SavoryGirl’s New Go-To Chili Recipe

Just in time for the end of National Chili Week (who knew?!) I stumbled upon my new go-to chili recipe! What makes it worthy of becoming my "go-to"? Well, for one, Christian loves it...and he has always disliked my or anyone else's chili. But beyond that, it is super flavorful and very easy. I can't take credit though, it's not a SavoryGirl original...in fact it's an Emeril Lagasse original. That Emeril knows his way around a good chili bowl!

So the original recipe for Emerils' 5-Bean Chili can be found here, but I made a few tweaks to both ingredients and process that I included below and would recommend you make as well. Particularly if you like thicker chili as we do since Emeril's original recipe makes a thinner soup-like chili. While this is a very easy dish to make, it isn't quick so make sure to start this chili with that in mind...you need to soak the beans for about an hour first and then let it all cook in the slow-cooker for 8-10 hours if you use my approach.

Turkey-Jasmine Rice Meatballs with Baby Bok Choy

This is an oldie but a goodie...we've been making it for at least 7 years so I guess it's become one of our own over time.  I'm not even sure where it originally came from.  I think a healthy cooking magazine, maybe Cooking Light or something along those lines...but I'm pretty sure we've not only adjusted the ingredients but also the cooking method over the years.  Either way, hope you enjoy this favorite of ours as much as we do.  Light, healthy and delicious Asian-inspired flavors.
Orecchiette with Melon, Pancetta, Ricotta Salata & Mint

This is phenomenal.  I almost don't want to write anymore than that...just phenomenal. I know it's a bit summery for this time of year, but if you still have some melon in season in your area make this immediately.  If not, make sure to mark it down somewhere for next summer so you don't forget to make it!  It's a fresh, heartier take on the classic prosciutto with melon appetizer. The mint is a divine addition (versus the more traditional basil) and the flaky, salty ricotta salata balances the sweetness of the melon perfectly.

The original recipe from Bon Appétit can be found here.

As a shortcut we used diced pancetta instead of thinly sliced pancetta that you have to break into bite size pieces, but either approach works. We also used more melon than it called for simply because the orange honeydew we had from the farmer's market was so juicy, sweet and amazing.  Otherwise, this recipe is perfect as is. This salad would be great cold as a side dish (you would knock the socks off of your BBQ buddies if you brought this along) or warm as a main dish as we served it. You really can't go wrong with this one...make it soon and make it often!

Brown Rice Salad with Crunchy Sprouts and Seeds

This is the food version of don't judge a book by it's cover...when I told Christian I was adding this to one of our weekly menus he gave me that look that says, "please don't make me eat rabbit food." You see, SavoryGirl isn't always popular but I have to say that more often than not I am indeed a good judge of a recipe just by reading it...and this time was no different. Ha, ha, I win!  Seriously though, bear with me on this one and try it out...it is absolutely delicious.  So much so that we made a second batch the very next week, and it was Christian's suggestion!

As usual, I didn't follow the recipe exactly as written...but we did follow it pretty closely.  The main changes were that we ommitted the sprouted mung beans (we couldn't find nearby and we just didn't have time to go searching), sprouted our own lentils instead of using dried sprouted lentils (which we also couldn't find), and toasted/salted our own raw pumpkin seeds since we already had some in the house.

Sprouting your own lentils is super easy and kind of fun...you just need to plan in advance since it takes a few days. If you've never done this, here's the process:

Chicken Corn Soup with Chile Mint Salsa

Christian and I often joke that we must have been Mexican in our past lives because we absolutely love anything Mexican inspired...and the spicier the better! We've mastered our very own version of Posole and make Eva Longoria's Tortilla Soup, which is always quite a hit. While we love both of these soups, we've been making them for years so when I first saw this recipe in Bon Appétit described as a fresh new take on Tortilla Soup, I knew we had to give it a try. I sure am glad that I did, because it is fantastic.  Pretty different from your traditional chicken tortilla soup but still spicy and super satisfying.  The chile-mint salsa is a winner and really makes the soup, but beware because a little bit goes a long way!

Since we enjoyed this dish so much I know we're going to make it pretty often, so I would likely adapt the original recipe to make it a bit quicker and easier without sacrificing too much taste (in my opinion). So while the core of the original recipe is based around cooking the whole chicken in the broth you'll see below that I'm making a few adjustments to make it easier and healthier. Otherwise, this recipe is just perfect and delicious as is!

SavoryGirl’s Strawberry Shortcake

Nothing says summer like strawberry shortcake for dessert!  I grew up eating those little sponge cakes you buy at the store with cool whip but over the years I've developed a completely homemade strawberry shortcake recipe that I absolutely adore. It's super easy and well worth the tiny bit of extra effort over store brought. My recipe below makes enough for about 8 servings.

Berries: 3 baskets of fresh, ripe strawberries 2 tsp. sugar

Quarter strawberries into a medium sized bowl...if they're larger strawberries cut into sixths or eighths. Sprinkle with sugar, stir, cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit in the fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes.  This is called macerating...the sugar softens the berries and pulls the juices out of the berries so that you get a nice natural sauce along with your berries.
Nectarine & Blue Cheese Salad with Plum Vinaigrette

This is a super simple recipe...one that you may have even come up with on your own in the past, but it's so yummy that I wanted to share it just to ensure it makes it into your summer repertoire.  The original recipe is from this month's Bon Appétit and can be found here but I've revised it slightly based on our preferences and ingredients.  I found that the vinaigrette as specified in the original recipe wasn't quite "plum-y" enough for me so most of my slight adjustments are focused there.  Otherwise this is a super flavorful and satisfying salad to serve alongside just about anything or enjoy on it's own.  Perfect way to enjoy the amazing nectarines in season right now!
Corn Pudding with Mushrooms

Whenever I think of savory puddings I immediately think of the Brits.  I'm not 100% sure that's historically accurate but since the London Olympics are in full swing I'm going with it!  It also doesn't hurt that the corn in season right now is so ridiculously sweet and tender that I'm trying to figure out ways to work it into all three meals a day.  So when I saw this recipe in my current issue of Bon Appétit it simply felt like all the stars had aligned and I needed to make it right away...and wow am I glad that I did!

In terms of the recipe itself, you all know by now that I'm not a huge fan of typing recipes up if I don't have to...so you can find the original Bon Appétit recipe here. I chose to omit the ham since we were serving it as a side dish alongside pork (Tenderloin with Plum Chutney if you're curious). I would also suggest using 6-7 ears of corn vs. the 4-5 they recommend.  I used white corn since that's what they had at my farmer's market and you can see my pudding still came out pretty and bright but yellow corn would likely make the dish even more striking visually.

Other than that I followed the recipe exactly.  It's pretty straightforward, but one technique that may be a bit new to some is using a box grater to grate corn kernels directly off the cob. It's a pretty genius technique, both removing the kernels from the cob quickly and "milking" the corn all at the same time so you get a nice wet mushy pile of grated corn as the base for your pudding.  The only watch-out is that it splatters like crazy, so I would suggest draping a clean towel over your grater and work station to contain the mess.  But be careful if you do this since you won't be able to see what you're doing as well...keep those fingers away from the grater and go slow!  Another option is to put your bowl down in a clean sink and do all of your work there with an apron on (although my face still got quite a splattering when I tried this approach!)

Guest Post: Quinoa Soup Family Recipe

After returning from my trip to the Galapagos Islands and Machu Picchu I was determined to find an authentic recipe for the quinoa soup that I enjoyed so many times during my travels.  It's one of those dishes that is both light and comforting all at the same time.  Full of flavor and healthy, wholesome ingredients. So where to find my authentic recipe?  Enter my Ecuadorian friend from business school, Juan Delgado!  Not only did he offer to share his family recipe for Quinoa soup but he was also critical in helping me develop my foodie itinerary for the Ecuadorian part of my trip before I left.  Pretty good friend to have if you ask me...and as you'll see in his guest post below, he's pretty passionate about his food as well!
Keeping it Simple for the 4th…

The Fourth of July has been one of my favorite holidays for as long as I can remember...but the funny thing is that it's one of the few holidays that I love that isn't all about the food for me.  Thanksgiving?  Definitely about the food.  Christmas Season? Cookie Party,  Fondue and Roast Beast. Easter?  A delicious brunch.  New Year's Eve?  Osso Bucco. New Year's Day? Black Eyed Peas.  You see, the thing that keeps me up the night before most holidays is child-like excitement over what I'm going to be cooking and/or eating the next day.  Of course it's about family and friends (and let's be honest...presents) as well but food always plays a central character on holidays for me and it has since I was a child.

The Fourth of July, however, was always a bit different.  I grew up having a big family picnic in a local park every Fourth of July...so it was the one holiday where my mom and I weren't cooking at home and weren't responsible for the entire meal.  Sure we'd make a few nice dishes to bring along but other members of the family chipped in too so it was casual, easy and really more about being in the park and hanging out with family that we really only saw on this one day a year.  Well, it was also about my Aunt Nixa's amazing Puerto Rican rice that she made every year...but I've yet to wrangle that recipe from her!