White Chicken Chili – Blue Owl Restaurant Copycat Recipe

Kimmswick, Missouri is a wonderful little town that attracts thousands of visiters every year. It has tiny little shops that are filled with handmade craft and foods. They have several festivals each year, and I have yet to attend any of them. Kimmswick really isn’t my “cup of tea” but they have a really amazing restaurant there call The Blue Owl. They have some of the most visually appealing baked goods I have ever seen, and they taste amazing too. The have a pie that’s called “Levee High Apple Pie.” I’m not exactly sure how big this thing is, but the dome reminds me of a cowboy hat. I’m not sure if there is ANY reason to make a pie this big, except for the fact that it’s really cool! There’s nothing wrong with extreme foods as long as they are in moderation. Fried Twinkies shouldn’t fall into the category of extreme foods…they should be a staple. So, go ahead and eat as many of those as you want.

The Blue Owl isn’t just known for their baked goods, they have a great lunch menu. I always order the same thing, Chicken Salad Croissant with a cup of White Chicken Chili. The chicken salad is really good, but the white chicken chili steals the show. It is full of beans and stringy, monterey jack cheese. Great, now I’m hungry!

I can’t remember exactly why or even when I started making this chili. I know that I searched the web for weeks until I found the right recipe. There are lots of imposters out there, so don’t be fooled into making those recipes. The one I am posting today is the right one.

I have made this for just about every fall party that I have. I make it for Halloween, my birthday, and for work potlucks. It’s a very simple recipe, but do not swap out any of the ingredients, specifically the Monterey Jack cheese. I realize that there are plenty of cheese mixtures available, that contain Monterey Jack, but don’t get a mixture. Get the real stuff or the recipe won’t be an exact copycat. If you don’t care about being exact, then feel free to swap it out for your favorite cheese. If you would like to put this in the crockpot, follow all of the cooking steps, add to crockpot, but DO NOT add the cheese until right before you are ready to serve it because the cheese will stick together and possibly burn. You can also use a rotissere chicken from the grocery store to save time on the preparation.

Enjoy this soup and share it with your family and neighbors, or eat it all by yourself, and then chant the famous “Beans, Beans…” song to embarass your children or your spouse.

Sorry, guys…I don’t have any pics of the soup at this time. This was a special request by my friend “N” and I haven’t had time to make it and take pictures yet this year.

White Chicken Chili – Blue Owl Restaurant Copycat
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:

1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion – chopped
5 cloves garlic – minced
2 (4 oz) cans of mild, chopped green chilis
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
4 cans great northern beans – undrained
5 cups chicken broth/stock
4 cups of chopped chicken
4 cups (2 packages) grated monterey jack cheese

Directions:

Heat olive oil in stock pot over medium heat. Add onions and saute until soft and translucent. Add garlic and saute until fragrant (do not burn) approx. 1 minute.

Reduce heat to low and add chilis, cumin, oregano, and cayenne pepper and stir to combine.

Add undrained beans and broth and increase heat to high to bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to low and add chicken and cheese. Stir until cheese melts. If you are putting the soup in the crockpot to be served later, place in crockpot without the cheese and add cheese just before serving.

p.s. This recipe is gluten free too!

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Ham & Bean Soup Recipe – Comfort Food at its Finest!



Ah, ham and bean soup has always been one of my favorites. So, what do I do when I have a leftover hambone and ham to use? I make soup.

My grandmother makes the best ham and beans, and I consider this to be one of my top 5 foods. She always made it a point to get me a container full of ham and beans whenever she made them. And, if she wasn’t able to get them to me, I could guarantee that she would have a container of soup in her freezer just waiting for me to stop by and eat them. The last time she sent me some ham and beans they were the BEST beans I had ever had. The recipe was different, but still had a lot of the same flavors that I remembered. I called her later to thank her for the ham and beans, and she informed me that she hadn’t made them; my uncle had made them for her and she had put them in her freezer to eat later. She gave me the wrong soup! Then I felt bad for saying that they were some of the best ham and beans I had ever eaten. Oh well.

I never realized how vastly different the recipes are for this dish. There are so many different ways to prepare ham and beans. Some call for sausage, and some call for navy beans. Some call for vegetables and others have none like my grandma’s. So, I decided to create my own recipe based on what sounded good to me. The soup was really good. I had prepared my recipe ahead of time, but completely changed it as I was making it. I was tired of being in the kitchen, so I threw everything in the crockpot at 8am, and we finally ate around 6:30.

I made the mistake of checking the beans too early in the cooking process, and I freaked out because the beans were still hard. I started looking on the Internet and assumed that the beans were going to stay hard because I had salted them in the beginning instead of waiting until the end. I immediately grabbed another bag of beans out of the pantry and used the “quick soak” method so they would be ready to replace the hardened beans in a couple of hours. Well, after another 2 hours in the crockpot, the original beans were finally soft. DANG…now I had a whole pot of beans and no where to use them. So, I used them anyway. I mashed half of the new beans and added them to the crockpot, and then I added the rest of them to the soup that was left after we finished eating. It all worked out just fine. I guess I need to learn to be more patient.

Grab out your crockpot and make some comfort food!



Cheri’s Ham and Bean Soup
By: The Accidental Cook

1 lb. dried Great Northern Beans
1 meaty hambone + additional cooked ham to add as needed
4 cups water
4 cups chicken broth/stock
1 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
Bay leaf
1 cup celery (finely chopped)
1 cup onion (diced)
1/2 cup carrots (chopped)
Salt – to taste just prior to serving

Place beans in large bowl. Remove any “ugly” beans or shells. Cover with water and let soak 8 hours or overnight.

Drain beans and then put them into a large crockpot. Add ham bone, water, broth, brown sugar, garlic powder, pepper bay leaf, celery, onion and carrots. Cook on low for 10 hour checking beans to ensure they are getting soft.

Once beans are soft, remove the hambone, cut off any meat, and discard bone. Spoon out 3/4 cup of cooked beans and mash with a potato masher or food processor. Return mashed beans and ham to crockpot and stir.

Warm for another 15 minutes, remove bay leaf and serve with your favorite cornbread recipe.

Chicken Tortilla Soup, Homemade Stock and Cornmeal Honey Bread for Daring Cooks



Let me start out by saying…this is a long post.

A couple of days ago I was accepted into the Daring Kitchen to participate in the Daring Cooks and Daring Bakers Challenges. I absolutely love that I am going to start participating in these challenges, but the recipes somewhat go against what I’m trying to promote here…simple and quick. The recipe challenges that are given to us each month are in no way “simple.”

Peta, of the blog Peta Eats, was our lovely hostess for the Daring Cook’s September 2011 challenge, “Stock to Soup to Consommé”. We were taught the meaning between the three dishes, how to make a crystal clear Consommé if we so chose to do so, and encouraged to share our own delicious soup recipes!

I decided against making Consommé this time, but would love to try it someday. I found a great recipe for bread that I wanted to try. Bread is one of those tricky things that I have had some success at, but I keep trying. Once again, the bread is not for a novice baker, but it’s ok to try if you are ready to learn. It’s not as tough as it seems.

The bread rose nicely and was very easy to work with, especially if you have a Kitchen Aid mixer. If you ever plan to be a foodie like me, a KA mixer is a must.
The bread was amazingly good both served warm and cooled. I have to thank the hubby for helping with the bread. I had an appointment, and I didn’t time my bread preparation properly. He has been such a good sport through all of this!

The chicken stock is ohhhhh so good. I’m not sure why I haven’t made my own more often. I am going to start saving all of my veggie scraps to use for future batches of stock. This recipe was really easy. Just make sure you do it when you have 4 hours to be home. You aren’t cooking that entire time, so don’t be scared!

The tortilla soup is super easy. Use canned or fresh ingredients. I used all fresh just to make it extra special, but canned works just fine. Just don’t forget to put the chicken in the pot (not that I speak from experience or anything). You can serve this with the bread recipe from this post, or tortilla chips. You can also top with cheese and sour cream. YUM!

The process of making the stock, soup and bread took a lot of time. Taking the pictures, writing about it and posting everything online took just as long. I’m so glad that everything turned out so good, and I hope that you will try to make something you have read here today. If you made it through reading this entire post, you deserve a gold star for the day!



Chicken Tortillas Soup with Homemade Stock

Stock

Ingredients:

1 large, whole chicken
2 large yellow onions, unpeeled and quartered
4 carrots, unpeeled and roughly chopped
3 stalks celery with leaves, cut into thirds
10 sprigs fresh parsley
5 sprigs fresh thyme
10 sprigs fresh dill
1 head garlic, unpeeled and cut in 1/2 crosswise
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

Directions

Place the chicken, onions, carrots, celery, parsley, thyme, dill, garlic, and seasonings in a 16 quart stockpot. Add 5 quarts (20 cups) of water and bring to a boil. Simmer, uncovered, for 4 hours, removing the chicken after 2 or 3 hours and returning the carcass back to the pot for the remainder of the cooking time. Set chicken aside to cool, and once cool, shred or chop and store in refrigerator. Strain the entire contents of the pot through a colander and discard the solids. Chill the stock overnight. The next day, skim fat from the surface and use immediately or pour stock in containers and freeze for up to 3 months.

Chicken and veggies in the stock pot



Stock after 2 hours and with chicken meat removed



Final product after straining everything twice



About 10 cups of stock ready to be stored



Chicken Tortilla Soup

Ingredients:

2 cups whole kernel corn (canned, fresh or thawed frozen)
3-1/2 cups chicken stock (see above)
1-1/2 cups cooked chicken (shredded or cubed)
1 (15 ounce) can black beans (drained and rinsed)
1-1/4 cups diced tomatoes (fresh or canned)
1 (4 ounce) can diced green chiles

Directions:

Place corn, stock, chicken, beans, tomatoes, and chilis into large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes (stirring occasionally) or until thoroughly warmed.

 


Cornmeal Honey Bread

Recipe from: Andrea at Cooking Books which was adopted from Beth Hensperger’s Beth’s Basic Bread Book

*I really loved the way Andrea narrated this recipe below, so I just copied her exact recipe, word for word. She has a lot of good recipes on her blog, so go and check her out.

Ingredients:

3/4 cups warm water (105F – 115F)
1 tablespoon (1 package) active dry yeast
Pinch of granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups warm buttermilk (105F – 115F) (it might separate a bit when being heated, but that ain’t no thing so don’t worry about it)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus 2 more tablespoons melted for brushing
1/3 cup honey
1 tablespoon salt
1 cup yellow cornmeal, fine or medium grind, plus a bit extra for sprinkling
4 1/2 – 5 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

Directions:

The first step in this easy bread (and in any bread) is to proof the yeast. Which is just a fancy way of saying put it in some warm water, give it something to munch on (the sugar) and wake it up (yeast is a living thing, after all). To proof it, pour the 3/4 cups warm water in a small bowl and sprinkle the yeast and the sugar on top. Give it a gentle stir with a fork so the yeast dissolves and just let it sit there for about 10 minutes until it’s a bit foamy.



To make the dough fit your standing mixer with the paddle attachment, and pour the buttermilk, the melted butter and the honey into the bowl of the mixer. Add the salt, cornmeal, and 1 cup of the all-purpose flour. Beat on medium-high speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Stir in the now-bloomed yeast. Add the rest of the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing between each addition. The dough will be soft and a bit sticky, but if it’s too sticky to handle, add more flour.

As the dough begins to come together, you’ll have to switch the paddle out for the dough hook, or just turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead by hand. Kneed it for about 3 minutes with the dough hook until it becomes smooth, not overly sticky and elastic. It shouldn’t be dry, so be judicious with any extra additions of flour.

Take the dough out of the bowl and set aside. Lightly grease the bowl and return the dough to the bowl, rolling it over so that it is coated. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise at room temperature for about 1.5 hours, until it’s doubled in volume. Go do something else.

Dough before rising



Dough after rising



Come back, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper, then sprinkle the extra cornmeal on the paper. Set aside. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.

Dough before dividing



Divide it in half, which will deflate the dough. Shape the dough into two round loaves. Place the loaves seam-side down on the prepared baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Let the loaves rise again at room temperature for about 45 minutes, until doubled in bulk.

Divided dough



Preheat the oven to 375F. When the dough is risen, use a sharp knife to cut an ‘x’ into the top of each loaf, which should not be deeper than 1/4 inch. Brush the loaves with the rest of the melted butter and bake on the middle rack of the oven for 40-45 minutes, until the loaves sound hollow when tapped with your finger. Remove from the oven and transfer the loaves to cooling racks. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Weekly Menu and some Grocery Shopping Advice

My next trip to the grocery store will be on Saturday. Oh, how excited I am! Not really. Let’s get real…grocery shopping sucks! There is nothing worse than walking around a grocery store for an hour. The thought of doing it makes me want to stay home and watch CSPAN instead. That’s about how much I love grocery shopping. But, what makes grocery shopping somewhat tolerable is knowing exactly what I need. By planning my menu for the week ahead, I can run through the aisles like someone on that gameshow from the 90s called Supermarket Sweep (yes, there was a version from the 60s, but I wasn’t around for the first iteration). Does anyone else remember that show? Wow, that’s not one of the finer moments in television history. Well, neither is Saved by the Bell – the College Years, or the Arseno Hall Show. Did you know there was actually a show called Homeboys in Outerspace (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homeboys_in_Outer_Space)? Apparently no one else did either because it only lasted a short time. But the title made me laugh.

So the menu is done, and I’m ready to hit the store with my list in hand…all items on the list are categorized into sections that coorespond with how they are found in the store, and those categories are placed in the order of the path that I take through the store. Ok, follow me here…If I need ham, potatoes, carrots, milk, bread, and beans, the first items on my list are potatoes and carrots, because I know that the first section in the store is the produce. The next will be bread followed by ham because these items come next in my path through the store. Seriously, it makes shopping so much easier to do it this way. I don’t have to track back through the entire store because I managed to forget the onions. I guess I’m OCD (or COD if you are OCD too). When I started doing my shopping list this way, I kinda thought everyone else did too. Once again, I am surprised by some of the strange things I do.

Enough of my ramblings. Here’s the menu for the week with links as appropriate. I will be posting recipes for everything in the coming week, including those without links. I can’t post the ones without links yet because they are my own, and I don’t want YOU to make them before I do. They may not be good, and I don’t want to embarrass myself.

Chow for now!

Recipes for 9/18-9/22:

Sunday – Ham and Bean Soup w/ leftover cornbread
Monday – Tacos
Tuesday – Chicken Teriyaki with steamed rice
Wednesday – Broiled Tilapia Parmesan w/ Roasted Red Potatoes and frozen veggies. I will have to make baked chicken for the kids. They don’t prefer fish.
Thursday – French Dip Sandwiches, French Fries, canned peas