Chili Mac

I have good news for you. Really, really good news.

Not only have I not dropped off the planet, I have actually been cooking and baking quite a bit. That, as well as coercing Sabrina into helping me decorate the house because Christmas is in, oh, less than three weeks.

She’s got bells, that jingle jangle jingle…..

No, I didn’t spike my coffee this morning, although it probably would have helped ward off the wind chill here – the weather literally turned overnight and we are expecting a low tonight of 28, along with 20-30 mph winds.


So my problem is that I didn’t (read: wasn’t able) to take any food photos. However, I plan on remaking many of those delectable delights this coming weekend (and hopefully getting our tree!), so I’ll be able to get back into my blogging groove.

My exercise groove is another story……


One year ago: Monterey Chicken and Mexican Corn Salad

Chili Mac – adapted from someone’s in the kitchen

8 oz. uncooked elbow macaroni (or any short pasta of your liking – I used rigatoni)
3 tbs.  vegetable oil
1 1/2 lbs. lean ground beef
2 medium onions, chopped medium
1 red bell pepper, chopped medium
6 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
2 tbs. chili powder
1 tbs. ground cumin
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (28 oz) can tomato puree
1 tbs. brown sugar
8 oz. Colby Jack cheese, shredded

Cook pasta in 4 qts. boiling water ~ about 5 minutes (or half of recommended cooking time). Drain pasta and set aside.
Wipe pan dry.  Add 2 tbs. oil and heat over med-high.  Add beef and cook till no longer pink.  Drain beef in colander.  Set aside.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Back to the pan — add rest of oil, heat over med-high.  Add onion, pepper, garlic, chili powder, and cumin.  Cook, stirring occasionally until veggies are beginning to brown ~ 7 min.  Add the diced tomatoes, tomato puree, brown sugar, and beef to the pan.  Bring to a simmer.  Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes until flavors have melded and sauce is slightly thickened.
Add pasta to pan.  Pour into a 13 x 9 or other 3 qt. dish.  Sprinkle with cheese.  Bake until brown and bubbly ~ 15 min.  Let cool 5 min.  Enjoy!

White Chicken Chili

Good morning and Happy October 1st! I woke up this morning with a crazy idea…..

No, I didn’t decide to run off and join the circus..

Although after my day yesterday, that is, in fact, a very tempting option…. no details are necessary, but let’s just say that having two hormonally imbalanced teenagers in my life makes things a bit ……. stressful sometimes.

But in the words of a very wise woman (aka Mom), I will survive this. They may not, but I will for sure🙂

the sweet and innocent duo

So what was my crazy idea? I decided that this will be savory week at Megan’s Sweet Life….. because contrary to popular belief, we really do partake in more than just quick breads and dessert around here.

For real.

First up?

White Chicken Chili.

I’ve been dying to try this ~ because although I make regular beef chili quite frequently , this seemed like a lighter option since it’s still quite hot in Vegas.

And, like just about every recipe from Cook’s Illustrated, it did not disappoint. The posse and I loved it.

White Chicken Chili – adapted from Cook’s Illustrated Online

3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken breast halves, trimmed of excess fat and skin
1 tbs.vegetable oil
3 medium jalapeño chiles
3 poblano chiles (medium), stemmed, seeded, and cut into large pieces
3 Anaheim chile peppers (medium), stemmed, seeded, and cut into large pieces
2 medium onions, cut into large pieces (2 cups)
6 medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 tablespoons)
1 tbs ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 (14.5-ounce) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 tbs fresh lime juice (from 2 to 3 limes)
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro leaves
4 scallions, white and light green parts sliced thin

Season chicken liberally with salt and pepper. Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add chicken, skin side down, and cook without moving until skin is golden brown, about 4 minutes. Using tongs, turn chicken and lightly brown on other side, about 2 minutes. Transfer chicken to plate; remove and discard skin.

While chicken is browning, remove and discard ribs and seeds from 2 jalapeños; mince flesh. In food processor, process half of poblano chiles, Anaheim chiles, and onions until consistency of chunky salsa, ten to twelve 1-second pulses, scraping down sides of workbowl halfway through. Transfer mixture to medium bowl. Repeat with remaining poblano chiles, Anaheim chiles, and onions; combine with first batch (do not wash food processor blade or workbowl).

Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from Dutch oven (adding additional vegetable oil if necessary) and reduce heat to medium. Add minced jalapeños, chile-onion mixture, garlic, cumin, coriander, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables soften, about 10 minutes. Remove pot from heat.

Transfer 1 cup cooked vegetable mixture to now-empty food processor workbowl. Add 1 cup beans and 1 cup broth and process until smooth, about 20 seconds. Add vegetable-bean mixture, remaining 2 cups broth, and chicken breasts to Dutch oven and bring to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until chicken registers 160 degrees (175 degrees if using thighs) on instant-read thermometer, 15 to 20 minutes (40 minutes if using thighs).

Using tongs, transfer chicken to large plate. Stir in remaining beans and continue to simmer, uncovered, until beans are heated through and chili has thickened slightly, about 10 minutes.

Mince remaining jalapeño, reserving and mincing ribs and seeds (see note above), and set aside. When cool enough to handle, shred chicken into bite-sized pieces, discarding bones. Stir shredded chicken, lime juice, cilantro, scallions, and remaining minced jalapeño (with seeds if desired) into chili and return to simmer. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper and serve.