Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Easy Guacamole ChaCha Style

I came across a good deal on avocados this week so I decided to make my own guacamole. I don't know about you, but I really do not enjoy paying $1.80 or more extra for a small dollop on guacamole on the side. Think it is too difficult to make? It is actually really simple and versatile!
Tips on finding an avocado that is ready to eat:  Select ones that are not too mushy or too firm. If you have a firm avocado, place it in a paper bag and let it set on your window sill or counter for a day or two. Also, if the stem is still attached, pick it off. Underneath should be a yellowish flesh. If it is brown it is too ripe.

What you'll need:
Avocados- peeled and diced
Garlic to taste - fresh minced or powder
Red or Spanish onion - finely chopped
Jalapeno - seeded and finely chopped
Salt/Pepper to taste

Optional Add Ins:
Chipotle Chili powder or Cayenne pepper
Cilantro - chopped
Roma Tomatoes- diced

 I mixed 2 avocados, 1 diced jalapeno, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 cup onion, juice of 1/2 lime, 2 shakes of Chipotle chili powder, and salt/pepper to taste. We are not big cilantro fans so I opted to leave it out. You can omit the chili powder if you don't want the extra heat, but I really enjoy the smokiness it adds. 
 Mash it to the consistency desired. I enjoy a chunk of avocado here and there. 
Enjoy! This is so great with chips alone but you can add to so many things. Tacos, burritos, eggs, and one of our favorites- jalapeno guacamole burgers.

I would love to know what ways you enjoy guacamole, please leave a comment below.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Snowed In: First Winter Storm 2014

I live in Northwest Ohio and love the four seasons. But winter is getting to be one of my least favorites as I get older. I try to remember and remind myself how much I loved snow and staying home as a kid, so I made the best of it with my kids during our 3 day shut in with the kiddos.
We made a snowman. (This is a must when the snow packs just right). We put my older son's Navy hat on as a tribute to him overseas. At the beginning of the storm, the temperature stayed around 32 degrees so it was not bitter cold. Yet. 
Then we made a small sled hill with the snow from the drive. Trying to get my daughter in the house after this was nearly impossible! But she loved it. 
As an incentive to go into the house, we ate homemade pizzas.
.... And watched it snow more.
And more.... into the night. 

I believe we ended up with close to 12 or more inches. Day 2 and 3 were not as fun with the wind chills reaching around -35-40 below zero!!! After being bound to our house from Sunday to Wednesday (because of the order to stay off the roads by authorities) we had just a touch of  "cabin fever". Roads are still a bit troublesome, but not impassable. Work for some resumed. As for me and the kids, they had another no school day and I chose to stay home with them. I am happy to say my kitchen got some much needed organization and I depleted some of my freezer stock. We did not fight crowds for bread, eggs, milk, etc., I am usually well stocked all the time. It was reported that all the stores had ran out of potatoes, produce, meat, milk, and bread on Saturday prior! 

Did any of you experience the "Polar Vortex" as they called it? What do you do on snow days?

Sunday, September 15, 2013

White Chicken Chili

 I have now mastered a recipe for white chicken chili that I absolutely love. And since making it, I had a few requests to post the recipe I used. My version is creamy, thick, and hearty with a kick of spice. The beautiful thing about soups, stews, chowders, and chilis, is that you can make them your own. Meat - no meat. Beans- no beans. Spice - more spice. He he.

I do have to say that I am really bad at following a recipe so amounts are by no way exact or wrote in stone. Please season, thicken, and/or customize to your own personal preference.

White Chicken Chili (ChaCha Style)

2-3 Cups chopped or shredded chicken (I prefer roasted or rotisserie but canned will work)
3 15oz Cans of Cannellini beans or Great Northern (drained and rinsed)
1 7oz can of diced green chilis
4 Cups chicken broth
1 Cup evaporated milk or half and half
4 Tablespoons butter
4 Tablespoons of flour 
1 Medium onion, chopped
1 Jalepeno, chopped
3 Cloves of garlic, chopped/pressed
1-2 Tablespoons Ancho chili powder
1 Teaspoon cumin
Salt and pepper to taste

Choice of Toppings:
Tortilla chips or strips
Sour Cream
Shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
Chopped green onion
Chopped jalapeno peppers
Lime wedges

Directions: Sweat (saute) onions in melted butter for 3-5 minutes on medium low or until translucent. Add chopped jalapeno. Saute for 1 minute then add garlic and stir for another minute. You don't want to scorch the garlic or peppers. Sprinkle flour over onion/pepper mixture to make a roux. Stir mixture for a few minutes until lightly golden in color. Add chicken and green chilies. Mix together thoroughly. Salt and pepper to taste and also add spices at this time. Add broth and milk, turn heat up to medium high and bring to a boil.  Stir frequently. Once it comes to a boil it will start to thicken. Let boil for at least 1 minute then turn heat back down to simmer. If you want a thinner chili, add more broth.  Add beans. Season to taste one last time. Cover and let simmer for 20 minutes.
Eat and enjoy!

**Note: This can be made without milk, just use more broth. Also experiment with other flavored chili powders. I like the chipotle chili powder as much as the ancho chili powder.