Turkey Chili crockpot/slow cooker

How many parties have you hosted or attended? How many guests do you have staying with you? Who has plans to ring in the new year? So many things to do, so little time!

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday however you celebrate!

IMG_3745.JPGThis time of year is always crazy busy and it’s like we are all racing to make sure we fit everything in we possibly can. Oh and let’s also throw in 2 birthdays and an anniversary all within 6 weeks. Needless to say I have already declared January a sugar free zone at the office. And I am threatening to follow suit at home. There will be a rebellion for sure.
IMG_3742.JPGWe had an awesome Christmas party last week I have no idea how many people were here but at one point in the night I walked outside and counted around 24 cars, that’s a lot of people and I think this one had the most people singing along, it was glorious!
IMG_3743.JPGWe were 11 for overnight and 13 for breakfast with that many people there is no way to not be organized and part of my organization is to have something in the crockpot all day just in case anyone needs a little something to snack on and want to help themselves.
IMG_3744.JPG

Turkey Chili
1.25 lbs. lean ground turkey or lean ground beef
1 small white onion diced
1 29 oz. can tomato sauce
1 15 oz. can black beans rinsed and drained
1 15 oz. can kidney beans rinsed and drained
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
2 tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. garlic powder
salt & pepper to taste

In a large pan over medium-high heat. Add diced onion to the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the ground turkey and cook until it is browned, breaking it up as you cook it. Add the spices to the pan, the heat in the pan helps the spices come alive.

Add the cooked turkey and onions to the crockpot and then all the other ingredients, stir well to combine.

Cover with lid and cook on high for 3 hours or low for 6-7 hours.

Chocolate stout chili

Just the name of the recipe intrigued me.  I have never cooked with chocolate; baked, eaten and eaten even more chocolate but never cooked with it. And to be perfectly honest I still really haven’t.
IMG_5711I didn’t want to run out to the store so I used a beer we had in the fridge that I thought most identified with what they were looking for in the recipe I was trying. This recipe also piqued my interest because I have never made a chili without beans. When I mentioned this to the fam they were all curious as well.
IMG_5713The taste of this chili is deep with flavors and to be perfectly honest a little too spicy for my taste buds but I loved how it went together and the flavors were excellent so I will be making this again, just going to lay off a little on the chipotle in adobo sauce. That little tiny can packs a wallop of heat let me tell you.
IMG_5701I’ll give you the recipe how I made it and you decide how hot you want it!

Ingredients

1 ½ tablespoon ground cumin
1 ½ tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
2 ½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon cinnamon
3 pounds beef chuck cut into ½ inch pieces
1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes and their juice
1 6 ounce can tomato paste
1 chipotle plus 2 teaspoon adobo sauce from the can
2 tablespoon packed brown sugar
½ teaspoon coffee extract – I just used coffee
Olive Oil as needed
1 large yellow onion diced
1 ½ tablespoon garlic chopped or minced
12 ounce chocolate stout

Directions
In a large bowl combined the cumin, salt, chili powder, oregano and cinnamon.
Add the beef and coat the meat with the spice mixture. Let the meat sit out for about 30 minutes.
IMG_5706In your blender combine the tomatoes, paste, chipotle in adobo, sugar, coffee and a teaspoon of salt. Puree scraping down the sides as needed.
In a dutch oven or heavy-duty oit heat the oil; once hot add the beef in batches. Brown the beef on all sides transfer the meat to a bowl or plate and continue the process until all the beef is browned.
IMG_5716Lower the heat to medium and add the onion cooking till soft and translucent scraping up any browned bits left in the pot. Add the garlic stirring for about 30 seconds and then add the beef to the pot. Stir in the blender mixture along with the beer. Bring to a boil and reduce to low and simmer with the cover slightly ajar for about 3 hours.

You can eat it right away or wait a day or two for the flavors to get even better.
Enjoy with grated cheese, sour cream, not hot enough add some pickled jalapenos.


Another wonderful recipe from Fine Cooking

Crockpot Chicken Chili

The holiday season is upon us; which is quite apparent if you have ventured into pretty much ANY store. Just this last weekend there was Christmas music playing at my local craft store while I was picking up stuff for my Thanksgiving table centerpiece. Let the games begin!
img_4718

And just because you have a huge list of things to get done on the weekends doesn’t mean you can’t take a few simple ingredients; that you might already have on hand; throw it all in your slow cooker and have a warm satisfying meal at the end of the day. And probably a lunch during the week.

img_4700The last few weekends I have been spending a few hours in the kitchen preparing meals for the coming weeks lunch and or dinner. Make a roast for Sunday dinner and then a soup/stew for the following week. It’s like a win win. You are already chopping veggies, making a mess; or at least that is in my case. I swear I use pretty much every pot, pan and cutting board I own when I get going.
img_4706


Ingredients
Boneless skinless chicken breast
1 onion diced
2 cloves of garlic
2 cans of beans – great northern, navy pea beans, black beans Or any combination
1 can hominy
1 envelope taco seasoning
1 can chopped green chilis
1 can Rotel
1 can cream of chicken soup
Chicken broth

Directions
Place chicken in the bottom of the slow cooker
saute onions and garlic till they are soft
img_4703
Top with beans
img_4704

In a medium bowl combine taco seasoning, chilis, Rotel, soup and broth. Pour over beans
img_4705

Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours
Before serving shred chicken to your liking.
Top with shredded cheese, sour cream and chives or green onions.

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese comfort food simple and delicious

As you are reading this my husband and I are in Key West FL for good friends of ours wedding.  My son is home taking care of the house, dog and my husband’s construction business. While I know he will never go hungry I still wanted to make sure he didn’t survive on takeout pizza.  He must have been thinking the same thing as he asked me if I would teach him how to make a few dishes.  The funny part of this is we both were thinking the same dishes. So Sunday morning we made chili, shepherd’s pie, lasagna and macaroni and cheese. All can be frozen and keep really well – we packaged them up into small meals for him.

Comfort Food - Alex 526 Comfort Food - Alex 527 Comfort Food - Alex 528 Comfort Food - Alex 529

When making this many different dishes you really want to make the most of prep and cooking so you don’t spend the rest of the day doing dishes.

We used one pot to cook the meat one meal at a time and set aside. We browned the burger for the pie, sausage for the lasagna and the burger, sausage and ground turkey for the chili. We cooked the pasta as directed on the box for the mac and cheese then use the same pot for the potatoes, rinsed and wiped it out so we could use it for the sauce for the lasagna. We diced and sliced the onions and garlic for all the dishes and then the veggies and set aside. I bet we had all dishes made and assembled in about 2.5 hours and all but 1 pot fit in the dishwasher. It was a very successful morning.

While I do use the internet and magazines to find recipes to try I know they are just a starting point, there are so many ways you can take a recipe to make it to you and your families tastes.  Everybody’s shepherd’s pies is a little different; I use creamed and niblet corn to add moisture. I know of a family the use pre-bought gravy to add moisture to theirs. There is nothing like good homemade comfort food.

Easy Mac and Cheese that has great flavor and comes together quickly

1 small onion diced very small

4 tbs. Butter

4 tbs. Flour

2 cups milk

1 box elbow macaroni or other small pasta

4-6 cups shredded cheese – cheddar, mozzarella, Provolone your favorite combination works here

3-4 slices American cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

In salted water cook the pasta according to the direction on the box; drain and set aside. In a sauté pan melt the butter over medium heat, add the onions and cook to translucent about 3 minutes. Add flour stirring to mix.  Let cook about 2 minutes, it helps remove the flour taste. Using a whisk add the milk all at once. Whisk thoroughly till all incorporated.  Let this thicken on low heat, do not boil just simmer and stir frequently.  Remove from the heat and add all the cheese.  Lightly stir to incorporate.  Add the cooked pasta and salt and pepper to taste.  If you chop the onions small enough the kids won’t even know they are there.

Eat as is or bake for 15 minutes in a 350’ oven.  Add a crumb top or not – whatever is your preference

8 hours cooking/baking

Since my daughter is home from Japan for a short visit we had friends and family over this weekend.  I took Friday off from work and cooked up a storm.  I spent 8 hours making dishes and desserts enough to feed anywhere from 10 to 20 people.  Since we had family from as far away as Virginia to a few that live right up the road I decided to just have an open house. Come as early as you want and leave as late as you want. Lunch would be served at 1 and dinner at 6 and whoever was here in between would not go hungry. At my house no one ever goes hungry!

 

White Chocolate Craisin and Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookies
White Chocolate Craisin and Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookies
Chicken Rice Soup

Lunch Menu: 4 Bean Chili, Corn Bread and Pulled Pork with Cole Slaw Sandwiches, Clam Chowder and Cookies

Dinner Menu: Ham, homemade beans, Macaroni & Cheese, Chicken Soup and Texas Sheet Cake

Image

When I know I need to feed this many people; I need to be very organized.  Thursday night I did all my grocery shopping so I could wake up in the morning and get going.  I envy the well-stocked kitchen & pantry on these types of occasions.  I have a large and a medium sized crockpot but could have used 2-3 more.  I have 2 large pots but could have used 4-5 more.  Unfortunately if I buy anymore cookware, dishes, glasses or utensils; my son will pitch a fit.  You see he does the majority of the dishes in the house and is running out of places to store all my treasures.  I kind of see what he means but I can’t help myself I need and use every item I bring home.  I have been using my class as an excuse to why a new sauté pan shows up or why I have a new Le Creuset in the cupboard. On occasion I do take inventory and clean out my stash, don’t tell Alex it’s just to make room for more.

Day of Cooking 026

Make this cake – Trust me it is delicious and easy!!!

I got this recipe from a friend, I am not sure why it is called this but I really really like it.

Texas Sheet Cake

Add to Sauce Pan

1 Stick of Butter

½ Cup Vegetable Oil

4 TBS Cocoa

1 Cup Water

Boil the above in a pan for 2-3 minutes

Sift together

2 Cups Flour

2 Cups Sugar

Pour over chocolate sauce and mix well

Add to the above

½ Cup Buttermilk

1 tsp Baking Soda

2 Eggs

1 tsp Vanilla

Mix well and pour into greased jelly roll pan

Cook at 400’ for 20 minutes

Frosting to be added to hot cake

Add to Sauce Pan (you can use the same one; I cleaned mine when the cake was in the oven)

1 Stick Butter

1/3 Cup Buttermilk

4 TBS Cocoa

Bring to a boil

Add the following

1 Box of Confectioner’s Sugar (roughly 2 ¾ Cup)

½ tsp Salt

1 tsp Vanilla

¾ Cup Chopped Walnuts (I added after so I could make ½ sheet without – work fast as the frosting hardens quickly)

Once cooled – slice into whatever size pieces you would like and store in airtight container – they don’t stick too bad so you can stack

Pantry Staples

I have been asked several times to make listing of pantry staples.  There are definite items that if on hand; you can create an meal and app or a yummy snack.

I am going to show you a picture of 1 of my shelves in my pantry – If it was organized better I might share the whole thing with you but – it is not at the moment so trust me you don’t want to see it. – Don’t judge me!

Image

I have a favorite grocery store that I do look at their flyer when it comes and if the staples I use are on sale; I tend to buy several to keep on hand.  We always have a wide variety of cheeses; Hard, Soft, Sharp, Mild, Stinky – we will try anything once, we did find a yummy soft cheese called Port Salut if you see it, buy it! It is mild in flavor but really yummy!

Pasta: Spaghetti, Elbow, Lasagna, Fettuchini, Orzo and Egg Noodles or your favorite shape-You can make just about anything with pasta.

Rice: several kinds of rice are great to have on hand, My favorites are Arborio, Jasmine and a brown rice.  I also keep boxes of rice pilaf just in case. Instead of water use stock to cook the rice – it adds SO much flavor!

Canned Goods: Beans, Refried Beans, Pinto, Black Beans, Cannellini, Kidney, Rotel, Spaghetti Sauce, Tomato Sauce, San Marzano seeded Plum Tomatoes, Tomato Paste in a tube – Best invention ever!!!  Trying to use up a whole small can of tomato paste before it went bad was a pain.  You can make an awesome chili (see below)

Stocks: Chicken, Beef and Veggie stock are always in my pantry, even though I do make and freeze homemade stock; I go through SO much of it I have to keep it on hand.

Oils & Vinegars: Canola Oil, Extra Virigin Olive Oil (find one you like the taste of and stick to it) Soy Sauce, Vinegars there are so many and I swear if you have space for them, buy several different kinds to have on hand, Apple Cider, Red Wine, White, Rice Wine are used in so many recipes.  I also love having Capers on hand; all you need a a couple of lemons and some boneless chicken and voila chicken picata YUM!

Spices & Herbs: Kosher Salt, Black Pepper Corns, you also need table salt and pepper, Crushed Red Pepper Flakes. My all time favorite go to seasoning is Adobo – I use it on Steak, Chicken, Eggs, Fish, Tuna just about anything I can. It’s pretty funny that we discovered it when vacationing on St Lucia many years ago. My favorite herbs are Basil, Thyme, Sage, Rosemary and Chives I prefer fresh but I use dried as well and always have them on hand.  I also use Parsley and Oregano For tomato based sauces.

There are staples everyone uses, Mayo’s Ketchups, Pickles, several kinds of mustards; spicey brown, grainy, dijon I use them all, they make amazing sauces for chicken and pork.

The list is endless but if you can keep a few of the above on hand, you will have a great start to any meal!

4 Bean Chili

1 pound ground beef

1 pound ground turkey

1 pound ground sweet Italian sausage

1 Green Bell Pepper diced

1 Large Onion diced

3 ribs Celery chopped

2 28 oz cans san marzano plum tomatoes seeded

2 cans Rotel

Ground Cumin

Chili Powder

1 can Pinto Beans drained and rinsed

1 can Black Beans drained and rinsed

1 can Kidney Beans drained and rinsed

1 large can of your favorite beans – mine is Bush’s original

1 package chili seasoning mix

In a skillet brown all meats and set aside

add some olive oil to a large pot; heat over medium heat; add onion, green pepper and celery; saute briefly. Stir in tomatoes (I tend to crush the tomatoes or cook them well enough to breakdown) and rotel, Add cumin and chili powder to taste and cook for about 6-10 minutes or until veggies are tender.  Add the Beans, browned meat and chili seasoning.  Partially cover and let simmer for 4 hours.  Serve with Cheddar Cheese, Sour Cream and Chives or Green Onions.

My family love this chili so much they actually eat it along side cheese omelets in the morning!  It also freezes well!!!

Enjoy!!!