I consider myself someone who loves many things and enjoys learning and applying new trades into my life.
I love to cook!
Before I followed the route of photography, I was a stay-at-home mom constantly looking for ways to turn things I was passionate about into a part-time job. I wanted to do something I loved and have a bit of a social life as well as a way to connect with others. I started selling products for The Pampered Chef and sharing my love of cooking with others!
It was a lot of fun, but I felt what I loved about it was sharing cooking tips and giving information on food. I loved helping educating others and encouraging them to spend time with their family by cooking meals at home but I wasn’t as crazy about being a sales woman.
Being a part of The Pampered Chef was so beneficial to me in learning more about cooking and encouraging me to keep cooking meals at home which is so valuable to me!
Today I am sharing a recipe which I hope there will be more of in the future for this blog. Again, I want to connect with families over more than just photography but everyday life topics. If I can encourage families to come together over a home cooked meal than I am going to do that!
I grew up in a home where we didn't always have the budget to eat out. My mom enjoyed cooking meals for us at home. I used to love gathering around the table to eat as a family! And even as adults, my siblings and I still value gathering together over one of her meals. My mom is an excellent cook! A lot of credit can go to her mother and mother-in-law (both my grandmas) being great cooks themselves. Our family through the years has enjoyed and valued making meals at home. Some of my favorite meals to cook are recipes of both my grandmothers, great-grandmothers, and my mom, not just because they are delicious but because they have sentimental value; memories of the time I spend with them in my childhood. I hope one day my children will feel this way when cooking a meal from their childhood.
Yes, there are times I don’t feel like cooking. If you’re a parent, whether you work or stay at home, some days you just don’t want to cook. But I try to remember on those days that cooking gives me a chance to exercise my creativity. As I share some recipes with you, some handed down through my family and others that I have “created” my main goal is to help you see that a recipe is just a guide and allows a lot of room for you to make the recipe your own!
My first example is this new twist on White Chicken Chili. I have tried several different versions of white chicken chili and liked them all. On this particular day, I was short on some ingredients and on a tight budget (and I just didn’t want to go to the store) so I used what I had on hand to substitute some ingredients. The end result was my recipe for Fiesta Chicken Chili and it was oh so yummy!
Fiesta Chicken Chili
- 1 lb. cubed chicken breast
- 1 tsp olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 1 small onion (chopped)
- 2 cloves garlic (pressed or minced) or 1 tsp garlic powder
- 2 cans cannellini beans
- 1 can Rotel tomatoes
- 32 oz carton chicken broth
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp chili powder (or chipotle chili powder)
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese + more for topping
Optional: tortilla chips for serving
- Place a large pot over medium heat and add olive oil. When oil has heated, add cubed chicken, sprinkle some salt and pepper and cook until outside is browned, about 5 minutes. Add chopped onion and garlic and cook an additional 2-3 minutes.
- Add the rest of the seasonings and stir to combine.
- Drain and add beans. Add hotel tomatoes but do not drain. Add chicken broth and turn up the heat to bring to a boil.
- When the pot start to boil, add corn and lower heat to a simmer. Simmer the pot of chili for 20-30 minutes to let flavors combine and the liquid slightly thicken.
- Add mascarpone and cheddar cheese at the end. Stir until the cheese has melted and the liquid will slightly thicken. Turn off the heat and your chili is ready to serve! Add additional cheese on top and serve with tortilla chips if desired.
What I love about this recipe is that it is a one pot meal! Not a lot of prep, mostly just dumping all the food in one at a time! And it is so tasty!
So here is what how I came up with the recipe:
These are the ingredients I used. Most white chicken chili recipes call for diced green chili. I didn't have this on hand but I had rotel tomatoes so that is what I used! I had frozen corn and I love corn so I added that in. I used sweet corn here but regular works as well. Most recipes have a cream cheese and/or sour cream but I had some mascarpone cheese left over from another recipe so that is what I added. I really think this is the ingredient that made the difference in the taste of this chili!
After adding the chicken and onion you want to add garlic. Fresh garlic can make a big difference in your home cooking. It's so good for you and can add a lot of flavor without all the sodium from salt. There are different ways to prepare garlic but my favorite is using a garlic press! This Press squeezes the garlic flesh through the little holes, instantly chopping it up. Most garlic presses require you to peel the garlic skin prior to pressing it which can be a pain! My favorite garlic press can be used without peeling the garlic! Of course it is The Pampered Chef Garlic Press and you can find it here.
You can simply put the garlic in and it will squeeze the flesh out of the skin and through the grid. The skin remains in the press for you to simply pull out with a neat tool that comes with the press!
I love this thing! I have listed cannellini beans on the recipe but this is just my preference. You can use any white bean out there! I just prefer cannellini beans because they are thick and creamy!
And there is my little helper! My kids love to help me cook! And though they are a bit small to REALLY help, I try to find something they can do. I will let them drain the cans or stir the pot. Cooking can be an opportunity to interact with your kids and teach them!
You'll notice a lot of my ingredients are "reduced sodium" or "no salt". I am not a huge fan of salt and I know my diet is better when it is limited. Especially with canned food, the added sodium is SO much and NOT healthy. Plus, my husband is a salt fanatic and no matter how much is in the meal, he will add more to his plate! So...I will lightly salt the pot and let him add the rest to his desire. Salt is actually more flavorful if you add after cooking, meaning you'll need less to get the salty taste.
You might be wondering what is mascarpone cheese? Well, it's an italian sweet cheese much like cream cheese and is used in many italian dishes. I actually prefer it to cream cheese and especially in this dish! Mascarpone has not only a cream cheese consistency but it also is very buttery in flavor. You just have to try it for yourself. If you're not sure, you can substitute with cream cheese. Mascarpone can usually be found with other specialty cheeses (feta, blue cheese, brie) in the deli section of your grocery store.
Happy Cooking! Please tell me what you think or if you've tried the recipe!