Browsing Tag

chipotle chili powder

Chicken Grilling Pasta Pork Shrimp vegetarian

Spicy Tomato And Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Years ago when I lived in Arizona, there was a delightful little Mexican cantina that we loved to frequent.  The food was simply divine.  The atmosphere transported you to another time, another place, and made sipping their signature Blueberry margarita a little piece of heaven.

I don’t think I could tell you what dish on that menu I liked best.  It was all delicious.  Fresh flavors prepared with fresh ingredients and blended together in unique Mexican and Spanish inspired dishes.

One of the recipes I often ordered was a Romesco like red sauce gently ladled over Mexican shrimp.  It was a little spicy, a little smoky, and rich with ripe tomatoes and roasted red peppers.

I’ve strived to achieve that red sauce at home and I think I’ve come pretty darn close.  Like a Spanish Romesco sauce, this sauce is made of toasted almonds, fresh herbs, roasted red peppers, tomatoes, garlic, and the secret ingredient that I love so much but my family begs me to stop using… chipotle chili powder!  I love the way the chipotle chili powder creates a smoky spicy flavor to the sauce.

And to make this sauce even more exciting, it’s simply prepared in a blender or food processor!  Whoo Hoo!

It pairs beautifully with grilled, roasted or pan seared meats, shellfish, herbed white beans and your favorite pasta.

Beautiful in color and fresh in flavor, it’s a perfect spring and summer sauce.  Keep dinner simple… Enjoy the flavors of life!

Serves 4


1 15-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, drained (I prefer Muir Glen)

2 red bell peppers, roasted, skinned and seeded

2-3 cloves garlic, smashed

¼ cup toasted almonds (can substitute with pecans or hazelnuts)

2 tablespoons good red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar

2 tablespoons assorted coarsely chopped fresh herbs (oregano, Italian parsley,

Rosemary, basil)

¼ – ½ teaspoon chipotle chili powder (can substitute with regular chili powder)

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste


In a blender or food processor, add the tomatoes, roasted pepper, garlic, almonds, vinegar, sugar, fresh herbs and chile powder. Pulse until the ingredients are nicely blended.

Add the olive oil and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Refrigerate unused portions for up to a week. When re-heating, bring to room temperature and if needed, gently warm on the stove top. Over-heating the sauce could cause it to separate.

Serve over grilled meats, shellfish, herbed white beans, or your favorite pasta.

Chicken Kid Friendly

Spicy Roasted Chicken Breasts with Butternut Squash, Apples, Raisins and Shallots

This post is short but sweet!  I’ve definitely been short on time the past few weeks but never fear, I’m still cookin away in my kitchen dreaming up yummy recipes for dinner.

Speaking of yummy, here’s a recipe that is finally ready to be posted.  After much testing, thanks to my fabulous recipe testers, Mindy Hebenstreit, Carman Baker-Wassam and Kathy Bohac, I think this delicious and aromatic spicy chicken recipe is ready to roll.

This version of the recipe uses a sweet and spicy marinade for the chicken.  We found that marinating the chicken prior to roasting kept the chicken moist but also reduced the liquid needed during roasting.  The end result was a nice amount of “sauce” combined with spicy but sweet tasting veggies and fruit.  A delicious fall meal that will delight the senses and tickle the taste buds!

Thanks again to my super fabulous recipe testers!  You Ladies rock!

Keep dinner simple… Enjoy the flavors of life!

Serves 4-6


4-6 chicken breasts*

½ cup apple cider

½ cup olive oil

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

¼ – ½ teaspoon chipotle chili powder

¼ cup brown sugar

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups butternut squash, 1 inch cubed

1 apple, peeled, cored and sliced

½ cup raisins

1/3 cup sliced shallot

Salt and pepper


Whisk together the apple cider, olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, chipotle chili powder, brown sugar and garlic.  Place the chicken in a glass baking dish or in a Ziploc bag and pour marinade over chicken. Marinate overnight or at least 6 hours.

To Prepare

Preheat the oven to 375F.

If the chicken has been marinating in a Ziploc bag, pour the chicken with marinade into a large roasting or baking dish.  If the chicken marinated in a baking dish proceed with the recipe.

Reserve the apples in a separate bowl.  In a large bowl, season the butternut squash, shallots and raisins with a sprinkle of salt and pepper (and a bit more chipotle chili powder if you wish).  Layer this mixture evenly over and around the chicken.

After 15 minutes remove the pan from the oven and layer the apples over the chicken and squash. Place the pan back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes or until the chicken is done.  The best way to check for doneness is to use a meat thermometer.  The internal temperature of the chicken should read 160-165F.

Once the chicken is done, remove the baking pan from the oven and let it sit for about 5 minutes before serving. The chicken will continue to cook and juices will re-distribute creating a juicier chicken breast. The squash and fruit should be soft with a little sauce in the bottom of the pan.

Transfer to a platter and ladle the veggies and fruit over the chicken.  Ladle pan juices over the veggies and fruit and garnish with chopped fresh Italian parsley if desired.

You can also serve this dish on individual plates using the same method as above.  This dish is delicious with rice, wild brown rice, rice pilaf, herbed cous cous, or your favorite rice dish.

* I also prepared this using chicken thighs and it was delicious!  However, be sure to adjust cooking time.

Grilling Kid Friendly Pork Sauces, Salsas and More

Apple Cider Brined Pork Loin Chops Topped with a Smoky Apple Compote

Apple Cider Brined Pork Loin Chops

I love a big ole juicy pork chop.  But to make my pork chop a “big ole juicy” pork chop, I brine it.

I think pork chops taste best when brined. Not to say you have to brine your pork chops every time you prepare them.  But it does create that juicy moist texture.  In the words of one of my favorite chef’s, brining pork “kicks it up a notch”!

I’m sure you’ve read by now how important sauces and assorted toppings are to the Bennett Crew.  Well this didn’t disappoint.  The smokey apple compote is the perfect topping for these darn good pork chops. Yep… brine, grill and top.  I think that should be my new motto.

Apple Cider Brined Pork Loin Chops Topped with a Smokey Apple Compote

Adapted from multiple sources

For the Brine:

4-6 Pork Loin Chops, bone in

3 Cups Apple Cider

2 – 12oz beers, preferably dark beer

½ Cup Kosher salt

½ Cup sugar

1 tablespoon Chipotle Powder

Mix together the cider, beer, salt, sugar, and chipotle powder.  Put the pork in a large Ziploc bag and pour the brine over the pork.  Close the bag and place in a baking dish in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight.

When ready to prepare, pre-heat the grill to 400F.  Place the loin chops on a cutting board or platter and dab with a paper towel.  Brush with olive oil and sprinkle just a little dusting of salt and pepper on one side of each chop.  Grill on Medium to low heat, careful to not burn the pork.  The pork loin chop will be done when the internal temperature reaches 145F, about 5-6 minutes each side depending on thickness.

Once the pork is done, place them on a platter and top the Smoky Apple Compote.  This is also delicious served with roasted potatoes and sweet potatoes or a wild and brown rice prepared with equal parts apple cider and chicken broth.

Smokey Apple Compote

2 Granny Smith Apples, peeled, cored and chopped

1 tablespoon honey

½ teaspoon chipotle powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup Apple cider

Place the apples, honey, chipotle powder, cinnamon and apple cider in a small pot.  Let the apple mixture reach a slow boil and then turn the heat to a simmer.  Reduce the mixture by half or until the consistency has thickened a bit.  The apples should still be a bit formed and not too mushy.