Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Buffalo Shrimp Chili and Vegan Chili

This is a sponsored post by Challenge butter, but the text and opinions are all mine. Thank you for supporting brands that make Kylee's Kitchen possible!

Many people have very strong opinions about chili. Some say it needs meat. Others say it’s not chili without beans.

There are many variations of the dish, and often people’s preferences are heavily influenced by region. That being said, I don’t think we need to ostracize anyone’s favorite recipe! If it's chili, it will probably be tasty no matter what's in it.

I hope you keep that in mind when reading my two recipes!

For National Chili Day on Thursday, my goal was to create tasty chili recipes without meat. I got this idea because I know many people don’t eat meat on Fridays during the Lenten season. Also, it seems to me more people are trying recipes with plant-based proteins.

The first recipe, buffalo shrimp chili, is a “white chili,” meaning it has white beans, fewer tomatoes, and white protein (in this case it’s shrimp, in other cases it’s chicken). I also added hominy to the chili because I like the contrast in texture it provides. You could add corn instead if you don’t like hominy, or you could leave it out.

I want to make sure you notice in the directions below that you should not add the shrimp until the very end. Shrimp cooks very quickly, and it will overcook if you cook it the same duration as the rest of the chili.

You should also wait to add the cream cheese until the very end. You just want to mix it in and let it melt in the chili while it’s finishing up. Important note: Even though the chili has cream cheese in it, it’s totally fine to reheat it. Just be careful to not reheat it so quickly it boils. Heat it slowly!

I used Challenge cream cheese in the buffalo shrimp chili because Challenge prides itself on its fresh products and continues that tradition by only using real ingredients.

My second recipe in this blog post tastes more like a traditional red chili except it’s vegan and it has tofu crumbles. If you aren’t familiar with tofu, please don’t turn your nose up and stop reading. This recipe for tofu crumbles is so incredibly easy (no need to press it) and delicious. Honestly, it does kind of taste like beef. Also, tofu is low in carbs, low in calories, and high in protein.

What’s great about both recipes is you will have plenty of leftovers to warm up throughout the week.

Buffalo Shrimp Chili
  • 1 Tablespoon oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups vegetable stock (or chicken or seafood stock)
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15-ounce) can hominy, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can fire roasted tomatoes, not drained
  • 1 (4-ounce) can green chilies
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup buffalo sauce (depending on spiciness)
  • 1 pound frozen uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 4 ounces Challenge cream cheese
  • Optional toppings: Blue cheese crumbles, green onions, tortilla chips
Directions for the Instant Pot
  1. Add oil to Instant Pot and turn on sauté setting. Add onion and celery to pot and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, or until they start to soften.
  2. Add garlic to pot and saute 1 minute.
  3. Turn off saute setting and add chili powder, pepper, and salt to pot. Mix with vegetables until combined.
  4. Add seafood stock, white beans, hominy, fire roasted tomatoes, green chilies, and buffalo sauce to instant pot and stir. Cook on high pressure for 10 minutes.
  5. After it is done, quick release the pressure.
  6. Turn on the saute setting and add shrimp and cream cheese to the pot. Cook until shrimp are opaque and pink and cream cheese is melted, which should take about 5 minutes.
  7. Serve with blue cheese and green onions.
Directions for slow cooker
  1. On stove top, heat olive oil in pan and saute onion and celery for 2 to 3 minutes, or until they start to soften. Add garlic to pan and saute 1 minute.
  2. Transfer veggies to large slow cooker. Add chili powder, pepper, salt, stock, beans, hominy, tomatoes, green chilies, and buffalo sauce to slow cooker. Stir to combine.
  3. Cook on low for 5 hours or on high for 2.5 to 3 hours.
  4. Open lid to slow cooker and add shrimp and cream cheese. Cook in slow cooker until shrimp are opaque and pink and cream cheese is melted, about 30 minutes on low and 15 minutes on high.

Vegan chili
For the chili
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans diced tomatoes, not drained
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans  kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
For the Tofu
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 350g block extra-firm tofu
Directions for the chili
  1. Add the oil to a large pot and heat over medium-high heat. Add in the onion and celery and sauté until the onion is translucent and starts to soften.
  2. Add garlic and saute 1 minute or until it turns fragrant.
  3. Add in the tomatoes, beans, stock, and spices. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer and continue to simmer for 1 hour. 
Directions for the Tofu
  1. While chili is cooking, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Mix nutritional yeast, soy sauce, and olive oil together in a large bowl. 
  3. Open the package of tofu and drain it (but there’s no need to press it). 
  4. Break off chunks of tofu and add to bowl with nutritional yeast. 
  5. Once you have a large bowl of tofu crumbles, combine with nutritional yeast mix until everything is evenly coated.
  6. Spread the tofu mixture on the baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes, stirring at the halfway mark. The tofu should be nice and browned.
  7. When the chili is ready, stir in the tofu crumbles and cook another 5 minutes.
Recipe adapted from It Doesn't Taste Like Chicken

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Instant Pot Beef Sweet Potato Stew

Surprise, surprise, another Instant Pot soup recipe. But truly, this is my new favorite! There is nothing more comforting than a hot bowl of beef stew in the winter. 

There are a few reasons why this is my favorite beef stew ever. The first is sweet potatoes! I am very passionate about my love of sweet potatoes. If you’re even an acquaintance of mine, you probably know this about me because I talk about them so frequently. I love all potatoes (who doesn’t?), but I just think sweet potatoes add so much more flavor. Also, sweet potatoes are a little bit more nutritious than white potatoes. 

Secondly, the beef chunks become so tender after cooking in the Instant Pot, they truly melt in your mouth. I use “Beef Choice Basic Stew Meat.” That’s what the package says. It’s the beef that’s already cut into chunks. If you’re partial to a certain cut of beef, just use what you want.

This stew has a LOT of vegetables, which I love, but if there’s a vegetable you don’t like, just omit it. It’s not a big deal. That’s the biggest difference between cooking and baking. You absolutely cannot omit ingredients from a pastry recipe and expect the same results.

Instant Pot Beef Sweet Potato Stew
  • 2 pounds beef choice basic stew meat, or other cut of beef cut into 1.5-inch cubes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 medium yellow onion (about 1 cup), chopped
  • 1 large carrot (about 1/2 cup), chopped
  • 1 celery stalk (about 1/2 cup), chopped
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cups beef stock
  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1.5-inch cubes
  • 12 ounces frozen peas
  • Freshly chopped parsley (optional)
  1. Turn on the Instant Pot to the sauté setting and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. 
  2. Season the beef with salt and pepper and add in a single layer to the bottom of the Instant Pot. Do not overcrowd the pot. You’ll probably have to work in several batches.
  3. Let the beef brown for 2 to 3 minutes before flipping the beef chunks to the other side.
  4. Once the beef chunks are browned, remove from the Instant Pot and place on a large plate.
  5. Add the onion and carrot to Instant Pot and saute for several minutes.
  6. Add the celery, mushrooms, and garlic, and continue to saute for about 30 seconds.
  7. Add tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, Italian seasoning, paprika, and bay leave to the Instant Pot and mix with vegetables until combined.
  8. Add beef stock and stir, making sure to scrape along the bottom to remove any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pot.
  9. Add sweet potatoes before closing and sealing the lid.
  10. Cook on high pressure for 25 minutes with a natural release after it finishes cooking.
  11. Remove the lid and stir in the peas. While stirring stew, carefully remove bay leaves.
  12. Garnish stew with parsley. Serve on its own or with egg noodles or mashed potatoes.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Make your Valentine a Pickle Bouquet

Happy Valentine's Day to one in a dill-ion.

I'm pickled pink!

Valentine, you're kind of a big dill.

Okay, that's enough pickle puns for now. But seriously, your Valentine will be dill-ighted to receive this pickle bouquet!

To know me is to know my unwavering love for pickles. I love all pickles—dill, spicy, sweet, bread and butter, whole pickles, pickle spears, slices, etc. So when the concept of a pickle bouquet took the internet by storm last year, I knew I had to recreate it.

I love the idea because it shows you don't have to spend a ton of money when gifting your Valentine something special, and it's a lot healthier than a box of chocolates!

When purchasing ingredients for this pickle bouquet, keep in mind you can use any pickled vegetable because at the core of its definition, a pickle is just a cured vegetable in brine.

  • Vase or jar
  • Floral foam block
  • Aluminum foil
  • Decorative tissue paper
  • Ribbon
  • Skewers
  • Pickled vegetables
  • Greenery like dill, swiss chard, kale, etc.
1. Find a container. If you don't have a vase, just use a pickle jar. You can keep the label on or you can remove the label by soaking the jar in warm water with dish soap and white vinegar.

2. Insert foam block into jar. You can purchase floral foam block at Michael's, Hobby Lobby, or any craft store. The foam block will help secure the skewers in place. I recommend wrapping the foam block in foil so no particle from the foam get on your food.

3. Decorate with tissue paper and ribbon. You don't want the foam block and skewers to be visible so I recommend either wrapping the vase in tissue paper and tying a ribbon to the front or stuffing tissue in the vase.

4. Skewer your pickles. I recommend skewering your largest pickle pieces first and arranging them inside the vase before adding smaller pickles to fill in the empty space. Make sure to arrange the pickles at different heights.

5. Fill in with greenery. Make your pickle bouquet appear fuller and camouflage skewers by adding greenery. I love the pretty red stems of swiss chard, and dill is a great addition, obviously.

I gifted the pickle bouquet to my husband and fellow pickle lover!
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