Monday, February 27, 2012

Meatless Three Bean Chili

I love my crock pot.  Most nights when we get home and want a home-cooked meal, we end up eating around 9 or 10pm.  With the crock pot, we can come home to a hot meal whether it's a night we get home by 7 or if we have things planned after work and don't get home until after 9.  This recipe is one of our favorites to make.  It's so simple, there's really nothing too it!

We like cheese with our chili (and I like a good dollop of sour cream on top as of the things the husband and I agree to disagree on), so we needed a vegetarian option.  I googled to find one that sounded tasty, and I found this one from  This one's so basic but sounds so delicious.  It says it makes 4 servings, which sounds about right since the two of us usually have 2 bowlfuls each!  We like to have this with blue corn tortilla chips.

Meatless Three Bean Chili (adapted from CDK Kitchen)

1 can (15 ounce size) no-salt-added red kidney beans, rinsed, drained
1 can (15 ounce size) small white beans, rinsed, drained
1 can (15 ounce size) very low sodium black beans, rinsed, drained
1 can (10oz) canned diced tomatoes and green chilies
1 bottle of beer
3 tbsp chocolate syrup
1 tbsp chili powder (if you want to add heat, do 2 tsp chili powder and 1 tsp chipotle or hot Mexican chili powder)
2 tsp Cajun seasoning
dairy sour cream (optional)
shredded Cheddar or Mexican blend cheese (optional)

- In a slow cooker combine beans, undrained tomatoes, beer, chocolate syrup, chili powder, and Cajun seasoning.
- Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 6 to 8 hours or on high-heat setting for 3 to 4 hours.
- Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with sour cream and cheese, if desired.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Thai Chicken Noodle Soup

The What's Cooking message board on The Nest does a recipe swap every month, so I decided to join in this month.  This month's theme was soup.

This excited me because my husband and I both love Asian food and we're always looking for new things to make in our slow cooker.  We keep kosher, so we loved that this uses coconut milk as the base (which is dairy-free and can be combined with the chicken for this dish).  A lot of the ingredients were things I hadn't worked with before (fresh ginger, rice noodles, bean sprouts) but thankfully my local ShopRite had all of them (***Note - thin rice noodles are the same as "rice sticks", I learned this from Google after I could only find rice sticks in the Asian food aisle!).  I usually use ground ginger in recipes, but I think I may have to start using fresh.  It definitely adds to the dish!

I think my biggest challenge was finding time to make this because it involves chicken.  I wouldn't want to leave raw chicken just sitting around waiting for the timer on my slow cooker to start, so I had to make this on a weekend.  The prep time of peeling, chopping, slicing, etc took about 30 minutes (my knife skills could use some improvement), but nothing was difficult.  The one adjustment I made was I didn't put all 2 red bell peppers in.  As I was chopping them, it just seemed like so MUCH!  Maybe I bought larger ones than the person who came up with the recipe, who knows?  I ended up putting maybe one and a half peppers in there.  The chicken shredded very easily after the initial 3 hours cooking.  Something ended up coming up, so after the last 30 min I had to turn it to warm and head out for a bit, but it was good to go when I returned ready to eat 4 hours later.

I absolutely loved this soup.  I'm not a big jalapeno person, but by throwing it into the bowl along with the lime juice it definitely added a nice aftertaste of heat to the soup.  And the rice noodles were delicious, too, and made it more filling.

Slow-Cooker Thai Chicken Noodle Soup

3 chicken breast halves
3 or 4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbs. freshly minced ginger
2 (13.5 oz) cans coconut milk
4 cups chicken stock
3 Tbs. soy sauce
4 oz thin rice noodles
2 red bell peppers, diced
2 cups fresh beans sprouts
2 jalapenos, finely sliced
2 limes
cilantro for garnish
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

- In a slow cooker, add the coconut milk, broth, garlic, ginger, chicken, soy sauce, a pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper. Cook on high for 3 hours.
- Using tongs, remove chicken from pot and shred with two forks. Return to pot. Add the rice noodles, bell pepper and sprouts.
- Cook 30 more minutes. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.
- Serve each bowl garnished with sliced jalapeno, a good handful of cilantro and some gigantic squirts of lime. 

Thursday, February 23, 2012


My food processor - something I never saw in person until I registered for one.  Once I started using it, I don't know how I ever went without one!  For my first blog post, I'm going to share one of the simplest recipes I have; tapenade.  This recipe came from our good friend Yvonne.  She would always have this out when we came over.  We would go to her home and I would essentially plant myself in front of the dish and constantly take spoonfuls of this yummy app.  When she sent me the recipe I had no idea something that delicious was so easy to make!

***Key Note - Make sure that there are no pits in the olives.  Even ones that say they are pitted may have the stray pit in there.  The food processor won't be happy when it hits that pit!  We found at least 4 pits in our "pitted" olives.


Three 8-ounce jars of kalamata olives (without pits)
3/4 cup sun dried tomatoes
2 or 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

- Mix it all in a food processor!