Our Favorite White Chili

 

 

My favorite version:  when I use oregano and onion and garlic fresh from the garden, home-cooked beans, and pasture-fed chicken roasted at home.

Football Soup – White Chili

  •  1 T Olive oil
  • 4 Garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 t ground cumin
  • ¼ t cayenne pepper
  • 1 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 – 4 oz cans chopped green chilies
  • 1 ½ t dry oregano, crumbled
  • 6 c chicken broth
  • 3 – 16 oz cans great northern beans, undrained
  • 4 c cooked chicken, chopped or cubed
  • 3 c grated Monterey jack cheese
  1. Heat the oil in a large pot on medium high; add onions and sauté for 10 minutes.
  2. Stir in the garlic, chilies, cumin, oregano, and cayenne and sauté for 2 minutes.
  3. Add the beans and chicken stock and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat.
  5. Add the cooked chicken and cheese and stir until the cheese melts.

 

Enjoy!

 

This soup freezes quite well!  Simply thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and reheat when ready to serve.

Dreamin’

 

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Got Milk? Make Yogurt

I’ve got a confession to make.

I have a habit.

It’s a daily habit…

It’s an obsession…

It’s not something I’m going to stop doing any time soon…

I eat yogurt for breakfast every day!

I do!

Yeah, okay.  Not earth shattering.  Not even worth all the suspense.

But it’s big for me.  It’s something I’ve incorporated into my healthy eating routine that keeps my gut healthy, which I believe helps to keep my inflammatory response issues subdued.

This daily habit means that I consume a half cup or more of yogurt every morning.  I use it instead of milk with my homemade granola, often tossing in whatever fresh fruit I have on hand.  It’s my favorite food start of each day.

It’s become a costly habit.  I’m very particular about the type of yogurt I eat, and my favorite brand is only available in the next town.  At almost $4 per container, add the time and gas for travel – it adds up quickly.

For a while, I’ve felt that I should make my own.  But it intimidated me.

It’s been about two years now and I finally got up the nerve to make my own.  I can’t believe I’ve waited so long!

When I first thought I might attempt homemade yogurt, I was hooked on the nonfat vanilla variety.  Now, I eat plain whole milk yogurt or none at all.  That made it especially easy for me.

I read several recipes and then did what I usually do – improvised.  I didn’t change ingredients, but I did incorporate methods from three different recipes to attempt my first batch.  It was a resounding success!

I like my yogurt thick, almost as thick as the Greek style yogurt, so my focus was on reaching that consistency.

The basic method to make yogurt is to heat milk to 185 degrees, then cool it down to 115 degrees.  That creates the culture medium.  The yogurt starter is added once the milk has cooled, then the mix is placed in a warm location for the cultures to set.

Here’s my method:

1/2 gallon whole milk – raw milk would be best

1/4 cup plain whole milk yogurt with active cultures – the best type is that with six active cultures (I used Stonyfield)

Preheat a crockpot by filling it 1/3 full with hot tap water, place the lid on and set it on high heat for 15 minutes or so.

Pour the milk into a saucepan and heat to 185 degrees over medium heat, stirring frequently.  I didn’t have a candy thermometer, so I used a meat thermometer.  It’s not as handy, but it works.

Check the water in the crockpot by dipping a finger in it – if it’s too hot to leave your finger in, turn off the crockpot with the lid still on and allow the water to sit while your pan of milk rises to temperature.  Once the milk is at 160 degrees, take the lid off of the crock of water to allow it to cool to about 115 degrees.

Once the milk has reached temperature, turn off the burner and set the milk away from the stove to cool.  The milk won’t take long to cool once it’s removed from the heat source.

While the milk is cooling, pour out the water in the crock and put the lid back on to hold the heat.

When the milk has cooled to 115 degrees, add the yogurt to the milk and stir well.

Pour the milk mix into the warmed crock.

Cover the crock with a clean towel, leaving the lid off.

Set the towel covered crock into the oven and turn the oven light on.

Leave the crock for eight hours.  Check the consistency by poking a clean finger into the yogurt.  Mine was not quite as thick as I’d like, so I let it set for another hour and it was perfect!

Spoon the yogurt into clean jars and refrigerate or freeze.

Oh!  Don’t forget to enjoy your batch of homemade yogurt!

Lasagna Night

One word will always put a smile on Hubby’s face:  Lasagna.

I can’t tell you why I don’t make it often.  Perhaps in my subconscious I’m holding it back as a very special plate, one of those things to be held up and examined and declared “Magnifico”!

Yeah, right!

More likely,  it’s a time-consuming menu item that I reserve for days when I have plenty of time for the task.  Like Sundays, or Holy days that allow cooking.  So, Sunday it was, and I declared to Hubby, “I’m making lasagna tonight.”  Instant ear-to-ear grin.

Lasagna is one of the few dishes that I just make – no recipe card, no netbook internet page, no cookbook pulled from the cupboard.  I’ve been making lasagna since I moved out on my own, and after the second time, it was imprinted according to my favorite ingredients.

My favorite lasagna ingredients include pre-processed foods.  I’ve included the brand names I use, to show that mostly preservative-free dishes can be made at home for those who don’t have time to make dishes from scratch.

This time I cheated a bit more than normal.  I found “no boil” noodles, and determined to use them as a test.   (They passed, by the way.)

lasagna

Lasagna

1 lb grass fed beef

brown and season with mineral salt and cracked pepper, drain

1/2 one small white onion, diced

saute in beef for 5 minutes

1 jar dei fratelli traditional spaghetti sauce

mix into beef and onions and turn off heat

2 16 oz daisy large curd 4% cottage cheese

2 farm fresh eggs

2 pinches mineral salt

mix together

1 tablespoon dried basil leaves

1/4 tsp garlic powder

grind the basil leaves (I did this by rubbing them firmly between my palms), then add them with the garlic powder to the cottage cheese mix

16 oz sargento mozzarella (not the skim option)

1 pkg barelli no boil flat lasagna noodles

layer meat on the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan*

add cottage cheese layer

add cheese layer

add noodle layer

repeat

sprinkle cheese on top

cover tightly with foil

bake at 375 for 50-60 minutes, then let set 10 minutes before cutting

*Since it’s just Hubby and I at home, I split the mix into two bread pans and a glass casserole dish.  The casserole went into the freezer for a later date, and I baked the two bread pans so that we’d have leftovers during the week.

It was a warm day, so we baked the lasagna on the Traeger with apple pellets.  It was delicious!