Thursday, October 30, 2014

Chili from Dry Beans

Chili is easily one of my favorite foods. I know real Texas chili is supposed to be just meat, but I grew up in California eating predominately vegetarian chili. For me, the all meat chili might as well just be odd flavored spaghetti sauce. 

I had my fair share of chili growing up, but my parents never made chili. They would get it from a can or they would buy canned beans and make chili that way. I didn't realize how easy, flavorful and cheap it was to make chili from dried beans until recently. Now I won't make chili any other way.

Add or edit this recipe in any way you see fit. These are just the basics and they are totally flexible. You can use whatever beans you want as long as they add up to the same total amount. This time, I used cannelini beans instead of garbanzo because that is what I had in stock.

You can also cut this recipe in half, because this amount makes a full crockpot to feed a large party or a large family for many nights. We usually cut it in half and have more than enough for the two of us.

Chili from Dry Beans
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes (or 2-3 fresh whole tomatoes)
  • 1 lb ground beef (or chicken/turkey or omit completely)
  • 2 cups dry kidney beans
  • 1 cup dry black beans
  • 1/2 cup dry garbanzo beans
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen corn
  • 4 Tbsp chili powder
  • 2 Tbsp cumin
  • red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 7 cups chicken stock (or veggie stock, or water)
  • avocado, cheese, cilantro and sour cream for garnish

  1. Brown meat and drain off the grease completely
  2. Rinse beans but do not pre-soak
  3. Combine all ingredients in slow cooker and cook on low at least 8 hours. Adjust seasoning to taste if needed.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Chili Spiced Chickpeas

I think this is my new favorite snack to make when we have folks over for some low key football/board games at our house. Of course, we still provide the standards (fruit, cheese, crudite veggies, chips) and other things we always have in the house. This was a fairly recent discovery. I saw this idea on pinterest and have made it at least 3 times in the last month. It's that easy and that good.

If you are going to compare this to anything, I think it is most similar to corn nuts. It's just as crunchy and addictive, but a lot healthier. I really don't feel so bad about eating all of them. They are very versatile and you can change the flavors any way you see fit (curry powder, chili powder, dill for a pseudo ranch flavored...)

Chili Spiced Chickpeas


  • 1 14oz can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • pinch of garlic powder
  • a little less than 1 tsp salt
  • black pepper
  • cayenne pepper, depending on your desired spice level
  1. Toss chickpeas with all ingredients
  2. Spread on a sheet pan and bake in the oven at 350 until mostly dry and crunchy (will continue to harden as it cools).
  3. Check after half an hour, but it will probably take closer to 45 minutes or an hour.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Secret Recipe Club: Thanksgiving Turkey Burgers

It's Secret Recipe Club time of the month!

It feels like it has been so long since I've participated in SRC. I had to miss out on all the fun for September because I was busy getting married/going on vacation/not cooking at all. I've been trying to get back into a rhythm as far as blogging is concerned, but I've been slacking. I've needed some good SRC inspiration to get me motivated again.

For those of you who don't know, Secret Recipe Club is a group of bloggers who make another member's recipe (in secret, of course). Everyone reveals on their designated date and gets to see what another member made from their blog. It's a great way to showcase some of your older recipes and a great way to find out about some cool bloggers who also share a passion for cooking.

This month, I got to explore The Avid Appetite hosted by Rachel. Rachel is a working mom living in Jersey City with her husband, Shaun, and her adorable daughter. Rachel started cooking in an attempt to be a kickass wife who loved football (NY Giant specifically) and knew how to cook. What a lucky husband!

I've made the same attempts with my husband. I cook for him regularly, I've been cultivating an appreciation for football, and I love beer. He could have done worse for himself.

Anyway, back to SRC. Rachel had so many great recipes on her blog that were great for entertaining or having a weeknight dinner. I opted to make her Thanksgiving Turkey Burgers because it just sounded so good. I had a bunch of apples and ground turkey was on sale at the market. Sounded like the perfect recipe.

It was absolutely delicious. The apples and celery gave some moisture to the turkey and the flavor were just like a Thanksgiving leftovers sandwich. This was a great recipe that didn't need too many changes. I used fresh sage, rosemary and thyme in place of poultry spice. I also made fresh cranberry sauce with my last bag of cranberries in the freezer from last Thanksgiving. Next time, I would probably sautee my vegetables/apples first so I can cook it fully in the skillet (I ended up starting my burgers in the skillet and finishing them under the broiler). I would also add some walnuts or chopped bacon to my burger (because that's how I make my Thanksgiving stuffing)

Thanks so much for this awesome recipe, Rachel! I know it will become a regular thing in our house.

Thanksgiving Turkey Burgers (will make about 6. We halved this recipe)
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1 small yellow or sweet onion
  • 1 crisp baking apple, peeled cored (I used honeycrisp, but granny smith would also work)
  • 3 sage leaves
  • a few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • Fresh or dry rosemary
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cranberry sauce (homemade or canned)
  • mayonaise
  • rolls
  1. Dice celery, onion and apple
  2. Mix turkey, celery, onion, apple, herbs and spices together in a small bowl. Cook a small taster in a frying pan and adjust seasoning/herbs as desired.
  3. Form Turkey burgers into patties and cook in a hot skillet until colored on both sides. Transfer skillet to broiler and finish burgers until cooked through
  4. Meanwhile, toast your rolls (we used ciabatta) and spread with cranberry and mayo. Place burger on your roll and serve immediately. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Watermelon Sorbet

I can't believe it's already October. Where has the summer (and the year) gone?

I thought I was doing a great job of keeping up this blog during the past year since joining Secret Recipe Club. It has been difficult to get back into the swing of things since getting back from vacation, and for that I do apologize. I'm realizing now that I had a good many photos/recipes logged in drafts from before vacation, so I'm trying to get caught up with those at the moment. It's bad because I have to remember the recipe so long after, but good because it gives you a little taste of something beautiful as the seasons change (in this case, the long-gone watermelon)

This weekend it was 41 degrees Fahrenheit Saturday night. My husband and I were both surprised when we stepped outside to feel the chill and not remember where we had stored most of our winter clothes (we have not even unpacked them yet). Today it was back up to 75, but I'm not looking forward to how the weather will change in a couple weeks.

If you can still find watermelon in your local markets, you should really take advantage of it while it's there. This is a great way to use scrapings or mushy bits from your watermelon (or the edge waste you get from melon balls). The texture is more icy like a granita (probably because of the lower sugar ratio in the simple syrup), but still delicious. This was the first watermelon thing I've ever had that tasted like real watermelon and not like a jolly rancher.

Watermelon Sorbet (for a 2 quart ice cream machine)


  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cups seeded chopped watermelon
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice
  1. Heat water and sugar in a pot to create a syrup
  2. Pour syrup and watermelon in a blender or food processor. blend until smooth and add lime juice. Chill at least 2 hours
  3. Pour into ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer directions.
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