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Chili is a comfort food, but mostly a fall and winter dish due to its heavy nature. We were having a vegetarian friend over for dinner and chili came to mind, but it being a spring day, I wanted to go lighter. I remembered seeing an interesting chili recipe in Make It Fast: Cook It Slow, so I dug it out and happily had all of the ingredients. Paired with cornbread and a salad, we had a fairly quick and easy dinner.

White Bean Apple Chili

White Bean Apple Chili

In addition to finding the recipe listed in the cookbook above, O’Dea also has it on her blog. Check out the recipe here. The white beans I had were dried and since I hadn’t planned ahead, I followed the quick soak method first. I let them sit for two hours instead of one, as I find they’re not soft enough after one hour. White kidney beans were mentioned on the blog as one possibility, but I used Great Northern beans, which are tiny and seemed perfect with the tiny bites of apple.  Since we’re dairy free, I made a few changes to the recipe– non-dairy butter in place of butter, applesauce instead of yogurt; I also used only a tiny sprinkle of chili powder, since we don’t like our food hot. I added our favorite cornbread (Sneaky Chef‘s recipe works beautifully as gluten-free, is awesome with real corn in the cornbread, and we love the little orange flecks that come from using veggie purees as she instructs)  and my husband was shockingly home in time to make a salad.  Those who eat dairy enjoyed theirs with shredded cheddar on top, and there was just enough leftover for one of us to look forward to it for tomorrow’s lunch. Yum. The apple melted right in but gave a slightly sweet note to each bite, and everyone was happy.

Share your family’s favorite recipes as we lighten our palates and move to fun, cooler spring and summer meals. To find out what’s new in our kitchen, stop by, or become a fan on Facebook. Peruse past blogs and keep current with new blogs at

I haven’t made this recipe in a while, but it’s part of one of my favorite fun family dinners.  One of the most creative chefs I’ve found, Annabel Karmel, has myriad of cookbooks, ranging from baby foods to kids’ cooking to family meals.  This dinner is so cute, it’s impossible not to love it.

This teddy bear burger begins with ground chicken breast, and has chunks of apple blended within.  The recipe instructs you to grind your own chicken, but you can purchase it ground and skip that step if you’d like.  Accompanying the Sneaky Chef’s whole grain mac and cheese (with pureed cauliflower), and served alongside steamed veggies and fresh fruit, somewhere on this plate is bound to be something healthy your family will eat.

To find out what’s new in our kitchen, stop by, or become a fan on Facebook.  Happy cooking!

I love finding dinner recipes that sound fun, and “chicken spinach pie with mashed-potato crust” was one of them.  Although the ingredients themselves aren’t so unique– chicken, spinach, carrots, ricotta, and potatoes– the assembly and presentation are cute, and results in a dinner that is definitely not boring.  Straight out of Parenting magazine, the recipe can be found here.  It is a fairly easy dish to make, and lends itself well to one small improvement.  When making the mashed potatoes, I mixed in ½ cup of pureed, steamed cauliflower, a trick I learned from my favorite food enhancer, the Sneaky Chef.  The addition was not noticeable to the naked tongue (ha), and I felt happy knowing there was one more vegetable in our dinner.  My kids loved eating a meal that came from a pie plate, and who can argue with that?

Chicken-spinach pie with mashed-potato crust

I’d love to hear about your favorite, fun family dinners. To find out what’s new in our kitchen, stop by, or become a fan on Facebook.  Happy cooking!

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