Slow Cooker Tex-Mex Turkey Veggie Chili

Now that’s a mouthful! This recipe is a staple ’round these parts because it takes just minutes to assemble, practically cooks itself, and satisfies bellies with its hearty southwestern flavor. I get a little help from a store bought spice packet but I ratchet things up a notch by adding additional spice, liquid smoke and half a can of beer! You can’t go wrong on a cold night with a warm bowl of chili and chips…

Ingredients: Feeds 6 – 8

  • cooking spray
  • 1 lb lean ground turkey, browned
  • 1, 28 oz can crushed tomatoes (I use “fire roasted” tomatoes)
  • 1, 15 oz can black beans, drained
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 poblano pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 medium Bermuda onion, medium dice
  • 1 Tex-Mex Chili seasoning packet (I use McCormick’s)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp dried cilantro
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp dried minced garlic
  • dash cayenne pepper
  • 6 oz of beer (I use Corona)
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Spray the inside of your slow cooker with cooking spray.
  2. Brown the ground turkey in a skillet on the stove.
  3. Combine tomatoes, beans, chopped peppers, onion and seasonings in the slow cooker. Add the turkey, beer and liquid smoke. Mix well.

4. Cook on LOW for 4 hours, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper if needed.

5. Serve over rice or with tortilla chips. Garnish with fresh cilantro, sour cream and/or shredded cheddar cheese.

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Monday Minestrone

Sometimes I find it difficult to cook on Monday nights… just because it’s Monday, after all!? But this easy Minestrone soup comes together quickly, feeds a small crowd and will leave you not only full but proud of how you started off your week of suppers!

Ingredients: Feeds 6 – 8

  • 4 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • 1, 15 oz can diced tomatoes with juice (I like Muir Woods, Fire Roasted)
  • 1, 15 oz can dark kidney beans, drained
  • 1 bunch of celery, chopped
  • 3 – 4 carrots chopped
  • 1 cup chopped kale (I use Lacinto)
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 2 cups uncooked pasta (something small in size like Pipette)

Directions:

  1. Bring a small pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta and cook according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large pot over medium heat, combine the other ingredients and bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 20 – 30 minutes or until veggies are fork tender. Remove rosemary stem.
  3. Drain pasta and add to the soup. Taste and add additional salt and/or pepper if desired.

Suggestions:

  • This soup can be made ahead and reheated. If planning on doing so, leave out the pasta until you’re ready to reheat and serve or it will soak up all the liquid!
  • Try adding additional protein like meatballs! Leftover meatballs work great but if not, I always have Trader Joe’s mini party meatballs in my freezer and they work like a charm!

 

Summer Squash Quiche

Left with a yellow squash, a zucchini and a pre-made pie crust… a quiche is born!

Ingredients: Serves 8

  • 1 pre-mde pie crust
  • 1 large yellow squash, sliced thin (approx. 1/8″ thick)
  • 1 large zucchini, sliced thin (same as above)
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan, plus extra
  • 1/2 tsp fresh black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Use a mandolin to slice both the squash and zucchini and set a side.
  3. In a medium size bowl, whisk together the eggs and the milk. Add the parmesan, pepper and salt and gently whisk to combine.
  4. Unroll pie crust and cover the bottom and sides of a round 9.5″ glass pie dish. Pierce the bottom of the crust a few times with a fork.
  5. Place the squash and zucchini in alternating layers on top of the crust. For example, I did a layer of overlapping zucchini, followed by a layer of overlapping squash. I was able to repeat the layers one more time for a total of four layers.
  6. Slowly pour the egg and cheese mixture over the layered vegetables and allow it to sink in.
  7. Sprinkle top with a few tbsp of additional parmesan if desired.IMG_4989
  8. Bake 60 – 70 minutes. Quiche is cooked when crust is browned and eggs are firm.
  9. Let cool at least 30 minutes. Serve warm, room temp or chilled… it’s delicious any which way!IMG_4994

Suggestions:

  • Alternate your layers by including both squash and zucchini in each for a more colorful presentation!
  • Cook time is finicky! It depends not only on your oven but the water content of the vegetables. The fresher they are, the more water they will contain and the longer the bake time will be!

Texas Caviar

I cannot take credit for the catchy name or the tasty combination of ingredients; I know quite a few home cooks who have their own version of this recipe on file! However, I can tell you how I make it as well as list a few unique ways to repurpose your leftovers!

Ingredients: Serves 10 – 12

  • 24 oz frozen corn, thawed
  • 1, 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 large jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 medium red onion, diced
  • 1 cup cilantro (loosely packed), chopped
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • juice from one lime
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp kosher salt (plus extra)
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper (plus extra)

Directions:

  1. Combine first seven ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Whisk together the last six ingredients in a small bowl.
  3. Add the liquid to the corn mixture and toss to coat.
  4. Adjust seasoning to your personal taste preferences by adding additional salt and/or pepper..
  5. Let chill 2 – 3 hours, allowing flavors to develop.
  6. Serve with tortilla chips.

Leftovers:

IF you have them… consider the following (drain any liquid that accumulates first):

  • Add it to eggs in a scramble or a quiche, or use it in egg cups (search site for recipe).
  • Fold into corn bread batter to jazz up your corn muffins/corn bread.
  • Top grilled chicken or fish with a scoop.
  • Toss it with a green salad.

Kale and Berries Salad

An Instagram follower (you know who you are;) asked me to post this recipe, so here it is! It’s the perfect homage to summer!! Enjoy!

Ingredients: Feeds 2 – 4

  • 4 cups torn kale, ribs removed (I use organic red leaf)
  • juice from half a lemon
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • fresh cracked pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup strawberries, sliced
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • seeds from 1/2 a pomegranate
  • 1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup sliced or chopped almonds

Directions:

  1. In a large serving bowl, mix torn kale with lemon juice and salt. Massage kale with your hands to tenderize it.
  2. Drizzle massaged kale with olive oil and season with fresh cracked pepper.
  3. Toss kale with strawberries, blueberries, and pomegranate seeds.
  4. Top with goat cheese crumbles and almonds.

Suggestions:

Add protein to this salad to make it a complete meal! I’ve used grilled teriyaki pork loin but I think blackened chicken, salmon or even shrimp would pair nicely!

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Mediterranean Farro Salad

I love this salad! Mostly because it’s so versatile (see substitutions) but also because it’s a delicious crowd pleaser and can be made ahead. It’s the perfect side dish or can serve as a main if you add protein. So get to it and come up with your own flavor combo and let me know how it goes by posting your comments below! Cheers!!

Ingredients: Feeds 6-8

  • 2 1/2 cups cooked farro, rinsed
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup packed flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup packed mint leaves, chopped
  • 4 oz haloumi cheese, cubed
  • 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1/2 pomegranate, seeded
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 cups baby arugula

Directions:

  1. Cook farro according to package directions and let cool. Toast pine nuts and set aside.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, combine grape tomatoes, parsley and mint. Add haloumi, pine nuts and pomegranate seeds and mix gently to incorporate.IMG_2983
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, lemon zest and salt and pepper.
  4. Combine farro and tomato mixture with 2/3 of the dressing, tossing gently to coat.
  5. Pour the remaining dressing into the bottom of a large shallow serving bowl. Top with arugula.
  6. Layer the farro salad on top of the arugula.
  7. Chill* and toss before serving.

*Salad can chill overnight.

Substitutions:

The best part about this salad is making it your own! The original recipe was adapted from Food and Wine magazine but I change it up every time I make it!

  • barley or orzo for farro
  • walnuts or almonds for pine nuts
  • ricotta salata or feta for haloumi
  • grapes for grape tomatoes
  • blueberries/raspberries/strawberries for pomegranate seeds
  • add protein like grilled chicken, steak or fish for a complete meal

 

 

Farro Salad with Roasted Veggies and Grilled Chicken

This deliciously refreshing and filling salad is perfect for a weeknight when prep time is limited!  The veggies roast up in under 20 minutes and if you have the farro and grilled chicken on hand already, from start to finish you can be enjoying this healthy and hearty dish in 30 minutes or less! On the flip side, this is a great dish for a get together and if served family style, is sure to impress!!

Ingredients: Feeds 4 – 6

  • 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed
  • 2 carrots, sliced on a bias
  • 2 shallots, quartered
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp tarragon vinegar
  • 1 tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • black pepper
  • 5 oz baby arugula (1 package)
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked farro (approx 3/4 cup uncooked)
  • 1/4 cup chopped almonds
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 1/2 lbs grilled chicken, sliced

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Toss asparagus, carrots and shallots in 2 tbsp olive oil and a pinch of kosher salt.
  3. Roast the veggies in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet for 15-20 minutes or until they are tender.
  4. Meanwhile, whisk together the tarragon vinegar, parsley, lemon zest, a pinch of both black pepper and kosher salt, and remaining olive oil in a large bowl.
  5. Add arugula and cooked farro to the bowl and toss to coat.
  6. Divide the salad mixture among your plates. Top each with a serving of roasted veggies and slices of grilled chicken.
  7. Sprinkle each dish with chopped almonds and grated Parmesan.

Suggestions:

  • For a meatless meal, eliminate the grilled chicken! Farro provides ample fiber to this dish and will leave you feeling satisfied.
  • Or sub your favorite meat/protein for chicken; try grilled pork, steak or salmon filets.
  • Cook a large batch of farro ahead of time and keep it on hand for recipes like this.  It keeps well for 3-5 days in the fridge.
  • If you don’t have tarragon vinegar on hand, combine 2 tbsp white wine vinegar with 1 tbsp fresh chopped tarragon. You may wish to eliminate the parsley from the dressing and use it as a garnish if you go this route.

*Original recipe adapted from Cooking Light