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Brrrr…. It’s like 38 degrees outside. It was just 80 yesterday.

IMGP2 copy Have I told y’all how much I despise winter? I hate it with a passion you wouldn’t believe. It’s depressing. Actually, hate isn’t even a strong enough word for me to use. I dread it more than going to the dentist, which is saying a lot.

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Probably the only thing I like about it is the excuse to make soups and chili and chowders.

IMGP6158 Yes, it’s 5 am in Birmingham in early November, which means that in three days the high will be 80 with a low of 60, only to be blindsided by a forecast of “possible flurries” next week.

You don’t know whether to bundle up and brace for the cold or wear capris and a tee. Actually, the worst part about our weather is that you can potentially do both in the same damn day.

It’s such a pain in the ass.

It’s called OIA (Only In Alabama), which means that we have the most crazy weather probably in the entire country. We don’t get the traditional “White Christmas” like you see in the movies, nor do we have consistently warm weather. I remember wearing shorts running around outside when I was 9 or 10 on Christmas Eve. That being said, you never know when a random ice storm could show up and wreck the shit out of your world. Because here, we aren’t prepared. Nope. Not even in the least. Ice and snow storms have come and gone here randomnly since the beginning of time but Birmingham seems to think that we don’t need to take precautions for when they show (think Blizzard of 1993). They just want to shut the whole damn city down if a snow flake is spotted. And keep the newscasters on all.damn.day. talking about what snow flake was spotted where.

Did I just ramble? I think I did. Let’s get back to food.

IMGP6130 This is one of my favorite things to make when it’s cold outside. Just like my salsas and dips, I make lots of different versions of this and tend to ad lib depending on my mood, but this one is tried and true. I just recently added the pie crust, making it a “pot pie”. It gives it great texture, and I put a layer of cheese underneath the crust that melts while it’s baking.

Here’s the printable-

White Chicken Chili Pot Pie

White Chicken Chili Pot Pie

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
  • 1 package taco seasoning
  • 1 package dry ranch dressing
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can corn, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • 2 refrigerated pie crusts
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • Rosemary sprigs (optional)
  • Fritos, sour cream, jalapenos and more cheese for serving

Instructions

  • Heat oil over medium heat and add onion; saute for 3 minutes, stirring to keep from sticking.
  • Add chicken, taco seasoning, ranch and chicken broth, beans and corn. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low and cover.
  • Cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Spray ramekins with nonstick cooking spray and pour enough soup into each one slightly full and top each with about a tablespoon of shredded cheese.
  • Cut pie crusts in circles slightly bigger than the ramekins.
  • Cover ramekin tops with crusts, sealing around the edges.
  • Brush with egg wash and top with a sprig of Rosemary (optional!).
  • Bake for 10-15 minutes, until golden brown.
  • Serve with Fritos, sour cream, jalapenos and more cheese.
  • p.s. If my soups are too thin, I whisk together 1 tbsp of all purpose flour with 1/4 cup of water and add to the soup, increase the heat a little to make it simmer for a minute and stir until thick. The thickness of the soup depends on lots of variables, but this is something that always works for me. You may not need it, but I wanted to throw that in there in case you do!
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This chicken.

IMGP5786 I ♥ lemon.

I have always had a special little place in my heart that tart little fruit. Want a couple of examples? Go here and here. I especially love it paired with bold saltiness like olives or capers.

Bold is always good. Always.

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IMGP5848 And the addition of artichokes hearts? I just have no words. The deliciousness is off the charts. Like, literally.

If you’ve ever had Chicken Scaloppine, this is very similar, give or take a few things, and it’s definitely not as heavy as a chain Italian restaurant would serve full of rich ass cheese and dripping with oil and butter.

With the exception of Joe’s Italian and Nino’s, that are two locally owned Italian restaurants here that I love, I don’t like going out for Italian. I would much rather make my own.

IMGP5825opy I highly, highly encourage you to serve this chicken over couscous – it just rounds it out perfectly. I’m not talking about Israeli couscous, which you could do if you wanted to, but those pearls are just too big and fat. It’s the little couscous’ies that soak up all the juice.

IMGP5871 You can totally customize it based on your preference. For example, if you’re not into really tangy just scale back on the lemon juice, if you’re not into saltiness then just use less capers. I wouldn’t, but of course I love a TON of flavor. Keep in mind that a few capers go a long way, and just a few wouldn’t be overwhelming. It definitely adds to the flavor of the chicken.

I’ve actually considered breading and frying lemon slices. I’m not kidding, it’s on my never ending list of shit to make.

Here’s your printable-

Chicken with Artichokes and Lemon

Ingredients

  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup of flour, plus 1 tbsp
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp coarse pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 lemons, juiced (or about 1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 stick salted butter
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup capers
  • 1 can quartered artichoke hearts (14 ounces), drained
  • Fresh Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped

Instructions

  • Pound chicken breasts thin, or slice vertically.
  • Combine 1 cup of flour with salt and pepper.
  • Dredge chicken in flour mixture; set aside.
  • Heat olive oil over medium-high heat and add chicken. Cook each side about 4-5 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through; remove from heat and cover. (Don't rinse the pan).
  • Add lemon juice, butter, wine and chicken broth and bring to a simmer.
  • Whisk the tablespoon of flour with the water until smooth; add to lemon juice mixture in the pan and whisk until thickened; about 2 minutes.
  • Reduce heat to low and add capers and artichokes, stirring to combine and simmer for about a minute, then cover and turn the heat off.
  • Serve chicken with sauce over couscous or rice and sprinkle with fresh parsley.
  • Optional - lemon slices on top to garnish. I poured the sauce over my chicken, placed a few lemon slices on top and put under the broiler for 2-3 minutes, then put over the couscous.
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This, my internet BFF’s, is an appetizer inspired by Taco Bell‘s bean burrito.

IMGP5575 For no other reason than I ♥ the hell out of them. And, I obviously love appetizers and finger foods.

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If someone were to ask me what my favorite fast food guilty pleasure is, I would probably say bean burritos; they hold a special place in my heart. They rank right up there with Milo’s cheeseburgers. But see, Milo’s doesn’t really count because that would fall into the fast food burger category. So, the bean burritos would technically fall into the fast food Mexican category. And, yes, there’s a category for everything. This is food we’re talking about, you can’t just throw it all in one big group. Absolutely not where I’m concerned.

IMGP30

Yes, I used whole beans but you could use two cans of refried beans if you wanted to.

IMGP5662

Thinking about those bean burritos takes me back to being 14, and being in summer school. That’s the year I fell in love with them. There was a Taco Bell very close to the high school and obviously that was our go to lunch. (It didn’t hurt that it was cheap). And God forbid they leave off the onions. Damnit – then it’s not even worth eating. They always find a way to screw it up when you’re craving it the most.

This dip is the epitome of that burrito – AND I topped it with Frito’s that I seasoned. We all know what a love affair I have with those.

Why did I top this dip off with Frito’s when you’re gonna dip them with tortilla chips anyway?

IMGP5649 Because I can.

Here’s your printable -

Frito Topped Bean Burrito Dip

Frito Topped Bean Burrito Dip

Ingredients

  • 2 cans pinto beans, (15 oz each) rinsed and drained
  • 2 cans enchilada sauce (10 oz each)
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 2 cups Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • Fritos
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp seasoned salt

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Put the beans in a casserole dish, cover with enchilada sauce, onions and cheese.
  • Top with Fritos.
  • Combine cumin, chili powder and seasoned salt and sprinkle on top of Fritos.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes, until bubbly.
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Yep.

It’s dip time again.
IM694 copy Remember this dip? Check it out, and if you haven’t tried it, you need to put that on your to-do list.

We love that stuff so much around here, that after making this salsa many times I decided to change it up a little. Well, not a whole lot, but a little.

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This time I added bacon to the whole spicy, creamy hot mess.
IMGP5742 I had a feeling it would be hella good (when is bacon not good?). It adds a smokiness that changes it up just enough to be different. Although this dip is spicy and has a kick (y’all know I like heat), it’s not unbearable. The sour cream definitely balances it out. However, if you like these flavors but are really sensitive to heat, you could always sub the serrano peppers for more jalapenos (deseeded, of course) – or even poblanos which have virtually no heat.

Aside from being a dip for tortilla chips, I’ve drizzled this on tacos and quesadillas.
IMGP5683 Here’s your printable-

Hot Salsa Verde Bacon Dip

Hot Salsa Verde Bacon Dip

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Make the dip as directed with only one change - add the bacon in the food processing step.
  • Continue with the remaining directions.
  • Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  • P.S. You could also roast the peppers instead of boiling, which I've done and it's fantastic.
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