Skillet Chili Pasta

By Corinne

For a long time I had mixed feelings about chili. I don’t care for kidney beans. Sometimes people put mushrooms in their chili, and mushrooms happen to be one of the few things that I REALLY don’t like. I’m a bit picky about my ground beef. But one of the glorious things about making things yourself is you can do it how you like it. I usually make chili with stew beef rather than ground beef, but though I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions, I have been inspired to make more plant protein based meals. This chili is a riff on something between my regular chili, and the chili mac from Thug Kitchen 101. It is vegan as long as you stick to vegan ‘toppers’ to finish.

You will need:

  • 2 tbsp safflower or olive oil
  • 1 onion chopped (I often use red onion, but yellow onions work fine)
  • 1 red bell pepper chopped
  • 1 carrot finely chopped
  • 1 large stalk of celery (or two small)
  • 1 jalapeño finely minced (use half if you are cautious about the heat, it is always easier to add more than to try and adjust it if you’ve made it too hot for your taste)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic pressed or minced
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups (500ml)  of a plain tomato sauce, or diced tomatoes (I usually use my ones I canned from my garden until I run out!)
  • *2 tbsp (30 ml)- 1/2 cup tomato paste the amount of tomato paste needed will depend on the tomato sauce you use and whether you used just canned tomatoes or an actual sauce
  • 1 can of beer
  • 2-3 cups (750ml) of vegetable broth (start with 2, add more water if needed for the pasta to cook)
  • 3 cups of small pasta (about 240g) (today I used a tri-colour rotini, but I also love small shells for this)
  • 1 can (540ml 19 fl oz) of black beans, rinsed
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp lime juice + zest from one lime
  • any or none of the following to finish – cilantro, cheese, sour cream, avocado, lime wedges, additional jalapeño. This dish is vegan as long as you stick to vegan add ins.

In a large skillet, add  2 tbsp oil and chopped onion, celery, carrot, bell pepper,  and jalapeño pepper. Cook for 5-7 minutes until veggies are fragrant and getting tender. Add garlic, coriander, cumin and paprika and cook for another 1-2 minutes.

Add tomato sauce, veggie broth, and beer. Cover and bring to a simmer. Add pasta, cover and cook until pasta is a bit before al dente.  The amount of time here will depend on the size of your pasta, but about 7 minutes should probably do it. Add lime juice and zest, maple syrup and tomato paste and cook for another 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.

Serve topped with any or none of the the suggested toppings. Do you have any toppings you love for chili that aren’t mentioned here?

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Broccoli Potato Beer Soup

By Corinne

Life has been crazy. I hope you can forgive my slacking in the blogosphere. I’ve made a lot of great things, but those extra steps of taking pictures and writing things out has just been beyond what I’ve been able to do the last month or so!

It has also been freezing. The last two weeks it’s been colder in Thunder Bay than it has in the Arctic- like the actual north pole! We just got back from a few days of skiing where we had a high of about -30C everyday. Brrrrr… I have to say, that perhaps the one good thing about this wintery weather is soup.

Originally, I was feeling more of a cheddar beer soup… but we just spent 3 days eating out and I was really craving more veg. Plus, a cheddar soup is so much (delicious) cheese, but it’s January so everyone is trying to be good! Thus, I thought I would do a soup that was somewhere closer to being a little more virtuous and yet had the spirit of something more decadent.

This is quick to put together, is loaded with savory flavours, and vegan if you either omit the cheese or use a vegan shredded cheese to finish.

Time: about 10 min prep about 40 min total

Serves: 4

You will need:

  • 1 large onion diced
  • 1 large carrot diced
  • 2 stalks celery diced
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 2.5 cups russet potatoes diced with skin on
  • 4 cups broccoli florets
  • 4 cups veggie broth (chicken broth would also work)
  • 1 can of beer (355ml, 12 fl oz) (I would recommend a ‘boring’ beer like a lager rather than an IPA. If you use something bitter and hoppy, the bitterness will really come through)
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard (I actually really like the President’s choice one)
  • 1 tsp your favourite hotsauce- I used Heartbeat hot sauce, our local hot sauce (dial this up if you’re feeling it)
  • zest and juice of one lemon
  • 2 tbsp safflower or olive oil
  • Several generous grinds of fresh pepper and salt to taste
  • Shredded cheddar cheese for garnish if desired
  • * I didn’t have any, but it would be delightful with a hit of chives to finish!

Add 2 tbsp oil to a heavy bottomed pot on medium heat. Add onion, celery and carrot to pot. Cook for about 10 minutes, until you start getting some nice browned bits on the bottom. Add garlic and cook for about 1-2 minutes more until garlic is fragrant.

Deglaze pot with beer, scraping up those delicious browned bits. Add diced potatoes, and veggie broth. Bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes until potatoes are tender. Add the dijon, hot sauce, lemon zest, lemon juice, and several grinds of fresh pepper. Add the broccoli and boil for about another 6 minutes.

Use an immersion blender to blend soup to desired consistency, I like mine where there are still a few chunky bits left. Taste and adjust seasoning- adding more salt (depending on the saltiness of your broth, this may or may not be needed) more pepper or more hot sauce if you want to dial up the heat a bit.

This would be delightful topped with some fresh chives, but I forgot to buy them so had to go without. Top with cheese (vegan if desired) and enjoy with garlic toasts!

 

 

BBQ Chicken Wings with Lime and Lager Marinade

By Corinne

I love chicken wings, partly because I love variety and sauces and rubs and wings are just so versatile! This marinade is delightful for either chicken or pork*, though tonight we had it with wings. Speaking of rubs, I was recently gifted a jar of Pampered Chef Chili Lime seasoning. I thought this would make a delightful rub on the chicken wings and sprinkled on a generous amount after removing them from the marinade. Unfortunately, this particular seasoning has been discontinued, but apparently there is some pressure on the company to bring it back due to popularity. I’ve tried a few of the Pampered Chef seasonings, and have liked all the ones I’ve had so far!

Speaking of Pampered Chef, we can look forward to our friend Mandi, a Pampered Chef consultant, doing a guest post in near future! While I’m terrible at selling things so have never been interested in being a consultant, the large bar pan from Pampered  Chef is one of my favourite (and frequently used!) things in my tiny kitchen. I love it so much that I can’t help myself and sometimes have to gift one to people who I love and who also love cooking. I use it pretty much every time I turn on the oven, whether it’s for cookies or chicken or roasting off some veggies. Absolutely nothing roasts potatoes off to crisp perfection like this pan. Ok, enough waxing poetic about the large bar pan (though I could go on) and here’s the marinade!

Makes: 2 lbs of chicken wings, about 1 1/2 cups of marinade

Time: 10 minutes prep, few hours to overnight for marinating, 15-20 minutes BBQ

You will need:

  • 1 cup lager (I used Muskoka Brewery craft lager, but have also used Canadian, and Sleeping Giant Northern Logger – which actually isn’t a lager but is a kolsch style beer)
  • zest and juice from 2 limes (1/4 cup lime juice)
  • 1/4 cup canola or extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 2-3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 lbs chicken wings

Prepare marinade. In a medium bowl, zest limes and then juice. Add 1/4 cup of canola, salt, pepper, fresh chopped basil and mint, and minced garlic. Give this a good whisk, then add one cup of lager. It will foam and bubble a bit, then give it a stir. Either add marinade and wings to a large ziplock baggie to marinate, or add the wings to the bowl and cover. Marinate for at least 2 hours, but up to over night.

Preheat BBQ to medium heat. When ready to BBQ, remove wings from marinade. If you are adding an additional rub, do so at this point. BBQ wings for 5 minutes with lid closed. Flip and close lid again. BBQ for an additional 5-10 minutes, flipping twice more. BBQ time will vary a bit depending on your BBQ.

Serve with a salad, corn on the cob, or some BBQ potatoes 🙂

*As I mentioned at the top of the post, this same marinade is delicious on pork chops. I usually use that amount of marinade for 3 chops. Same deal, allow to marinate for 2 hours or up to over night.