Thursday, October 24, 2013


How interesting that my 200th post is my chili recipe. I have actually made this a dozen or more times since I started blogging, but I felt nervous about posting it. I figured basically everyone has "their chili recipe" and no one would bother wanting to try mine. Which is sad, because its GOOD. So I decided to blog it today. And I hope that some people try it.

I have a few tricks up my sleeve.

Corn is one. I know I have seen it in a few chili recipes before, but I really like it. It gives a nice visual change, but also a sweetness.

Another is worcestershire sauce. Nectar of the gods.

Roasted red bell peppers is my latest addition. Yum!

And last but not least....a packet of brown gravy mix. It is worth it to toss out my "crunchy" card for this. I think it helps thicken it up a bit and gives a boost of flavor. I don't think I can replicate it well enough.

Also, for the longest time, I seasoned it with 1 packet of mild chili seasoning and 1 packet of hot chili seasoning. And in a pinch, I still do. But using the regular seasonings is cheaper and you don't get all the anti caking additives and what not. And you can also season to your own personal tastes.

All my seasoning amounts are guesses. I use my palm to measure. So feel free to add more if you feel it needs it.

I also *highly highly* suggest throwing this all together the night before and letting it sit in the fridge overnight, and then letting it cook on low all day. Time is the biggest tip on this. Every day it sits, it tastes better and better.

You can use 3 cans beans in this (whatever type you like. I do kidney and pinto) or you can make up some dried beans. One bag of dried beans is a little less than 4 cans, so when I do this, I make a large batch of chili with the higher amount of beef and maybe an extra can of tomatoes and just freeze some leftovers so we don't eat it for a week.

If you use that many beans, it might be too big for a normal crock pot, and you might need to use your stock pot on the stove.

I posted this on another recipe, but my new favorite way to cook dried beans is this:

Inspect and rinse beans

Put in a oven safe lidded pot with 1.5 inches of water on top.

Bring to boil, cover, and place in 275 oven for 1 hour and 15-30 minutes. Drain and wah-la!



1-2 lbs ground meat. (depends on how meaty you like it. I use either beef or turkey and it doesn't make a huge difference)
2 onions, diced
28oz can diced tomatoes, not drained
14.5 oz can tomato sauce
4oz can tomato paste
2 cups frozen corn
1 small jar roasted red bell peppers, drained and rinsed and chopped
6 cups of drained beans of choice (around 3 cans)
1/4 cup worcestershire sauce
1 packet brown gravy mix
hot sauce (I like Chalula, and use this to help make it as hot or mild as you like)
3 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cumin
2 tbsp garlic powder
2 tbsp onion powder
2 tsp seasoning salt (lowrys or the like)
1 tsp-1 tbsp red pepper flakes (to your heat preference)
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground coriander

In a large skillet, cook the meat and onion until meat is cooked through.

In a large crock pot or stock pot, combine meat, onion, all tomato products, corn, bell peppers, and beans.

In a medium bowl, whisk all remaining ingredients (with a little water if needed) and add to pot.

Add enough water to cover all ingredients.

Preferably, let sit overnight in fridge and cook low all day long.

We serve ours with fritos, shredded cheddar, and sour cream.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Baked Mac and Cheese

Sometimes you just need cheesy, gooey, comfort food. And in my opinion, the blue box stuff doesn't deliver.

This yummy stuff is based on Alton Brown's recipe. And Alton Brown knows his stuff!

And sorry I don't have a better picture. Each time I make it, we dive in too fast to get a great picture.

Its really important to not buy preshredded cheese for this.

Baked Mac and Cheese

1/2 pound pasta
3 tbsp butter
1 onion, fine diced
3 tbsp flour
1 tbsp powdered mustard
1 tbsp garlic powder
3 cups milk
1 bay leaf
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp turmeric (optional)
8 oz fresh grated sharp cheddar
4-6 oz fresh grated gouda cheese

2 tbsp melted butter
2/3rd cup panko crumbs

Preheat oven to 375

Cook the pasta in salted water until al dente. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a saucepan over medium. Add onion and cook 2 minutes. Whisk in flour, mustard, and garlic, and cook 3 more minutes, stirring constantly

Whisk in milk, paprika, turmeric, and S&P. Add the bay leaf and simmer 10 minutes. Remove bay leaf.

Remove pot from heat, stir in cheese, and then stir in pasta. Pour into sprayed casserole dish.

Mix the melted butter and bread crumbs well, and sprinkle on top of the pasta.

Cook 25-30 minutes.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Tuscan Stuffed Shells

With all these yummy complimentary flavors meshed together, how can these not be delectable?

You could easily substitute the cheese topping with a jar of alfredo sauce if you prefer. I think it would be delicious either way.

This makes a large casserole dish full. So you can freeze half, or just have a lot of leftovers!

You can easily add or subtract ingredients to suit your tastes. Some chopped katamala olives would be good in here I am sure, but our family doesn't care for them much.

You can buy the roasted bell peppers, or just do it yourself. Just rub some oil on the peppers, toss them under the broiler for a few minutes each side, and put them in a covered bowl for 15 minutes to steam the skin off. Remove the skin, seeds, and stem and chop!

Tuscan Stuffed Shells


1 box jumbo pasta shells (around 35)
2 cups shredded and chopped cooked chicken (approx)
6 oz cream cheese, softened (could easily use ricotta)
1 box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and excess water squeezed out. (I only used 3/4ths of the box)
2 cups mozzarella
1 cup shredded parmesan
2 roasted red bell peppers, chopped
4 sun dried tomatoes (in oil) chopped
i jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped up
few pinches of salt and pepper

Boil the shells as directed on box, using the lower time. (IE if it says 12-15 minutes, do 12) Drain and rinse in cold water.

While boiling, combine the chicken, cream cheese, spinach, a handful of the mozzarella, half the parmesan, roasted peppers, sun dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, and a little S&P. Mix well.

Using a spoon or your hands, generously stuff the shells. If you have a little extra, go back and stuff a little more.

Top with remaining cheese and cover with tin foil. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and they are warmed through.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Savory Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes

I had the desire to use more sweet potatoes in our meals and thought it would be fun to do a spin on twice baked potatoes. The saltiness of the feta and bacon and the slight heat of the poblano counteract the sweet potatoes well.

You could substitute a can of diced green chilis for the poblano if you wish.

Yes, I said "meanwhile" about 10 times in this recipe, but its nicely spaced so you can do everything as everything else is cooking. The timing of the recipe is very smooth.

Savory Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes


1 poblano pepper
4 medium sweet potatoes (comparably sized)
2 tbsp oil, divided
1 small yellow onion, diced
6 cloves of garlic, skins on
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
8 slices of bacon, divided
4 oz crumbled feta, divided
1 tsp oregano
salt and pepper to taste

Drizzle a little oil on the poblano pepper. Toss on the oven rack and turn on the broiler. Check often and rotate. All surfaces should be charred. Remove from oven and place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap or tin foil.

Preheat oven to 375.

Scrub the sweet potatoes, pat dry, and poke with fork.

Lightly coat in oil, sprinkle generously with salt, and place directly on the rack of a preheated oven. Bake 45-60 minutes, until fork tender.

Meanwhile, place diced onion with a drizzle of oil on a smaller sheet of tin foil and wrap up into a packet. Do the same with the garlic cloves. Place in the oven until potatoes are done.

Meanwhile, use a baking sheet (with a metal rack if you have it) and place bacon on it. Also place in the oven. Check often, should take around 20 minutes depending on how thick. When done, remove from oven and let cool and let the rest continue to cook

Meanwhile, take roasted pepper out of the bowl, remove skin, seeds, and stem. Dice. Place in a bowl with 2/3rds the feta, the oregano, greek yogurt, and 6 of the pieces of bacon, crumbled.

When potatoes are done, take everything out and let cool enough to handle. Add the onions to the bowl and squeeze the creamy roasted garlic into the bowl. Discard the skins.

Slice the top off of the sweet potatoes. Scoop out the insides. Mash in the bowl with everything else. Spoon back into the skins, top with remaining bacon.

Place in the oven, bake 20-30 minutes, until heated through. Top with feta and bake 5 minutes more (if desired).

Monday, October 7, 2013

Chipotle Chili

The quinoa in this mimics the ground meat found in most chilis. The sweet potato and chipotle are a nice change from the norm. Its hearty and filling, but very low on calories. A really good stew that will be made again. This makes enough for plenty of leftovers! Use your big pot

Chipotle Chili


1 lb dried black beans
1 tbsp butter
1 onion, diced
5 garlic cloves, minced
3 tbsp chili powder
2 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp ground coriander
2 chilis from canned chipotle chilis in adobo, minced
28 oz diced tomatoes, not drained
salt and pepper to taste
2-3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 cup dried quinoa, rinsed

sour cream
green onions

I came across this new way to make dried beans and its AMAZING. I'll share with you here.

Preheat oven to 250

Dump 1 pound of black beans out. Discard any rocks or broken beans. Rinse and drain them.

Place in a oven safe pot (dutch oven works well) and cover with 1 1/2 inch of water.

Bring to a boil. Cover and place in oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Drain and presto! Perfect beans

Melt the butter in a stock pot over medium. Add onions and cook a few minutes. Add the garlic and cook a few minutes more. Add the cumin, coriander, chili powder, and chilis. Cook 1 minute, stirring continuously.

Add the tomatoes and juice from tomatoes as well as the black beans. Add enough water (or broth if you have some handy) to cover the beans and then some.

Bring to a rapid simmer.

Add sweet potatoes and quinoa. Once to a high simmer, reduce a little and cook for 45-60 minutes until done. Add more liquid during the process if needed.

Add toppings and serve.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Stuffed Bell Pepper Soup

Oh my goodness this was so yummy. I actually doubled it and froze half. With fall and winter coming (for all you people lucky enough to not habitat the surface of the sun), this is a GREAT recipe to keep on hand. This bell pepper loving family will be making this often.

I made it with ground turkey, but italian sausage, ground beef, or ground chicken would be equally good. Or any combination there of.

You can make this more or less bell pepper-y too

Stuffed Bell Pepper Soup


1 lb ground meat
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalepeno, deseeded and deribbed, diced (optional)
5 bell peppers, cut into 1 inch squares
8 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 14 oz can petite cut diced tomatoes, not drained
1 small can tomato sauce
2 bay leaves
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
couple shakes hot sauce
salt and pepper to taste

2 cups cooked rice
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Brown meat, onion, garlic, and jalapeƱo in a large skillet on medium until meat is done.

Add meat mix, bell peppers, broth, tomatoes, tomato sauce, bay leaves, basil, oregano, and hot sauce.

Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until peppers are desired doneness. 15-30 minutes

Serve over a scoop of rice and top with cheese.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Chicken, Black Bean, and Corn Enchilada Casserole

This a great recipe that you can toss most of the ingredients in the crock pot and cook for a few hours, stir in a few more ingredients and finish in the oven. Super comforting and satisfying. I doubled it and froze half.

Chicken, Black Bean, and Corn Enchilada Casserole


2 chicken breasts (can use frozen. Add an hour to low crockpot cook time)
1 can black beans, drained
1 can diced green chilis
15 oz red enchilada sauce, divided
1/2 cup salsa
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt

1 1/2 cups frozen corn
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
6 medium tortillas, torn into 2 inch chunks

In a crockpot, combine chicken, beans, chilis, 1/3rd of the enchilada sauce, and salsa. Cook on high 1 hour and low 3.

Remove breasts and let cool enough to shred (or use forks). Preheat oven to 400

Add chicken back along with yogurt, corn, cheese and tortillas. Stir well 

Spray a casserole dish and place mixture in, evenly.

Top with reserved enchilada sauce and the cheese

Cook for 20-30 minutes, until cheese is melted and its heated through

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Garlic and Dijon Pork Chops

Pork chops are always on sale in one form or another, and its a lean cut of meat, so its something I try to keep around for a fast meal.

This sauce is zippy and light, but still comforting.

(lighting made it a interesting orange in the picture, haha)

Garlic and Dijon Pork Chops


4 pork chops
salt and pepper
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp oil
8 big cloves of garlic, sliced
3/4 cup dry white (one of the mini sized bottles)
1 cup broth
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
2 tbsp mustard
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
2 shakes hot sauce
1 tbsp fresh chopped basil, parsley, chives, or green onions

Preheat large skillet on medium high heat

Add butter and oil.

Salt and pepper chops generously.

Place in hot pan and sear on both sides until browned. Remove from pan.

Add garlic and cook 2 minutes, stirring continuously

Add wine and scrap all the brown bits off. Add broth

Bring to boil. Lower heat to medium low and add pork chops. Cook until cooked through, 145 degrees internal. Thin pork chops would be about 5-7. Thick ones 7-10.

Remove chops and cover with tin foil.

Whisk together yogurt, mustard, worcestershire, hot sauce, and basil. Whisk into pan sauces.

Heat until bubbling. Simmer on a low temp for a few minutes until thickened. If not thick enough for your taste, scoop out some liquid, whisk with a tbsp corn starch, and whisk back into the sauce.

Spoon sauce over chops and serve.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Roasted Cabbage

When I saw a Martha Stewart recipe circling pinterest, I decided we needed to try it. And that was 2 weeks ago, and we have made it 3 more times! Roasting just makes everything delicious.

Roasted Cabbage

1 large head of cabbage
1 large clove of garlic
1 tbsp butter, melted
1tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 450

Slice the garlic into 3/4 inch slice rounds

Combine the butter and oil. Brush a large cookie sheet lightly

Place the rounds onto the sheet. Slice the garlic clove in half and rub it all over the top of the slices.

Brush with the butter/oil and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper

Place in oven and cook 20-30 until dark and roasty.

Sprinkle with parmesan and serve