Fast Chicken & Cannellini Bean Chili

So what is chili exactly? Google that and you’ll find about 4 trillion different answers.  And how is it different from stew? And then what’s the difference between stew and soup?  Dizzying.

In any event the original name of this recipe did call it a ‘chili’ so I’ll keep that. I guess I’m just used to a tomato based chili with beef and beans and onion so for me having a chili that is not red and has onions and green chilis and chicken immediately makes me think its soup. But surprisingly it has the taste and consistency of chili. A subtle heat from the chilis, the beany texture, the chicken chunks and the yummy onions all make for one delicious bite.

This came together in less than 30 minutes making it perfect for a fast weeknight meal on a chilly night. If you used rotisserie or left over chicken it would be even faster.


Fast Chicken & Cannellini Bean Chili


  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1lb skinless, boneless chicken breast cut into bite sized pieces
  • 3/4 tsp salt, divided
  • 1 small onion, halved then sliced thin
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 3 cups cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup water
  • 10 ozs canned green chilis
  • 14 ozs low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp ancho chili powder
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp chili powder
  • cilantro leaves


  1. Heat the oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Sprinkle 1/4 tsp salt on chicken then add chicken to the pot.  Saute 4 minutes. Add onion through the pepper flakes and saute another 3 or 4 minutes. Add 2 cups of the beans and the water and, using a wooden spoon, be sure to get everything scraped and mixed thoroughly. Add 1/2 tsp salt,  7 ozs of chilis and the broth and bring to a boil.
  2. Mash up the remaining beans and chilies and add it to the pot. Reduce to a simmer and simmer for 5 minutes. Taste and add ancho and chili powders to taste and simmer a few more minutes.
  3. Serve with cilantro.

Adapted from Fast Chicken Chili, Cooking Light, Sept 2012



Chicken with Mushrooms & Shallots

I’m always on the look out for new, fast, delicious chicken recipes and this one filled that bill perfectly. Very little prep, cooks quickly and the end result is a wonderfully flavorful, moist piece of chicken with earthy mushrooms and savory shallots-and plenty of them as you can see in the photo below. Clearly I haven’t mastered the art of food photography but trust me on this-the chicken is way better than my crappy photo makes it look.


Chicken with Mushrooms & Shallots


  • 4 6oz skinless boneless chicken breast  (halves) 1/3 inch thick
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 large shallots
  • 8ozs presliced mushrmoom blend (I used baby bella, shiitake and oyster)
  • 1/3 cup dry sherry
  • 1 tsp dried marjoram
  • Cooking spray


  1. Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper, coat with cooking spray. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken to the pan and cook until browned on each side about 5-6 minutes.
  2. While chicken is cooking slice the shallots into thin rounds. Remove the chicken from the pan and set it aside. Spray the pan with cooking spray, add the mushrooms and shallots and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in sherry and marjoram.  Put the chicken back into the pan, cover and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until the chicken is cooked thoroughly and the mushrooms are tender. Serve chicken with mushrooms and shallot mixture poured over the top.

Makes 4 servings.

Adapted from Cooking Light Fresh Food Fast cookbook.

Flash Chicken Fried Rice

So last week my Wednesday night went a bit like this: home from work at 5:40, walk dog, make a dinner in 20 minutes and get to a meeting by 6:30 that ended up lasting until 11:00.  Yeah it was that kind of day.  And night.  I had to think of something that I couldn’t mess up, something that I could make in a flash (snicker snicker), and that had a bunch of good stuff in it and that was tasty too.  Thankfully Husband made up 3 cups of rice for me the day before so it was all ready in the fridge.  The rest of the recipe is a mish-mosh of stuff that I had in the fridge and freezer. And it was perfect! It was delicious, filling but not FILLING, and had a nice balance of tastes and textures.   It’s more of a stir fry than a fried rice really-but who cares-it’s good and FAR better for you than stopping for take out.

Next time you’re going to run short on time give this recipe a try.  It took me about 18 minutes from chopping the onion to when it was in the container ready to go.


Flash Chicken Fried Rice


  • 3 cups cooked day-old rice (I used white-feel free to use any other kind you’d like)*
  • 1 large chicken breast, trimmed of fat, boneless and skinless cut into small bite sized pieces
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 small yellow onion, cut into very thin strips
  • 2 cups frozen edamame
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 4 tbsp sesame oil
  • splash of fish sauce
  • a few tbsp low sodium soy sauce (to taste)
  • splash of hoisin sauce


  1. In one skillet over medium high heat warm 1 tbsp sesame oil. When hot add the chicken and cook until nicely browned and cooked  thoroughly. When cooked set aside. 
  2. While the chicken is cooking and in another pan over medium-high heat put 1 tbsp sesame oil. When hot add the onions and stir for a minute or two and then add the edamame and corn and cook until no longer frozen.  Add the fish sauce and stir for a minute or two. 
  3. In a 3rd and large pan (that can hold everything and be stirred) over high heat put the remaining sesame oil and, when hot, add the rice and stir to heat through.  Add the edamame mixture and cook until the rice and veggies are all mixed and the rice has a nice browned outside. 
  4. In the same pan used to cook the edimame mixture, over medium heat, crack the eggs, add a spoonful of the rice mixture and mix quickly to cook completely.  Add the egg mixture to the rice then add the chicken to the rice, stir to combine and remove from heat. Add the soy and hoisin sauces and stir to combine. Serve.

I admit I used a bunch of pans while throwing this together. I’m sure if I had more time I could’ve figured out how to use less–but my purpose was to make a great dish fast, not avoid dirtying dishes. 

This recipe makes quite a bit. I took one container with me to the meeting, had some for lunch the next day and still had a bit left over. I’d say about 4.5-5 cups total.

I think that this would also be great with some bell pepper strips, some snow peas etc…add at will-veggies are good for you!

*if you don’t have pre-made rice it will take that much longer to make this dish.

Skillet Chicken Parmesan

Here’s an easy and really tasty weeknight meal that you can have on the table in about 30 minutes.  The chicken coating is crunchy and delicious, the cheese is deliciously stringy and melted and the sauce is whatever you want it to be-home made or jarred-it’s up to you. I prefer home-made but since I was out I used some jarred sauce. I like having them in the pantry to use in a pinch. 

I opted to forego the pasta that’s usually served with this and just have some steamed veggies and a salad with it. I didn’t miss the pasta.

There’s no neat pretty picture of this with the cheese ‘just so’ and the sauce dribbling ever so seductively down the plate. I slapped this piece on my plate, took 2 pics, and then dug in.  If you were as hungry as I was and smelled this delicious stuff you would’ve done the same 🙂


Skillet Chicken Parmesan


  • 1-1.5 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of fat and cut and/or pounded to equal thin pieces about 1/2 inch thick.
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup AP flour
  • 2-3 cups Panko
  • a few tbsp olive oil
  • Italian seasoning
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2-3/4 cup thinly sliced fresh mozzarella
  • 3-5 cups marinara sauce (your preference on amount and type of sauce)


  1. Place flour in one shallow bowl, the eggs in a 2nd and the panko in a 3rd and place the bowls next to each other. Season the flour and panko with salt, pepper and italian seasoning.
  2. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a non-stick skillet (large enough to hold the chicken in 1 layer or almost all in one layer-a little overlapping is ok) over medium/high heat.
  3. Take 1 piece of chicken, roll it around in the seasoned flour to coat it, shake off the excess, dredge through egg then roll in the panko to coat. Place in the pan and cook until first side is browned and crispy, then flip it over and do the same for the other side until it’s cooked through thoroughly. Set aside and keep warm.
  4. Repeat with each piece of chicken.  You may place more than one piece in the pan but do not crowd it.
  5. Pour the sauce into the same pan and set over medium/low heat until thoroughly heated then place the pieces of chicken back in, ladle some of the sauce over the top of the chicken and then top the chicken with mozzarella and either cover with a lid and leave it on the stove until the cheese is melted or place in the oven (if you have an oven-safe pan) until cheese is melted.
  6. Serve immediately.

 You may also serve over pasta or then put the chicken into a hero roll for a great sandwich.

Sauteed Spinach with Garlic

MMMMMMM spinach. A lot of people aren’t fans but I am.  This is such an easy, super super fast recipe it’s not even funny.  No kidding-about 5 minutes from start to finish and the spinach at the end is delicious-garlicy, lemony, spinachy. Pefect side dish!!

Note: since it was just me I was cooking for when I made this it’s just one serving-about 1 cup give or take was the ending amount. You can easily multiply it up for more servings.


Sauteed Spinach with Garlic

  • 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 oz spinach, washed and left damp
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice


  1. Heat 1 tsp of the oil over medium-high heat until shimmering in a heavy bottomed pot large enough to hold all of the spinach. Add the spinach, cover, and cook stirring occasionally until the spinach is completely wilted-just a few minutes. Transfer the spinach to a colander and squeeze out as much liquid as possible using tongs.
  2. Add the remaining oil, garlic and the salt to the pot and cook over medium heat until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the spinach and toss to coat. Off the heat stir in the lemon juice season with salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.

Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook.

Delicious Roasted Broccoli

I love broccoli. I always have. I especially like the stems.  Small heads of broccoli were on sale at my supermarket this past weekend.  Ususally I steam them but I decided to roast it this time-so easy and super delicious.  I love that the little parts on the top get a bit singed and crunchy.


Delicious Roasted Broccoli

One head fresh broccoli, florets cut into bite-sized pieces

Olive oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

Honestly this couldn’t be any easier. Preheat oven to 400.  Line a cookie sheet with foil.  Lay  broccoli on cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Give the broccoli a few swishes around to cover them lightly with oil. Sprinkle the broccoli with salt and pepper and put them in the oven for about 15-20 minutes. Watch it carefully-they burn easily. Remove when they reach the desired done-ness.

Freshly grated parmesan cheese would also be spectacular sprinkled on these after they’re done cooking.


Loaded Potato Bites

This is another dish that I brought to my Mom’s for Thanksgiving (with the Kalamata Olive and Sun-Dried Tomato Crostini). This can be served as an app or an accompanyment to the main dish. Since we did a buffet-style I set these out for dinner like a make-your-own with the potato cakes on one plate and bacon pieces, shredded cheese, sour cream and chopped scallions for people to top their own. The cakes were very easy to make and they were delicious. I made them at home on Thanksgiving morning then let them cool on paper towels and then brought them to my Mom’s and reheated in a baking dish in the oven.  I didn’t have time to fancy up the plate as people had already started eating, but you get the idea below with the plate of cakes and toppings around it in the background. The cakes came out to be about 2 inches wide and 1/2 inch thick.  The recipe made about 25 give or take a few.

Loaded Potato Bites

Potato Cakes

  • Instant Mashed Potatos-1 packet.
  • Any ingredients needed on the packet to make the potatoes
  • 2/3  cup Colby Jack cheese, grated. Do NOT use pre-grated.
  • 1.5 cup Panko Breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tbsp chives, chopped very small


  • 3 scallion bunches, chopped small, for topping
  • 6 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled, for topping
  • 1 small container of Fat Free Sour Cream, for topping
  • 3/4 cup colby-jack cheese, grated. Do NOT use pre-grated.

In a large bowl mix all ingredients for the Potato Cakes above (including the ingredients for the potato packet) until well incorporated.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat, spray with cooking spray, take about a walnut-sized bit of the potato mixture, roll it into a ball and flatten it evenly. Place in pan. Repeat until there are a few in the pan-but you’ll have room to flip them over. Cook on both sides, place on paper towels to cool OR on a plate in the oven to keep warm at a low temperature. Repeat until all of the cakes are cooked.

Serve them warm either topped or not and let your guests top them as they like.


Kalamata Olive and Sun-Dried Tomato Crostini

So Thanksgiving has come and gone. For this year my Mom (who always hosts it and does a great job) thought it would be fun to do more of a buffet with everyone bringing a few dishes in addition to a turkey and reguar side dishes. It worked out so well. I brought a few apps and a dessert. Everything came out great!!

These were SO easy to make and everyone loved them. The olives and  tomatoes spread over a thin layer of the cheeses were just enough. I opted to use a package of small toasts but you could easily use thin slices of french bread too, just dry it out in the oven for a while first.  Since I was making other dishes using the toasts saved me a lot of  time and they were the perfect 2 bite size.

Kalamata Olive and Sun-Dried Tomato Crostini

  • One package of toasts
  • 5oz Feta Cheese
  • 5oz Light Cream Cheese
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 5oz Kalamata Olives, pitted, chopped
  • 5oz Sun-Dried Tomtoes, chopped

In a bowl combine the feta and cream cheese.

Place garlic, olives and tomatoes in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the desired consistancy is reached.

Right before serving spread a thin layer of the cheese on a toast and spoon a bit of the olive/tomato mixture on top.  Repeat with as many as you want to serve.

Helpful hints:  have the cheese spread at room temp-it’s much easier to spread that way. Make up only as many as will be eaten in a short time as over time the cheese does make the bread a little soft.

I made both the cheese mix and olive mix the day before and kept it in the fridge overnight.

Chicken Bites with Tangy Honey Mustard Sauce

What yummy little bites!! The coating on these bites are a combination of buttery Ritz Crackers, walnuts and panko so they’re tasty and crispy. The honey mustard sauce is tangy, sweet and has a touch of heat. All around they’re delicious. They’re really easy to make and came together in about 30 minutes-start to finish.

Chicken Bites with Tangy Honey Mustard Sauce

For the marinade:

  • a few tbps soy sauce (for marinade)
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed (for marinade)
  • 1/2 nip bottle scotch (for marinade)

For the chicken:

  • 3 chicken breasts (just over 1lb.) cut into 2-bite size pieces
  • 1/2 sleeve Ritz Crackers, crushed into tiny pieces
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, put through food processor to a fine grain
  • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup flour

For the honey mustard dipping sauce:

  • 6 tbsp light mayonnaise
  • 4 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 4 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • cayenne pepper-to taste
  • chipotle powder-to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

In a ziplock bag large enough to hold all chicken and marinade add all marinade ingredients and let it sit while you prepare the breading and honey mustard sauce.

Place crushed Ritz Crackers (a potato masher or food processor works well), walnuts and panko into a bowl. Place eggs in a 2nd bowl. Place flour in a 3rd bowl. Line them up in assembly line fashion: flour, eggs, breadcrumbs.

For the sauce: combine all ingredients in a small bowl and stir to combine. Throw it in the fridge to cool until the chicken is finished baking. (Note: the measurements above are to taste-if you like more honey-add more, if you like less mustard-add less.)

Roll chicken pieces through flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs and arrange on a cookie sheet. Bake in the oven for about 15-18 minutes (depending on how thick the pieces are) until done, flipping once during baking.

Serve with the dipping sauce. They’d also be great with Thai Sweet Chili Sauce, BBQ sauce or some ranch dressing with hot sauce.

Slightly adapted from Mary Ellen’s recipe.


Thanks for hosting the swap Sarah!

Beef, Sugar Snap Pea and Broccoli Bowl

I love when I receive my new issue of Cooking Light Magazine in the mail. There are always a ton of great recipies and most of them can be put together really quickly.  The recipe that I adapted the recipe below is from the October, 2012 issue.  I added and removed a few items from the original recipe and it turned out great.  It took all of 25 minutes start to finish, including prep.

Beef, Sugar Snap Pea and Broccoli Bowl


  • 1 3.5 oz boil-n-a-bag brown rice
  • 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 3 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 12 oz boneless sirloin steak, cut into thin strips then cut in half
  • 2 tsp canola oil
  • 1 large bag frozen broccoli florets
  • 1 lb fresh sugar snap peas
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced horizontally and thinly
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • sliced green onions for garnish


  1. Cook rice according to directions.
  2. While rice is cooking combine soy sauce, hoisin sauce and cornstarch and whisk to combine. Add beef and toss to coat.
  3. Heat a large skillet over high heat and add oil to pan, swirling to coat. Place the beef in the skillet but use your fingers and shake off excess marinade into the bowl. Reserve that marinade.  Cook the beef for 2 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally. Remove the beef from pan and set aside. Add the broccoli and cook until thawed but not cooked through, then add the next 4 ingredinets through sesame oil to pan and cook until broccoli and peas are crisp-tender. Add the reserved marinade and bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute. Add beef to the pan, cook 1 minute until thoroughly heated.
  4. Serve stir-fry over rice and garnish with green onions.

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