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Weekend Cooking: The Good Neighbor Cookbook

November 21, 2010

Do you have trouble figuring out what to fix for a neighbor who’s sick or just had a baby?  Are you tired of fixing the same old thing for every potluck you go to?  If you answered yes to those question, then The Good Neighbor Cookbook by Sara Quessenberry and Suzanne Schlosberg is for you.  This cookbook is unique in that it is organized by occasion rather than by food category.  The dishes are matched for the occasion – high-energy foods for new parents, nutrient packed foods for sick friends, etc. – and fairly simple to create.  There are great tips included with almost every recipe and metric conversions and an index in the back.  My only complaint with this cookbook is that there are no photographs, but I think that was done to keep it affordable – it will retail for $16.99 in the US when comes out on January 4, 2011.

Our neighborhood has an annual “chili festival” and since this cookbook includes a chili recipe, I thought it was the perfect time to give it a try.  Carl volunteered to cook this recipe, which is found in “Welcome to the Neighborhood” chapter and it was a big hit.  The recipe completely filled a 4 quart crock pot.  Out of the seven or eight chilis there, I think it was the most popular – there was about a cup left when the event was over.

Red and White Chili

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 medium green bell peppers, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons chili powder
1½ teaspoons ground cumin
Pinch of ground cinnamon
¼ cup tomato paste
1½ pounds ground chuck beef
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
2 (15.5 ounce) cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
2 (15.5 ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.  Add the onion, bell peppers, garlic and ½ teaspoon of the salt and cook, stirring often, until tender 8 to 10 minutes (decrease the heat, as necessary, to prevent scorching).

Stir in the chili powder, cumin, and cinnamon, then the tomato paste, and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.  Add the beef and cook, crumbling with a spoon, until no longer pink, 6 to 8 minutes.  Stir in the tomatoes, 3 cups water, the cannellini and kidney beans, sugar, pepper, and the remaining 1 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil.

Decrease the heat and simmer until thickened, about 20 minutes.

Cook’s Tip: Ground turkey can easily be substituted for the beef.  Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 2 months.  (For more of a kick, stir in cayenne pepper.)

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Carl found the directions clear and the recipe easy to follow.  He cooked the beef separately so that he could drain the fat.  Since I’m not crazy about beans, he added an extra can of diced tomatoes.  (I did find this chili delicious, beans and all, and ate two bowls of it.)  He also added the cayenne pepper.

Weekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads and is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend.

Review copy provided by Andrews McMeel Publishing.  I am an Indiebound Affiliate.
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30 Comments leave one →
  1. November 21, 2010 6:59 am

    This sounds like such a cute cookbook. The chili recipe looks great and is actually a lot like the one my husband makes. He really likes the canneloni beans instead of kidney beans.

  2. November 21, 2010 7:04 am

    Yum, tis the season for chili :-)

  3. November 21, 2010 7:45 am

    Ack! No pictures? I love pictures. But I could really use a book like this. I never know the right thing to make for what occasion. My biggest issue I think is trying to make something too complicated.

  4. November 21, 2010 8:58 am

    Carl’s chili looks delicious, and so colorful! You mentioned that you can freeze it for up to 2 months, and that’s one of my favorite things about chili. I put single-serving sizes in containers in the freezer and can easily reheat it after work. Much healthier than some of the frozen meals you can buy at the store!

  5. November 21, 2010 9:21 am

    I’m like Sandy, I like pictures in a cook book. I’m not accomplished enough to be able to imagine what a recipe will look like when it’s ready. On the other hand, chili looks like chili of course!

    The recipe looks great. I think I will make this for the family some time. We don’t do neighbourly things around here like chili feasts or dropping off food.

    But I do try and have a few recipes at the ready for a pot-luck because I never know what to bring. So this book would be very nice!

  6. November 21, 2010 9:28 am

    Go Carl! Love it that the chili was almost completely gone.

    But more, I could use a cookbook that is divided into sections based on need. I really like that idea. Whereas I love photos in cookbooks, they do not make or break a book for me.

    Here’s hoping I get a bookstore gift card for Christmas.

  7. November 21, 2010 11:47 am

    Good idea for a cookbook. I like that they organized it by various events. I like the look of your chili. I’ve been looking for a different chili recipe. I’m surprised by the addition of brown sugar. But, it’s time to try something different.

  8. November 21, 2010 12:06 pm

    I am sue bf would love some chili, he does like spicy things

  9. November 21, 2010 12:18 pm

    This sounds like such a great cookbook. I love chili – not too spicy – but I can eat it all the time. This one sounds yummy. You are so lucky that Carl loves to help out with the cooking and is so good at it!

  10. November 21, 2010 12:22 pm

    Hope the chili cook-off went well. We also do that annually. Yours looks like it turned out very well.

  11. November 21, 2010 1:07 pm

    Kathy, you always seem to blog about the best cookbooks. Thanks for bringing this one to our attention.

  12. November 21, 2010 1:07 pm

    Perfect! This is what I’ve been looking for quite some time, especially a good chili to serve up on our weekends! Congrats on the being among the faves, nice acknowledgment since you only had enough for 1 cup at the end of the Chilifest.

  13. November 21, 2010 1:59 pm

    What a great concept for a cookbook! I’m always at a loss for what to make in these situations (death in family, sickness, new baby, potluck) and this sounds like it would be a good resource for ideas.

  14. teenagersmom permalink
    November 21, 2010 2:05 pm

    That sounds simply yummy!

  15. November 21, 2010 5:27 pm

    I love chili and find it a comforting food!!

  16. November 21, 2010 5:43 pm

    Yum! You always pick the best recipes to try!

  17. November 21, 2010 7:38 pm

    I think that is such a good angle for a cookbook.

  18. November 21, 2010 7:52 pm

    This sounds like a great chili recipe and it looks good too! A good sign that it was almost gone and kudos to Carl for making it. I like pictures in cookbooks also but the price is reasonable on this cookbook.

  19. November 21, 2010 8:20 pm

    Carl is amazing! I love when my husband cooks (not that often, as you may be able to tell!). This one looks really handy and seems awfully clever. I love the suggestions for new parents, too. Made me remember being a new one myself :) Thank you for the great review.

  20. givingreadingachance permalink
    November 21, 2010 9:43 pm

    I have to try this.. now this does not include baking, so I can cook this …

  21. November 21, 2010 10:10 pm

    Yum, I could make this. I just saw a similar version of the recipe on TLC. I’m wondering if you can substitute beef with anything else though. I don’t eat beef.

  22. stacybuckeye permalink
    November 21, 2010 11:13 pm

    I do have a problem with cookbooks with no photos but I love how it’s divided up. I could use something like this!

  23. November 22, 2010 5:50 am

    I’m not really a fan of beans so that takes Chili off the table for me but it sure looks good for those cold days we’re starting to experience.

  24. November 22, 2010 10:37 am

    This is just the book I have been looking for! I have been making a lot of meals for people in the church who are sick and/or just out of the hospital, and I would love to have some new ideas. That Chili also looks awesome. I am adding this one to my list and am going to be asking Santa-Claus to fill my stocking with this excellent looking book!

  25. November 22, 2010 10:45 am

    I like the idea of organizing by occasion. Unless I’m assigned a dish I’m often stumped for ideas. But I really like pictures, not of the cooking process but of the final presentation so I know what it’s supposed to look like.

  26. November 22, 2010 12:45 pm

    Sounds like a cookbook that could come in handy, and the chili sounds and looks delicious.

  27. November 22, 2010 5:08 pm

    This is the 2nd really good chili recipe I have read about today. I’ll be giving this and the other one a try in the coming weeks.

  28. November 22, 2010 6:52 pm

    That looks scrumptious! I like pictures in cookbooks too but can appreciate keeping the cost down. I may just have to add this book to my cookbook collection.

  29. November 22, 2010 7:27 pm

    Oh, what a great idea! And, since I live in Potluck Central (I’m even in a group of neighbors who get together for a potluck every other week), I must have this book. It’s going on my Christmas list right now.

  30. November 24, 2010 2:25 pm

    This is a pretty cool concept for a cookbook. The chili looks delicious also and I could easily make it without the meat! Thanks for sharing it.

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