Nothing's On Fire…

….It's Just Karen in the Kitchen

Spicy Ground Chicken Chili

So, I haven’t posted anything on my NOF blog in a very long time.  No, it’s not that I haven’t been cooking or we haven’t been eating.  I just haven’t had the time or energy to post.  I HAVE set off the fire alarm a few times, however.

Lucky for me I have time today, since I’m sitting at the car dealership drinking an $871 soda.  😦

Last weekend I was looking for a decent chili recipe and found 2 I was interested in, but I didn’t like certain parts of them.  So, I got creative and combined the two recipes.  And my chili came out pretty good!  The only way I’m going to find this recipe again is if I post it here!  So, here goes…

Spicy Ground Chicken Chili

  • 1 Red Onion, diced
  • 1 Green Pepper, diced
  • 1 Yellow Pepper, diced
  • 1 Red Pepper, diced
  • 1 Jalapeno or 1 Poblano Pepper, minced
  • 3 Carrots, diced
  • 1/2 C frozen corn
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 2-3 cloves of minced garlic
  • 2 Tsp lime juice
  • 2 T sugar
  • 1 1/2 T cumin
  • 1 1/4 T chili powder
  • 2 Tsp Paprika
  • 4 Tsp Basil
  • 3/4 T salt
  • 1 T Chopped fresh Cilantro
  • 1/2 Tsp oregano
  • 3 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 14.5 oz cans tomato sauce
  • 1 small can green chilis
  • 1 cup elbow noodles
  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • Shredded cheese, sour cream for toppings, optional

Cook the elbow noodles according to package directions.  Meanwhile, in a large stock pot, heat olive oil and saute the onions and garlic for a few minutes until translucent.  Add the ground chicken and cook until the chicken is browned and cooked through.   Add all of the herbs except for the cilantro to the chicken mixture and blend well.

Add the remaining vegetables except for the corn.  Cook until softened.  Add all of the canned items, sugar, lime juice and and cilantro and combine.  Toss in the frozen corn.  Cover and simmer 15-2o minutes.   Add drained noodles when you are ready to serve.  Top with shredded cheese and sour cream.


Being Thrifty – Hearty Tomato Rice Soup

Since I made a bunch of brown rice a few nights ago to go with the Garlic-Lime Chicken, I had a container full of it in the fridge that I didn’t want to go to waste, and I knew I wanted to make a soup.  I found a recipe online for Stuffed Pepper Soup, but I added my own spin to it to come up with something on my own using up ingredients I had on hand that needed to be eaten.  The result was a excellent hearty soup, and the best part was that it didn’t require any trip to the grocery store!

Here’s my recipe for Hearty Tomato Rice Soup!

1 lb package of ground chicken

olive oil

1 chopped onion

1 diced green pepper

1 diced red pepper

2 roma tomatoes

2 stalks of celery, diced

2-3 garlic cloves, minced

1 14.5 oz can chicken broth

2 cups chicken boullion/stock

1 29 oz can diced tomatoes (don’t drain)

1 small can tomato sauce

1 small can tomato paste

Dried Basil

Dried Oregano

Dried Parsley

Salt and Pepper to taste

2 cups cooked brown rice

In a large stock pot, brown the  chicken until done.  Add all of the vegetables and cook for about 5 minutes.  Add the liquids, tomatoes, sauce, paste.  Add seasonings to your liking (I probably used about 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp of them).  Bring to a boil and let simmer for at least 15 minutes (I baked some biscuits during this time).  During the last 5 minutes, add the rice.  Heat through and serve.

Indoor/Outdoor Cookout – Bison and Ribs!

Well, we had friends over last night and our usual fare is chicken on the grill.  For a change of pace, I suggested to the hubby that we grill up the buffalo patties we’ve had in the freezer, and I saw a delectable recipe for baby back ribs on Pinterest (and I’m not usually that interested in ribs but these looked pretty darn good) that I wanted to try.  So, bison and ribs it was.

The hubby took the patties and remade them into his own concoction.  Since I wasn’t looking over his shoulder I don’t know the exact amounts, but these very yummy bison burgers were made with:

1 1/2 lbs of ground bison

chopped onion

1 egg

2 egg whites

bread crumbs

a few dashes of worchestershire sauce

Basically he created the recipe with his hands, using texture to determine the necessary amounts until he felt it was the right consistency.  He then grilled these babies up and they were very good!  Moist!  They stayed nice and thick since buffalo is so lean.  And the worchestershire sauce gave them a great flavor.

My contribution to the meal was the slow cooked ribs.  Very easy to make, and they turned out great.  I followed the recipe exactly.  I used about 4 1/2 lbs of ribs and slow cooked them for about 6 1/2 hours.  The BBQ sauce I used was Famous Daves’ Rich and Sassy.  I tried to be careful with them for the 2nd step which was to put them in the broiler, but as with all meat in the slow cooker, these really were falling right off the bone.  So as you can see I had them in quite a few pieces.  But it didn’t matter…they still tasted very good!

And yes, I set off the alarms.

Here are my ribs, and here is the recipe from the Mmm is for Mommy blog.

Yummy Chicken Dish – Garlic-Lime Chicken

Well, I must thank Pinterest for helping me find a bunch of interesting recipes these days, most of which have been desserts that I really shouldn’t be eating in the first place!    That site is so addicting!  A few days ago I happened to come across a pin for Garlic-Lime Chicken.  I also happened to have 2 chicken breasts thawed in the fridge that needed to be used…and pronto….so it was perfect timing.

Here is the link to Garlic-Lime Chicken from the Random Anderson blog (which I also spent a fair amount of time on reading some of her other posts.  It’s a nice blog….you should check it out.)   I will definitely be making this recipe again, especially since the hubby said “This is good chicken.  You should make it again.”    It was very yummy!  And super easy to prepare.  I didn’t want an overpowering garlic taste, so I did omit the garlic in the second step, however I did sprinkle on a little Tastefully Simple Garlic Garlic.  The lime juice adds just the right amount of “zip” to this dish as well.  (It reminded me a little bit of Buca di Beppo’s Lemon Chicken.)  I served it with plain brown rice.  While the hubby doctored that up with salsa and cheese, I used up the sauce from the chicken on mine and it was good.

I’m wondering if there is a way to bake this instead of frying, which would save on some calories.    The butter flavor definitely adds something to the dish tho, and baking would probably lose the sauce.  And might dry out the chicken.  Not sure.  I would definitely put a few pats of butter on top of the chicken while it bakes.  Maybe I’ll try it that way next time to see what happens.

In the meantime, here’s a pic of Garlic-Lime Chicken while it was cookin’ on the stove.  Since my chicken breasts were a little thick, I did pound them down a bit to ensure they’d be cooked through.

Slow Cooker Sunday – Awesome Crockpot Roast Beef

I should have bought a bigger roast, as I never seem to have as much for leftovers as I anticipate!  This is a SUPER easy recipe.  Five ingredients total, and that includes the water that goes into the pot.  Literally you dump the 3 dried flavor packets over the meat (and I put my meat in frozen, too) and pour the water around it.  It’s THAT simple.

I wanted some veggies without the hassle, too, so I tossed in some cut up carrots and potatoes about 1/2 way through the cooking time, and they turned out just right.  I would make this again.  I have never used brown gravy packets before, but I think I’ve found my new best friend.  There was no need to do the flour or cornstarch and water trick to thicken the gravy.  It was perfect as is.  When the hubby says “you should make this again” I know it’s good!

Here’s the recipe, and my photo below.

Soup-er Easy Italian Wedding Soup!

I wanted to take a stab at making Italian Wedding Soup since it’s one of my hubby’s favorites.  So I found a recipe online and modified it a little based on the reviews it got, and by the ingredients I had on hand.  I knew I wanted to use frozen meatballs vs. making them from scratch like the original recipe called for.  The result – a really good soup that was quick and easy to make!  Here’s the recipe based on my modifications:

Italian Wedding Soup

20-22 Turkey meatballs, frozen

1 32 oz carton of chicken stock

1 14.5 ounce can of chicken stock

1 c. beef broth

2 stalks of celery, chopped thin

3 carrots, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 c. (approx) fresh spinach, sliced

1/2 cup uncooked orzo pasta

olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

grated romano/parmesan cheese, optional


Start a pot of water boiling to cook the orzo.  I cooked mine (it was whole wheat) for 9 minutes, then drained.

While the pasta was in the works, I chopped the celery, carrots and garlic.  I used a mezzaluna to chop up the spinach.  Saute the garlic and vegetables (not including the spinach) in a little bit of olive oil for just a few minutes.

Add the beef broth and the chicken stock.  Bring to a boil.   Add the spinach and then the cooked orzo.

While the stock is heating up, broil the frozen meatballs under a broiler on high until nicely browned.   Add the meatballs to the soup and let simmer for a few minutes for the flavors to combine.  Serve with grated cheese on top along with some crusty Italian bread.

Here’s the photo of mine!

Italian Wedding Soup

Italian Wedding Soup

Spicy Sausage Rigatoni and Easy Drop Biscuits

Well, I’ve been slacking on my posts these days.  Unfortunately I’ve been just too busy to keep up with it. I will have to go back and post my previous dishes and get caught up, but in the meantime, here’s my most recent dish.

Via Pinterest I had found a recipe for Buca di Beppo’s Spicy Chicken Rigatoni.  (Oh I love Buca!) I had it in the back of my mind since we keep looking at the box of rigatoni in the pantry that I keep telling the hubby not to use because I wanted to make this.  So I figured I’d make it, thinking it was a sausage recipe and took sausage out of the freezer to thaw.  Well, after I went looking for the recipe during the day I realized it was for chicken.  And it called for alfredo sauce.  Neither of which I had readily available.  So I modified the recipe into the following:

(Mouth’s on Fire) Spicy Turkey Sausage Rigatoni

1 T of olive oil

1/2 T crushed red pepper

1/8 tsp salt

1/8 tsp ground black pepper

1 T minced garlic

1 package Sweet Italian turkey sausage (not pre-cooked)

1 Jar Marinara Sauce

1 12 oz can lowfat evaporated milk

2 T grated parmesan

1 T flour

1 T shredded Italian blend cheese

Warm the evaporated milk.  Add the cheeses and allow to melt.  I whisked in 1 tablespoon of flour after I had removed it from the heat to cool….it seemed a little thin and I did want it a little thicker.

Meanwhile, cook the sausage on a grill pan until it’s just about cooked through.  (Turn your oven hood vent on while you do this….the smoke from my grill pan almost always sets my alarms off!  I got lucky this time!)   Slice the cooked sausage into bite-sized pieces; set aside.

Heat the oil.  Add the garlic, crushed red pepper, salt, pepper.  Saute for a few minutes.  Add the sausage and cook to allow the seasonings to blend with the sausage.  Add the marinara sauce.  Simmer for 10 minutes.

Cook the pasta according to the package directions.  Drain and set aside.

Add some of the “alfredo” sauce to the sauce.  I started with 1/2 a cup.  I was going for a certain “rosa” type color sauce so I ended up adding more than 1/4 cup more.  Adjust this to the thickness, etc. of your liking.

Toss the sauce with the pasta.  Serve with additional shredded cheese.

The second part of my meal was E-Z Drop Biscuits from  These were very easy, just like the name implies.  However, they turned out rather bland, even though I had added some seasonings.  I would definitely try this again as I thought the consistency was pretty good for a flour-based biscuit.  Next time I’m adding more salt (it only called for 1/4 of a tsp) and will definitely add more seasonings for a stronger flavor.  Or, adding some shredded cheddar cheese sounds even better.  Maybe even asiago!  Like other reviewers of the recipe suggested, I also left out the cream of tartar as people seemed to think it gave them a weird aftertaste and was unnecessary.

Fajita Rice Bowls

Well, I WAS going to make steak fajitas, but since I couldn’t seem to find a date on the package of tortillas in the fridge, I played it safe and came up with something else instead – Fajita Rice Bowls.  Very simple and it was pretty yummy!

Here’s my recipe:

1 to 1 1/2 lbs of black angus beef (the packages I got were thinly sliced)

1 red pepper, sliced

2 green pepper, sliced

1 yellow pepper, sliced

1 sweet yellow onion, sliced

Fajita seasoning


1 package Vigo yellow rice (I LOVE this stuff!) prepared according to package directions.

Prepare rice according to the directions on the package.  I started to boil the water for this after I sliced the veggies and meat, and then had to wait about 10-15 min for the rice to finish, so I’d start this and then cut everything up.

To save on time (but not on cleanup) I used 2 separate pans to cook both the veggies and the steak at the same time.  Poor a little oil into both pans, season to taste, and cook until the meat is done and the veggies are sauteed to your liking.

Spoon rice into a bowl, top with veggies, then the beef.  We added some shredded cheese, sour cream, chopped tomatoes and salsa as fixin’s.  Pretty good!  Here’s a very poor photo….

Stuffed Peppers – for the very first time!

I have never eaten, let alone made, stuffed peppers.  But the recipe out of the cookbook Deni Pressure Cooking Cookbook  sounded pretty good, and pretty easy, so I decided to make them for dinner tonight.

The recipe called for a pound of ground beef, but I used ground chicken instead.  Other ingredients were bread crumbs, salt, pepper, an egg.  It was kinda like a mini-meatloaf inside of a green pepper.  I’m assuming that’s what they’re supposed to be like?   The pepper turned out tender and was done just right.  The instructions said 10-12 minutes at high pressure.  Being a little paranoid about chicken “doneness” I set it for 15 minutes instead.  The hubby said they were pretty good, but to “spice” them up next time we should try using  the recipe for Rachel Ray’s Chicken Parm Meatballs (which we’ve made before and they ARE yummy!) and stuff red peppers with that.  Hmmm…maybe have to give that a try.

The only liquid used in the recipe was a can of diced tomatoes and a can of tomato paste….and so today I had my first experience with food burning on the bottom of the pot.  However, it cleaned up pretty easy, which was a huge relief.  I remember spending quite a bit of time trying to chisel charred bits of food off of my stove-top pressure cooker.

Here’s my photo…of the stuffed peppers, of course, not the crap burnt on the bottom of the pot.  😉



Baked Potatoes….should be baked.

Well, ok, I was sure I had found a shortcut to baked potatoes when I saw that you could make them in the pressure cooker, so I was anxious to give it a try.  To the pressure cooker’s credit, it DID work.  The potatoes were cooked in about 1/2 hr, which was at least 1/2 the time it takes to bake them.  However, they were a little soggy.  I like it when you get the crunchy skin on a baked potato.  I guess I’d say that the texture was that of a microwaved potato….so if you’re used to those and want to give it a shot in the pressure cooker, be my guest.  The recipe is a simple one:

Wash and clean the potatoes.  Give them a few pokes with a fork.  Wrap each potato individually in aluminum foil.  Put the steamer rack in the pressure cooker, and add 2 cups of water.  Set the potatoes on the rack.  I used “Steam” and cooked them for about 25-30 min.

You all know what a baked potato looks like, so I didn’t see the need for a photo.  😉  They were ok, but we decided to leave well enough alone next time and stick with the oven or toaster oven.  Won’t be making baked potatoes in the electric pressure cooker again any time soon.

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