Sunday, March 20, 2011


I recently cooked with barley for the first time. I'm not exactly sure why I never used it before, I guess I just never came across a recipe that called for it. Until a few weeks ago that is. A food blog I frequent is I love this blog because most all the recipes are winners! I make at least one recipe from this blog each week, if not two or more. Recently two recipes calling for barley were featured: Split Pea Soup with Barley and Ham (you can find the recipe here), and Southwestern Chicken Barley Chili (find it here). They both sounded delicious so I made them both.

(sorry, no picture of the chili)

I LOVED the split pea soup! It's a slow cooker recipe and was very easy. The flavor and texture were phenomenal. My husband was skeptical but he loved it and even ate all the leftovers. The chili was alright but I thought it needed more salt and seasonings. It tasted more like taco soup rather than chili, but that's ok because taco soup is yummy! It isn't a slow cooker recipe, but it probably could be adapted to be one.

I really like the texture and flavor the barley added to both of these recipes. I would like to add more grains to my diet and barley is such an easy grain to cook with. If you've never cooked with barley, try one of these recipes! I know we're getting out of soup and chili season, but if you're like me you enjoy them all year round.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Chipotle Chocolate Chili

Here's another chili recipe. I found this one on Our Best Bites and saved it to my recipe collection (click here then you'll have to do a search for the recipe). I thought chocolate was strange, but you don't really taste it, it just adds nice depth to it! In my recipe notes I just said go easy on the chipotle, but if you really like chipotle, then don't hold back!

Chipotle Chocolate Chili

1 lb. lean ground turkey
1 large onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, minced
1-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans diced tomatoes
2 cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can beef broth
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder (NOT Nesquick! That would be very bad!)
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
Chipotle sauce (from the can of chipotle chilies)
1/2 oz. unsweetened chocolate (1/2 unsweetened baking cube), chopped (optional; use to taste as needed, too much will make your chili bitter)
3-4 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
light sour cream
chopped green onions
shredded cheddar cheese

Heat some olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Saute onion, garlic, bell pepper, and ground turkey until meat is cooked through. Add salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, brown sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, tomatoes, kidney beans, and beef broth. Add all of the chipotle sauce from a small can of chipotle chilies. Heat to boiling and then reduce to a simmer (uncovered), stirring occasionally, until thickened as desired (about 30-40 minutes). If desired, add some chopped chipotle chilies. Add 3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar and a small amount of chopped chocolate at a time until desired richness is reached. If necessary, add more red wine vinegar to cut the sweetness of the chili. This is where you can play around a little with the flavors.
When thickened and seasoned as desired, serve with green onions, sour cream, and cheddar cheese

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Sweet Potato Chili

I had this in a comment, but then I figured I'd just go ahead and post it. I think it's worth sharing with everyone.

Vegetarian Chili with Sweet Potato

I came across this recipe in Real Simple a few months ago maybe. It is not a traditional chili, but I loved it! Anything that has sweet potato in it catches my eye, and I was intrigued that cocoa powder was an ingredient. I don't know that I could really taste the cocoa, but this chili definitely has a unique taste. Max and I both really liked it. It's my new go-to chili.

The recipe says to cook it for several hours in a slow cooker, but I just made it on the stove. Well first, I roasted the sweet potatoes in the oven. Then I sauteed the other vegetables in a large pot; added the liquid, sweet potato, and spices; and let it simmer for maybe 30 minutes. Easy!

Good luck in your recipe search Maren!

Great Chili?

Greetings to all you makers of delicious food!

I could use some help getting a great chili recipe. I'm doing a family birthday party soon and need to feed 11 people dinner. I have some chili recipes that are fine but I'm still on a quest for a chili recipe I really resonate with.

Does anyone have a chili recipe they love that they'd be willing to share?