It's Time for Chili

white chili graphic As the weather gets chilly, I start looking for recipes that warm us up from the inside out. I have two recipes for chili: a red, chili con carne version (con pollo, in our case) and a white chili that is distinctively different from the traditional. Not only is white chili different, it's particularly easy to put together and for lazy sailors like me, that's a big selling point. It's great when we're in port or when we're at sea. If I'm feeling ambitious, I bake up a batch of corn muffins as an accompaniment.

White Chili a la Nine of Cups
Author: Marcie Connelly Lynn
Serves: Serves 2 Hungry Sailors
  • 1 – 15 oz can corn, undrained (425g)
  • 1 – 15 oz can white beans, undrained (425g)
  • 1 – 6 oz can green chiles (125g)
  • 1 – large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 lb boneless chicken (500g)
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil
  • ¼ c lime juice (60 ml)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin (5 gr)*
  • Diced jalapeño peppers to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Cook onion and garlic in oil till tender.
  2. Cut chicken into bite-size chunks and cook with onions until done.
  3. Add the canned veggies, liquid and all. Stir.
  4. Add the balance of the ingredients.
  5. Stir and heat to a simmer (about 10 minutes).
  6. Sprinkle with grated Monterrey Jack or cheddar cheese, if desired.
  7. Tastes great with hot corn muffins or tortilla chips.
Use white corn and white pepper to make really “white” chili, but I rarely have either aboard. For an even easier recipe, used canned chicken. [br]*Cumin is called coriander or dhania in some places.

For the ambitious amongst us, whip up a batch of corn muffins as an accompaniment.

Easy Corn Muffins 1c white flour 1c yellow cornmeal* 3 tsp baking powder ¼ tsp salt 2 Tbsp white sugar 3 Tbsp cooking oil 1 large egg 1c milk

Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a small bowl, beat the egg lightly, then add the milk and oil. Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the liquids from the small bowl. Mix just until all ingredients are combined. With muffins, it's not necessary to beat the batter like a cake mix. When all dry ingredients are moistened, it's ready for the pan.

Bake in a preheated 400F (200C) oven. For muffins, pour into a prepared muffin tin and bake for about 15 minutes. Let the batter rest and rise for about 5 minutes before popping the pan into the oven.

Notes: *Cornmeal is called polenta in many places such as New Zealand, Australia and South Africa. Don't confuse it with corn flour which is corn starch, a thickener, in the USA.

For a spicy change, add ¼ c of shredded cheddar or Monterrey Jack and/or a 1 tsp (to taste) of minced jalapeños to the batter.

¡Buen Provecho!

Passage Salad

Before we take off for a passage, especially if it's our first one after a long time away from sailing, I usually make a passage soup. It allows us to have a prepared meal all ready to eat without my having to spend much time below in the galley.  

lemay special


It's been so hot in Adelaide lately, the last thing I wanted to make or eat was hot soup. Instead, I made a Passage Salad in advance this time. I cooked extra rice and chicken for dinner the last night and used it as the start for a Nine of Cups favorite, Rice Salad. An old friend, Joanne on Rusty Bucket, turned me onto this salad way back in the Caribbean and we've been enjoying (and modifying) it ever since. We had it for lunch for the last couple of days and though we were feeling absolutely fine on the calm Gulf of St. Vincent waters, it was still nice to have the meal ready and not have to prepare anything.


passage salad


The best thing about this salad is its versatility. You can use it as a side or a main. It can be totally vegetarian or even vegan for that matter. You can add, eliminate and substitute to your heart's content and it still turns out tasting gourmet.

Here's the basic salad with some options to try …


Passage Salad
Recipe Type: Salad
Author: Marcie Connelly Lynn
  • 1 can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 2 cups cooked rice, cooled (white rice, brown rice, your favorite kind of rice)
  • ½ c kalamata olives
  • ½ onion, chopped fine
  • ½ green/red pepper chopped
  • 1 ripe tomato, chopped
  • 2 chicken breast halves, cooked, cooled and cubed
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • ½ c feta cheese, crumbled
  • ½ c balsamic vinaigrette, Italian or Greek salad dressing (add more or less to taste)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Combine all ingredients. Chill and serve.
I rarely have all the ingredients listed above, so I substitute or modify as I go along with pitted green or ripe olives, black beans, white beans or chick peas, drained chopped raw carrots, green onions, celery, canned peas, drained cooked tuna chunks, ham chunks, turkey chunks in place of chicken, pine nuts or sunflower seeds.

Nostalgic Meals and Comfort Foods

comfort foods_stuffed peppers  

One thing about being back in the States is that we've been eating lots of what I call “nostalgic meals”. I'm not saying they're particularly healthy (although some are) or even all that good (some definitely are not), but they conjure up images of being a kid again … only I'm the cook.

Some recipes I still use on the boat like Lemay Special. Others I've adapted along the way to suit our taste … a bit spicier, different herbs, adding some garlic maybe. Thinking back, my mom certainly didn't have the herbs and spices as readily available to her as we do now. She was a working mom and had little time for preparing elaborate meals especially since there were no “convenience” foods back then. You want mashed potatoes? You buy potatoes, peel 'em, boil 'em, mash 'em and eat 'em. That takes awhile compared to buying them pre-mashed and seasoned from the supermarket cooler. We had boiled potatoes a lot. Want them mashed? Use your fork on your plate and mash them.

Nostalgic meals tend to be comfort foods. I was brought up Catholic, so Fridays were fish days. If we didn't have fish and chips from the local take-out shop, then it was usually macaroni with canned tuna fish mixed with some mayo (excuse me, Miracle Whip...yuck). I still mix pasta with tuna for a quick meal, but not necessarily on Fridays. I make a dijon/mayo sauce and add onion and chopped jalapeno peppers or sometimes other veggies. Still, it's the same old Friday night comfort food … with just a little twist and served on Tuesdays or Wednesdays or whenever.

Stuffed peppers fall into the nostalgia category as do Shepherd's Pie and American Chop Suey (macaroni with ground beef in spaghetti sauce...who knows why it's called chop suey). My mom loves all of these and I was making them to please her. It did, indeed, please her, but, quite honestly, we've grown to dislike them because she'd prefer these same dishes ... over and over … night after night. I finally set the limit to two nostalgic meals a week and Salmon Pie (mashed potatoes mixed with a can of pink salmon and baked in a double crust pie ), which she insists we all loved when we were young … and we never, ever did … has been avoided altogether.

Tollhouse cookies hot out of the oven, warm brownies, cranberry pudding, apple crisp with whipped cream … just the luscious smells emanating from the kitchen/galley are enough to bring warm, homey thoughts to mind. Meatloaf, turkey soup after Thanksgiving Day dinner, peanut butter sandwiches … these are the foods we grew up with and the tastes and smells remain a part of lives.

I read an account of Beryl and Miles Smeeton, a pioneering cruising couple. Their boat, caught by a rogue wave off Cape Horn, pitchpoled and they were dismasted. Beryl was thrown overboard, but managed to get back to the boat. She also broke her arm in the fracas, but managed to bake a cake shortly thereafter for the crew. It was calming and comforting to be busy and return to some sort of normalcy after such a catastrophe. Maybe that's why some folks (like me, for instance) tend to eat when we're stressed or traumatized.

What was your favorite food as a kid? Do you still make it?


comfort foods_red peppersgraphic


Here's my recipe for Stuffed Peppers … it's tasty, healthy and, yes, comforting.


Stuffed Peppers
Recipe Type: Main Dish
Author: Marcie Connelly Lynn
  • 3 large peppers (red, green, yellow or a colorful mix of all), cut in half lengthwise and cleaned
  • 2 cups of cooked rice (white or brown)
  • 1 lb (½ kg) ground (minced) turkey, beef or whatever meat you prefer
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped fine
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 can (12 oz) chopped tomatoes
  • 1 8oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup picante sauce (see recipe below)
  • 1 c shredded cheddar-type cheese
  1. Either steam or microwave the peppers till they're fork-tender/al dente. This saves time in the oven (and propane in the tank). Brown the meat with the garlic and onion. Add Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Stir. Add cooked rice, chopped tomatoes and tomato sauce. Stir, then let simmer on low heat for 10-15 minutes.
  2. Divide the meat/rice mixture between the six pepper cups. Top with picante sauce and cheese. Cook in a 350F oven for 25-30 minutes or until peppers are tender enough for your taste, everything's hot and the cheese has melted.
For Picante Sauce: 1 c catsup, 1 tbsp brown sugar, 1 tbsp white vinegar [br]Mix together till sugar dissolves.