 cup wheat germ

2/3 cup packed brown sugar

2/3 cup honey

2/3 cup peanut butter

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/3 cup mini chocolate chips


Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish with light cooking spray.

In a large bowl, stir together the cereal, oats, nuts, and wheat germ.  Set aside.

Combine the brown sugar and honey in a small saucepan over medium heat. Heat just until boiling, then remove from heat and stir in peanut butter, salt, vanilla and cinnamon until smooth. Pour over the cereal and oat mixture, stirring quickly (as sugar mixture cools it hardens quickly). Immediately press mixture into the prepared pan using the back of a large spatula. Lightly press chocolate chips into top of bars. Refrigerate for about 1 hour, then cut into squares. Store in an airtight container.


They are really difficult to cut when they are cold, so let them set out for a little bit before cutting.

Pineapple Shrimp Skewers

Updated 7-14-10 with pictures!!

Wouldn’t you know it?!  I finally make a recipe that will photograph beautifully and my camera battery is dead.  Seriously, these skewers turned out gorgeous!  They were a little time-consuming because of threading everything onto the skewers, but so worth it to me!  Tim, on the other hand, didn’t think it was so worth it and asked that I take the same ingredients and use them in a stir fry next time.  Quicker and easier.  I like the way he thinks. 🙂

Pineapple Shrimp Skewers

Heavily adapted from Milk and Honey


  • 1/2  cup  fresh orange juice
  • 2  tablespoons  minced green onions
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1  tablespoon  minced peeled fresh ginger (I used 1 teaspoon ginger powder)
  • 1  tablespoon  minced fresh cilantro (I used 1 tsp dried)
  • 2  tablespoons  rice vinegar
  • 2  tablespoons  low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1  tablespoon  vegetable oil
  • 2  teaspoons  grated orange rind (I omitted)
  • 1  minced hot red chile pepper (I substituted some red pepper flakes.)
  • 1  pound  large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 3/4 cup fresh pineapple chunks {I used canned pineapple and reserved the juice}
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1 onion
  • Cooking spray


  1. Update 7-14-10:  Soak bamboo skewers in the reserved juice from can of pineapple chunks.
  2. Combine first 9 ingredients in a bowl. In a separate bowl, add shrimp and pour in half the marinade; tossing to coat. Cover and marinate in refrigerator 15 minutes. Reserve remaining marinade.
  3. Chop pineapple, bell pepper, and onion into similar sized chunks.
  4. Remove shrimp from dish, discard shrimp marinade. Thread shrimp, pineapple and veggie chunks alternately onto each (8-inch) skewers.
  5. Heat large grill pan coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Cook skewers 4 minutes on each side or until done, basting with reserved marinade.

Serve over rice.

Asian Cabbage Salad

Next to my broccoli salad, this is probably my second signature salad.  I’ve been making it for at least 4 years and people always ask me for the recipe.  It is so bright and refreshing.  The vinegar in the dressing is sharp and perfectly balanced with the sugar.  And the black pepper may seem like an insignificant thing, but it really comes through in the aftertaste.  Total perfection!

I’ve found that it is best to make this right before serving.  Or at the very least, keep the dressing separate until just before serving.  A lot of times I will just keep the dressing on the side for people to add their own.  That way, if there are any leftovers they won’t get soggy.  The dressing will separate as it sits, so shake or stir before serving.

Add cooked chicken or shrimp for a complete meal.  Enjoy!

Asian Cabbage Salad

{source:  Healthy Recipes cookbook from State Farm Insurance Agents}


1 large head of Napa Cabbage, shredded {I’ve substituted lettuce before}

4-5 carrots, shredded {I almost always skip these}

3-6 green onions, thinly sliced

1/2 cup slivered or sliced almonds, toasted

1/4 cup sesame seeds or to taste, toasted

2 packages dry ramen noodles, broken up and seasoning pack discarded {I’ve gotten by using just one package before.}


1 cup salad oil {light olive, canola, etc}

4 T. sugar

4 T. seasoned rice vinegar

1 tsp black pepper

2 tsp salt


Chop up the cabbage so that it resembles ribbons and throw it in a large serving bowl.  Slice the onions and shred the carrots (if using) and add them to the bowl.  Crush up the ramen and add to the bowl {remember to discard the seasoning pack or save it for another use}.  Add the almonds and seeds too and then toss it all together.

Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a container that can be shaken.  Test the seasoning and sweetness of the dressing on a leaf of cabbage before serving and adjust as needed.

Homemade Tomato Sauce

I have mentioned my homemade tomato sauce numerous times {here, here, and here}, so I thought its time to finally post the recipe. You can use this recipe just as it is, or just use the method and go ahead and adapt to your taste.  For example, add a diced carrot and/or celery stick and omit the onion and peppers…whatever you like is fine!  I happen to prefer it chunky and peppery, but you may not, so add more wine, broth or water to thin it out and omit the red pepper flakes, etc.

This makes a lot, but it freezes nicely.  And, I know you may be thinking that it is easier to open a jar of sauce from the grocery store, but those generally contain more sugar than necessary.  A homemade batch of sauce only contains exactly what you like and want and you can control the quality of ingredients.  If you freeze smaller portions of this, it is just as easy to use as reaching for a store bought jar.

If you are making this for kids, pregnant women, or are just avoiding alcohol for whatever reason, go ahead and substitute any kind of broth for the wine (even though the alcohol cooks out, you can’t be too careful).



2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 bell pepper {any color}, diced

1 onion, diced

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 cup red wine

one 28 oz can crushed tomatoes

one 28 oz can diced tomatoes, slightly drained if you like thick sauce

one 14.5 oz can tomato sauce

3 or 4 heaping tablespoons tomato paste

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tsp dried parsley

1 tsp dried basil

1/4 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste

pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


In a deep soup pot or dutch oven, saute bell pepper, onion and garlic in oil over medium heat for a few minutes or until slightly soft and starting to brown.  Add wine and scrape bottom of pan with wooden spoon.

Then add all of the tomatoes and stir well.  Bring to a simmer and taste.  Then add seasonings, and taste.  Continue to simmer at least another 20 minutes {1 hour is better}, taste again and adjust seasoning.  It will get thicker the longer it simmers.

At this point it is ready to serve over pasta if you like it chunky.  If not, you could use an immersion blender to puree it if you like a smoother sauce.

Or, cool it down and freeze in smaller containers.

Pictured above – I added meat to the sauce.  To do this, add ground sausage {sweet or hot} or hamburger to the pot with the onions, bell pepper and garlic.  Be sure to thoroughly brown the beef.  Drain, and then continue adding the tomatoes, etc…

Keep in mind that if you add meat, you won’t be able to blend it to a thinner consistency.

Potato Leek Soup

So, this recipe was my first experience with leeks and I’m really happy I went for it!  Ever since reading the book and seeing the movie Julie & Julia a few months ago, I have wanted to make a potato leek soup.  I can’t remember if it is at the beginning of the book or movie, or both – that Julie makes a simple potato & leek soup and her husband thought it was the most delicious thing ever.   Anyway, my memory of that scene is foggy.  But the soup has been on my mind since then!

It was really easy to prepare too.  I had fears that the leeks would be difficult to clean, but they weren’t at all – just a quick rinse did the trick.  Now, there is a lot of chopping involved, but I don’t mind chopping at all.  I’m pretty quick with a knife and I find chopping to be a stress reliever. 🙂  I’ll definitely be looking for more recipes that call for leeks now that I’m comfortable with them.

Overall, we thought this soup was fantastic.  However, Tim did ask if that’s all we were having for dinner.  😦  So, next time I’ll definitely pair it with a side dish, maybe even just crusty bread would have been good.  Also, he is not a huge fan of meatless meals, so I may add some chopped ham next time.  Or, I’ll just use the recipe as it is for a starter course.

soup is hard to photograph!

soup is hard to photograph!

Potato Leek Soup {loosely adapted from A Year of Slow Cooking I didn’t slow cook it.} yields 4 small servings


1 or 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil

2 large leeks {white parts only}, rinsed and thinly sliced

1 medium onion, chopped

2 or 3 cloves of garlic, minced

5 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1″ pieces

4 cups low sodium chicken broth {veggie broth would work too}

dash of dried ground thyme

salt and pepper

1/2 cup milk – optional


Wash and chop all veggies.  Discard the dark green parts of the leeks.  the light green parts are fine.

Then, heat a stock pot with the oil or butter and add the leeks, onions and garlic.  Saute for a few minutes or until tender.  Add the ground thyme, salt and pepper.

Then dump in the potatoes and pour in the broth.  Bring to a boil, cover, and cook until potatoes are tender.

Turn off the heat and blend with an immersion blender to make creamy {or use a blender or food processor}.  If the soup is too thick for your liking, add 1/2 to 1 cup of milk or cream. {I added 1/2 cup skim milk.  Additional broth would work too}.  Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream, and chopped chives or parsley {which I didn’t have}.

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