Tag Archives: cooking

World’s easiest chili

6th October 2015

Sometimes we just want to make everything simple and quick. Yeah, we enjoy complex meals and trying new things but this Chili recipe has been a go-to since college when I’d make a pot and have a couple lunches worth. It has stuck around ever since and I haven’t changed it either.

World’s Easiest Chili

  • 1lb ground beef (or you can do turkey)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes – plain
  • 1 large jar of chunky salsa (we usually use a medium or hot)
  • 1 can of black beans
  • 1 can of dark red kidney beans (or pinto if you’d rather)
  • 1tsp Cumin (add more to taste)
  • 1tsp Chili Powder (feel free to add more to taste)


  1. In a large pot brown the meat over medium heat.
  2. Adding seasoning to meat while browning.
  3. Once the meat is cooked through, add diced tomatoes, salsa, drained black beans and drained kidney beans.
  4. Bring ingredients to a quick boil and then simmer on low heat, covered for a generous amount of time if you can, if you can’t, this recipe can be done in 15 minutes.
  5. Add more seasoning to taste.

FADEB88D-7C96-4E18-BF6A-A05A45039DFFBon Appetit!

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Bon Appétit: Test Kitchen

20th September 2015

We have been subscribing to Bon Appétit magazine for about two years now and when we have the opportunity we love to test out their recipes. We make some of the recipes for ourselves, but when it comes to inviting people over for dinner, we definitely try to put our best foot forward. Recently some friends came over for dinner (looking at you Meghan and Ernie!) and so Nick and I took to our magazines to pick out some options for our menu. We decided on Snap Peas with Arugula-Mint Pesto and Spicy Grilled Chicken with Lemon and Parsley. We followed up our main course with the Chocolate Mousse you may have read about here.

I was in charge of the peas for the meal and it was a fun process. I didn’t get the green beans, only the snap peas so the recipe appears just a bit different! We actually made home-made arugula-mint pesto, and it was my first time making pesto, but it was great! The recipe was relatively simple and we had awesome leftover pesto for pasta and sandwiches.


Servings: 8

  • ½ cup raw skin-on almonds
  • 1 garlic clove, finely grated
  • 2 cups (lightly packed) baby arugula
  • 2 ounces Parmesan, shaved, divided
  • 1 cup mint leaves, plus more for serving
  • cup olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 ounces sugar snap peas
  • 12 ounces green and/or wax beans, trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Lemon wedges (for serving)


  • Preheat oven to 350°. Toast almonds on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing once, until fragrant and slightly darkened in color, 8–10 minutes. Let cool, then coarsely chop half of almonds and set aside. Pulse remaining almonds with garlic, arugula, half of Parmesan, and 1 cup mint in a food processor to a smooth paste. With motor running, stream in oil; thin with 2 Tbsp. cold water to reach a pourable consistency. Season pesto with salt and pepper.
  • Cook peas and beans in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain; transfer to a bowl of ice water and chill until cold. Drain peas and beans; pat dry with paper towels. Transfer to a large bowl and toss with lemon juice and 3 Tbsp. pesto; season with salt and pepper.
  • Arrange peas and beans in a large bowl or platter over remaining pesto. Top with more mint leaves, reserved almonds, and remaining Parmesan; season with salt and pepper. Serve with lemon wedges for squeezing over.
  • Do Ahead: Peas and beans can be blanched 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.

For our protein of the evening we also referred to Bon Appétit for a tasty chicken recipe. We did the spicy grilled chicken with lemon and parsley and Nick was in charge of the grilling. This recipe was also relatively simple but can definitely get very spicy so mind your spice level when making this recipe.


Servings: 8

  • ¼ cup hot smoked Spanish paprika
  • ¼ cup kosher salt
  • ¼ cup coarsely ground black pepper
  • tablespoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 3½–4-pound chickens, preferably organic, backbones removed
  • 4 lemons, halved
  • ½ cup parsley leaves with tender stems


  • Prepare grill for medium-high, indirect heat (for a charcoal grill, bank coals on one side of grill; for a gas grill, leave one or two burners off). Combine paprika, salt, black pepper, and cayenne in a small bowl.
  • Working one at a time, place chickens on a work surface, skin side up. Using your palms, press firmly on breastbone to flatten breast. Season chickens all over with paprika mixture, patting to adhere.
  • Grill chickens, skin side up, over direct heat, rotating occasionally and moving to cooler side of grill as needed to control flare-ups, until browned, 5–8 minutes. Turn skin side down and grill, rotating occasionally, until browned, 8–10 minutes. Turn chickens skin side up and move to indirect heat. Grill, rotating occasionally, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of thighs registers 165°, 50–60 minutes. Transfer to cutting boards and let rest 5 minutes.
  • Grill lemons, cut side down, over direct heat until lightly charred and juices start to caramelize, about 4 minutes.
  • Place chickens on top of bread and scatter parsley over. Squeeze 2 or 3 lemon halves over; serve with remaining lemons.

Viola! Bon Appétit y’all! We loved these recipes and will definitely keep them in our play book.

Pasta Carbonara – easy week-night meal

4th September 2015

We love pasta around these parts. There’s nothing more satisfying than an excellent pasta, and that is sometimes hard to accomplish! One of our newest interests in super quick and easy week night meals is Pasta Carbonara. Grab some bacon or pancetta, some noodles, eggs, and a little parmesan and you’re good to go. You probably already have all these ingredients at home and that’s what makes this recipe a go-to!


Mmmm pancetta: get.in.my.belly! And VIOLA! Pasta carbonara! Just like that! Well, below are the steps but it is really easy, I promise!IMG_2018


1 tablespoon olive oil

6oz pancetta (or just pour the whole package…)

2 tablespoons kosher salt

1lb spaghetti (or any other favorite noodle really!)

3 large eggs

1/4 cup pecorino romano cheese

3/4 cup parmigiano reggiano cheese

Ground black pepper to taste

Feel free to top with parsley too!


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until it starts to sizzle. Add the pancetta and cook until it is crisp by stirring often. Take the pan off the heat until ready for the next step.
  2. Meanwhile, bring 6 quarts of water to a boil and then add salt. Add in the noodles and cool until al dente. Drain and then reserve at least 3/4 cup of pasta water.
  3. In a mixing bowl, whisk together eggs and the cheeses as well as the pepper to taste.
  4. Working quickly after the pasta is done, pour pasta into a large mixing bowl and combine with the pancetta (lightly drained from grease) and the egg mixture. Add enough of the pasta water to make it creamy. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste and feel free to garnish with parsley and extra parmigianno!

Bon Appetit!


Julia Child’s Chocolate Mousse

24th August 2015

I love sweets. I have a terrible sweet tooth. Nick on the other hand, does not. So normally if I want sweets, it’s just for me and that’s no fun! The other night we had friends over for dinner so it was the perfect opportunity for me to explore dessert options. I settled on chocolate mousse because I love chocolate mousse and it seemed relatively easy.

I used the David Lebovitz instructions to make my mousse. Make sure you do have a little time ahead of any occasion to make this mousse as it needs to sit at least four hours and will hold for around 4 days.


As with any recipe you make that may call for chocolate, wine, rum, etc. it’s always in your best interest to go with a nicer quality product. If you wouldn’t buy it to drink or eat it, don’t use it in your cooking. So even though the nicer chocolate is more expensive, it’ll be worth it in the end. David recommended chocolate by Green & Black, so I did as told!


It’s a magical site to see that beautiful chocolate melt, especially once you add the stick and a half of butter.. yes a stick and a half.



Is it weird that I love how beautiful beaten egg whites look? Just like a fluffy cloud, and they taste that way too. MMMmmm!


After I finished the recipe I poured the batter into individual ramekins and went ahead and plated it so that I could just pull them out of the fridge and serve! It definitely takes a step out of the process while you’re entertaining. Not to mention, fresh blackberries go fantastic with chocolate!

Bon appetit!


Chocolate Mousse via David Lebovitz
Six to eight servings

Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking (Knopf) by Julia Child.

  • 6 ounces (170g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 6 ounces (170g) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) dark-brewed coffee
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 2/3 cup (170g), plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) dark rum
  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) water
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Heat a saucepan one-third full with hot water, and in a bowl set on top, melt together the chocolate, butter and coffee, stirring over the barely simmering water, until smooth. Remove from heat.

2. Fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside.

3. In a bowl large enough to nest securely on the saucepan of simmering water, whisk the yolks of the eggs with the 2/3 cup of sugar, rum, and water for about 3 minutes until the mixture is thick, like runny mayonnaise. (You can also use a handheld electric mixer.)

3. Remove from heat and place the bowl of whipped egg yolks within the bowl of ice water and beat until cool and thick, as shown in the photo above. Then fold the chocolate mixture into the egg yolks.

4. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with the salt until frothy. Continue to beat until they start to hold their shape. Whip in the tablespoon of sugar and continue to beat until thick and shiny, but not completely stiff, then the vanilla.

5. Fold one-third of the beaten egg whites into the chocolate mixture, then fold in the remainder of the whites just until incorporated, but don’t overdo it or the mousse will lose volume.

6. Transfer the mousse to a serving bowl or divide into serving dishes, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, until firm. (And up to 4 days.)


Cooking with the Dillmans

17th April 2014

We eat a lot of pork and beef in our house. I really love pork, (chops, bacon, sausage, tenderloin, ribs, bbq, etc.) and we do love beef (steaks, ground beef, etc.) So I like to try to use some different meats from time to time. I’ve been buying a bit of ground turkey and making turkey burgers out of them, so that hubby will eat it.

We have a great burger place near us, Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar, and they have the Frenchie burger which is turkey, brie, applewood smoked bacon, grilled apples and garlic mayo. Yum-o! Well we adapted out own version of this last night. We skipped the bacon to make one less step but I think next time it might be a good idea to add some crunch. We also didn’t add the mayo, but we DID add caramelized onions!

Photo via Once Upon a Cutting Board I like her recipe a lot too!!!

I adapted our recipe from Bobby Flay’s:


2 pounds freshly ground turkey
Four 1-inch cubes of Brie cheese, 1/2-inch thick
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper (feel free to add garlic powder/onion powder, etc.)
1 large granny smith apple, cored and sliced 1/2-inch thick crosswise
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 large yellow onions
BACON! (to your liking of course)
Four rolls


To prepare the burgers:

Start by caramelizing the onions, as this step can take up to half an hour.  Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add onions, stir to coat with oil, and season with salt and pepper.  Spread onions out evenly across the pan and let cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft and caramelized, about 25-30 minutes.  Don’t stir the onions too often so they can brown, but don’t leave them alone long enough to burn or stick to the pan.  You may need to reduce the heat or add a splash of water to deglaze the pan a few times to prevent onions from burning.  Once they’re done, set aside in a small bowl.  This step can be done ahead of time and onions can be warmed up in the microwave before topping burger.

 Shape the meat firmly into 4 round uniform patties about 1 1/2inches thick. Make a small indentation in the center of each patty and place 1 cube of the cheese in each. Knead the meat slightly to cover the hole. Brush both sides of the burgers lightly with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat until just smoking. Cook the burgers to your liking. Brush the apples on both sides with the vegetable oil. Grill (in a grill pan) until golden on both sides. Place a burger on the bottom of each roll, top with 1 or 2 apple slices.

Yum yum.

Cooking with the dillmans

10th April 2014

I absolutely LOVE Mexican food. I crave it and could eat it almost everyday. Cheeses, meats, veggies, sour cream, guacamole, etc. I LOVE IT. We tend to have some type of ingredients to make a Mexican meal at home and I came across this recipe last night on Pinterest and decided that is what’s for dinner. A “healthy Mexican casserole with roasted corn”. YUM!

Photo via Pinch of Yum

It was easy to make and includes some great veggies. We used the Frontera enchilada sauce to keep the sodium down and because our Uncle is the graphic designer for all things Frontera so we love to support him and Chicago! It’s also more fresh. (I HIGHLY recommend the Frontera guac starter, it’s super tasty!) So here’s the recipe for the casserole via Pinch of Yum!

  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 2 green bell peppers
  • 1 jalapeno or 2 chipotle peppers (optional – just for more kick)
  • ½ red onion
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoon cumin
  • salt to taste (about 1 teaspoon is a good ballpark measure)
  • 2 cups Mexican cheese (mine was a Sargento blend)
  • 18-20 corn tortillas
  • 1 can refried beans
  • 2 cups red enchilada sauce
  • cilantro, guacamole, or sour cream for topping
  1. Roast the veggies: Dice the peppers and mince the onions. Heat a large nonstick skillet with NO oil over high heat. Add the onion and peppers, sprinkle with chili and cumin, and do not stir. This allows the peppers to roast and brown on the outside. After a few minutes, give the pan a shake or stir and let the peppers sit again for a few more minutes without stirring. Remove and set aside. Repeat the roasting process with the corn, sprinkling with chili and cumin, removing from the heat when browned and roasted on the outside. Sprinkle the roasted veggies with a little bit of salt and toss to coat.
  2. Prep the ingredients: Grease a 9×13 inch baking pan and preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the tortillas into thin strips. Put the refried beans in a bowl and mix with a little bit of water to make them easier to spread.
  3. Assemble: Spread a little bit of sauce on the bottom of the pan. Layer in order: half of the tortilla strips, ALL the beans, half of the veggies, half of the sauce, half of the cheese. Cover with the other half of the tortilla strips, veggies, sauce, and cheese.
  4. Bake: Cover with foil (I usually spray mine with cooking spray) and bake for 15-20 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is melted. Serve with guacamole, fresh cilantro, sour cream, or anything in the world that you want.

The Dillmans

Cooking with the Dillmans

11th March 2014

Last week I was craving something sweet, not just a piece of chocolate, but a good dessert. I knew we didn’t have much to make something with but I had Nutella so I began searching for some recipes that I could possibly make, and it led me to a 5-ingredient cookie with sea salt via Ambitious Kitchen.


  • 1 cup nutella
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup flour + 1 tablespoon
  • coarse sea salt for sprinkling
That’s it!! So we followed the instructions and about 20 minutes later we had gooey nutella goodness. They tasted awesome and I was sick so my taste buds weren’t up to par so I’m confident that they’ll be even better next time. I’ve also been craving them since we made them. A little tip, Harris Teeter just happens to have the large jars of Nutella on sale for $5.30 from $8.75, so make yourself some cookies!
(photo via Ambitious Kitchen)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Combine all ingredients besides salt in a large bowl with electric mixer until well combined. Place dough in freezer for 10 minutes.
  3. After 10 minutes roll dough into approximately 1-inch balls, place on ungreased baking sheet at least two inches apart and bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes until cookies are set, then very carefully transfer to a wire rack. Generously sprinkle with sea salt.

Cooking with the Dillmans

24th February 2014

Let’s start the week off with something yummy, gooey and oh so good. Last night I made baked ziti for a dear friend of mine who just had a baby. I was trying to think of something I could bring over and finish off in their oven and something everyone would want to eat. So I found Pioneer Woman’s Bake Ziti recipe and it was a pure hit!! It was relatively simple to make and left us with a ton of servings!

Recipe via Pioneer Woman

  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 3 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 whole Large Onion, Diced
  • 1 pound Italian Sausage
  • 1 pound Ground Beef
  • 1 can (28 Ounce Can) Whole Tomatoes, With Juice
  • 2 cans (14.5 Ounce) Tomato Sauce Or Marinara Sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • 16 ounces, weight Ziti Or Mostaciolli, Cooked Until Not Quite Al Dente
  • 1 tub (15 Ounce) Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese
  • 1-1/2 pound Mozzarella Cheese, Grated
  • 1/2 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 whole Egg
  • Fresh Minced Parsley

Preparation Instructions

Heat olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and saute for several minutes, or until starting to soften. Add Italian sausage and ground beef and cook until browned. Drain off fat, leaving a bit behind for flavor and moisture.
Add tomatoes, tomato juice, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes. Stir and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes. After that time, remove 3 to 4 cups of the sauce to a different bowl to cool down.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a separate bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, 2 cups of the grated mozzarella, Parmesan, egg, and salt and pepper. Stir together just a couple of times (do not mix completely).
Drain the pasta and rinse under cool water to stop the cooking and cool it down. Pour it into the bowl with the cheese mixture and toss to slightly combine (there should still be large lumps.) Add the cooled meat sauce and toss to combine.
Add half the coated pasta to a large casserole dish or lasagna dish. Spoon half of the remaining sauce over the top, then top with half the remaining mozzarella cheese. Repeat with another layer of the coated pasta, the sauce, and the mozzarella.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until bubbling. Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes before serving.
(Sprinkle chopped parsley over the pasta before serving!)

Hope you’ll try this recipe too!!!
The Dillmans

Cooking with the Dillmans

20th February 2014

We actually do a lot of cooking around these parts and I figured I’d start sharing some our domestic abilities (somewhat), but more importantly recipes that we use that I’d recommend others try. So here’s another installation to the blog over at Home Chic Raleigh, called Cooking with the Dillmans. (Mostly because I can’t take ALL the credit for cooking because hubs does a LOT of it… whoops!!)

Last night we made P.F. Changs chicken wraps. Actually they were pork wraps, which I like pork and Harris Teeter did not have ground chicken or turkey on Sunday… I know, weird!!! I guess too many people were making chili last week with the snow. Anyway, pork is used a lot in Asian dishes so I didn’t mind using the pork. Here’s the recipe I found via Pinterest.


16 Boston, bibb,butter lettuce leaves or Iceberg lettuce. *(We recommend iceberg after this because the Bibb was way too soft and kept dissolving and popping open.
1 pound ground chicken breast          *(You can use pork, turkey, etc.)
1 large onion, chopped
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
¼ cup hoisin sauce
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar or red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Asian chili pepper sauce (see Note) *(We used Sirracha!)
1 can (8 ounce size) sliced water chestnuts, drained, finely chopped
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil


PREPARATION: Rinse lettuce leaves, keeping them whole. Set aside to drain. Cook chicken in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring often to break up the meat. Add onion, garlic, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, ginger, vinegar and chili sauce. Cook until the meat is crumbled and brown. Add water chestnuts and green onions. Cook until onions begin to wilt, about 2 minutes. I double the ingredients. Stir in sesame oil. Arrange lettuce leaves on the outer edge of a platter. Spoon meat mixture in center. Allow diners to spoon meat mixture into lettuce leaves and eat like a taco. Dipping Sauce: 1/2 teaspoon hoisin sauce 1/4 teaspoon chili paste with garlic 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce 1/2 tablespoon chinese-style hot mustard (extra hot)

COOK’S NOTES: Asian chili pepper sauce can be found in the Asian section of most supermarkets. Some brands contain garlic, which is fine. You can use 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper or 1/2 teaspoon dried red chili flakes instead.

All in all it may have taken 30 minutes total create this meal and it was quite good! Some things I’ll change next time and it definitely left me with wanting more crunch and I think some of the crispy noodles would be good on top, and definitely switching the lettuce.

Hope you enjoy!
The Dillmans