Skyline Chili

Years ago, when I worked for AT&T Communications, I spent several weeks in Cincinnati, Ohio. Skyline Chili was a revelation: spicy (there’s cinnamon in it), served over spaghetti, with different ways to garnish it.

The smell is distinctive. I had reheated leftovers at work and a co-worker came in and said, “Skyline Chili?”
I was thrilled to find it in the frozen food section in Publix (my local grocery store), and I’ve introduced my husband to it. It’s one of the fastest meals to prepare when I serve it over angel hair pasta, which takes four minutes to boil.
On this particular evening, I was in charge of dinner. Skyline Chili was suggested and accepted, so off to Publix after work. I thought frozen drinks would go well at the end of the week, so purchased accordingly.
Home and prepping dinner, I realized I had no cheese (for three-way) or onion (for four-way) to top the angel hair and chili. In Cincinnati, you’ll get this with spaghetti, but I like the finer angel hair.
Husband said I made the right call getting the frozen drinks, even though I forgot the cheese. It was one of those weeks for both of us.
Skyline Chili
1 package of Skyline Chili (check the frozen food section near the entrees)
1 package of angel hair pasta
Optional: shredded cheese; diced onion
Prepare the angel hair pasta according to package directions; drain, and toss with butter, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
While the water boils and the pasta cooks, heat the chili. In my microwave, it takes six minutes in a covered glass dish on a rotating plate.
To serve: Plate the pasta and top with chili. For three-way chili, top chili with shredded cheese. For four-way chili, top shredded cheese with diced onion.
Delicious any way you serve it.

What’s your easy go-to dinner?

Faux Chocolate Mousse

Have you ever felt dog tired, but wanted a sweet treat for dessert? I was not up to making a real chocolate mousse, whipping cream, beating egg whites, melting chocolate. I’m exhausted thinking of it.

I did have Neufchatel cream cheese (the 1/3 less fat kind because it’s made with only milk, not milk and cream). I always have Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder in the pantry, and thought I could make something with those two ingredients and the Cool Whip in the freezer.

Not the healthiest dessert, but not bad calorie-wise and definitely tasty.

Faux Chocolate Mousse

3 oz Neufchatel cheese, ideally at room temp (if it’s still chilly, it will become more pliable as you work the cocoa powder into it)

2 t cocoa powder (use your favorite; I use dark chocolate)

1 t vanilla extract

1 t vanilla paste

Pinch of salt

Cool Whip (I used fat-free)

Combine the first 5 ingredients; dollop Cool Whip onto chocolate-Neufchatel mixture and fold in. Use as much Cool Whip as needed to make the chocolate mixture light.

Let mixture sit in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, to let flavors meld. To serve, use an ice cream scoop to portion out into a pretty glass.

Do you have a fast go-to dessert?

Hot Scotch Toddy

Flu and strep throat have been making an appearance in my office. I’m lucky in that I have a door I can close to help keep germs at bay. I also use disinfecting wipes, wash my hands often, and take an essential oil combo that has (knock wood, fingers crossed, throwing salt over my left shoulder) kept me in relative good health since October 2016.

That being said, I found myself in need of remedial efforts when I was feeling punky. Hot Toddy to the rescue, with his friend Laphroaig single malt whisky. Laphroaig isn’t for everyone: very smoky, briny, one of the Islay malt whiskies.

I’m sure some would shudder at this recipe, but it worked for me and that’s really what counts.

Hot Scotch Toddy

Earl Grey tea

Scotch whisky

6 whole cloves

1 T honey

1 large piece of lemon rind, white pith removed as much as possible

I cut small slits in the lemon rind with the tip of a paring knife, to make inserting the cloves easy on my fingers. I let the clove-studded lemon rind steep in the tea for a few minutes, removed it, added the honey and the Laphroaig, and drank.

I felt so good, I thought another Hot Toddy was in order. Done and done. I think the combination of two Hot Toddies and an early night in bed for a good night’s sleep was the one-two punch for whatever punk I was feeling.

What’s your go-to when you feel like you’re coming down with something?

Boursin Chicken and Peas with Parsley Noodles

How is it possible that January is half-way over? The holidays flew by with a whoosh of activity and a smidge of travel, and now it’s the new year.

Do you look back and see what was left undone in the old year, before adding it to the new year’s To Do list? I do, and my 2018 is looking as crazy-busy as 2017 was in some respects.

I have started saying No. No, I won’t sign up for another two-year term on a non-profit board (which would be a second consecutive stint, and my fourth two-year term overall). I term out on another non-profit board in June, right before our family vacation/reunion in Maine.

I need to write more this year than I did last year, and saying No is my strategy.

I did say Yes to Husband this morning, when he asked for Chicken Noodle. Not soup, not a stew, it’s a fast and easy dinner I can get on the table within 30 minutes after walking in the door. Today I decided to fancy it up, because he’s worth it.

Boursin Chicken and Peas with Parsley Noodles

1 pound chicken tenders, tossed in seasoned flour

1 8 oz package sliced mushrooms

1 sweet onion, diced

1/3 C chicken stock, or as needed to create sauce

Boursin cheese, garlic and herb flavor

1/2 package frozen peas

1/2 package medium egg noodles

4 T oil, divided

4 T butter, divided

Parsley (I used Garden Gourmet freeze-dried parsley)

Salt and pepper

Boil water and prepare egg noodles according to package directions. Drain the noodles and return to the pot, tossing with 2 T butter, salt and pepper, and parsley. Boom – Parsley Noodles!

While the water boils and the noodles cook, heat oil in large skillet on medium heat. Add coated chicken and cook for 4 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Remove from pan (chicken won’t be cooked through – not to worry). Add oil and butter to pan and add mushrooms, let cook for 3 minutes, then add onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 2 minutes before adding chicken stock.

Return chicken to skillet, cover, and cook for 5 minutes. Add boursin cheese and stir into stock and vegetables; add peas, cover, and cook for another 5 minutes.

Plate Parsley Noodles and top with Boursin Chicken and Peas; sprinkle parsley over all. Fast, easy, and best of all, delicious!