Meat Lovers Chili

When it’s cold outside, there is nothing better than coming inside to a hot bowl of soup, stew or chili. Whether cooking for the big game or a big family gathering, chili is always a hit. This meat lover’s chili is warm, inviting and delicious. You can make it in advance and keep it warm in a crock pot. You can make it the day before and let the flavors develop. You can make it with meat or without. There are so many options.

Meat Lovers Chili

Ingredients

2 pounds of ground meat (half ground sirloin, half ground pork loin)

2 Tablespoons of olive oil

1 teaspoon of salt

½ teaspoon cumin

1 Tablespoon of chili powder

Pinch of cinnamon

½ cup of lentils

1 pound 13 ounce can of red kidney beans

2 Tablespoons of olive oil

1 cup of chopped baby portabella mushrooms

1 cup of carrots, chopped

1 large sweet onion, diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

½ teaspoon of salt

½ teaspoon of pepper

3 Tablespoons of brown sugar

3 Tablespoons of chili powder

¼ cup of ketchup

1 Tablespoon of soy sauce

1 Tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce

1 Tablespoon of cider vinegar

splash of chipotle hot sauce (more if you want it spicier), optional

Directions

Sprinkle meat with salt, cumin, chili powder and cinnamon. Heat olive oil in pan and sear meat. Cook through, remove from pan and drain oil. Turn crock pot on high. Add cooked meat, beans and lentils into crock pot. In same pan that meat was cooked, add olive oil, mushrooms, carrots, onions, garlic, salt, pepper, brown sugar and chili powder. Sauté about 5 to 7 minutes until onions are soft and translucent. Stir in ketchup, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, cider vinegar and hot sauce, then pour into crock pot. Mix it all together and then close the lid. Cook on high for 4 hours.

This is one of those recipes that is even better the next day. I like to serve chili with guacamole, sour cream, cheddar and fresh cilantro. You can put each of the toppings out and let everyone build their own.

If you prefer vegetarian chili try my Pumpkin Quinoa chili. What is your favorite chili, stew or soup to warm up with? Check out some of my favorite soups.

Meal Planning: Basic Instant Pot Chicken and Roasted Vegetables

A little meal planning goes a long way. I try to plan our meals for the week the night before I go grocery shopping, so that I can make my list dependent on what I’m going to cook that week.

On weekends, I try to cook extra items to make our meal preparation for busy weeknights easier. I received an Instant Pot for Christmas. It is a great too for meal prepping.  Either I make dinner in the instant pot, while I make the meal for other nights on the stove or vice versa, make the meal for later in the week in the Instant Pot while I cook our dinner on the stove.

Here are a couple of easy recipes that will make multiple meals.

Basic Chicken Breasts in the Instant Pot

Marinade:

Ingredients

About 3 pounds of chicken breasts

5 Tablespoons lemon juice

3 Tablespoons vegetable oil

1 teaspoon of salt

½ teaspoon of pepper

1 teaspoon of garlic paste or 1 clove of garlic, minced

1 Tablespoon sugar

1 Tablespoon onion powder

½ cup of water

Directions

Mix all the ingredients together in a gallon freezer bag with the chicken breasts and marinate for at least 2 hours or overnight. Take out of marinade. Add into instant pot on steamer shelf with about a cup of water and set to pressure cook for 10 minutes. Allow natural release for 5 minutes and then manually release the remaining pressure.

Now you have cooked chicken breasts to be able to add to whatever you like for the week. Roasting some veggies while the chicken is cooking, will lessen your load during the week even more.

Roasted Veggies

Ingredients

2 Tablespoons of olive oil

1 Green pepper, sliced into sticks

1 Yellow pepper, sliced into sticks

1 zucchini, sliced into sticks

1 pint of grape tomatoes, halved

1 teaspoon of salt

¼ teaspoon of pepper

¼ teaspoon of thyme

Directions

Toss veggies with olive oil and spices. Spread out on a sheet pan. Roast at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.

Here are some meal ideas with the chicken and veggies.

First Meal

This feeds 5-7 people

Greek Inspired Chicken Pasta

Ingredients

1 ½ cups of cooked chicken, cubed

Roasted tomatoes and zucchini

1 16 ounce box of pasta shells (small shells – I like Wegman’s gluten-free)

4 to 6 ounces of crumbled feta

Juice of ½ a lemon

Pasta water

Directions

Cook pasta according to instructions on package and save some of the pasta water. Pour the pasta in to a serving dish. Add chicken, tomatoes, zucchini and lemon juice and one ladle full of the pasta water. Mix. Add more pasta water if too dry. Stir in the feta and serve. Add fresh basil if you have some.

2nd meal – for one ( This was my lunch one day)

Baked Sweet Potato with chicken, roasted veggies and feta

Ingredients

1 Baked Sweet Potato

¼ cup of chicken, diced

A couple of roasted peppers

1 to 2 ounces of crumbled feta

Directions

Cut open baked sweet potato.  Add chicken, peppers and feta. Enjoy!

Baking the sweet potato in the oven is really my favorite way to cook it, but lack of time usually means that I make it in the microwave.

3rd meal feeds 4 to 5

Chicken Quesadillas

Ingredients

6 flour tortillas (my gluten free favorite is Joseph’s or Mission GF)

1 to 1 ½ cups of cooked chicken, chopped

Roasted green and yellow peppers

8 to 12 ounces of shredded cheddar

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray sheet pan. Place cheese, chicken and peppers on one half of each tortilla. Fold other side over and cook about 6 to 8 minutes on each side.

If there are any chicken and veggies left, toss them into a salad with your favorite dressing.

What are your favorite meal planning recipes? Here are some of my other recipes that have great leftovers to help you out during the week! It is all about making our lives easier: What to do with leftover cod, Turkey Fried Rice  and Sweet Potato Two Ways.

 

Marinated Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Chicken can be found on the dinner table in many American homes on any given night. It can be easy to get into a chicken rut, making it the same way each time. It is just as easy to change it up however – marinate it, stuff it, roast it, brine it, fry it or cook it in the Instant Pot.

This recipe was developed because I was craving spinach and artichoke dip and had some chicken breasts to use. I decided to channel some of my stress and pound the chicken breasts flat with a meat mallet (you can also use a rolling pin) and stuff it with a version of my spinach and artichoke dip.

After going through a phase of brining chicken for the last couple of years, I decided to change it up. This marinade made the chicken so flavorful! It was even better the next day! This recipe made enough for 2 dinners for a family of 5 and plus a couple of leftover lunches during the week.

Marinated Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Chicken Breast

Ingredients

3.5 to 4 pounds of chicken breast, flattened

Marinade:

1/3 cup olive oil

Zest and juice of 2 lemons

1 teaspoon of salt

2 sprigs of rosemary

5 to 7 sprigs thyme

3 Tablespoons of honey

1 clove of garlic

Stuffing:

About 6 ounces of frozen spinach, thawed

4 ounces of cream cheese, softened

Juice of ½ a lemon

¼ onion, minced (about 2 Tablespoons)

1 – 6 ounce jar of artichokes, chopped

3 Tablespoons of chopped red pepper

1 teaspoon of salt

¼ teaspoon of pepper

Cooking Chicken and sauce:

2 Tablespoons of olive oil

1 ½ cups chicken stock

Juice of ½ lemon

Splash of heavy cream

About 6 ounces of chopped tomatoes

1 – 8 ounce can of tomato sauce

Directions

Mix olive oil, lemon zest and juice, salt, rosemary, thyme, honey and garlic in a gallon freezer bag. Add chicken and allow to marinate for 2 to 24 hours. To make stuffing combine spinach, cream cheese, lemon juice, onion, artichokes, red peppers salt and pepper. Remove chicken from marinade and pat dry. Place about 2 to 3 Tablespoons of filling in each flattened chicken breast and roll up. Heat olive oil in large heavy bottomed sauté pan.  Sear the stuffed chicken on each side and then add chicken stock and lemon juice to the pan, cover and cook for 20 minutes in a 400 degree oven. Take out of the oven, remove chicken and finish sauce with tomatoes, tomato sauce and a splash of cream. Simmer sauce for about 5 minutes and return chicken to pan and serve over potatoes, zoodles or your favorite pasta.

What are your favorite chicken dishes? Here are some of my other favorites: One Pan Roast Chicken with Tomato Sauce, Spatchcocked Herb Roasted Chicken, Honey Lemon Roasted Chicken Thighs, Apricot Wings and Chicken Noodle Soup.

Make your own take-out! Turkey Fried Rice

Making your own take-out can be easy and delicious! My family loves fried rice. I know it is probably one of the least expensive items on the menu at your local take-out Chinese place, but I always seem to order more than I need or have to order more to reach a minimum amount for delivery. Making it at home uses up any leftovers we have on hand, it’s healthier and is finished faster than calling in the order.

Turkey Fried Rice

Ingredients

1 Tablespoon vegetable oil

½ teaspoon sesame oil

1 egg, whisked

1 zucchini diced

1 small onion diced

1 clove of garlic, minced

¼ cup soy sauce (make sure it’s GF)

¼ cup rice vinegar

1 teaspoon of ginger, minced or use a paste like this one from Gourmet Garden.

About 2 cups of cooked rice (I love Wegman’s 90 second Steamables!)

About 2 cups of shredded turkey

fresh cilantro, optional

Directions

Heat 1 Tablespoon of the vegetable oil and the sesame oil in sauté pan or wok and scramble egg. Take it out and set aside. Add last Tablespoon of vegetable oil and add zucchini, onion and garlic to the pan. Stir and cook for about 7 min, or until soft. Mix soy sauce, vinegar and ginger together in a bowl. Add rice to pan then pour on soy sauce mixture and stir. Add turkey and return egg to pan. Mix it all together and you have turkey fried rice!

TIP: You can substitute leftover pork roast or roast beef or chicken or shrimp or your favorite vegetables for the zucchini, or even solely vegetables or tofu to keep it vegetarian.

What are your favorite take-out dishes that you make at home? We love making Hot and Sour soup! What is your favorite way to use leftovers? We make fish sticks with leftover cod or chili with leftover pumpkin or squash or check out this post for more ideas! Leftovers do not need to be boring!

Easy, Fancy Hasselback Potatoes

Hasselback potatoes were very popular last year, so naturally I’m finally getting on the bandwagon. Easy side dishes that look fancy are always great for a holiday table, entertaining friends, potlucks or even to spice up an ordinary Wednesday night.

Cheesy Hasselback Potatoes

Ingredients

5 large potatoes, thinly sliced but not all the way through to the bottom.

1 clove of garlic, minced

4 Tablespoons of butter, melted

1 teaspoon of salt

¼ teaspoon of pepper

5 springs of thyme, removed from stem or 1 teaspoon of dried thyme

About 4 ounces of gouda, finely shredded (parmesan would also be good)

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray small casserole dish or a cake pan with non-stick spray. Mix garlic, butter, salt, pepper and thyme in a cup. Place sliced potatoes in pan and then pour butter mixture over top, making sure it gets into each slice of potato. Top with shredded cheese and make sure some of it gets into each slice of potato. Bake covered with foil for 30 minutes and uncovered for 25 minutes.

This can easily be made in advance and then reheated in the oven or under the broiler before serving.

I love dishes that look fancy, taste amazing and are super easy to make. This is definitely one of those dishes. What is your go to side dish? I also love making polenta or mashed potatoes and then add some green beans, acorn squash or even some decadent burrata with tomatoes and basil.

Gluten-free on the Road and a slow cooker mashed potato recipe!

Cooking in a kitchen that is not your own can be nerve wracking! Whether your home kitchen is fully gluten-free (GF) or not, cooking at a vacation rental or someone else’s house requires an extra level of preparedness to be safe.

If the house is close by, one option is to make the meal at your own house and bring it with you. When driving for a trip, I pack a Rubbermaid tub with the cooking essentials. If we are sharing the house with others, I make sure everyone knows that that box is only to be used for gluten-free cooking.

Checklist for Cooking Meals in a Non-GF Kitchen:

  1. Aluminum foil (and lots of it!) – this can cover cookie sheets, serving platters and grills and wrap around food to keep the chance of cross-contamination low. Don’t forget a sharpie to mark GF as needed.
  2. Cutting board (Bring a large wooden cutting board to double as a serving platter for you’re your Thanksgiving turkey if needed)
  3. Frying pan
  4. Pasta pot
  5. Colander
  6. Paper plates and bowls
  7. Plastic cups
  8. Plastic forks, spoons and knives
  9. Chef’s knife (transport it in a paper towel tube)
  10. Spatula
  11. Whisk (I have used a plastic fork instead of whisk many times, so bring it only if you have space)
  12. Mixing spoon that can double as a serving spoon
  13. Gallon and sandwich size Ziploc bags or containers for leftovers
  14. Chicken stock
  15. GF flour
  16. Sugar, salt and pepper, condiments and other herbs that you like to keep separate
  17. Aluminum cake pans, casserole or bread pans, if needed
  18. Crockpot or crockpot liners (When not using the crockpot, I use the bowl as my mixing bowl for other recipes)
  19. Cheese grater

To separate items in the refrigerator, either designate a separate shelf (the higher the better) and/or a drawer. If it’s a small amount put it in a small Rubbermaid bin.

This seems like a lot. I know. It’s a mobile kitchen. If you are not going to be cooking entire meals, then you will not need all these items. Everyone’s checklist will look different depending on what you are cooking. Keep your recipes simple and bring only what you need to make your recipes. If you are flying, consider buying cheap or one-use versions of what you might need at your destination.

An easy way to keep things simple while on vacation is to make a one pot meal in a crock pot. It will feed a crowd, allow you to enjoy the day and can easily be made gluten-free. This is especially important on holidays. Here is a mashed potato recipe you can make entirely in your crock pot.

Slow Cooker Mashed potatoes

Ingredients

About 6 medium yellow potatoes, washed and diced

1 ½ cups milk

3 Tablespoons of butter

1 teaspoon of salt

1/8 teaspoon of pepper

4 ounces of cream cheese, optional

Directions

Add potatoes, milk, butter, salt and pepper to slow cooker. Cook on high for 2 ½ to 3 hours. Add cream cheese if you like cheesier mashed potatoes. Mash or whip with handheld mixer. Taste and add more salt or pepper if needed and it is ready to serve. To keep warm, pour about 1/4 cup of milk over top, cover and set on low or warm until service. Then just mix in milk and its ready for some gravy!

How do you cook gluten or allergen free when you are traveling? You can try my easy chili  or pasta with mascarpone recipe.

New England Clam Chowder

Fall is a time for new beginnings and a breath of fresh air. The cool, crisp air finally seems to have reached Massachusetts. I love making soup any time of year, but there is something about fall in New England that makes me crave clam chowder. This is a family favorite.

The key to making this recipe is preparing all the ingredients and cookware before you start. Organization really helps when you make any recipe and the bonus is that you can pretend you have your own cooking show…or wait, that’s just me 😉. Preparation also is key to getting kids in the kitchen. If they are not old enough to chop, they can add ingredients and stir. Be their sous chef for the day and do the chopping before you try to involve them.

Gluten- Free New England Clam Chowder

Ingredients

About 4 pounds of large Quahog or Cherrystone clams, cleaned

Water

7 sprigs of fresh thyme

6 slices of bacon, diced

2 Tablespoons of butter

1 medium onion, diced

2 cloves of garlic minced

4 cups of liquid/stock (usually about 3 cups of cooking liquid from the clams and make up the rest with seafood stock).

5 medium sized butter potatoes, peeled and diced

5 sprigs of thyme

¼ teaspoon of black pepper

Pinch of white pepper

1 cup heavy cream

Juice of ½ a lemon

Directions

Add clams to a soup pot over medium high heat and pour in enough water to cover the clams. Place thyme sprigs in water and put the lid on the pot. Bring to a low boil and cook about 10 minutes until all the clams open. Drain and save cooking liquid. Set clams aside to cool, rinse out pot. Place pot back on the stove and add bacon, onion, garlic. Sauté for about 5 minutes. Add cooking liquid, potatoes, thyme, black pepper and white pepper. Simmer for about 15 minutes until potatoes are soft. Mash potatoes to thicken the soup. Add the heavy cream and lemon juice. Stir, simmer for about 5 minutes and serve!

I haven’t yet found an oyster cracker that is gluten free, so I serve this with gluten-free Schar Table Crackers, Glutino Premium Rounds or with a gluten-free corn bread.

 

What is your family’s favorite soup? Follow this link for my favorites from 2016.

Bold and Flavorful Marinade!

Marinades can add a great flavor to your grilled meats, vegetables or even tofu. Recently, I shared with you my Steak Rub recipe. Today I’m sharing a marinade bursting with flavor that will make your taste buds zing! Gluten-free food does not have to be boring! Just make sure that your soy sauce, vinegar and spices are free from gluten, so that the marinade is safe for you and everyone to enjoy!

Bold and Flavorful Marinade

Ingredients

¼ cup of olive oil

1/8 cup water

3 Tablespoons of soy sauce

3 Tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce

3 Tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

zest and juice of one lime

3 to 4 Tablespoons of brown sugar (depending on your taste)

1 Tablespoon of fresh rosemary and/or thyme

1 clove of garlic minced

Directions

Mix all of the ingredients in a large Ziploc bag. Place steak, chicken, pork or tofu into marinade and let sit in the fridge for at least 2 hours up to overnight. Remove, dry off whatever you marinated and cook how you like. This is great for the grill!

 

You may be wondering what that strange green thing is holding up the ziploc bag? I got it as a present for Mother’s Day. It makes filling a ziploc bag for any reason, so much easier and folds away.

Are you grilling this weekend? What is your favorite tool for grill prep? What is your favorite item to grill? Let me know in the comments!

Here are some of my favorite grilling tools:

Here are some other recipes if you need some inspiration for your weekend bbq:

Haddock on the Grill

My favorite bbq sauce recipe

Tomatillo Salsa

 

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. This doesn’t cost you any extra, but if you like something I love and buy it, I get a small percentage and can continue blogging.

Gluten-free Steak Rub Recipe

A good steak really only needs salt and pepper and a hot grill or cast iron skillet. A good steak however can be really expensive. I love to use more flavorful marinades or rubs when cooking some of the more cost effective cuts like top round or london broil. This is a wet steak rub and is reminiscent of the flavors that go into South African farmer’s sausage. It gives just a hint of flavor that most people here in the US have not had before, but reminds me of my childhood 🙂

Steak Rub (enough for about 3 pounds of steak)

Ingredients

¼ cup of olive oil

4 teaspoons of ground coriander

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1 ½ teaspoons of onion powder

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1 ½ teaspoons of salt

¼ teaspoon of ground black pepper

3 Tablespoons brown sugar

2 Tablespoon red wine vinegar

Directions

Mix all ingredients together in a gallon storage bag. Place the steaks in and make sure to cover them with the rub. Allow to sit for at least 20 minutes before cooking. Cook to your liking. I like to cook it about 4 to 5 minutes on each side for a rare to medium rare finish for about a 3cm thick steak. Allow to rest for 7 to 10 minutes before cutting.

Serve with some easy polenta or grilled cheesy potatoes, like this one from The Recipe Rebel. I made a version of it last night, minus the bacon and it was so easy and delicious!!

Add some asparagus or grilled corn (shuck, rub with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper then grill, turning frequently) and you have a great barbecue dinner.

Make sure you check if the spices are gluten-free. According to McCormick, they will list it on the bottle if it contains gluten, usually in spice blends. Badia is certified gluten free and can be found usually in the international section of many grocery stores, but sometimes next to the other spices.

What is your favorite way to cook a steak?

Bacon and Kale Mac-n-Cheese

Many of you asked for the recipe, so here it is! Bacon and Kale Mac-n-cheese. I have a basic mac-n-cheese recipe that I change up, probably every time I make it 🙂 Not too long ago I shared my Spinach and Artichoke Mac-n-Cheese recipe with you all. This one is not very different. For every mac-n-cheese, I make a roux (gluten-free flour and butter), add some spices, acid (lemon or vinegar to cut down the richness a little), then the shredded cheese and whatever extras you want to include, if any.

Bacon and Kale Mac-n-Cheese

Ingredients

1-12 to 16 ounce package of your favorite GF pasta (I used Wegman’s GF Fusilli)

1 cup of kale, washed, pulled of stem and chopped finely

½ pound of bacon, chopped

2/3 cup of butter

1/2 cup of Cup4Cup gluten free flour

1 Tablespoon brown spicy mustard

1 teaspoon of salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

About 2 cups of 2% milk (you can use whole milk)

1 teaspoon of white balsamic vinegar or juice of ½ a lemon

About 10 ounces of cheese (I used about 6 ounces of Cabot extra sharp cheddar and 4 ounces of an Aged Gouda)

Directions

Prepare pasta according to directions on the box. Place a cast iron skillet on the stove on medium heat. Add bacon to the cold pan and let it heat while the pan heats. Cook bacon for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add kale. Cook for another 10 to 15 minutes until the bacon has browned and started to crisp. Save bacon and kale mixture on a plate until ready to mix with pasta and cheese sauce. In the same cast iron skillet, melt butter and whisk in the flour, mustard, salt and pepper. Cook for a few minutes and then add the milk. Whisk together until all the lumps are out.  Stir in vinegar or lemon juice then add the cheese. Mix to melt the cheese and take off heat. Add drained pasta, bacon and kale. Mix through and serve!

I am, honestly, not a big fan of kale. Others in my family like it, so I’ll appease them by making it…covered in cheese 🙂

Mac-n-cheese is a great basic recipe to master and then you can play with it, using different vegetables, meats and spices to create new meals.When I don’t have time or the ability to be at the stove cooking for 20 minutes, I make a quick version of mac-n-cheese using mascarpone. Check it out here! It is a great easy meal.

What is your favorite mac-n-cheese topping or mix-in?