Sunday, June 19, 2011

White Chicken Chili

My friend Megan made a delicious meal for our family after the birth of one of our babies. White Chicken Chili. We all loved it. I got the recipe from her, but then misplaced it. I have reconstructed it from memory and with the help of a couple of similar recipes. I recently made a huge amount of it for Susanna's friends, who arrived kind of last-minute. They were supposed to meet at a local park but storms sent their plans indoors: to our house.

Luckily, I had six cans of white northern beans on hand, a three pound bag of frozen chicken breasts in the freezer, and a large can of Green Enchilada Sauce. If you've never had teens tell you as they went up for seconds, "that was so delicious!" then invite some over and make them a pot of this. I did end up going out for some soda and tortilla chips and cheese. I calculated that including soda, I fed the teens plus our family (20) for $20.00. If I'd gone out for fast food it would have been twice that or more. You won't necessarily make this large amount, but you could serve half to your family and take half to another family. Or invite some friends. Or teenagers. They love to eat.

White Chicken Chili

Cover with water in a pot or stock pot:

2-3 lbs chicken breasts (if frozen, you don't have to thaw)

Bring to a slight boil, and then turn down to a simmer. Cook until no longer pink on the inside (I take out one breast and check when they look plump). Meanwhile, saute in large pot or Dutch Oven until tender and translucent:

2 onions, chopped (I had a purple onion on hand and used it, too)
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4-1/2 tsp salt

Add to the cooked onions:

1 28 oz can Green Enchilada Sauce, mild or medium (Susanna assured me medium was fine and she was right)
5-6 15 oz cans Great Northern Beans, no draining necessary
3-4 tsp ground cumin
2 cloves garlic, chopped, or 1/2 tsp garlic powder

Simmer on low. Chop the cooked chicken into bite sized pieces (or you could shred with two forks). Add the chopped chicken to the onions and Enchilada Sauce. Simmer for about 15 minutes, until beans are tender. Taste and add more salt or pepper or cumin, if desired. Save the broth that the chicken breasts were cooked in. Strain it, and freeze for later use when making a recipe that calls for chicken broth.

Serve in bowls, topped with shredded cheddar cheese, crushed tortilla chips (or soft tortillas that have been sliced into small strips), and a dollop of sour cream or Greek Yogurt. We use the latter because it tastes identical and is far healthier than sour cream. I put out salsa for the chips, but the kids were so full of chili they didn't need additional chips and salsa.

The recipe can easily be cut in half. Use a smaller, 15 oz can of Green Enchilada Sauce and half the amount of the other ingredients. Some like the chili more could add 1/2 to 1 cup of the broth that the chicken breasts were cooked in. This recipe served 20. Mary Pat's nurse came in the kitchen while I was cooking. She'd had the chili at our house a couple months ago. "Are you making THAT again? Oh, I am so going to ask to have some, too." It's good stuff.



The Abbey Farm

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Healthy and Delicious Chocolate Chip Cookies

Most of us are familiar with the original Toll-House Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. Nestle bought the rights to it in the thirties or forties. The owner of the Toll-House Inn was trying to cut corners with a chocolate cookie. Instead of melting the chocolate and adding it to the dough, she thought she'd save time by chopping it and mixing it in. She thought it would melt throughout, but it didn't, and a legend was born. I had the recipe memorized early on in  life, and when my first daughter was a baby I could bake a batch with one hand tied behind my back. Actually, tied up with Marie in a baby-sling.

My children are very discerning. They'll eat store bought cookies, but they prefer homemade. I feel better that no matter what we make, it's got to be healthier than what is in the store. I've been experimenting in the last couple of years with healthier versions of the classic Toll-House Cookie, and my kids think this is THE best. They really are delicious.

In this recipe I mention quite a few options. Not everyone has chickens or a flour grinder, or happened to stop at the Osceola Cheese Store on their way to Branson and purchase sorghum syrup (not in the typical honey bear--but an angel--so cute I'll post her picture).

Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Beat  together in large bowl:

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1/4 cup canola oil
1 cup organic sugar (or you could use's still a third less sugar than the original recipe)
1 Tb sorghum or molasses (lends the flavor that is in the usual brown sugar)
1 tsp vanilla

When light and fluffy, beat in:

2 eggs (farm fresh, preferably)

In separate bowl, stir together well:

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (we grind our own fine; when bought, I prefer King Arthur brand)
3 cups Old Fashioned Rolled Oats (we used the store brand; healthier still would be organic)
1 tsp sea salt (or Table salt)
1 tsp Baking Soda

Stir this flour mixture into the butter mixture until well incorporated. Then add and stir in:

1 cup of the best semi-sweet chocolate morsels or chunks or chopped bits you can find.
We love Nestle. You could add up to two cups (My older daughters and I are also trying to limit excess calories, but you may not need to; we wanted a cookie that would be no more than 2 Weight Watcher's Plus-points).

Drop by teaspoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees. The cookies are equally good slightly underdone or richly golden brown.  It is best to bake one sheet at a time. I have a lovely convection oven, but I don't use it for cookies. I may be able to put three sheets in at one time, but the results have never been satisfying to me. Next batch I plan to add some toasted, chopped pecans. One child suggested coconut...I'd say a cup would do.

The kids love them chewy and substantial, but if you like a softer, flatter cookie, reduce the whole wheat flour to 1 cup. If you want/need to disguise the oatmeal, it can be turned into oat flour in your blender. Stick to the three cups of oats to start with--it will reduce when made into flour. For gluten-free diets, try with all oat or rice flour. Bruce prefers raisins to chocolate chips...add a tsp cinnamon and 1/2 tsp cloves!

I guarantee your family will love them. Let me know when you've tried them!

Boys will even lay down their toy guns for these!


God Bless!


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Homemade Pizza!

We have friends who make their own pizzas regularly and exclusively of any Pizza Joint. We still get the frozen ones and the Hut pies, but we had a whole lot of fun and saved a bunch of money when we tried it on our own. My friend, Christy Harris has great recipes and runs Providence Farm. Christy started a blog. Though I'm causing you to click again, here's a recipe for the pizza dough:

Christy's blog is really fun to read and is very informative. Her French Bread recipe is outstanding. In these pictures I used a pizza dough recipe from the King Arthur Flour cookbook, but the next time I will use the one from Christy's blog.  King Arthur has an online catalog and extremely fine and fun ingredients and products: We are lucky enough to live within a couple miles of a grain mill which actually supplies wheat to King Arthur Flour, so I buy the wheat berries and grind them for Whole Wheat flour, and purchase the Artisan flour from the grain mill. Anyone can taste the difference. Put a pinch of your all-purpose flour on your tongue right now. Depending on the age of the flour and it's freshness, you will taste a distinctly bitter flavor after a while. The fresher the flour, the longer it takes to register the bitterness. With the King Arthur flour or the Artisan Flour which I buy local, there is only a creamy flavor, no bitterness! I prefer to pay a bit more for this fresh flour.

Taking the lead from suggestions of toppings in a Weight Watchers cookbook, we made the following pizzas, with ingredients such as fresh spinach leaves, feta cheese, mozzarella, artichoke hearts and black olives. The boys had a good time creating their own pizzas; their choices of toppings were more traditional.

All children love punching down the risen dough. These two laughed hysterically!

Ben said he only liked his, the small one in back center with a few spinach leaves. Gus said he liked "The Hut" better, but everyone else loved them all. It didn't take much longer than ordering take-out, and it was a heck of a lot more fun!

Buon Appetito!

The Abbey Farm