Today is wet, dreary and dark. This afternoon I really wanted to crawl back into bed with my book. I did that two days ago during the girls' nap time. Not joking. I decided to make the best of things. Here are a few things I decided were positive about this Thursday:
1. A reason to wear these rad rain boots I got for Christmas.
2. My husband made me a mocha from scratch. Yes, he's that awesome. He used a double boiler to melt some milk chocolate and then added milk and a little bit of brewed coffee. I. love. him.
3. This super sweet vintage apron I get to cook in ($5 at a local shop)
4. Listening to my newly discovered Muse station on Pandora. A nice break from the folksy blends I've been listening to everyday. It pulls up all sorts of great artists including the White Stripes, Audioslave, Coldplay, the Killers and more.
5. The fact that I'm cooking at all. I haven't been a consistent cook lately. Well, maybe I never was, but until my husband started cooking a year ago I always got something to the table. Now that he loves to cook and is planning on becoming a chef I have the luxury of only cooking when I feel inspired. Today is one of those days.
A while ago someone asked us for our favorite family recipes. We looked at each other and laughed. He only uses recipes as a starting point for things and well, I couldn't really remember what my favorite were back in the day when I was the cook. Don't get me wrong, I do love to cook and I'm not all that bad. I've just been a little overshadowed lately. And I'm ok with that.
I asked my husband what my specialty was and he said "you make really good chili." It's a little hillbilly for my special dish to be chili, but I decided I'm going to take it. I'm not above it. So, today I'm cooking chili. It's one of the few recipes I feel confident enough to add my own spin to.
Here's a recipe for chili I tore out of a Rachel Ray magazine 3 years ago. I've added my own little tidbits to it (aren't you lucky) in italics.
Creamy Chicken Apple Chili
1/4 cup EVOO
2 pounds chicken tenders, cut into 1/2 inch slices (I used 3-4 handfuls of shredded rotisserie chicken)
4 tsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
salt & pepper
2 apples, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (I leave the skin on)
1 onion, chopped
4 tbl butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup milk
2 15 oz cans beans, rinsed (I usually use three: black bean, pinto and white)
2 cups shredded cheese (extra sharp cheddar is what we use)
chopped scallions (cilantro is better!)
toasted tortillas for serving (who does this? we use tortilla chips)
1. In a large pan, heat 2 tbl spoons olive oil over med-high heat. Add chicken, chili powder and cumin. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring 5 min. Transfer to a bowl. (takes less time if you use a rotisserie. Just sayin)
2. In same pot, heat remaining oil and add apples and onion. Cook, stirring until softened. Add to chicken.
3. In same pot, melt butter over med-low heat. Whisk in flour for 1 min. then whisk in chicken broth and milk until thickened, 3 min. Stir in chicken and apples and beans and bring to a simmer (sometimes I throw some tomatoes in at this point). Serve with tortillas (chips!) and scallions (cilantro!).
There you have it. My specialty.