Monthly Archives: September 2011

Salted Caramel Squares

Salty and sweet.  Round two.

So I was at Starbucks last Friday night for, like, the first time since…I don’t know… probably since dinosaurs worked as baristas.  (If anyone else just got a crazy image of an apron- clad dinosaur unsuccessfully trying to steam milk with it’s teeny three-toed hand/foot let me know – we’d probably be great drinking companions.)

Anyway, since date nights are few and far between for us I thought I’d celebrate, you know, “me style” by getting something sweet to go with my Tall Caramel Latte.  Starbucks has such a tempting array of sweets…  all the HUGE pieces of cake, brownies, cheesecakes, cookies and whatnot.  Except since I’ve been tracking my calories on livestrong.com I am depressingly aware of the fact that those enormous goodies have like, 800 calories in them.  Le sigh.  BUT – on the upside – they also had a little tray of “petite” sweets all under 200 calories.

(Yeah, you guessed it.  They all looked lovely… and like they could be eaten in about one and a half bites.  But that’s okay.  I’m an adult.  I can be content with just a bite or two.  Repeat repeat repeat.)

So, since I’m a big time caramel addict I got a Salted Caramel Sweet Square to go with my Caramel Latte.  For 190 calories I was pretty impressed.  It had a shortbready crust covered with bits of pretzel (I think), something like fudge and sticky caramel on top.  I started thinking immediately of how I could do something similar at home (and make it easily adaptable to be gluten free).

These squares my daughter and I made last night in about 15 minutes.  She was very excited to help me make them which was cool because she never wants to do any cooking with me.  Say “chocolate” and a girl’s ears perk up I guess.

I’ve modified the recipe  slightly to make them a bit easier to handle.  We ate these with a fork for the most part but that’s easily adjusted.

They are almost gone now, by the way.  The kids and I cut them up this morning “to take pictures”…and then totally ate a quarter of the pan for breakfast.  Mommy nutritionist FAIL.

Here’s the set up –

First, preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Grab an 8″x8″ pan and crush up pretzels until you have about a cup.  I let my daughter use a glass to crush these straight in the pan.  You can crush them finer if you like.  We liked the larger bits though.  Gave the whole thing a nice crunch.

That’s mi’ja there.  Melt six tablespoons of butter…

And add it, along with two teaspoons of sugar to your crushed pretzels.  Mix thoroughly and use a fork to press it down evenly into the bottom.  Slide into the oven and bake for eight minutes.

Next we’re going to make a quick and easy ganache for the chocolate layer.  Classic ganache is simply one part chocolate to one part heavy cream (by weight).  Warm, it is used as a sauce.  At room temperature it makes a decadent frosting.  Cold out of the refrigerator it is almost as thick as fudge.  I used 8 oz of chocolate chips and a cup of heavy cream to get that bowl right there.  You don’t need that much for this recipe – I made extra to use this weekend.  For today, grab 4 oz chocolate chips and 3 oz heavy cream (1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp).  Using less cream will result in a firmer ganache that is easier to cut into bars.  Simply microwave your cream until boiling, pour it over your chocolate, and let it sit at least five minutes before stirring.  It will take a minute but eventually your chocolate and cream will come together into a smooth, pourable sauce.

And lastly, let’s make our caramel.  We’re going super easy today.  Unwrap 20 caramels (Kraft Traditional Caramels are GF, as are many others), add two tablespoons milk or cream (I already had the cream out so I figured what the heck), and microwave until hot and bubbly.

Stir together to form a very thick sauce.

Pour the ganache over your baked pretzel crust.

Now drop spoonfuls of caramel into your chocolate…

And swirl with a knife until pretty and marbled like this.  The caramel is heavier than the chocolate and will want to sink if you mess with it too much.

What’s this?  This is the one I made for my husband, the one out of six of us who can’t eat wheat.  His pretzels look, taste, smell, and crunch, EXACTLY like regular pretzels.  But his pretzels are shipped from Israel and cost literally TEN TIMES as much as regular pretzels do.  So he got his own little salted caramel in a ramekin.

And there we have it!  Salty, crunchy, creamy, chocolatey, caramely goodness!  And if you cut the pan into 16 small squares like these, your calorie count is considerably less even than the treat I had at Starbucks.  PERFECT with a cup of coffee…I think I’m going to go grab one right now 🙂

  Later all!

Salted Caramel Squares

1 cup crushed pretzels (GF or regular)

6 Tbsp butter, melted

2 tsp sugar

4 oz chocolate chips

1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp heavy cream

20 Kraft Traditional Caramels

2 Tbsp milk

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix crushed pretzels, melted butter, and sugar in an 8″x8″ glass baking dish.  Press down evenly with a fork and bake for 8 minutes.

Place chocolate chips in a bowl.  Microwave heavy cream until boiling and pour over chocolate.  Let sit five minutes and then stir until smooth.

Unwrap caramels and place in a small bowl with milk.  Microwave on high until hot and bubbly.  Stir until smooth.

Pour chocolate over baked pretzel crust.

Drop caramel by the spoonful over chocolate.  Use a knife to marble.

Refrigerate until firm enough to cut into squares.

Makes 16 squares.

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Avocado Corn Salsa

I flip flopped over what to call this for a couple of days.  You know that sweet corn salsa they have at Chipotle?  Well, this isn’t that.  But it has many similar elements.  Guacamole?  Salad?  Is it one of those?

This doesn’t really fit neatly into any of those categories.  But whatever it is it’s GOOD.  We used it as a filling for burritos the other night and it was perfect.  With a little seasoned chicken or steak or pork and maybe some cheese.  Yum.  Is it dinner time yet???

Here’s what you need:  Two ripe avocados, four plum tomatoes, a handful of cilantro (less than the bunch shown here), a lime, about 1/2 cup of red onion (that little bit was all I had left or I would have used more), a box of frozen corn (thawed), a can of diced green chiles, olive oil, salt, pepper, and sugar.  These are all ingredients I use frequently so it was easy to just throw this together with the tacos we were already having for dinner.  Well stocked pantry = Happiness.

Let’s start with our box of thawed corn and the can of chopped green chiles.  If I were feeling more ambitious I would grab a couple of Poblanos and put them on the grill to blacken and remove the skins.  Boil some fresh corn and chop them all up.  Oh wait.  I would do that if I were feeling more ambitious and it were JULY.  As it stands, fresh corn is gone and grilling in the mosquitoey dark is not fun.

Add in your chopped red onion.

Grab your microplane zester and zest a lime, being careful to take just the limey green zest and not the bitter, white pith underneath.  Oh, and also being careful not to zest your poor pinkie finger.  Ouch.

Look at all that green loveliness in there.  Once your lime is zested, cut it in half and squeeze all that wonderful juice into your bowl.  And for God’s sake, if you just zested your poor pinkie, do NOT use that same hand to squeeze acidic juice out of your lime.  Yaaaaaaaaaaaauuuuughhh!

Ahem…now…grab your salt and pepper and season to taste.  How much?  A pinch maybe?  I don’t usually measure salt and pepper.  Err on the side of too little and then taste.  I prefer Kosher Salt because it’s more difficult to accidentally over-salt your food.  And freshly ground pepper is great if you have a grinder.  If not, no big.

Add 1/2 teaspoon of sugar.

And two tablespoons of good olive oil.

Chop up some fresh cilantro.  I never measure cilantro.  I find for most things, as much as I can tear off the bunch with one hand works just fine.

Chop up your tomatoes and add them as well.

And finally, let’s add in those beautiful avocados.  I love when I cut them open on their most perfect day.  Just ripe and soft but not turning brown inside yet.  It’s a short window.  That perfect day is approximately the day they turn black.  And maybe a day and a half after that at most.  It’s all downhill from there.  If you can, try to find the greenest Haas avocados in the produce section.  Often when you buy a black one it looks like it will be good,  but then you get it home and find it’s all brown and abused looking inside.  No thanks.

Anyway –  easiest way to remove the pit without sacrificing any of the precious green stuff is to (carefully) slam your chef’s knife into the pit, exert a little bit of pressure, and then rotate the pit out.  Then (again, carefully), bang the handle of your knife into the edge of the counter and the pit will release and fall wherever you have planned for it to go.  The garbage disposal is not the best place.  Word to the wise.

Use a spoon to separate your beautiful avocado halves from their skins.  Discard the skins.  Chop them up into bite size pieces and add them into your salsa.

Oh, and, I should probably mention now, just like guacamole, this is something you want to make shortly before you’re going to serve it.  The second you cut into an avocado, oxidation begins to turn it brown.  It’s not like it will be inedible but it will be unappetizing after a few hours time.  The lime juice helps slow that process, and certainly covering it well by pressing plastic wrap down directly onto the salsa will help – but avocado brownage is as inevitable as death and taxes…so…don’t put off until tomorrow what you can eat today.  All right, I’m done with cheap, throw away advice.  You’re on your own now.

And there we have it!  So colorful, so flavorful, and so amazingly good for you!  You could eat this with chips, in burritos, or with a spoon.  It’s just splendid.  All the flavors play off each other so nicely.  The creamy mild avocados, the sweet corn, tart lime, pungent red onions, firm, juicy tomatoes, bright fresh cilantro, the chiles adding just a touch of heat.  Mmm.  Simply awesome.  Go make some tonight!

Avocado Corn Salsa

1 box frozen corn

1 (4oz) can diced green chiles

4 plum tomatoes, diced

2 ripe avocados, diced

1/2 cup diced red onion

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 lime, zested and juiced

2 Tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp sugar

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Instructions:

Combine all ingredients in a medium sized bowl and serve promptly.

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Filed under Sauces, Condiments, Dips etc., Sides

Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

 

Hey guys!  Today I am passing along to you a Paula Deen recipe that I have adapted to be gluten free.  If you are a fan of Food Network like I am you know if it’s Paula Deen – it’s GOT to be good.  She does the BEST comfort food.  And this cake is no exception.  It is so yummy, so moist, and so Fall.  Aren’t we all starting to think pumpkin right about now?  I know I am.  Oh, and it was so easy to make gluten free which is a big plus for me and my household.

Paula calls them “Pumpkin Bars”.  I say they are too tall and cakey to count as bars but whatever.  We liked this so much we ate the entire pan in one day.  So I made another the following day.  And then we devoured that by the next day.  No joke.  This stuff is addictive man.

I don’t have a million step-by-step pictures for you but I’ll do ya one better.  Here’s a Food Network video that demonstrates the whole process, start to finish.  My version is gluten free – and just as yummy.  You’ll also notice in the recipe below I made a couple of other changes.  I reduced the sugar and eliminated the cinnamon from Paula’s version because I used Pumpkin Pie Mix instead of straight pumpkin.  For some reason I can’t seem to get regular canned pumpkin at the store right now.  C’est la vie.

So anyway – super super simple.  Go get a can of Pumpkin Pie Mix and make some today.

 

Pumpkin Cake

4 Eggs

1 1/2 cups Sugar

1 cup Vegetable Oil

15 oz (1/2 of a large can) Pumpkin Pie Mix

280 grams/10 oz All Purpose Gluten Free Flour Mix (or 2 cups regular flour)

2 tsp Baking Powder

1 tsp Salt

1 tsp Baking Soda

 

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 8oz package Cream Cheese, softened

1 stick Butter, softened

2 cups Powdered Sugar, sifted

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

 

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease a 9″x13″ pan and set aside.

In a medium bowl whisk together eggs, sugar, oil, and Pumpkin Pie Mix.

In a separate bowl (or just carefully on top of the wet ingredients like I do) whisk together dry ingredients – your flour of choice, Baking Powder, Baking Soda, and Salt.

Combine wet and dry ingredients until totally blended and smooth.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes.

While cake is baking, using an electric mixer/stand mixer/a whisk and some bicep action, whip your softened cream cheese and butter together until lump free and smooth.  Slowly add in powdered sugar, mixing until fully incorporated.  Mix in vanilla.

Allow cake to cool completely before frosting.

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Buffalo Chicken Pizza

So, if you didn’t already get the memo…we eat a lot of pizza around here.  And I see nothing wrong with this.  A pizza crust is a blank, wonderful canvas on which you can put pretty much anything you want.  I love turning my favorite foods into specialty pizzas.  And this is one of the all time greats right here.

Given that I’ve lived in Northwest Pennsylvania for the last 17 years I’m not sure how prevalent Buffalo Chicken recipes are outside this region.  (Someone send me money so I can do some foodie traveling.  Thank you in advance.)  I mean, I know probably everyone in the Western Hemisphere has had Buffalo Wings.  And I’d be willing to bet everyone reading this has also had a boneless fried chicken breast smothered in some kind of spicy sauce and slapped in a bun and labeled “Buffalo” somethingorother.  But the innumerable permutations of the Frank’s Red Hot + Chicken + Blue Cheese + Celery equation?  I’m honestly not sure how common they are outside this area of the country.  (Again – anyone up for a foodie vacation???)

Around here you can find “Buffalo Chicken” pretty much everything.  Dips, sandwiches, omelets, salads, soups, pizzas, milkshakes.  Okay, maybe not milkshakes.  But the point is, being situated close to Buffalo, I suspect we have higher than average restaurant offerings of this sort.

And I, for one, am ecstatic about that.  I loves me my Red Hot.  On pretty much everything.  I eat so much of it I apparently rubbed off on my two year old twins who like to dip their food straight into it.

Yeah.

I freakin' love their advertising.

There are lots of recipes for Buffalo Chicken Pizza.  This is the way I do mine and I ❤ it very much.  And, like any good pizza recipe should be, it’s super simple.  For the gluten-eating people in my house I use this basic pizza dough recipe.  For my husband and any other Celiac family members that may be visiting I make this one.  Same method for each, I just do them back to back in my stand mixer – GF first to avoid cross contamination.

Here’s what you need for the rest of it.  In place of the traditional pizza sauce I use Blue Cheese Dressing.  On top of that go the cheeses, chicken, red onions, and celery.  I use four cheeses – Mozzarella, Cheddar, Monterrey Jack, and Gorgonzola, alternating them with the other stuff so it holds everything together nicely.  I hate when toppings fall off the pizza when you go to eat it.  Pet peeve.

So anyway, my formula is:

Blue Cheese Dressing (making sure it’s GF first if that concerns you – not all are)

Shredded Mozzarella

Diced Chicken Breast tossed with just enough Red Hot to coat

Shredded Cheddar

Diced Red Onions

Shredded Monterrey Jack

Diced Celery

Crumbled Gorgonzola (again, making sure it’s GF if you need it to be)

More Red Hot drizzled on top

Right out of the oven. Mmm.

I’ve been having this pizza for breakfast all week.  Higher calorie count than I normally like in the morning but sooo good.   And filled with healthy protein so I’m cool with that.

If you like things really hot, you can always make some Hot Ranch to go alongside it for dipping.  Ranch Dressing + Red Hot = Hot Ranch.  Proportions are to your spiciness preference .  A local beach side eatery in our town has this in their condiment bar and I always grab several little cupfuls for dipping and putting on burgers and whatnot.  Yummy.

Enjoy!

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

1 one pound ball regular pizza dough or gluten free pizza dough

1/3 cup Blue Cheese Dressing (making sure it’s GF first if that concerns you – not all are)

4 oz Shredded Mozzarella

4 oz Shredded Cheddar

4 oz Shredded Monterrey Jack

2 oz Crumbled Gorgonzola (again, making sure it’s GF if you need it to be)

1 Chicken Breast, cooked, diced, and tossed with Frank’s Red Hot

1/3 cup Diced Red Onions

1/4 cup Diced Celery

More Red Hot drizzled on top to taste

Put pizza stone on bottom rack of your oven and preheat to 450 degrees.  If you don’t have a pizza stone and are using a non-stick pizza pan, put it in upside down while preheating.  (Why that matters I still don’t know)  Preheating the cooking surface ensures your dough gets fully baked without your toppings getting burned.

Roll out pizza dough to large pizza size (about 12-16″ diameter) on a large sheet of parchment paper.  Remember – smaller pizza = thicker crust.  And vice versa.

Top dough with dressing, cheeses, chicken, onions, celery, and Red Hot.

Slide pizza (parchment paper and all) onto hot pizza stone or pan (turned right-side up).

Bake 12 minutes.

Makes one large pizza.

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Filed under Main Dishes

Thin Crust Gluten Free Pizza Dough

I’m reposting this recipe because I finally have step by step pictures to go with it. The method is the same as for regular pizza dough and can be used with any toppings you like.  And while, like in making bread, there is no exact substitute for glutenous wheat flour, this still produces a very nice, thin crispy crust.

First, let’s get out our dry ingredients.  (I have to say here I kind of adore this recipe because – as far as GF flours go – these are some of the cheapest.)  We need corn flour, corn starch, sweet rice flour, potato starch, salt, and Xanthan Gum to start.  Oh, and the ever important kitchen scale.  We will be using equal parts of our flours/starches by weight.  This means no measuring cups as each has a different density.

First, place your mixing bowl on the scale and zero it out.  Or press the “tare” button.  Whatever yours says.  I’m using the bowl of my stand mixer.  If you have one, do the same.  It makes making dough a bazillion times easier.

Add all your dry ingredients to your bowl, zeroing out the scale in between each addition.  (Sooooo much easier for those of us who are computationally deficient.)  I use grams to measure most everything now because it’s more accurate than ounces.  We need 125 grams of each flour/starch plus 4 tsp Xanthan Gum and 1 1/2 tsp salt.  Whisk them all together and make a “well” in the center.

To our well we’re going to pour in 1 3/4 cups warm water.  (Think hot shower temp ~ 105 degreesish).  This is going to make our yeast so happy.  You WANT happy yeast.  Yes.

Speaking of which, there it is.  4 tsp of dry yeast will do it.  Just sprinkle it on top of the water and let it sit a few minutes.  We want our yeast to “bloom” (i.e. get foamy).  If you watch closely you can actually see the little guys go one by one.  Kitchen science is fun!

Okay, I’ll stop now.

After our yeast has bloomed, about five to ten minutes later, add in 1/4 cup olive oil.  Using the dough hook turn your mixer on low and let it run until the dough has come together completely with no loose flour sitting on the bottom of the bowl.

If you do not have a stand mixer don’t try to do this with a hand mixer – it won’t work and you’ll probably burn it out.  Mixing this by hand means just that – getting your hands into it.  Knead the dough (keep mushing and turning it) over and over until you get a soft, pliable dough.  No need to worry about overworking it, there’s no gluten to overwork.  And thankfully, this will be much easier than if you were trying to knead glutenous pizza dough.

When it’s done it will look kind of like a brain.

Now, to keep it soft while it’s rising, we’re going to drizzle a little more olive oil over the ball and turn it to coat.  Then just cover it with a clean towel and set it in a warm place.  If it’s summer that can be anywhere in the house.  If it’s winter (we only have two seasons here in northwest PA), turn on your oven for about 20 seconds.  Turn it off and put your dough in there to rise.  Those few seconds will be just enough to get it warm in there.  About 80-85 degrees is great.

An hour later here is our risen dough!  If you’re used to working with regular dough you’re likely looking at that and going, “It’s not done rising”.  Well yes, smartypants, it actually is.  It’s never going to rise as much as a wheat dough.  Just the way it is.  And that’s okay because we’re still gonna get a mighty fine crust out of it.

That’s my husband rolling out his dough between two sheets of parchment paper.  He insists on doing it himself because he loves using the rolling pin.

It’s the little things in life 🙂

Gluten Free Pizza Dough (adapted slightly from Gluten Free Girl and The Chef)

125g corn flour (Masa)

125g cornstarch

125g sweet rice flour

125g potato starch

1/2 Tbsp kosher salt

4 tsp Xanthan Gum

1 3/4 cups warm water (think hot shower warm)

4 tsp instant dry yeast

1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for coating

Instructions:

In bowl of stand mixer whisk together first six ingredients and make a well in the middle.

Pour water into the well and sprinkle yeast on top.  Let the yeast ripen for 5-10 minutes (until it gets foamy).

Pour in the olive oil and, using your dough hook, mix your dough on low speed until it comes together, maybe 3-4 minutes.  If you do not have a stand mixer, knead the dough with your hands until it loses it’s stickiness and becomes smooth and pliable.  This will take closer to 8 minutes depending how vigorously you work the dough.

Form dough into a ball (it will kind of look like a brain at this point) and rub all over with olive oil.  This keeps the outside from getting too dry while it rises.  Cover with a dish cloth or paper towel and leave to rise in a warm place.  In the winter I turn my oven on for about 20 seconds, turn it off, and then put my dough in and shut the door.  The few seconds the oven is on is enough to raise the temperature from the normal 65 of my house to around 80.  Perfect for making happy yeast.

Let it rise for at least an hour.  It will not rise as high as a glutenous dough and will not be as elastic but it will still roll out real nicely.  Rolling it out between two sheets of parchment paper is the easiest way – though some say that destroys all the nice air bubbles and that stretching it is the way to go.  To each his own.

This recipe makes two large crusts.  If not using both immediately, excess dough can be wrapped and placed in refrigerator for a day or can be frozen and used later.  I have no idea how long it will keep.  We always seem to need the freezer dough within a week :p

Makes two one-pound balls of dough

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Butterbeer

I realize I’m two months late in posting this but seeing as I have not yet gotten to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II, I’m going to indulge us all in a little swirl of fantasy today.

If you have ever read the Harry Potter series you’ve probably wondered what Butterbeer tastes like.  The slightly alcoholic drink is served in Hogsmeade and all over the wizarding world to thirsty witches and wizards.  It can be served hot or cold and ever since it was first described in Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban, fans have been trying to create their own versions.  According to J.K. Rowling, “I made it up. I imagine it to taste a little bit like less sickly butterscotch.”

That description leaves a lot of room for interpretation.  I’ve seen literally dozens of recipes online for Butterbeer.  I’m sure there are hundreds, if not thousands, in existence.  If you’ve ever been to a Harry Potter themed party (I’d be willing to bet someone reading this right now has – I have a lot of geeky friends) you’ve probably tried someone’s home version.

That’s me and my (then four year old) daughter at the Deathly Hallows pre-release party at Barnes and Noble back in 2007.  Getting into the spirit of things we tried to make our own version at that time.  We used Cream Soda and Butterscotch Schnapps I think.  (Obviously we reserved it for the adults)  And if I had to describe it I think “sickly sweet” would do it about right.  No one could stand to drink it it was so cloying.  I abandoned any further attempts after that.

However, when The Wizarding World of Harry Potter finally opened at Universal Studios in Orlando a couple years ago, my interest was renewed.  The Butterbeer recipe developed for Universal came after many, many different concoctions were tested and the end result was approved by J.K. Rowling herself.  It comes in cold and blended frozen varieties and is the most sought after item in the whole park.  People wait in line for hours just to try this stuff.  The recipe is, of course, top secret.  The only thing we know for sure is that it is non-alcoholic and dairy-free.  Visitors to the park describe it as  a cross between butterscotch and cream soda with a dense, foamy head that tastes a bit like marshmallow.

The best (by my estimation) copycat recipes I found online were essentially the ingredients for homemade butterscotch and cream soda (some tried to replicate the foamy head, some didn’t).  Well guess who just made Butterscotch from scratch last week???  That’s right WE did.  And by “we” I mean, you know, me, and any of you that also may have done so at my suggestion.

So let’s do this already!

You’ve already got your Butterscotch Sauce, right?

Most excellent!  Now, spoon some into a tall glass and microwave it for a few seconds until it’s hot and super thin again.  Don’t worry, we’re going to add lots of very cold Cream Soda in a minute here so it will still be quite cold.  We need it thin so it will mix in well.  In this picture there’s probably only about a teaspoon of Butterscotch sauce in the glass.  It needs more than that to get that good Butterscotch flavor.  I was erring on the side of caution at first so we didn’t end up with another sickeningly sweet blend.  About a Tablespoon, maybe a little more should do it.  To your taste, of course.

Pour in your cold Cream Soda on top of it and you’re good to go!  It got a foamy head all on it’s own, just like the one you get with a Root Beer Float.  I didn’t even have to mix it.  Though, with time, I suspect it will separate – just as the “official” Butterbeer at Universal does.  Now if only we had some authentic Gryffindor steins!  Ah well.  Until we get our butts to Universal this will do for now.

Enjoy!

Butterbeer

1 Tbsp Butterscotch Sauce (more or less to taste), heated until thin

8 oz Cream Soda

Instructions:

Spoon Butterscotch Sauce into a tall glass and microwave for a few seconds until hot and thin.

Pour very cold Cream Soda into glass.

Serve immediately.

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White Chicken Chili

It has been a crazy week.  Back to school.  Back to activities.  Back to the grind of everyday life.  Add in the change of seasons and trying to adjust to the suddenly chilly weather we’ve had these last few days and this lady is ready for something easy to throw together in the kitchen.  Something warm and comforting.  Something homey.  Something like…

Chili.  When the weather gets colder I think it’s probably one of the first things we all start thinking about making again.  There are a million different ways to make it and not a one of them is wrong.  I’ve made two different kinds in the last week.  This one, my White Chicken Chili, and also a more traditional, ground beef chili.

I love this recipe because it’s quick, easy, and economical.  It is the perfect way to use up leftover rotisserie chicken.  Every time we get one from the grocery store we always have tons leftover (usually all the dark meat), which is perfect for throwing into soup.   Everyone in my house (besides my eight year old who does not eat anything that does not consist solely of bread and cheese) loves this chili.  Let’s face it, my family will eat anything that can be devoured by way of tortilla chip so this works out very well.

Let’s get started.

First, chop up a large onion.

Throw your onions into a large pot over Med-High heat with 2 tsp of butter and saute until soft.

This next part’s gonna go quickly so pay attention.  Here are the major flavor players in your chili.  Lime juice, garlic, fire-roasted green chiles, Cayenne Pepper, Ancho Chili Powder, Cumin, Ground Coriander, and of course, Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper.

Add2 tsp garlic (four cloves, minced, if you’re feeling more ambitious than I was yesterday) and all the spices to the onions and toast for just a minute until they become fragrant.  Then add in 2 Tbsp lime juice, the whole can of chiles…

…4 cups of chicken broth, and 1 can of white beans, drained and rinsed.    I use bouillon to make broth most of the time.  It takes up less space than cans!  Excuses…sigh.  I know.  Anyway.  We’ll get to the Masa, chicken, and cilantro in just a minute.  (I didn’t exactly plan on blogging this until I was already making it in case you couldn’t already tell.)

But wait, why are there two cans of beans???  Glad you asked!  When you drain and rinse your beans leave half of them in the strainer and mash them up into a thick paste.  You’re going to throw them in like that and they will break down even further as they cook.  This way your chili is not only thicker but has twice the antioxidants and good-for-you-ness of the beans without being super beany!

My spell checker says “beany” is not a word.  I disagree.

So now we’ve added our broth, lime juice, chiles, beans, spices, and garlic to our onions.  We’re gonna let that come back up to a simmer, turn the heat down to low, cover it partially, and walk away for the next 20 minutes.

In that time we’ll get our fixins together!  Here I have shredded Monterrey Jack cheese, sour cream, tortilla chips, and some slices of ripe avocado.  Mmm.

Beware, putting the chips on the table before dinner is ready is a bona fide invitation to the kids to come eat chips before dinner is ready.  “I eatin’ chips mom!”

Now let’s grab that cilantro and chop it up.  You’ll need 1/4 cup for the soup and then more if you want some for garnish.

And lastly, grab your bag of Masa (corn flour found in the Latino section of the supermarket).  Mix 1/4 cup Masa with 1/2 cup of water.  Doesn’t that look appetizing…

There it is all mixed up looking…still not so appetizing.  I promise there is a reason for this.

Mix in the chopped cilantro, the chicken, and the Masa slurry.  The Masa will give the chili a real nice texture as well as make it a lot easier for little people to eat without spilling it all over themselves.  Now, just heat it for a minute to get it back up to steamy hot.

And serve.  This is how I like mine.  But you can do yours however you like.  That’s the beauty of chili.  That and the fact that it’s even better the next day.  It’s spicy and hearty, bright with lime and cilantro.  A little bit smoky with the Ancho Chili Powder.  It has so many different flavor notes – probably why of all the Chicken Chilis I’ve ever had this is my favorite.  Snuggle up and enjoy.

White Chicken Chili

1 Tbsp vegetable oil

1 large onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste

1 Tbsp Cumin

1 1/2 tsp Ground Coriander

1 tsp Ancho Chili Powder

1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper

4 cups chicken broth

2 Tbsp lime juice

1 (4oz) can Diced Green Chiles

1/2 Rotisserie Chicken, skin removed and meat shredded (dark meat or white/dark mix)

2 (14.5oz) cans white beans

1/4 cup Masa (corn flour)

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped, plus more for garnish if desired

Optional toppings:

Sour Cream

Monterrey Jack Cheese, shredded

Avocado, sliced

Tortilla Chips

Instructions:

Drain and rinse white beans.  Mash half the beans with a fork.  Set aside.

Preheat a large pot over Med-High heat.  Add two Tbsp butter and the chopped onions.  Saute until soft.

Add garlic and spices to onions and cook for one minute.

Add entire can of green chiles, lime juice, chicken broth, and all the beans (whole and mashed).  Bring chili up to a simmer, reduce heat to low and let simmer for 20 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine Masa with 1/2 cup water.

Add chicken, cilantro, and Masa slurry to chili and simmer until heated through.

Serve hot with optional toppings.

Makes 6 cups.

 

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