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.

 

How to Make Rice in a Rice Cooker

About  15 years ago, I somehow lost the ability to cook rice on the stove. I could never get it to come out right. A rice cooker saved me! I bought one at Target, for under $25 and never looked back. It lasted over 10 years then I replaced it with the same one, a newer model of course, from Aroma, that I still use today. It makes perfect rice every time. More recently, I have discovered how easy it is to make rice in the Instant Pot.

Basic Rice Cooker Rice

Ingredients

1 1/3 cup brown rice

2 2/3 cups unsalted chicken or vegetable stock

1 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

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

1 teaspoon onion powder

Directions

Add all the ingredients to the rice cooker, turn it on and let it cook. It will take about 20 to 40 minutes, depending on your rice cooker.

You can add different spices to change up the flavor depending on what you are serving with it. I like to use cumin, rosemary, thyme or ginger.  After cooking you can add chopped fresh herbs, like cilantro or basil.

When making a larger amount, I now use my Instant Pot to cook rice. I was nervous the first time I made it because it was the main part of the meal that I was serving to guests. There was no need for me to be nervous. It came out perfectly! I made a quick paella with it. Instead of Spanish flavors, I used South African flavors and added my homemade South African farmer’s sausage (boerewors), shrimp and some peas. After some more testing I’ll share this amazing recipe with you all! I adapted Everyday Maven’s instructions to help make the rice come out so well 🙂

Rice is so versatile. It can be cooked in advance and kept warm in the rice cooker or Instant Pot. It can be frozen for future meals. It can be used in so many different cuisines: Chinese, Mexican, American, Italian, Indian, Spanish and more!  What is your favorite way to serve rice?  Here are some of my favorites: Sheet Pan Shrimp, Marinated Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Chicken Breasts or Turkey Fried Rice.

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.

2018 Cooking Bucket List

Before I look forward to new cooking adventures in 2018, it is nice to look back at some of the new dishes I made in 2017. Even with my small hiatus from cooking over the summer, I almost finished my 2017 Cooking Bucket List. I love to cook, so making this list helps me expand my cooking horizons each year and learn a new cooking method or learn that some things are better eaten in a restaurant.

Some things went well and others not so well. I made gluten-free koeksisters, a South African fried dough, dipped in syrup. They were delicious, although a little dense. I’m going to have to work on the recipe a little more. I adapted the recipe to be gluten-free from Cook and Enjoy It from S.J.A de Villiers, a classic South African cookbook.

The egg yolk ravioli with homemade GF pasta was also yummy, though I only made 2 because the pasta was really challenging to work with. I think this is better eaten in a restaurant!

The gluten-free croissants also were just ok. I’ll have to try again.

The Dragon Ball I recreated from my favorite local sushi restaurant (Takara) was amazing! Hint, mine is on the left 🙂 I will definitely make it again at home. Costs about the same.

The Lamb Mango Korma wasn’t exactly made from scratch, but I used curry powder instead of making my own mixture, but it was definitely one of the kids’ favorites that I will make another time and share the recipe with you.

The gluten-free Yorkshire puddings were also a favorite, thanks to Nicole Hunn’s recipe from Gluten-free on a Shoestring.

I also made some fancier dishes. The Cornish Game Hens were so tasty but not something I would make for a regular meal, but save for a special occasion.  The Baked Alaska was actually easier than I thought, just very time consuming. The last thing I made was Indian Pudding. It is a cornmeal pudding that is in almost every New England cookbook I own. I combined recipes from Massachusetts: Recipes for All Seasons and NewEngland.com’s Plimoth Plantation’s Slow Cooker Indian Pudding.

I missed one item on the 2017 bucket list, homemade ginger beer, so I’ve added it to my 2018 list.

  1. Pavolva
  2. Poutine
  3. GF Ouma biscuit
  4. Mayonnaise
  5. Ginger Beer
  6. Crème Brulee
  7. Biltong
  8. GF Chocolate Lava Cake
  9. Avgolemono – Greek lemon chicken and rice soup
  10. GF Lobster Rolls

This year’s bucket list is a mixture of some more South African favorites from my youth, desserts and things I’ve attempted to make before but didn’t work out so well. This year I will finish them all!

Are you going to challenge yourself to make something new this year?  Any good recipes to share with me for one of my bucket list items? Happy New Year!

Best Recipes of 2017

Another year is almost over…and what a year it was! I am almost finished with my Cooking Bucket List from 2017. I have one more recipe to make, which I will make for New Year’s Eve. Stay tuned next week to learn how my bucket list recipes turned out and what is in store for 2018. For this week, here is a round-up of my best recipes of 2017. These are the most visited recipes by the readers…you!

  1. Favorite Meatball Recipes from 2016
  2. Overnight Baked Apple French Toast
  3. Meatballs, Plain and Simple
  4. Basic Chocolate Bark Recipe
  5. Nutella in a Smoothie? Yes Please!
  6. Gluten-Free Buttermilk Biscuits
  7. What to do with Leftover Cod
  8. Boston Cream Pie Cake
  9. French Onion Soup
  10. Balsamic Honey Mustard Sauce

Thanks for reading Mamma’s Cooking this year! Click here if you want to check out last year’s favorites. Looking forward to continuing to share new recipes with you and making good food that just happens to be gluten free! Happy New Year!

Easy Mushroom Sauce

When you want to spice up a meal or make it fancier, a good sauce can easily do that. Now, I am not a fan of mushrooms, but lately I have been using them more. They really give a great umami quality to your food. My son ate this sauce alone, for breakfast, the morning after I served it. It really is lick-your-plate delicious😊  Serve this sauce over your holiday roast, steaks, chicken or over some polenta for a comforting vegetarian dish.

Mushroom Sauce

Ingredients

2 Tablespoons of butter

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped

1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped

1 teaspoon of onion powder

1 pound of your favorite mushrooms, chopped (I like baby portabellas or shitake)

1 packet of McCormick’s Gluten Free Brown Gravy

1 cup of veggie, chicken or beef stock

1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar

Direction

Melt butter and heat oil in a sauce pan, over medium heat. Add thyme, rosemary and onion powder. Toss in your mushrooms and cook for about 5 minutes. Add gravy mix, stock and vinegar. Stir and cook for another 5 minutes and sauce is thick. Taste for seasoning.

What is your favorite sauce? Try some of my other sauces, one sweet and one savory.

 

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.

Mango Banana Smoothie

After indulging in heavy foods over the holidays, a great smoothie is just the thing to help you feel better! I admit the novelty of my Ninja blender has worn off and after the first few months of smoothies every other day, they appear much less frequently. This however, is the most requested and blended smoothie in our house. It makes enough for  2 adults or 3 to 4 kids.

Mango Banana Smoothie

Ingredients

6 ounces of vanilla yogurt

½ frozen banana

½  cup frozen mango chunks

½ cup of milk

Directions

Throw all the ingredients in your blender. Blend until smooth and enjoy!

What is your favorite recovery food after the holidays, a vacation or other time spent eating more than you know you should? This Nutella smoothie is also a favorite in our house. Other than smoothies we go to soups. Check out my favorite soups here.