Monday, January 31, 2011

Spicy Chili

I LOVE a big pot of chili during cold winter months. Chili itself is always easy to make, even when you make it in bulk. One of my favorite things is that it not only tastes great reheated (I usually like it better on the second heating when the flavors have melded), but that it also freezes well, which is useful when you make gallons of chili for only 2 people!

I haven't followed the same recipe more than once lately, and this recipe was basically made to use what we had in our freezer/pantry, without having to buy much more. The thai peppers in this really give it a kick. (I love spicy foods, and this is some HOT chili!) You could easily substitute dried pepper flakes for a less spicy version. Even though I didn't drain any of the canned items, this is still a very thick, hearty chili after simmering for an hour.


8 cloves garlic, minced.
1/2 cup diced jalapeno peppers
2 (15 ounce) cans red kidney beans
2 (15 ounce) cans black beans
5 (14 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
1/8 cup chili powder
1 tablespoon thai red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 (1.25 ounce) package taco seasoning mix
3 pounds ground beef

In a large pot over medium heat, combine garlic, peppers, kidney beans, black beans, diced tomatoes, chili powder, pepper flakes, cumin and taco seasoning. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer.

While soup is heating, cook beef in a large skillet over medium heat until brown. Drain excess fat and rinse, then stir beef into soup pot. Simmer, covered, until flavors are well blended, about 1 hour.

(I personally like a little shredded cheddar & a dollop of sour cream mixed into my chili, but serve however you prefer)


Friday, January 28, 2011

Bacon Pierogi Casserole

It's been bitter cold in Boston for the past few days, and all I've craved is comfort foods. (As a Minnesotan at heart, I realize it's not *that* cold here, but unlike my time in Minnesota, I walk almost everywhere here, instead of hopping in my car. And, I now have a dog that needs to be walked, no matter what the temperature or weather is!)

A colleague of my husband gave us some homemade mushroom pierogies, and we were looking for another way to cook them. (I usually boil pierogies, and then pan fry them in a little butter) We loved this recipe! It's easy to whip up after work, and had just the right amount of sauce.

BACON PIEROGI CASSEROLE (Adapted from Cooking Light)

1 (16-ounce) package frozen potato and onion pierogies (we used some homemade mushroom ones from a friend)
3 bacon slices, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 ounces 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
1/2 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup thinly diagonally sliced green onions
1/4 cup chopped roma tomato

Preheat oven to 400°. Arrange the pierogies in an 8x8-inch glass baking dish coated with cooking spray.

Cook bacon in a saucepan over medium heat until crisp; remove from pan. Set aside.

Add garlic to drippings in pan, and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add cream cheese to pan, and cook for 1 minute or until cream cheese begins to melt, stirring frequently. Gradually add chicken broth to pan, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Pour the cream cheese mixture evenly over pierogies. Top evenly with cheddar cheese. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until bubbly and thoroughly heated. Remove from oven, and sprinkle with bacon, green onions & tomato.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Raspberry Cream Cheese Cupcakes

Sadly, I've been slacking on blogging this month. There isn't any good reason for it, I think it's a combination of coming off service from a busy month (and trying to finally catch up on sleep), stressing over fellowship applications & interviews (or maybe I should consider Chief year instead??) and finally starting to look at my research and quality improvement projects. I really don't have an excuse, considering I have about 5 blog posts *almost* ready to go!

As a way to apologize, I thought I would post these delicious cupcakes! I made them for a dinner with friends, but sadly, my husband forgot to grab them on his way out the door. (Sad for our friends... but good for us!!) I was going for a raspberry cheesecake cupcake, without it being actual cheesecake. These are moist cupcakes, and with the combination of the cream cheese icing, it definitely makes you think of cheesecake. These kept fairly well in a tupperware for a week, so don't be afraid to make them a few days prior to serving them.


Raspberry Swirl Cupcakes (Adapted from Martha Stewart)
Makes 12 cupcakes

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 small box vanilla pudding
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 stick butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
Raspberry preserves/jam

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line the cups of a standard muffin tin with paper or foil liners. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and pudding; set aside. In a liquid-measuring cup, mix milk and vanilla; set aside.

In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. With mixer on low speed, add half of dry ingredients, followed by milk-vanilla mixture, then remaining dry ingredients. Do not overmix.

Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Add approximately 1/2 - 1 tsp of raspberry preserves & swirl into batter with a toothpick.

Place tin on a rimmed baking sheet; bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a cupcake comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool cupcakes 5 minutes in tin, then remove and cool completely on a rack before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 - 8oz package cream cheese (I used the full fat version to remind me of cheesecake)
1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)
1 tablespoon vanilla
3 cups powdered sugar.

Beat cream cheese, butter & vanilla until smooth & well blended. Slowly beat in powdered sugar. (Adjust amount until you reach desired consistency).

Frost cupcakes as desired. Garnish with fresh raspberries.


(This post has been posted as a participant in Sweets for Saturday)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Egg Drop Soup

Wow, I've been slacking on my updates this month! I need to get into gear! (I've been making Green Monster Smoothies almost daily, but they aren't the most appetizing to look at. While I enjoy the taste, and the satisfying breakfast, I haven't tried photographing it yet.)

Lately my husband & I have been craving Chinese food. We hate to order take-out too often, so we often eat the Trader Joe's meals (we love the Orange Chicken!) To supplement the main meal, we've been making egg drop soup. It's so easy to make! It reminds me of my early years of eating Chinese as a child - all I'd eat is crab rangoons & egg drop soup! (or sweet & sour chicken - with the sauce on the side - I was a picky eater!)

The soup pictured below is courtesy of my husband, who cooked for me tonight!


2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon corn starch
1 egg
1 egg white
ginger powder
green onions

Heat 1 1/2 - 2 cups of broth to boiling on the stove. Add a dash of ginger.

Heat up the remaining broth in the microwave, and mix in the corn starch. Set aside.

Beat the egg and egg white in a bowl, with 1-2 tablespoons of water. Add the eggs to the boiling broth while stirring the broth on the stove. (After making a couple times, you'll be able to determine how fast you should stir to get the egg consistency you like). Add in the corn starch mixture.

Add green onions & serve.


Saturday, January 1, 2011

Champagne Cupcakes

Happy New Year! (And one year anniversary of my blog!)

I was on call at the hospital on New Year's Eve this year, but still wanted to be able to celebrate the New Year with some bubbly. I knew cupcakes would be a great way to incorporate champagne since we couldn't actually enjoy the real thing at the hospital (Although Trader Joe's sparkling cranberry juice was a tasty substitute!) Plus, there was a generous pour left in the bottle for my husband & I to enjoy when I was finished baking the cupcakes.

CHAMPAGNE CUPCAKES (From Sprinkle Bakes)
Makes approximately 18 cupcakes

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup champagne, prosecco or your choice of sparkling wine

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and mix.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt, set aside. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together champagne and sour cream (mixture will fizz and bubble a little).

Add flour and champagne mixture alternately, beginning and ending with flour. Batter will be thick.

Fill cupcake papers with 1/4 cup level measures of batter. Bake for 17-22 minutes.


1 cup plus 1 tbsp. champagne or prosecco
1 cup butter, at room temperature
3-4 cups confectioners' sugar

Place 1 cup of champagne in a small saucepan. Simmer over medium-high heat until reduced to 2 tablespoons. Transfer to a small bowl and allow to cool.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, cream softened butter and powdered sugar together. Once the frosting is thick and fluffy, pour in the reduced 2 tbsp. champagne plus 1 tbsp. champagne from the bottle and mix well.

Frost & decorate cupcakes as desired. (I thought the sugar pearls were reminiscent of the bubbles in champagne).