Chili Braised Beef with Cornbread Dumplings

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Sometime back in August (or, July maybe?), I made a list of football food. Dishes I could cook up on Sundays while Mark and I were hanging out and watching the game. I had grand visions of lazy days and indulgent food.

What happened, you ask? Well, we’re Giants fans. I think that explains it well enough.

Still, there were a few things on that list that I couldn’t wait to make – whether we were footballing or not. This is one of them. Chunky, spicy beef topped with cornbread? I don’t think you could dream up a better meal for a chilly fall night.

Chili Braised Beef with Cornbread Dumplings
(slightly adapted from Donna Hay)
Serves 6

For the beef:
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 lbs. stew beef, cut into bite-sized pieces
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp. sweet smoked paprika
2 chipotle chilies in adobo
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 32 oz. can cherry tomatoes
2 cups beef stock

For the dumplings:
1 1/2 cups flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 cup instant polenta
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan over high heat. Season the beef with salt and pepper and brown, about three minute, cooking in batches if needed. Remove the beef to a bowl.

Heat the remaining oil in the pan, add the onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes, or until softened. Add the paprika and chipotle chilies and cook for 1 minute. Return the beef to the pan along with the brown sugar, tomato paste, cherry tomatoes, and stock, and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Cook for 3–3½ hours or until tender.

Preheat oven 400F degrees.

Place the flour, baking powder, polenta, buttermilk, salt, pepper, cheese and cilantro in a bowl and mix to combine. Spoon onto the beef and bake, uncovered, for 15–20 minutes or until cooked through and golden.


Chicken Pot Pie Soup

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After a few days of almost summer-like weather, we’re back to soup weather. It’s in the 50s and raining. I miss the warm weather already! Although, this soup is helping make the day a little brighter and warmer.

I tried out this recipe as part of the latest recipe swap – the theme was chicken. Chicken pot pie is such a comfort-food staple and this soup really captures the flavors of it.

Chicken Pot Pie Soup
(from Dough See Dough)
Serves 4

For the crust:
2 c. all purpose flour
2/3 c. shortening
1 t. salt
1/3 c. milk

For the soup:
2 t. olive oil, divided
2 chicken breasts, cooked and diced or shredded
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
3 celery stalks, diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 c. all purpose flour
5 c. chicken broth
1 1/2 cups frozen corn
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
Salt and pepper, to taste

To make the crust: In a large bowl, stir together the flour and salt. Cut in the shortening until well blended and mixture is crumbly. Gently stir in the milk with a fork and mix until just combined. Pat dough into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425F degees. Roll the dough out on a well-floured surface to 1/8″ thick. Cut into 3″ circles with a biscuit or cookie cutter. Lay dough on a lined baking sheet and bake for 12 – 15 minutes, or until lightly browned on top. Set aside.

To make the soup: Heat 1 teaspoon of the olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium high heat. Add  the potatoes, celery, carrots, and onion to the dutch oven and cook until the onions are soft and translucent.

Stir in the flour to coat vegetables well. Slowly stir in thechicken broth,1 cup at a time. Bring the soup to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer until soup thickens then add in corn, peas and chicken. Stir and cook until peas are heated through.

Serve soup hot with pie crust.

You can see what the others bloggers made for the swap below. Thanks, Sarah, for hosting!



Tomato-Basil Parmesan Soup

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Is there a more comforting meal than tomato soup and grilled cheese? If there is, I can’t think of it.

I’d been craving the classic combo when I ran across this soup. It struck me as a more grown-up version of my beloved canned tomato soup. It was really good. I loved the chunky vegetables and the addition of the parmesan cheese. I think I’ll be retiring my cans in favor of this recipe from now on!

Tomato-Basil Parmesan Soup
(from Today’s Mama)
Serves 4

1 (14oz.) can diced tomatoes, with juice
1/2 c. finely diced celery
1/2 c. finely diced carrots
1/2 c.  finely diced onions
1/2 t. dried oregano
1/2 T. dried basil
2 c. chicken broth
1/2 bay leaf
1/4 c. flour
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese
1/4 c.butter
1 c. milk, warmed
1 t. salt
Pinch of black pepper

Add tomatoes, celery, carrots, chicken broth, onions, oregano, basil, and bay leaf to a large slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 5-7 hours, until flavors are blended and vegetables are soft.

About 30 minutes before serving, melt butter over low heat in a skillet and add flour. Stir constantly with a whisk for 5-7 minutes. Slowly stir in 1 cup of the hot soup. Add another 3 cups and stir until smooth. Add all back into the slow cooker.

Stir and add the Parmesan cheese, warmed milk, salt and pepper.  Add additional basil and oregano if needed

Cover and cook on low for another 30 minutes or so until ready to serve.


Smokey BBQ Chili

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I love meatless meals that don’t feel meatless. Ones that are beefy and hearty and really stick to your ribs. This is one of them.

This is a vegan recipe, but it’s one that non-vegans would enjoy just as much – a perfect option if you’re having vegan or vegetarian friends over for lunch or dinner.

It takes a while to simmer so you have to plan ahead, but it’s totally worth it.

Smokey BBQ Chili
(from Oh She Glows
Serves 6

1 t. extra virgin olive oil
1 sweet onion, peeled and chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
2.5 T. chili powder, or to taste
1 t. ground cumin
1 t. smoked paprika
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
1/2 c. dry/uncooked black eyed peas
3/4 c. dry/uncooked black beans
6 c. vegetable broth
1 (28-oz) can diced tomatoes, liquid drained
2 T. tomato paste
1 T. chia seeds
1 c. frozen corn
2 T. your fav BBQ sauce
1/2 t. kosher salt, or to taste
Couple handfuls of chopped spinach, or other greens like collard, kale, etc

Soak the beans in water overnight or for at least 3-4 hours. Rinse and drain beans before using.

In a large pot, add the oil and sauté the onion and garlic over medium-low heat for about 5-6 minutes, until translucent. Add in the pepper and optional jalapeno and sauté for another 3-5 minutes.  Stir in the spices (chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, cayenne) and sauté on low another couple minutes.

Add the dry black beans and black eyed peas, broth, and drained diced tomatoes. Stir well. Now stir in the tomato paste. Simmer on low with the lid ajar for about 2.5 hours, checking often to make sure it doesn’t dry out. If it does, add a bit more broth to thin out.

About 15 minutes before it’s done cooking, stir in the chia seeds, corn, and chopped greens. The chia helps thicken the chili. Also stir in the BBQ sauce, starting with 1 tbsp at a time and tasting as you go. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


Buffalo Chicken Chowder

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This is the second year of the Souper Bowl at Branny Boils Over. She’s asked bloggers to share soup recipes in honor of they animals they love – and in return she’s making a donation to the ASPCA.

I’m always happy for an opportunity to show off these guys:

Kali and Rocky. We rescued them two years ago and they’ve become the heart of our little family. Words can’t fully express how much I love those little guys and how much they make my days better. You know what makes their days better? Chicken. More specifically, the freeze dried chicken treats that they love. All you have to do is yell “chicky!” in our house and they come running.

In that spirit, I decided a batch of chicken soup would be perfect for the Souper Bowl – but I wasn’t in the mood for something traditional. This was awesome – like a bowl of buffalo wings in soup form.

Buffalo Chicken Chowder
(from Closet Cooking)
Serves 4 

2 T. butter
1 lb. chicken, cut into bite sized pieces
1 c. onion, diced
1 c. celery, cut into small pieces
1 c. carrot, cut into small pieces
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 T. flour
3 c. chicken stock
1/4 c. hot sauce (or to taste)
1 large yukon gold or other boiling potato, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 c. heavy cream
1/4 c. blue cheese, crumbled

Melt the butter in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add the chicken and saute until golden brown, about 8-10 minutes. Add the onion, celery and carrots and cook until tender, about 10-15 minutes. Add the garlic and flour and cook until fragrant, about a minute.

Add the chicken broth and deglaze the pan. Add the hot sauce and potatoes, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper, mix in the cream and blue cheese and remove from heat when the cheese has melted.


Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

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Wednesday was a miserable day – cold, rainy and super busy. It was the perfect opportunity to try out my recipe for the latest swap. The theme was soups and stews and I received this soup from Maryanna at Taste & See.

This was perfect – a bowl of creamy comfort on a less-than-ideal day.

Interested in all the other soup and stew recipes that were part of the swap? Keep an eye on A Taste of Home Cooking – a recap will be up soon!

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
(from Taste & See)
Serves 2-3

1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can chicken broth
1 c. cooked, shredded chicken
2 c. water
1 T. butter
1 t. salt
1 c. half-and-half
1 c. long grain and wild rice mix

Melt butter in a large saucepan. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 30 minutes.


Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

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Another pot of soup. Another cookbook down. Another entry for Branny’s Charity Souper Bowl.

This was from a Longaberger cookbook I got at my bridal shower.  It’s a beautiful book with a lot of down-to-earth but not too simple recipes. I had put off trying this book because I was afraid they wouldn’t be that good – after all, Longaberger is known for their baskets, not cooking. This recipes was great, though. It is one of the best soups I’ve ever made.

It also gives me the opportunity to plug the Charity Souper Bowl hosted by Branny Boils Over again. For every soup recipe she gets, $1 will be donated to the ASPCA. It goes to help cute little guys, like this one:

That’s Rocky, our other cat. We adopted him the same time we adopted Kali. They’re best buds and they make our house so much more fun. Thanks again, Branny, for supporting such a great cause!

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup
(from Longaberger’s Fresh From the Pantry: Recipes for Every Day)
Serves 6

1 1/2 c. chopped yellow onions
1 T. minced garlic
2 T. olive oil
1 28 oz. can peeled, whole plum tomatoes
4 c. chicken stock
1 t. dried marjoram
1 t. dried basil
1 t. dried oregano
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 c. heavy cream
1 c. fresh basil, chopped
1/4 c. fresh parsley, chopped

In a dutch oven, saute the onions and garlic in the olive oil until transparent. Stir in the tomatoes, stock, dried herbs, salt and pepper. Simmer for 45 minutes.

In a blender, puree in small batches until smooth and then return to dutch oven. (To do this, I dumped all of the soup into a large, glass batter bowl and then poured it into the blender in 2-3 c. batches.)

Stir in the cream, fresh basil and fresh parsley.


Pasta and Bean Soup

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This was an excellent pot of soup for an excellent cause. Branny Boils Over is hosting a Charity Souper Bowl event to raise money for the ASPCA. So, this little post is going to be helping out some animals that really need it. How could I pass up that opportunity?

I couldn’t – especially with this one in my life:

That’s Kali – one of our two cats. (She likes hanging out with her fellow tuxedo buddy.) Mark and I are both strong believers in animal adoption; we got Kali last January and bringing her into the family was one of the best decisions we ever made. She’s such a little love. And, she helped with this pot of soup by batting dropping carrot pieces around the kitchen. Stuff like that is par for the course around here.

The soup itself is wonderful – packed with veggies and perfect for lunch on a cold day. It comes together quickly enough for a weeknight dinner too. It’s also quite figure-friendly – the original recipe (linked below) clocks in at 218 calories per each 1 1/2 c. serving. I made a few small adjustments to the original recipe but the number of calories in this version should be close.

Pasta and Bean Soup
(from Light & Tasty, February/March 2006)
Serves 5

1 c. uncooked small pasta
2 celery ribs, thinly sliced
2 medium carrots, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 T. olive oil
1 1/2 c. water
1 can (14 1/2 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (14 1/2 oz. cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
1 t. dried basil
1/4 t. salt
1/8 t. pepper
1 can (15 ounces) white kidney or cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups shredded fresh spinach

Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick saucepan, saute the celery, carrots, onion and garlic in oil for 5 minutes. Stir in the water, tomatoes, broth, basil, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until carrots are tender.

Drain pasta; stir into vegetable mixture. Add the beans; heat through. Stir in spinach; cook until spinach is wilted, about 2 minutes.


Broccoli Cheddar Soup

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If I don’t plan something for lunch, I generally don’t eat well. I’ve been making more of an effort to plan so I get a decently balanced meal. One of my new favorites is this soup. It’s perfect for these chilly days and one pot lasts me all week.

The picture below was acutally the last bowl of the batch – all the others got eaten so fast I didn’t get to snap any of them!

Broccoli Cheddar Soup
(from Annie’s Eats)

6 tbsp. butter, divided
¾ cup onion, chopped
1 cup carrot, chopped or shredded
4 cups small broccoli florets
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
½ tsp. onion salt
½ tsp. garlic powder
4 tbsp. flour
2 cups milk
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Freshly ground black pepper 
 
In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat.  Add the onion to the pan and sauté until tender, about 5-7 minutes.  Add the carrots to the pan and cook a couple minutes more.  Stir in the broccoli, chicken broth, onion salt and garlic powder.  Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer.

In a medium saucepan, melt remaining butter.  Add the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes until golden brown, whisking constantly.  Whisk in the milk and cook until the mixture thickens and bubbles, about 5 minutes.  Once the mixture has thickened, whisk in the cheese until completely melted.  Remove from the heat and add the cheese sauce to the soup pot.  Allow to simmer until warmed through and broccoli is tender.  Season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.  If desired, puree the soup with an immersion blender for a smooth texture.


Beef and Guinness Stew

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It’s officially stew weather here in NJ – chilly and rainy. This is just the type of thing to make for days like today; it’s thick and the Guinness gives it a really nice, sweet flavor. It takes several hours so it’s not usually a weeknight meal for us, but it does reheat well.

And, the smell while this is cooking is to die for. I might make this more often just to have  my house smell this good. Seriously.

Beef and Guinness Stew
(adapted from Cooking Light, March 2010 issue)

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 pounds boneless chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1 1/2 large onions, chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
4 cups beef broth
1 can or bottle of Guinness
2 tablespoons raisins
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
5 medium carrots, coin sliced
1 medium parsnip, coin sliced
1 medium turnip, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

In a Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add butter to pan. Place flour in a shallow dish. Sprinkle beef with 1/2 teaspoon salt; dredge beef in flour. Add beef to pan and cook 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides.

Add onion to pan; cook 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in tomato paste; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Stir in broth and beer, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Return meat to pan. Stir in remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, raisins, caraway seeds, and pepper; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Uncover and bring to a boil. Cook 50 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add carrot, parsnip, and turnip. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover and bring to a boil; cook 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Sprinkle with parsley.

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