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Sunday Funday Cooking

February 12, 2020 | by Elizabeth Kurtz

Fun, easy recipes that are homey, comforting, and make sitting around the table more fun.

Sundays are sometimes for leftovers and sometimes for fun easy recipes that are homey, comforting, and make sitting around the table a bit more fun. These are great dishes that also work well for casual company or for watching a sporting event. I made this menu just last week and it was such a big hit that I needed to share it.

Chicken Nachos


Photo by a spicy perspective

Serves 6 - 8

Pulled beef nachos are nothing new, but this chicken version is just as tasty and a bit healthier. The spiced sauce is a wonderful substitution for cheese, which is excluded in a meat dish for kashrus reasons. Feel free to add a NON-DAIRY vegan cheese if you can find one, if you like.

  • 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons taco seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 8 ounces tomato sauce
  • ½ teaspoon Tabasco, sriracha or other hot sauce
  • 1 large bag tortilla chips
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds and membrane carefully removed and sliced
  • 1/4 cup jarred chilis, optional
  • 1/4 cup chopped pitted black olives, optional
  • 3 tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 3 green onions, green and white parts, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup Tofutti sour cream
  • ½ cup homemade or store-bought guacamole

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Brush chicken breasts with about 1 teaspoon of oil each. Mix taco seasoning, chili powder and cumin in a small dish. Rub spice mixture all over chicken, coating well on both sides.

Heat remaining oil in a cast-iron skillet or grill pan over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook on both sides until browned, about 4 minutes per side, then remove from the skillet and set aside. To the same skillet, add the tomato sauce, hot sauce and 1 ½ cups hot water and bring to a gentle boil. Let sauce simmer a few minutes until slightly thickened.

Shred or chop chicken, then return the chicken to the sauce and simmer until warmed through.

Assemble nachos: In an oven proof platter or low sided dish, sprinkle a layer of tortilla chips, then a layer of chicken; repeat with another layer getting smaller in circumference. (if using NON-DAIRY cheese, sprinkle between layers). Bake to toast chips and blend flavors, 5 to 10 minutes.

When nachos are warm, immediately layer on the jalapenos, chilis, black olives, tomatoes, green onions and dollops of Tofutti sour cream and guacamole.

White Chili with Chicken

Serves 6 - 8

Learn more at thekitchn

This creamy, without the cream version is a little lighter than meat chili but all full of flavor. It's a nice alternative to traditional chili and extra delicious with a squeeze of lime and lots of fun toppings so everyone can have it they way they like it.

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 small jalapeno, seeds and membranes, carefully removed, and finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ancho chile powder or chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • Two 15-ounce cans white beans (use the beans and the canned liquid)
  • Two 4-ounce cans mild chopped green chiles
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime

To serve: chopped cilantro, sliced scallions, tortilla chips, Tofutti sour cream, chopped jicama, guacamole or avocado. Lime halves.

Heat oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add garlic, jalapeno, onion, 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the ancho powder, coriander and cumin and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add chicken stock, increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a brisk simmer. Add the chicken breasts and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, add the beans and their liquid to the pot with the broth and simmer for 5 minutes.

With an immersion blender, blend HALF of the liquid, leaving the rest chunky. Add the green chiles. Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes to blend flavors.

Shred or chop chicken and place back to the chili. Add a bit more salt and pepper if needed.

Squeeze 1 lime into chili and sprinkle with lime zest. Serve the chili with an assortment of toppings.

Easy House Salad

Serves 6 - 8

  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered if large
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1 small head green leaf lettuce, torn or cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 small head red leaf lettuce, torn or cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 seedless cucumber, quartered lengthwise and sliced
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a large bowl or platter, combine the cherry tomatoes, onions, green leaf lettuce, red leaf lettuce, bell peppers and cucumbers.

In a small container with a lid, shake vinegar, mustard, mayonnaise, sugar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Cover and shake vigorously to blend well. Use immediately.

Toss the salad with vinaigrette and season with additional salt and pepper as needed.

College One Pan Brownie, AKA Simplest “Nutella” Or “Cookie Butter” Brownie Ever

Makes 16 brownies

Sometimes I mix these in the pan that I cook them in. My boys make them with friends and we often don’t even measure these accurately. The results are delicious although rich. They are a flatter brownie and taste like a fudgy version of brownie brittle.

  • Nonstick cooking spray, for spraying the pan
  • 2 1/2 cups chocolate-hazelnut spread, such as Nutella OR cookie butter
  • 1 heaping cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-by-13-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Stir together the chocolate-hazelnut spread, flour and eggs in a medium bowl. Pour into prepared pan and spread the mixture to the edges evenly.

Bake until the surface looks set and slightly crisp, about 25 minutes. Let cool slightly, then cut into squares and enjoy!

Peanut Butter Toffee Balls


Makes about 25

  • 1 cup peanut butter or almond butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 3/4 cup chopped toffee candy bars, such as Viennese Crunch or Rice Krispies
  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

Combine the peanut butter, vanilla and salt in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer, adding about 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar at a time, until all the sugar is incorporated and the mixture is stiff and dry to the touch. Mix the toffee by hand.

Roll the mixture into 1-inch balls (about 32) and place on plates. Insert a toothpick into the center of each ball and freeze until firm, 1 hour.

Once the balls are frozen, put the chopped chocolate in a small, heat-safe bowl. Set the bowl over a saucepan filled with 1/2 inch of barely simmering water (make sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water) and heat, stirring, until melted. Remove the balls from the freezer and, one at a time, dip them in the chocolate, leaving a small round of peanut butter still visible. Let the excess chocolate drip off before returning the balls to the plate. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Remove the toothpick before serving.

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