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Chicken and Red Pepper Chili

14 Dec

It finally feels like the holidays here in Minneapolis. We just had our first big snow this past weekend and lights on the trees are twinkling through a soft layer of white. A whopping 8 inches fell!! Being snowed in all day makes for a good excuse to cook something warm and comforting. We worked up quite an appetite shoveling twice that day so we decided to make a big batch of chicken chili that would warm you through and stick to your ribs. This chili is both hearty and healthy with a good does of veggies. I particularly enjoy the addition of red bell peppers to the mix as this adds a slight sweetness which balances nicely with the spicy kick of the red pepper flakes and cayenne.

I hope this chili warms you through and enjoy the winter wonderland!




Serves: 4

Timing: 1.5 hours or more

Prep time: 30 min

Cook time: 1 hour or more


  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained
  • 1 can Heinz beans, not drained
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, not drained
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 medium sweet onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • a good couple of shakes of red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (more if you like it spicy…)
  • 1/2 tbsp oregano

Note – all spices are to taste so feel free to add more or less depending on preference.


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large dutch oven, on medium to high heat sauté onions in olive oil until translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for about 2-3 minutes. Add ground chicken and cook through. While the chicken is cooking chop the red bell pepper. Combine both beans, diced tomatoes, red bell pepper in the dutch oven. Stir the tomato paste into the chicken broth and add to the pot along with all the spices. Stir to combine and place in oven to simmer for at least one hour.



Grilled Tilapia Fish Tacos with Lime & Cilantro Sour Cream

14 Jul

It’s been a bit balmy around here for the last few weeks and hot weather makes it easy to crave something light and refreshing for breakfast, lunch and dinner. On this particularly warm night Mike and I decided to relax with a few pomegranate margaritas and grilled fish tacos. I chose tilapia because that is what looked freshest at the market but any firm white fish will do. I am always trying to eat more fish and this is a perfect way to accomplish that.


Shake up a margarita, get the grill going and enjoy the weather!


Grilled Tilapia Fish Taco

Serves: 2

Timing: 30 minutes


  • 1/2 pound tilapia
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 lime, juice & zest
  • 1 jalapeño, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 to 4 tortillas


  • Lime & Cilantro Sour Cream (recipe below)
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Chopped cilantro
Lime & Cilantro Sour Cream
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 lime. juice and zest (or to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro


Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Whisk together the canola oil, lime juice and zest, coarsely chopped jalapeño and cilantro. Marinate fish in this for 15 to 20 minutes.

While the fish is marinating slice the avocado, chop the tomatoes and combine the sour cream, lime juice, lime zest and chopped cilantro leaves together. Let the sour cream sit and the flavors marry while the fish is grilling.

Place the fish in a grill basket or directly on the grill. Grill for about 4 to 5 minutes on the first side and then flip for 30 seconds to a minute and remove from the heat. Let rest for at least 5 minutes and then flake the fish with a fork. Option to reduce/cook the extra marinade and drizzle on flaked fish before serving – I highly recommend this!

Place the tortillas on the grill for 20 seconds, flipping once. Divide the flaked fish among the tortillas and garnish with the preferred garnishes.

Pomegranate Margaritas

Serves: 2

Timing: 5 minutes


  • Ice
  • 3 oz. tequilla (blanco, 100% agave)
  • 2 oz freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 6 oz limeade
  • 1/2 oz Pama liquor


Combine all ingredients in a shaker, shake and pour over ice. Garnish with lime wedge if desired.


Hawaiian Style Pork Ribs

18 Apr

This past weekend we had a little get together at our place with a few of our good friends. Having people over for dinner, lunch or brunch is one of our favorite things to do. I love planning the menu and this time around I had a unique rib recipe that I was dying to make! I got the recipe from the fantastic Sommelier Leslee at Amusée. The ribs were wonderful and I will definitely be making them again!! To round out the meal I served Spanish roasted potatoes with garlic aioli, asparagus with a lemon vinaigrette and lemon tart for dessert.

This recipe is perfect for a small group of people so invite your friends over and enjoy!

Hawaiian Style Pork Ribs

Serves 4-6

1 ¼ cup light brown sugar

1 cup soy sauce

1 tablespoon sesame oil

½ teaspoon chili flakes

4 cloves garlic, minced (fresh)

3 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced or grated

3 pounds baby back ribs

3 scallions, green parts, thinly sliced


Whisk together sugar, soy sauce, oil, chili flakes, garlic and ginger with a ¼ cup of water in a large bowl. Add ribs and coat well. Cover bowl with plastic and marinate at room temperature for 1 hour or refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Place ribs curved side up on a lined sheet pan with a baking rack. Roast for 30 minutes on each side or until tender.

While the ribs are roasting, add marinade to a saucepan, bring to a boil and reduce. Use reduced marinade to baste ribs. You can also make extra marinade if needed.

Serve with extra sauce and garnish with scallions and sesame seeds.


Rosemary Garlic & Lemon Chicken Burgers

24 Mar

Grilling season has started early here in MN. We have recently had some record busting temperatures around here, to be exact 17 Twin Cities records and 8 state records have been broken in March (MPR shout out)!! The gorgeous weather has made it impossible not to get out and fire up the grill! When I think grilling I automatically think burgers. Of course there are many other wonderful things to put on the grill but we tend to make a lot of burgers at our place. I have to admit I have never used ground chicken for a burger which is odd since we always make turkey burgers and you would think the next logical step would be a chicken burger right?

I had this burger last weekend on a little north woods getaway and honestly couldn’t wait to make it again as soon as possible. Not only is this burger a cinch to make but is also relatively healthy too! We didn’t have any arugula on hand so we just used some salad greens. You can also sub out the full fat mayonnaise if you would like a lighter version.

Happy Grilling!!

Ingredients (adapted from Food Network)


  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed through a garlic press or very finely minced
  • Zest of half a lemon
  • 1/2 tbls of lemon juice


  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1/3 cup Panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 sandwich rolls or burger buns
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup arugula, divided

Arugula Dressing

  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 1/8 cup balsamic
  • Small squeeze of lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Serves: 4

Time: 30 min (prep) & 7-10 min (cooking)

For the mayonnaise: Let the garlic sit in the lemon juice for about 3-5 minutes. This helps mellow the sometimes bitter taste that fresh garlic can have. In a small bowl, mix together mayonnaise, garlic & lemon juice, lemon zest and rosemary; set aside.

For the burgers: Oil the grates of the grill before you turn it on. Preheat a gas or charcoal grill or place a grill pan over medium-high heat. In a large bowl, add the ground chicken, Panko, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, half of the olive oil (this will help keep the chicken from sticking to your hands) and 1/2 of the mayonnaise mixture. Gently combine the ingredients and form the chicken mixture into 4 patties. Place the burgers on the grill and cook for about 7 minutes on each side. Transfer to paper towels and let rest for a few minutes.

While the burgers rest, toss the arugula in the olive oil and balsamic dressing. Brush the cut side of each roll with the olive oil and a small amount of the mayonnaise. Grill for 1 to 2 minutes until slightly golden.

To assemble the burgers: Spread a dollop of the remaining mayonnaise mixture on the tops and bottoms of the toasted buns. Place the chicken burgers on the bottom halves of the buns. Top each with 1/4 cup of arugula and finish with the top half of the bun.


Bruschetta with Egg and Lobster

3 Jul

This Father’s Day my dad asked for a surf ‘n’ turf dinner. He wanted steak and grilled lobster. So sticking with the steak and grilled lobster dinner I thought it would be fun to have a lobster appetizer as well. I had been wanting to try out a recipe that I found in the Taste section of the The Star Tribune  – Bar La Grassa’s Lobster Bruschetta. I was so excited to see that Isaac Becker, chef and co-owner of Bar Las Grassa, was willing to share this fantastic recipe! It is not only a great appetizer but also a unique one. It is one of my favorite apps on their menu and I thought what a great time to try out my hand at it??

The poaching liquid looks a bit daunting with all the ingredients it needs but it is totally worth it. The lobster meat picks up all the different spices which creates a wonderful depth of flavor. The addition of cream cheese to the scrambled eggs and a drizzle of truffle oil at the end makes this luxurious dish even richer. I have to say it was a very fun dish to make and although it came out pretty well I am definitely no Isaac Becker…

Bruschetta with Egg and Lobster (Bar La Grassa)

Poaching Liquid

  • 1 gallon water
  • 2 cups white wine
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 celery rib
  • 1 white onion peeled and diced large
  • 1 T chili flakes
  • 1 T fennel seed
  • 1 T mustard seed
  • 1 T peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 handful of fresh thyme
  • 2 T kosher salt
  • 1 lemon cut in half
  • 1 orange cut in half
  • 1 1/2 lb raw lobster meat (I used raw tail meat)


  • 1 small baguette
  • 1 garlic clove
  • meat from lobster
  • 2 oz cream cheese, diced into small pieces
  • 4 large eggs, beaten until light yellow
  • chopped fresh chives for garnish
  • 2 T unsalted butter
  • 1 T kosher salt
  • white truffle oil for finishing drizzle


Total Time: 30 – 40 minutes

Serves: 4 – 6

Bring all poaching ingredients to a light boil. Add lobster and poach for about 3 minutes or so. Strain liquid, take lobster meat out of shell and roughly chop into small chunks.

Broil the bread slices to make crostinis. Rub the garlic clove over the crostinis and set to the side.

Place butter, lobster and cream cheese in a non-stick pan. Heat up until the butter and cream cheese starts to melt. Add eggs and cook until soft but still a little runny (eggs will continue to cook themselves when you turn the heat off). Place egg mixture on garlic crostinis, sprinkle with fresh chives, finish with a drizzle of truffle oil and enjoy!!