New Year's Chili with Brazilian Cheese Rolls

New Year’s Chili made with Christmas Ham

Happy New Year’s Eve!  I can hardly believe that our week of holiday vacation is coming to an end.  We’ve enjoyed six wonderful days of fun with our extended families, including more board games than we’ve probably played all year (except maybe during our week of summer family vacation!) and more food and drink than we should probably consume in a month!  And now we are relaxing with four days of downtime at home with just the five of us.  It feels like a good way to end one year and begin another. 

 

There were many favorite recipes that we made over the holiday break and I will try and share as many as I can in the weeks to come.  I’ll start today with a quick and easy recipe for Ham and Bean Chili that we made using leftover Christmas ham and would be a great family meal to share on New Year’s Day! 

 

We enjoyed a smoked ham – along with quinoa and kale stuffed acorn squash, riced cauliflower, corn casserole, cranberry-apple chutney, and homemade pumpkin pie – for our Christmas dinner.  What a feast!

 

Christmas Dinner

 

I ordered a 10-pound ham from our local butcher, Saylors and Co, to feed the 11 family members who would be gathering at our house on Christmas night.  I purposely bought a ham that was way too big so that we would have leftovers to use all week!  (And because I live in constant fear of not having enough food for people to eat!  It runs in the family.  The night before, on Christmas Eve, my mom made an entire extra pound of pasta for her Chicken Marsala dinner.  In our family, FOOD = LOVE and you can never serve up enough of either!)   Needless to say, we had lots of leftover ham.  So far, we’ve enjoyed it in egg omelets for breakfast, on salads and sandwiches for lunch, and even in a “quinoa surprise” dish that Joe created with all of the leftovers combined in one skillet!

 

Ham and Bean Chili with Brazilian Cheese Rolls

 

This recipe for Ham and Bean Chili is one other way you can use up any leftover ham in your fridge or freezer.  Because it is wintertime, we used frozen green bell peppers that I had chopped and frozen from our CSA back in the summer months.  We also used canned tomatoes this time around but we’ve made it before with farm fresh tomatoes, which always tastes better!  I like to purchase dried beans in bulk so I soaked the cannellini beans overnight the night before and cooked them in the morning.  Then we added them to the pot at the end of cooking, just as the recipe says.

 

Ham and Bean Chili with Brazilian Cheese Rolls

 

I am also including a second recipe for Brazilian Cheese Rolls that pairs amazingly well with this chili recipe!  I first tasted these type of cheese rolls at a Brazilian restaurant in Gaithersburg, MD, while having a girls’ weekend with my mom and sister and sister-in-law.  I had recently started trying to avoid gluten and was excited to find a “bread” product that was naturally gluten-free.  After returning home from our trip, I came across this recipe in the Savory magazine that our local grocery store gives away for free each month.  I made the rolls for our 6-year old’s birthday party, along with this chili recipe, and they were both a big hit! 

 

I hope that these recipes warm up your kitchen on one of these cold winter nights!  And we wish you and your family a very Happy New Year!

 

Ham and Bean Chili
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, sliced
  2. 1 red onion, chopped
  3. 4 cloves garlic, minced
  4. 2 tablespoons oil
  5. 1 tablespoon chili powder
  6. 3 cups ham, chopped
  7. 2 cups green bell pepper, chopped
  8. 6 cups cannellini beans, soaked and cooked (or 3 15-oz cans)
  9. 4 cups tomatoes, diced (or 28-oz can)
  10. salt and pepper, to taste
  11. ¼ cup parsley, chopped
Instructions
  1. Place the sliced sun-dried tomatoes in a bowl and cover with hot water. Set aside. (If the sun-dried tomatoes were packed in oil, use this oil for the next step in the recipe.)
  2. Heat your choice of oil (olive, avocado, or reserved sun-dried tomato oil) in a large pot over medium heat. Sauté the onion, garlic and chili powder for 5 minutes, or until the onion is softened.
  3. Add ham and pepper to the onion mixture and cook for another 5 minutes.
  4. If using canned beans, drain and rinse the beans. Drain the sun-dried tomatoes, reserving 1 cup of the soaking liquid. Add the diced tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes and reserved liquid, and beans to the pan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and stir in parsley.
  5. Serve with Brazilian Cheese Rolls. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. Makes: 6-8 servings
  2. If you don't have any leftover ham from a previous meal, you can order thick-cut ham from your deli and cut it into cubes.
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Brazilian Cheese Rolls
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Ingredients
  1. 1 egg
  2. 1/3 cup olive oil
  3. 2/3 cup milk
  4. 1 ½ cups tapioca flour
  5. ½ cup feta cheese
  6. 2 teaspoons salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend on low to combine. Scrape down the sides of the blender to combine and blend one more time to incorporate all ingredients.
  3. Grease a mini muffin tray with butter or olive oil. Divide batter among 24 muffin cavities and bake for 20 minutes, or until rolls rise and are firm to the touch. Serve warm. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. Makes: 24
  2. (from Feb/Mar 2017 issue of Savory magazine)
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Christmas Chocolate Bark

Christmas Chocolate Bark

 

One of the holiday traditions in our family is to bake Christmas cookies together.  Each December, we pull out our cookie recipes and pick out our favorites, gather and shop for the ingredients, turn up the Christmas music, and get to baking.  I’ve been doing this for as long as I can remember – back when I lived at home with my parents and baked with my mom and brother and sisters, when I moved out and lived on my own and baked cookies for everyone at work, when I got married and baked cookies for family parties and gifts, and now the tradition has come full circle and I am baking with my kids.  It’s such a great feeling and so comforting to take part in a tradition that has been passed down over the years!

 

This year, when we looked over our recipes, the kids and I came up with the following list, which we hope to package together and use as gifts for each of their teachers, our mailman, the bus driver, their great-grandparents, the barber, our neighbors, and anyone else that we think of who seems like they could use some Christmas cheer in the form of sweets!

 

·         Soft Molasses Cookies (our favorite newcomer from last year’s baking list)

 

·         Holiday Gingerbread Cookies (quickly becoming an old standby for our family and a fun tradition for the kids to use the cookie cutters and decorate the final result with homemade icing)

 

·         Gingerbread Biscotti (a new recipe we are trying this year – seems promising!)

 

·         Pumpkin Pie Energy Bites (a variation on my Granola Energy Bites)

 

·         Christmas Chocolate Bark (a variation on my Chili Chocolate Bark)

 

 

Here is how we made the Christmas Chocolate Bark:

 

making Christmas Chocolate Bark - step 1      

 

Place 12 ounces of chopped dark chocolate (70% or higher), 1 1/2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder, and 1 tablespoon of ground Ceylon cinnamon in a double boiler.  I like to use a glass mixing bowl over a medium pot of boiling water.  Heat and stir until melted and smooth. 

 

making Christmas Chocolate Bark - step 2

 

Remove from heat and stir in 2 tablespoons of chopped crystallized ginger plus ¾ cup each of dried cranberries and pepitas.

 

making Christmas Chocolate Bark - step 3

 

Pour chocolate mixture onto a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Spread evenly with spatula. 

 

making Christmas Chocolate Bark - step 4

 

Sprinkle with another 1/4 cup each of dried cranberries and pepitas, as well as some coarse sea salt.  Use the spatula to gently press the fruit, nuts and salt into the chocolate ever so slightly.  You want the red and green colors to still be visible in the end product but you need to press them in enough that they will stay put when the bark is cooled.

 

making Christmas Chocolate Bark - step 5

 

Place in freezer for 15 minutes or until hardened.

 

making Christmas Chocolate Bark - step 6

 

Break into pieces and serve immediately or store in fridge or freezer in airtight container. Enjoy!

 

Christmas Chocolate Bark

 

Whether you are planning a baking extravaganza as we are, or you just need a little pick-me-up in the form of chocolate, or maybe you signed up to bring a dessert to your holiday party – here is a recipe that is sure to be a winner!

 

Christmas Chocolate Bark
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Ingredients
  1. 12 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
  2. 1 ½ tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  3. 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  4. 2 tablespoons crystallized ginger, chopped
  5. 1 cup dried cranberries or cherries, chopped
  6. 1 cup pistachios (roughly chopped) or pepitas (whole)
  7. coarse sea salt
Instructions
  1. Place chocolate, cocoa powder, and cinnamon in a double boiler (I like to use a glass mixing bowl over a medium pot of boiling water) and heat and stir until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and stir in all of the crystallized ginger plus ¾ cup each of the dried fruit and nuts.
  2. Pour chocolate mixture onto a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Spread evenly with spatula. Sprinkle with remaining dried fruit and nuts, as well as coarse sea salt. Use the spatula to gently press the fruit, nuts and salt into the chocolate ever so slightly. (You want the red and green colors to still be visible in the end product but you need to press them in enough that they will stay put when the bark is cooled.)
  3. Place in freezer for 15 minutes or until hardened. Break into pieces and serve or store in fridge or freezer in airtight container. Enjoy!
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