Thursday, August 29, 2013

Cincinnati Chili With a Twist

Each morning starts the same... Get up, get Emily dressed, go for our walk, figure out what to make for dinner. It's kind of sad, now that I write it out. I had always dreaded the dinner part. Nobody really likes to decide on the evening meal when they've barely just eaten breakfast! While browsing Pinterest one day, I came across a photo that showed a week of meals planned out on a homemade white board (a picture frame and a white background). Perfect! So now, I plan my meals and then plan my grocery list around that week's plan. It actually saves me money because I'm not keeping us stocked on things we don't need.

Soooooo cool! 

So, I made this...

Please don't mind that it's empty. It's Thursday, which is planning day, so it's patiently awaiting to be filled in during nap time or after the little lady goes to bed.

Oddly enough, this recipe came about because I had hamburgers on the menu. We buy our ground beef in bulk and portion it into 10oz packages (4oz for each of us and 2oz for Emily). I had pulled a package to thaw with the intention of grilling burgers.

Then, Cal came home.

"Let's make chili," he says.
"Chili?" I respond, "We don't have enough beef thawed for me to make chili."

This resulted in a sad face, so I told him not to worry about it, I'd figure it out. I really wasn't in the mood for chili, but it's what he wanted... I really do give in more than I should, but this time, I'm glad I did!

And so, this recipe was born. I halved-ish my chili recipe to use 10oz of beef, threw it over some pasta, and, since I was now feeling creative, topped each plate with a poached egg, some cheese, and fresh jalapeƱo slices. I served it with a side of sour cream, but it wasn't really needed since I dulled the chili for Emily. Never the less... Yum!


10 oz ground beef
1/2 c white onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/8 tsp cinnamon 
1/2 can kidney beans, drained
4 oz tomato sauce
1/2 can diced tomatoes
3 T water
1/2 T chili powder (or more if you don't have a 1 year old)
salt and pepper to taste

Brown beef in a small soup pot. When cooked, push beef to one side and saute onion in beef fat until translucent (about 5 minutes).
Add garlic and cinnamon saute until fragrant (about 30 seconds)
Add kidney beans, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, chili powdee and water. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes.
Salt and pepper to taste. 

While chili is cooking, boil off a pasta of your choice. I used elbows because Emily can easily eat them.

Now, onto the poached egg. I have to admit, I had never poached an egg before. It always sounded like a very intimidating process, and, honestly, I was afraid of it. Now that I've done it, I can tell you there is nothing to be afraid of! It was sooooo simple. I waited until both the chili and pasta were done and sitting on low. 

Ready? Here it is...

Fill a medium, non stick saucepan with one inch of water. Add about a tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar. Bring that water to a boil. Crack an egg into a small bowl. When your water is ready, slowly dip the rim of the bowl into the water and let the egg slide out. Repeat with the second egg. At this point, cover the pan and remove from the heat (I simply turn off my burner). They don't need to cook long, only about 3 or 4 minutes. You want your yolk to be runny but your whites to be cooked. Remove them with a slotted spoon and place on top of your chili. Top with shredded cheddar and jalapeno slices.


I found that Alton Brown helped me a great deal. Here are his tips for success

Overall, the recipe is not all that bad for you. It's chock fill of protein with the egg and beef. Using a half a serving of elbow macaroni it rings in around 400 calories and is ridiculously filling! 


Monday, August 19, 2013

Orange Sriracha Glazed Chicken Kebabs

In this household, hot sauce is not an option. Well, at least on most things. Even Emily, at 18 months old, is a fan. So, when I find a recipe that calls for any type of hot sauce, it goes on the "must try" list.

I found an Orange and Sriracha Glazed Pork Chop recipe and decided to sub out some chicken breast chunks and make kebabs. The recipe calls for jarred (pickled) cherry peppers. I happen to be growing some in my garden this year, so I used those and added a little vinegar to make up for the pickled-ness of the store bought peppers. 

The recipe first calls to marinate your choice of protein in a garlic, cherry pepper, oil mixture. It's a quick 30 minute marinade, so nothing fancy. While your marinating your meat, make sure to soak your skewers too, if not using metal kebab skewers. You don't want them to burst into flame while grilling! You can also prepare your glaze while you wait. It consists of an orange juice, sriracha, soy sauce combo. Yum!

For my kebabs, I chose carrots, zucchini and some fresh cherry peppers. I chunked both the carrots and zucchini and removed the seeds from the peppers. I chose to par boil my carrots so that they would grill nicely but still be soft enough for Emily to easily eat. Boil them so they are still slightly crisp, but so a skewer will pass through with out any problems. Once they hit that point, be sure to shock them (drain the boiling water and immediately place them in ice water) to stop the cooking process. 

I lit my grill to hold a temperature around 300 degrees. I didn't want the chicken to dry out from cooking too quickly, but I still wanted it to get a nice 'grill marked' presentation. We use a charcoal grill. I, personally, find that it cooks and tastes better. If using a gas or electric grill, a medium heat will give you the desired result.

Ok, so onto the recipe!

Orange Sriracha Glazed Chicken Kebabs


1 clove garlic, minced
1 green onion, sliced
3 fresh cherry peppers, minced
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
3 T olive oil
1 tsp vinegar
1 8-10oz chicken breast

Combine all ingredients, marinade chicken for 30 minutes. *if you do not have fresh peppers, use jarred and do not add the vinegar.


1/4 c fresh squeezed orange juice
1 T Sriracha sauce
2 T honey
1 T butter, melted
1 tsp soy sauce
1 fresh cherry pepper, minced
1/4 tsp vinegar

Combine all ingredients. Let rest. *again, if using a jarred pepper, do not add vinegar

When ready to cook, place kebabs on the hot grill, let cook about 3 minutes. Flip, and baste with glaze. Cook another 3 minutes, glaze again. Then, simply cook until chicken is done (165 deg), basting occasionally. They won't take long... about 15 minutes depending on the size of the chicken chunks.

I served them over brown rice seasoned with salt, pepper and green onions.