Monthly Archives: January 2015

White Chicken Chili


I adapted this white chicken chili just slightly from a Southern Living Christmas cookbook we recently received in a care package. We served it alongside a red bean chili with corn chips and muffins, topped with cheddar cheese, chives, and green onions. Our friends enjoyed the varieties and marveled at how healthy it must be, which always makes me happy. This chili wasn’t overly thick but rather had lots of broth. For a thicker chili, you could consider reducing the amount of chicken broth, but we boiled ours down a bit and it turned out quite well.



2 medium onions, chopped

1 ½ Tablespoons oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

6 chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces

2 cups water

2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

4-5 cans white beans (If using beans that are not from a can, see this post for bean conversions)

2 ½ cups chicken broth

6 chopped long, thin green peppers (I used the lighter green less spicy ones from the local market.)

¼ cup lime juice (optional)

Directions and Notes:

1. First, combine 2 cans of the white beans with 1 cup of the chicken broth in a blender and blend until smooth. Set aside.

2. In a large pot, heat the oil. Sauté the onions and garlic for about five minutes.

3. Add the chopped chicken breasts and cook until the chicken is lightly browned.

4. Add the bean puree, water, salt, cumin, chili powder, black pepper, the remaining whole beans, the remaining chicken broth, and the chopped green chilies. Allow the chili to simmer for 30 minutes to one hour until flavors are melded and liquid has reduced to a desired thickness.

5. Add the lime juice just before serving.



Gingerbread Cookies


I whipped together these gingerbread cookies for one of the Christmas parties we had last month. They were so easy to put together, and like all of the cookies I’ve posted here so far, don’t require butter. Our friends really liked the flavor of these, too.



1 cup packed dark brown sugar (as dark as possible if buying in the open market)

3/4 cups vegetable oil

1/4 cup molasses OR 3 Tablespoons more very dark brown sugar

1 egg

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/3 cup white sugar for decoration

Directions and Notes:

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius).

2. In a medium bowl, combine the brown sugar, oil, molasses, and egg. In a separate bowl, combine the next 6 ingredients (everything remaining except for the white sugar).

3. Combine the wet and dry ingredients.

4. Roll the dough into about 1 inch balls. Roll each ball in white sugar and place them on ungreased cookie sheets.

5. Bake 10-12 minutes or until center is firm.

Recipe adapted from

Molasses Substitute


Here are a few ways to substitute for molasses. These substitutions may affect the taste of your recipe. Since brown sugar is made from granulated sugar and molasses, I always go with the first option since it’s the closest flavor match, but I’ve heard that the other two can work as well.

Replace one cup of molasses with one of these:

  • 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup dark corn syrup, honey, or maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar, plus 1/4 cup water

Mushroom Risotto


This mushroom risotto was easy and delicious! It requires a little bit of stirring, and several additions of broth, but it’s easy to put together if you’re working on another project in the kitchen anyway. Our Chinese friends really liked it and said that it was a lot more delicious than Chinese rice, which I think is easy to do but is quite a high compliment coming from them!



6 cups chicken broth, divided

3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided

4 1/2 cups quartered or sliced white button mushrooms

1 1/2 cups Arborio rice (If Arborio rice isn’t available, just use a regular, very short-grained rice. I used one from the local market called “珍珠米.” It’s not quite the same, but I’ve made it like that and it’s still delicious.)

1/2 cup dry white wine (as called for by the original recipe, or an extra 1/2 cup chicken broth)

3 green onions, chopped

salt to taste

black pepper to taste

1-2 Tablespoons chopped chives, to taste

1/4 cup butter (optional but recommended)

1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan or mozzarella cheese

Directions and Notes:

1. Warm the chicken broth in a medium saucepan. Once it is warm, remove it from heat.

2. Warm 2 Tablespoons of the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook until soft. Remove mushrooms and their liquid and set aside.

3. Add the remaining 1 Tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet. Add the rice and green onions and stir to coat with the oil. Cook about 2 minutes or until the rice is a pale, golden color.

4. Pour in the wine, or 1/2 cup of chicken broth, whichever you are using. Stir the rice constantly until the liquid is fully absorbed. Add the chicken broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring often until the liquid is absorbed. The rice is finished when most or all of the chicken broth has been added and absorbed, and the rice is al dente. This may take 20-30 minutes.

5. Remove the saucepan from heat and stir in the mushrooms with their liquid, butter, chives, green onions, cheese, salt and pepper.

Recipe adapted from

Thick and Hearty Red Bean Chili


This chili was full of protein with lots of meat and beans. Our guests loved it. We topped it with shredded cheddar, chopped green onions and chives, and we served it with corn muffins and corn chips. Add other vegetables if desired.



2 pounds ground meat (beef or pork), browned and drained

2 large onions, chopped

2 minced garlic cloves

1 ½ Tablespoon oil

4 cans of red kidney beans (or about 2 super heaping cups of dried beans, boiled; see this post for bean conversions)

20 small tomatoes, roughly processed in a food processor

¼ cup chili powder

2 teaspoons cumin

2 teaspoons salt, or to taste

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

4 chopped thin and long green peppers (I used the lighter green, less spicy ones.)

Directions and Notes:

1. In a large pot, heat the oil. Sauté the onions and garlic for about 5 minutes.

2. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes to one hour until chili is warm and flavors are melded.

Make-Your-Own Colored Sprinkles


This is one of those things that’s almost too easy to be called a recipe, but after talking with a few friends who didn’t know it was possible, I decided to share.

Last week I needed sprinkles for a cookie-decorating party I was throwing. I was afraid my leftovers from last year weren’t quite enough, so I made some easy colored sugar sprinkles of my own.

If you want to make some, here’s what you should do:

Put regular white sugar into a small bowl or cup and add a few drops of liquid food coloring. (Gel coloring would probably work too; I’d mix mine with a drop or two of water before adding it to the sugar in order to water it down a bit more.) Then just stir to combine until the color is evenly distributed and you have colored sprinkles!