Monday, January 31, 2011

Cozy February Dinner

It really is bliss on a chilly February evening to stay home and eat a home cooked dinner. I love to have friends over during the week in the winter.  Sometimes it's just for getting together, sometimes it's for dinner and playing Bridge, sometimes it's for a television night, such as Super Bowl.  But for any of those occasions, one of my favorite go to dinners  is Turkey Chili.  It is super easy, good for you, and always a hit. I serve it with Butternut Squash Quesadillas with Chipotle Lime Sour Cream dip, and a big Caesar Salad.

Soup tureen filled with Turkey Chili

I love it with sharp cheddar cheese on top

The Butternut Squash Quesadillas are from an old recipe in Gourmet magazine.  I have been making them for years.

First step is roasting the butternut squash, onions and garlic

Grilling them until they are toasty and the cheese melts inside

Keep them warm on a baking tray that goes into the oven set at 200 degrees

Serve them with Chipotle and Lime Sour Cream

Here is the recipe for Roasted Butternut Squash, Red Pepper, and Jack Cheese Quesadillas with Chipotle Lime Sour Cream Dip:

5 cups of diced butternut squash
1 medium onion, unpeeled, cut into eights
1 large garlic clove, unpeeled
1 Tb. vegetable oil
eight  5-6-inch flour tortillas
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 cup coarsely grated jack cheese
1/2 stick butter, softened

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a shallow pan arrange squash, onion, and garlic.  Toss with oil to coat, and roast mixture in oven 30 minutes or until squash is tender.  Take out garlic about halfway through, as it will be done.  Discard peel from onion and garlic.
In a food processor, puree all vegetables with salt and pepper (to taste) until smooth. This mixture can be made ahead.
Spread about one fourth squash puree on each of 4 tortillas and sprinkle each with about one fourth bell pepper and one fourth cheese.  Top each with a plain tortilla, pressing gently together.  Spread each side of quesadillas with 1/2 Tb. of butter.
Heat a griddle over moderately high heat and cook quesadillas until golden, about 3 minutes on each side, transferring to a cutting board.  Cut each quesadilla into 6 or 8 wedges and serve warm.

Chipotle Lime Sour Cream Dip:

1 cup sour cream
1 canned chipotle chili in adobo, minced
2 tsp.s lime juice

Mix it all together until combined.  Chill until ready to use.

A big caesar salad rounds out the meal

It really is a satisfying dinner.  Dessert can be chocolate and vanilla frozen yogurt served with chocolate sauce and strawberries.  This should be eaten in the family room near the fireplace.
By the way, I am have been learning how to play Bridge.  I love it, but it is definitely a challenge.  Anyone else out there currently playing Bridge?  Any tips?


  1. I use Google Alerts to Google "play bridge" and that's how I came across you post.

    I am a total enthusiast and try to promote bridge at all times. But the sociable kind is my kind -- with food, friends, stress-free. Problem is bridge IS dying away because old ladies like me (90) are dying away! Need boomer age and their kids to take it up, and that's my cause.

    Wrote book Bridge Table or What's Trump Anyway? and have just started spin-off blogeziane at which you can check out and subscribe to if interested.

    I always recommend NOT taking formal lessons too early -- can be intimidating if you get wrong teacher. People my age all learned to play back in the 50s and 60s from friends, picking up lots of bad habits BUT if you have the DNA for a competitive player it will COME OUT and then learning evrything there is to learn about bridge can be a lifelong hobby.

    My slogan is, It's better to have played bridge badly than never to have played at all.

    These days I play my hand quite well -- still a whimsical bidder and resistant to too manay c onventions.


  2. Hi Maggie, Thanks so much for the great tips! I am also an enthusiast, but very much a beginner and at times overwhelmed by the difficulty of the game. But I love it! I also enjoy the sociable kind of bridge, with good friends and good food, stress-free. I may have taken lessons too early, but now I find I am learning as much from my friends, who are good players, as I learn from my teacher. I am a baby-boomer who is learning to play and I have several friends in the same age-bracket who are also learning. I will definitely check out your blog!

  3. I would be very happy to be invited to your house for this dinner - looks absolutely delicious and I like all your occasions for a fun get together.

  4. soooo cozy! you post makes me hungry.

  5. Wow! I love the new banner! And that chili looks amazing!!! XOXO

  6. one of my favorite meals! great pics too! @jeanasohn: i'll make you these quesadillas!

  7. Your blog is absolutely adorable! And this post was so great! Thankyou for sharing! :)