Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Creamy Chicken-Apple Chili

This chili recipe has been an Autumn favorite of my family's for the last 4 years now, and it never gets old. The flavors blend together perfectly to make a rich, creamy and satisfying soup. The total prep and cooking time is only 35 minutes, so you can whip it up on a busy night. Serve this meal when you have friends or family for dinner, and you will be sure to impress them. 
It makes great leftovers the next day...if your family hasn't gobbled it all up!

*this recipe came from a Rachel Ray magazine . Check out the original recipe on her website.

Chili Recipe
Serves: 8 Prep: 15 minutes Cooking Time:  20 minutes

 1/4 cup olive oil
2 lbs chicken tenders, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
4 tsp chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin 
salt and pepper
2 apples, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 onion, chopped
4 TB butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup milk
(2) 15oz cans pinto or white beans, rinsed
2 cups monterey jack cheese, shredded
Toasted tortillas for serving (optional)
scallions, chopped (optional)

1. In a large, heavy pot like a dutch oven, heat 2 TB olive oil over medium high heat. Add chicken, chili powder and cumin. Season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring for 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.
2. In the same pot, heat remaining 2 TB olive oil, Add apples and onion, cooking stirring until softened about 6 minutes. Add to the chicken. 
3. In the same pot, melt butter over medium-low heat. Whisk in flour for 1 minute, whisk in chicken broth and milk until thickened, about 3 minutes. Stir in chicken-apple mixture and beans, bring to a simmer then stir in cheese. Voila! Bon Appetit!


Who likes to CHANGE IT UP? 

~Instead of monterrey jack try mozarella or gouda.
~To add a little kick, try chipotle chili powder instead of regular.

Roasted Butternut-Apple Squash Soup

Happy Fall! This is definitely my time of year. When we moved to the Sacramento area 9 years ago, the one thing I liked least about this place is the hot, hot summers. So, when the cool breezes come in October, I am in perfect bliss and I usually go on walks every single day to enjoy the beautiful weather and admire the color changing trees. Besides, what is there not to like about picking apples from Apple Hill, pumpkin patches, and of course eating delicious soups that warm your insides? Here is an awesome recipe I found that uses the flavorful taste of roasted squash, onions and apples. Super simple! Check out the fun condiments to top things off!

*this recipe originally came from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics. . Check out her book on amazon

Roasted squash-apple Recipe
Serves: 4-6  Prep: 20 minutes Cooking Time:  50 minutes

 3-4 lbs butternut squash, peeled and seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes2 yellow onions, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 McIntosh apples, cored and cut into 1-inch cubes (I used Fuji)
3 TB olive oil
2 tsp salt, divided
1 tsp pepper, divided
2-4 cups chicken stock/broth
1/2 tsp curry powder

Optional Condiments:

Scallions, white and green parts, trimmed and sliced diagnolly
Flaked sweetened coconut, lightly toasted
Cashews, toasted and chopped
Diced banana

1. Preheat oven to 425*F. Place cut up squash, onions and apple on two baking pans, and toss with 3 TB olive oil. Sprinkle with 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. Roast for 35-45 minutes until very tender.
2. Meanwhile, heat the chicken stock/broth to a simmer in a small pot. When vegetables are done, in batches coarsely puree them. Add a little chicken broth (about 1/2 cup) so they will all puree together well. Place vegetable puree in a large soup pan, and add chicken stock/broth until you have a thick soup. Add the curry powder, 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper.  Serve with optional condiments.


Who likes to CHANGE IT UP? 

~Try chopped pumpkin or acorn squash instead of butternut squash.
~Instead of curry, try garam masala.  
~Use shallots instead of onions for a slightly different flavor. 
~Add a couple cloves of roasted garlic to the mix. 
~Feel free to swap the chicken broth of vegetable broth. 


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