Browsing articles in "Main Course"
Feb 7, 2012

Recipe for: White Bean Chicken Chili

From the kitchen of: Isabel Canfield     Total time: 1 hr     Makes: feeds 6-8 people

While at work last Wednesday, I get a call from Jared telling me he just invited his boss, boss’ wife, co-worker and co-worker’s boyfriend to our house for chili and beer that coming Saturday. I immediately freaked out. Couldn’t he have given me more notice?! Apparently, not! Haha. After my minute of panic, I soon realized how delicious chili was and how easy it would be to feed 6 hungry people. Since the menu was already narrowed down, deciding what kind of chili to serve was the next dilemma. I have nothing against regular chili, but we decided to get all fancy and make it relatively healthy since my husband and his colleagues work in the health field. After all that was said and done, I came away with an amazing recipe to add to my list. It was hearty, flavorful and well-balanced. Maybe Jared should invite people without warning me more often…

1 medium red onion, diced
1 jalapeño, finely diced (remove seeds)
4 garlic cloves, finely diced
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups chicken stock
3 cans great northern beans, drained and lightly rinsed
1 can corn, drained
1 rotisserie chicken, shredded
1 small handful of fresh cilantro leaves
olive oil

1. Sauté vegetables.
Over medium temperature, heat a large pot with 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil. When the oil gets hot, add the diced red onion, jalapeño and garlic to the pot. Sauté the vegetables until translucent. About 5 minutes.

2. Season vegetables. After sautéing the vegetables, add all the seasonings—oregano, paprika, parsley, cumin, salt and pepper. Stir. Add the chicken stock and white beans. Gently stir to combine. Taking a potato masher, crush some of the white beans to thicken the sauce. Just a few mashes. Allow to simmer for 30 minutes on medium-low temperature.

3. Add shredded chicken and simmer. Meanwhile, remove all the meat from the rotisserie chicken and shred the meat by hand. Add the shredded chicken to the stock mixture and continue to cook for an additional 30 minutes. At the last 10 minutes before serving, add the corn and cilantro. Serve hot with your mix of toppings such as avocado, cheese, onion, crackers and serve with homemade cornbread.

P.S. If you’re wondering where the corn is in these photos, I photographed it without it. The corn was honestly a last-minute addition. It definitely worked out in the end. It added a sweetness to every bite.

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Jan 10, 2012

Recipe for: Lemon Pepper Crockpot Chicken with Homemade Gravy

FROM THE KITCHEN OF: Isabel Canfield
TOTAL TIME: about 6 hours on low, or 3 hours on high
1 large chicken, 2 cups of gravy

To some people, the crockpot stays in the kitchen cabinet untouched. For me, it is an appliance that helps create dinner with ease. I just love this thing! I’ve used it several times this winter, the most recent recipe was the classic beef stew on Pretty Tasty Things a few weeks ago. Well, this past Sunday, I broke out the crockpot again. I had to work all day at a bridal show, so what I did was prepare the chicken before I left in the morning. I chopped the vegetables, seasoned the chicken, popped everything in the crockpot and turned it on to low. I just knew I would be too tired to cook after talking to a million brides. I had Jared rotate the vegetables while I was away, and when I got home, the chicken was perfectly done. I made the homemade gravy with the juices from the chicken, definitely beats that pre-bottled crap. It was a very comforting meal knowing I didn’t do much at all to prepare for it.

1 whole chicken
1 lemon
3 celery, chopped
3 carrots, peeled + chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
olive oil
lemon pepper seasoning
salt + pepper
2 tablespoons flour

1. Prep vegetables. Chop the onions, celery and carrots in large chucks. Be sure to peel the carrots and remove the ends, as well as rinsing the celery. Place chopped vegetables in the bottom of the crockpot.

2. Season chicken. Remove the plastic from the chicken and rinse the chicken under cold water. Remove all the inside giblets, as well as, excess fat with a knife. Discard these pieces. Pat dry the chicken and place on board. Season the skin heavily with olive oil, lemon juice, lemon pepper seasoning, salt and pepper. Rub into the skin with your hands covering all the bird.

3. Cook chicken in crockpot. Once the chicken is seasoned, place the bird in the crockpot above the vegetables. Add the squeezed lemon halves just to add additional flavor. You can again season the veggies and bird with more of the lemon pepper seasoning and salt and pepper. Cook the bird in the crockpot for about 6 hours on low or 3 hours on high. Midway through the cooking process, move the vegetables on top of the bird so the bird is directly above the heat.

4. Make the gravy. The chicken releases a lot of juices while cooking in the crockpot. About an hour before it’s ready, spoon out 2 cups of the chicken juices/stock and set aside. In a small saucepan on medium-low temperature, add flour and 1/4 cup of the chicken stock. Stir until well-combined with a whisk. Cook the flour and stock together for about 2 minutes. Afterwards, slowly add the remainder of the stock stirring to prevent burning. Add salt and pepper to taste, and continue to cook for 15 minutes on low until the sauce thickens into a nice gravy. Pour the gravy over the chicken and homemade mashed potatoes.

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Dec 13, 2011

Recipe for: Classic Beef Stew

FROM THE KITCHEN OF: Isabel Canfield
TOTAL TIME: 20 min to prep, 4-6 hours on hi or 6-8 hours on low in crock pot
2 lbs of stew

I was a little rusty cooking this beef stew mainly because it’s been a while. We realized that soon after eating the fruits of our labor that we should have made this more often. I don’t think there’s anyone in the world that is unfamiliar with beef stew, but just in case, it’s essentially chunks of beef stewed in liquids, veggies and seasonings for a long period of time until everything gets super tender. This particular recipe is a fairly basic meant to be enhanced by what you enjoy. You really can’t go wrong. I’ve seen variations of beef stew with different veggies such as peas and mushrooms. I’ve seen it cooked with beer instead of wine. I’ve also cooked it over the stove than in a crock pot. It’s a comforting dish that can be eaten solo or with rice like I do. If you prepare this stew exactly as I have or change it up a bit to your taste buds, it’s a classic dish that should be in everyone’s kitchen.

2 lbs of beef chuck (boneless pot roast)
1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup red wine
1 cup water
3 celery stalks, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
handful of fingerling potatoes, chopped (or 2 russet potatoes)
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon bay leaves or 2 whole bay leaves
1 teaspoon garlic salt

1. Prep the beef. Cut the beef in large chunks. Season all sides with salt and pepper.

2. Sear the beef. Heat a cast iron pot at high temperature. Add the vegetable oil. Once the oil get hot, place the beef in the pot. It should sizzle almost immediately and start to smoke up a little. Brown one side for 1-2 minutes and then turn it over to brown the other side for another minute. Add the flour, water and wine to the pot and stir, being sure to scrape the bottom to get all the brown bits. Turn the heat to medium while you prep the vegetables.

3. Add to crock pot. Transfer the meat and the liquids to a crock pot. Add the chopped carrots, onions and celery and toss all together. Season with 1 teaspoon each of salt, pepper, thyme, bay leaves and garlic salt. Mix all together and cover. *Don’t be alarmed with the lack of liquid. The meat will cook down over time releasing its’ juices.

You can also add whatever seasoning you like!

4. Let it cook. Cook the beef and the veggies for either 4-6 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low in the crock pot. Halfway through the process add the potatoes into the stew. Meat is ready when it’s falling apart and potatoes are super tender. Enjoy by itself or with rice if you’re Asian like me :)

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Oct 11, 2011

Recipe for: White Margarita Pizza

FROM THE KITCHEN OF: Isabel Canfield
TOTAL TIME: 15 min to prep, 25 min to bake
1 pizza

I love the simplicity of a white margarita pizza. Topped with the freshest ricotta, local Hanover tomatoes, mozzarella, garden-grown basil, olive oil, garlic powder and salt. Truly, that is all what a pizza should need. The ingredients should definitely shine and in this pizza, they certainly do. Jared and I prepared this, along with a Caesar salad, for dinner last Friday for a good friend. This was the quickest to prepare and the perfect size for three individuals. I did cut some corners and purchased a pre-made pizza dough from Trader Joe’s. For $1.09, you can’t beat that. If you have time, by all means go ahead and make the dough from scratch. But, it’s totally OK to cheat without jeopardizing the taste or quality. One word of advice, don’t roll out the dough too thin or try to overcrowd the ingredients. Just add the right amount so that you have equal amounts of crust to ingredients. Plus, you don’t want to end up with a soggy crust while baking.

INGREDIENTS: (makes 1 pizza)
1 pre-made pizza dough (purchased mine from Trader Joe’s)
1 8-oz ball of fresh Mozzarella, thinly sliced
2 medium-size tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 cup ricotta, roughly
Parmesan cheese, grated
handful of fresh basil
olive oil
garlic salt

1. Prep the ingredients. Thinly slice the red tomatoes 1/4-inch thick, as well as the Mozzarella. Set aside on a plate.

2. Prepare the pizza dough. On a lightly floured non-stick baking tray, gently stretch the dough to form a circle or rectangle based on your tray. Once the dough is flat to your liking, drizzle about 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the dough and spread evenly with fingers.

3. Top the pizza dough. Spoon dollops of ricotta over the dough. Spread the ricotta all over using a spatula. Add the slices of mozzarella and then tomatoes. Afterwards, add a little more mozzarella over the tomatoes (broken up into pieces), sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese, garlic salt, regular salt and a little more olive oil.

4. Bake. In a preheated 350° oven, bake the pizza for 25 minutes. In the last 3 minutes of cooking, sprinkle the basil leaves over the pizza. The crust should be a light golden-brown when ready. Remove from oven and serve immediately. Enjoy!

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Sep 27, 2011

Recipe for: Chicken, Beans & Tomato Spaghetti

FROM THE KITCHEN OF: Isabel Canfield
TOTAL TIME: about 1 hr
enough for 3-4 people

When Jared and I experienced the wrath of Hurricane Irene, we were out of power for EIGHT days. During those eight days, we spent way too much money eating out that week. Yes, we did grill at home once or twice and saved some money that way, but our routine was so out of wack! The house was a mess, our fridge smelled really funky, our mattress was in our living room, crap was literally everywhere. Fortunately, my sister, who lives nearby, got her power back sooner than we did. So, we were trucked back and forth and cooked some meals at her place.

This particular meal came about on the 6th day in. We didn’t have much food at my sister’s house so we rummaged through her pantry and saw a few things that were ours when we had lived there. We defrosted some chicken and came up with this one-skillet meal that surprisingly turned out absolutely delicious. It’s amazing sometimes what you can come up with using every day, inexpensive items. This meal was hearty, yet delicate in taste with the beans and pasta, a perfect comfort meal for the Fall season approaching.

4-5 chicken thighs, skin on
1 can whole tomatoes, largely diced
1 heaping tablespoon tomato paste
1 can white beans, drained
thyme, oregano, red pepper flakes + basil seasonings
salt + pepper
1 cup water
1/2 box spaghetti pasta

1. Season chicken. Place the raw chicken on a plastic cutting board. Sprinkle both sides with basil, red pepper flakes, thyme, oregano, salt and pepper. Press the seasonings firm against the chicken skin.

2. Pan fry the chicken thighs. Heat a large, deep skillet on medium to low temperature. Drizzle a touch of olive oil. Once the pan is hot, gently place the seasoned chicken skin side down. Cook each side for about 10-15 minutes each, turning them occasionally to prevent burning. After 25-30 minutes, remove most of the fat that has rendered in the pan leaving some behind.

3. Add beans, tomato and pasta. At this point, add the white beans, tomatoes and tomato paste to skillet. Stir to combine letting it simmer for 5 minutes. Next, add the pasta to the tomato and chicken mixture. Break the spaghetti into thirds and nestle the pasta into the mixture.

4. Add water and simmer. After adding the pasta, pour a ½ cup of water. Gently press the pasta down so the pasta is slightly covered with the water. After 10 minutes, check on the pasta and stir. Add another ½ cup of water to the mixture and continue cooking for another 10 minutes until the noodles are al dente. *If you notice the spaghetti is a little dry, add a little more water to help.

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