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
  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
  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!
  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
  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
  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!
  1. Makes: 24
  2. (from Feb/Mar 2017 issue of Savory magazine)
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homemade Potato, Kale, and Egg Pizza

Potato, Kale and Egg Pizza

As I’ve shared in the past, one of our family food traditions is to have a Friday night pizza dinner each week.  Whenever possible, I make homemade dough in the bread machine and we are able to eat homemade pizza.  I have a whole section in my recipe binder dedicated to pizza recipes and I usually pick from the tried and true recipes that I know we love.  But every once in a while, I get creative and daring and try out something new! 


A couple of weeks ago, I put together this Potato, Kale, and Egg Pizza and really loved the way it turned out.  So I figured I would share the love and share the recipe!  We picked up the kale and potatoes from our CSA and the eggs are from a neighbor who raises free-range chickens for eggs.   


kale, potatoes, and eggs - oh my!


If you’ve never cracked an egg over your pizza before, you are missing out!  Don’t be nervous about trying it…I promise it will be delicious!  As I mention in the recipe, just crack the egg shell in half and try to gently pour the egg out on top of your unbaked pizza.  By the time your pizza is done baking, the egg will be cooked similar to a sunny-side up breakfast egg – with a completely cooked white part and a yolk that runs when you poke it with your fork.  It doesn’t get any better than that.


slicing up our homemade potato, kale, and egg pizza


And while we’re on the topic of eggs, did you know that an egg that comes from a free-range, organically grass-fed chicken provides our bodies with an extra serving of “good” fat?  Yep.  Omega-3s are known as the “good” fats while omega-6s are known as the “bad” fats in our diet.  You can find omega-3s in healthy foods, such as flax seeds, eggs, some fish oils, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, grass-fed meats, wild fish, and certain nuts.  But what is most important for our bodies to function properly is maintaining the right balance or ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fats in our diet.  Research varies on what this appropriate ratio should be but in general you should keep it between 1:1 and 4:1 of omega-6 to omega-3.  This is because the omega-6s tend to cause inflammation in our bodies while the omega-3s will reduce it. 



Our first two eggs...so exciting!!!


Now get this…the ratio of omega-6s to omega-3s in a grass-fed egg is 1:3. So it actually helps your body bulk up on the “good” fats to counteract any “bad” fats that you may have eaten through other food sources.  Also, the essential fatty acids in eggs are far more bioavailable than from oils.  So, our body can more easily absorb the good stuff.  Bonus!


However…and this is important…a typical egg that you would buy in the grocery store (i.e. NOT the organic, free-range, grass-fed eggs) has a ratio of 20:1.  !!!  As you can probably tell, that 20 is on the wrong side of the ratio.  That means you are getting 20 times the “bad” fat as compared to the “good” fat when you eat a conventional egg from the grocery store.  That is because the chickens that produce those eggs are not being fed a healthy source of food and, unfortunately, that shows up in the eggs that they produce.  So it certainly pays to be careful about where your eggs come from.


enjoying a slice of potato, kale, and egg pizza - yum!


Okay, that’s it for my preaching today.  I hope that you enjoy your Friday and that you try out this new pizza recipe with your daily dose of omega-3s on top!


Potato, Kale, and Egg Pizza
  1. Pizza dough
  2. 1 cup pizza sauce
  3. ½ bunch kale, stems removed and finely chopped
  4. 1 or 2 small potatoes, thinly sliced
  5. ½ small red onion, thinly sliced
  6. 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  7. 2 or 3 eggs
  8. salt and pepper, to taste
  1. At least a half hour before baking, place a baking stone in the oven and preheat to 450°F.
  2. Roll out your pizza dough to desired shape and size. Poke dough with a fork in several places. Prebake dough for 3 minutes on the hot baking stone. Remove from oven.
  3. Top prebaked crust with pizza sauce, then chopped kale, then sliced potatoes, then red onion and shredded cheese. Carefully crack each egg shell in half and gently pour the raw egg on top of the pizza toppings. The egg yolk should stay intact and the white of the egg should only run slightly. Sprinkle salt and pepper on top of everything.
  4. Bake pizza for 7-10 minutes (if using a baking stone), or until crust is done and eggs are set. Enjoy!
  1. Makes: 1 pizza
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