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The Best White Chicken Chili Ever

I’m a chili lover from the word go. I’m not talking about the chili that a lot of my friends make and think that it’s the greatest chili in the world. They think that chili is supposed to be hot enough to melt the bottom out of the spoon, and they add enough beans to choke a horse. For me, chili has to have a good balance of seasonings, spices, and beans. This one really fits the bill for me.

This is a recipe you’ll want to be making year round, even as it starts to get warm outside. It’s probably different than what you’d expect with the label of “chili” in the title but it is amazingly delicious!

Ingredients

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cans (14 ounces each) chicken broth
1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chiles
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1-1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
3 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) great northern beans, drained, divided
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Sliced jalapeno pepper, optional

Preparation

In a Dutch oven over medium heat, cook chicken and onion in oil until lightly browned. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in the broth, chiles, cumin, oregano and cayenne; bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to low. With a potato masher, mash one can of beans until smooth. Add to saucepan. Add remaining beans to saucepan. Simmer for 20-30 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink and onion is tender.

Top each serving with cheese and, if desired, jalapeno pepper.

Freeze option: Freeze cooled chili in freezer containers. To use, partially thaw in refrigerator overnight. Heat through in a saucepan, stirring occasionally; add broth or water if necessary.

Now before I end this, there is something that you should know about this incredible chili recipe.  This chili has actually won 6 awards from 6 national chili cook offs.  Unless you make this one at home, there is only one place in the world where you can have White Chicken Chili with this particular recipe.

That place?  The Salvation Army Soup Kitchen in Virginia, MN.  The chef who came up with this recipe is a regular volunteer there.  I’m most thankful for good people who donate their time and always give their best.

@cat_shaming

Cats are probably one of the most shameless creatures of the animal kingdom. They come and go as they please with an attitude that says, I run things, leaving dead mice and birds in their wake. Well, some cat owners are fed up with their feline companion’s devil-may-care behavior and want everyone to know just how bad their cats are, through public shaming online.

The Instagram account @cat_shaming has provided pet owners a platform to guide their silly cats through a walk of shame, where photos are posted capturing their furry friends in or after their criminal acts. From funny cats rolling around in fresh paint to peeing in their owners’ handbags, it’s clear that these animals don’t give a damn and will probably continue to live a life of crime.

Click the image to see it in a lightbox.

 

A Walk in the Park

Yesterday afternoon, a friend and I took a little walk down to the park.  I decided that instead of just using the camera on my phone, I would take my Canon EOS Rebel T3 out which I haven’t done for a while.

These are shots of a mosaic rose that is in front of the Bess Metsa Memorial Rose Garden.  In June of 2011, Artist Nancy Miller was commissioned by Marlyn Swanson of Virginia to create this most beautiful piece.

Further back in the garden are a few more little gems.  The pole in the first shot is something that was put up just last year.  Nobody has been able to tell me much about it.  Virginia spelled out in plants is something new this year.  And a carved quote by Robert Louis Stevenson.

There’s not much going on down by the bench next to Bailey Lake.  The ducks are taking their time getting back here.  I think they must have saw the new signs that just went up this year.

Yes, I’m the guilty party, or at least one of them.  I would take a bag of popcorn down to the bench with me and spend at least an hour feeding the ducks and the squirrels.

Things here in the northland are really starting to green up nicely.  I can’t believe they actually cut down the tree in front of “my bench”.  Toby took the three nice tree shots above.  I had to rotate two of them, but what the heck, that’s what editing software is for.  😀

Toby took these pictures.  This guy saw that we had a camera with us and absolutely had to have a few pictures of him and his dog.  We’re always meeting somebody new.

This is my bench in the park.  Almost 3 years ago, I started sneaking down there just to get away from everybody else.

The final stop on our little walk is this foot bridge just beyond the bench.  The bridge is in a small channel between Bailey Lake to the north and Silver Lake to the south.  During the summer you’ll see kids fishing off of this bridge all the time.  Personally I wouldn’t eat anything caught in these lakes, but they are great scenery in the middle of town.

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

This was a little experiment with a recipe that we found online.  I wasn’t really sure about one of the ingredients.  I’m not a great fan of yogurt in any form, but this recipe turned out fantastic.

A few tips: Letting the cast-iron pan preheat in a blazing hot oven will help ensure a crispy bottom crust, just be careful getting it in and out of the oven. You can use rotisserie chicken or your own leftovers. But what really makes this recipe stand out is the blue cheese dressing, which is mild enough to convert the blue cheese adverse. We used a 17″ cast iron skillet because We like the ease of the double handles.

The Ingredients:

1 lb. homemade or store-bought pizza dough
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 cup hot sauce (preferably Frank’s)
½ cup prepared marinara sauce
¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter
2 Tbsp. heavy cream
2 cups cooked chicken, torn into bite-size pieces
½ cup whole-milk plain yogurt (not Greek)
½ tsp. fresh lemon juice
¼ tsp. celery salt
¼ tsp. garlic powder
2½ oz. mild blue cheese, crumbled (about ½ cup), divided
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus more
All-purpose flour (for dusting)
9 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced

Preparation:

Place a rack in upper third of oven. Place a large cast-iron skillet on rack and preheat oven to 500° (or as high as your oven will go). Place pizza dough in a large bowl, pour a little oil over, and turn to coat. Cover bowl with plastic and let dough proof at room temperature while pan and oven heat up.

Meanwhile, cook hot sauce, marinara sauce, and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until butter is melted. Stir in cream, reduce heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened and warmed through, about 10 minutes.

Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add chicken, toss to coat, then add ¼ cup Buffalo sauce. Cook chicken, tossing occasionally, until heated through, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring often, until chicken is well coated and sauce is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk yogurt, lemon juice, celery salt, garlic powder, ¼ cup blue cheese, ½ tsp. pepper, and 2 Tbsp. water in a small bowl, adding more water if sauce seems too thick (it should be pourable); set aside.

Turn out dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Shape with your hands into a round that’s slightly larger than the cast-iron skillet you’re using. Take hot skillet out of oven (watch that handle!) and place on a heatproof surface. Add a little flour to pan. Lay dough in skillet, then work edges of dough up sides of skillet with your fingertips (use a rubber spatula or wooden spoon if you’re nervous about touching the hot pan). Drizzle a little oil around inside edge of pan so that it trickles behind and underneath dough, which will encourage browning and help it release.

Spread about ⅓ cup Buffalo sauce over dough. Arrange mozzarella over, then top with remaining ¼ cup blue cheese. Arrange chicken mixture on top.

Bake pizza on top rack until crust and cheese are nicely browned, 15–20 minutes. Transfer skillet to stovetop (again, watch that handle!) and let pizza rest a few minutes. Using a spatula, slide pizza onto a cutting board or platter.

Arrange celery over, then top with reserved blue cheese dressing. Season with pepper, then drizzle with oil.

Do Ahead: Buffalo sauce can be made 5 days ahead. Transfer to an airtight container and chill. Blue cheese dressing can be made 1 week ahead. Transfer to an airtight container and chill.

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