Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Comforting Chili


It's now officially fall, and with it comes cooler weather. With cooler weather comes warm homemade soups. I'm really the only one in the house who eats soup (though Lu may when she's a bit older) so I tend to freeze quite a bit of mine and munch on them all year long. However, the one "soup" my husband loves is my chili. I tried making a Cincinati chili once, and it was awful. I came across this recipe, adjusted it to our tastes, and this is our go-to chili from now on. I know Dylan likes a bit more of a kick to his, but honestly, I can't take that much more. So, I figure if he wants more, than he can add some jalapñeos or something. ;)

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds lean ground beef or turkey
  • 1 (29 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 46 oz petite cut canned tomatoes not drained
  • 1 (15 oz) can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 oz) can light red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
Directions
  • Brown ground meat in a large pot. Season with the onion powder. Drain and place back into the pot.
  • Into the pot, add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, kidney beans, cayenne pepper, sugar, oregano, ground black pepper, salt, cumin, and chili powder. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to low. Simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
My Take


As you can see in the pictures, I have several cans even though my ingredients just state one. Sometimes I can't find the right size of can, so I just get however many ounces I need, no matter how many cans it takes. Ha! I also tend to use 1 pound of ground beef and 1 pound of ground turkey. I usually use ground turkey in everything, though Dylan isn't a huge fan of it, so I compromise in this dish, and it comes out great since you cook them all together.

I'm sure you can cook this in the slow cooker, yet I've never done this before. I would cook it on low for 8-10 hours. That would be great for a dinner coming home from work during the cold weather days. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

BBQ Little Smokies

 

Football season is officially underway, and while our household isn't really into sports, I love the snack foods which normally accompany the game. This recipe is one of the recipes which my family enjoyed at get-togethers as well as on New Years watching the parades (along with our Peanut-Free Puppy Chow). My husband had these for the first time at my mom's house, so after we got married, I made him a batch. I succeeded! While these are normally just a snack food, we sometimes eat them with a meal (or, sometimes, as a meal!)

BBQ Little Smokies
(Printable Version)

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds little smokies
  • 1 (16 oz) jar of BBQ sauce
  • 1 (16 oz) jar of grape jelly
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
Directions

Put everything into a slow cooker and cook on Low for 1 hour or until smokies are nice and hot.



My Take

Super simple, right? Sorry about not having an exact time for you guys. I forgot to write down how long it took for mine to get to the right hotness, but I know it was a tad bit longer than an hour. If you're serving these at a party or something, you can just leave them in the slow cooker and leave it on low, or on warm if yours has that setting.

Also, you may have noticed that I only used a pound of little smokies. Since there's only 2 of us eating this, I didn't think I really needed to make the whole thing. You may see this from time to time, but the techniques are still the same and I'll put the original recipe up instead of halfing it. :)

What's your favorite game-day food? Do you prefer to go tailgating or stay in the comfort of your (or someone else's) home?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Bubble-Up Pizza Casserole



This was one of those recipes I found while browsing Pintrest. It sounded interesting and because pizza is one of our favorite meals in our house, I thought I would give it a try. This was an instant hit. I knew my husband really liked it because he ate the leftovers, which is something he rarely does. Another hint that I had hit upon something amazing was just the next week, he asked when we were going to have it again.

Yes folks, I had on my hands a "Pin Win". This is a great recipe because it doesn't really take a whole lot to prep and it's a fun way for the little ones to eat one of their favorite food. You can also reduce the fat by using reduced-fat biscuits and turkey pepperoni, or even a fully veggie one. Go ahead, make your favorite pizza...in casserole form!

Bubble Up Pizza
(Printable Version)

Ingredients



  • 2 cans of canned biscuits (16 biscuits in total)
  • 1 (15 oz) jar spaghetti/pizza sauce
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Your favorite pizza toppings (pepperoni, sausage, black olives, mushrooms, onions, peppers, etc.)
Directions
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9x13" baking dish. 
  • Cut up biscuits into fourths. Place in a large bowl. Add in the sauce, 1 cup cheese, and toppings. Stir until mixed well. Place mixture into baking dish. 

  • Bake for 30 minutes, or until bubbly. Top with remaining cheese and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes, until cheese is melted and starting to bubble. 

 My Take


As I said before, this is a huge hit around here. We have it  once a month, at least! There's not really much to it. One thing is that you can either use those baby pepperonis that they have, or, what I like to do, is cut the pepperoni in half. I find that doing this helps distribute the pepperoni more evenly and is more managable to eat.

If there are people that like different toppings, then you can just top the additional toppings before you put the cheese on, like you see with the black olives in the picture above. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Cheese Souffle


Whenever I have anything that has the word "souffle" in it, I judge it against his recipe. This tastes so cheesey and is so light and fluffy, it's hard not to like. Back when I had braces, every time I got them tightened, I asked my mom to make this as I couldn't chew anything else.


Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 8 oz. Velveeta, cubed
  • 4 eggs, separated
Directions
  • Preheat oven to 300° F.
  • In a medium sauce pan, melt butter. Blend in flour and salt. Add milk all at once; cook over medium heat, stirring, until mixture thickens and bubbles. Remove from heat. Add cheese; stir until cheese melts.
  • Beat egg yolks until very thick and lemon-colored. Slowly add to cheese mixture, stirring constantly; cool slightly.
  • Beat egg whites to stiff peaks. Gradually pour yolk mixture into egg whites; fold together well.
  • Pour into ungreased 1 1/2 quart souffle or casserole dish. Bake for 1 1/4 hour, or until knife inserted off center comes out clean.

My Take
As I slowly try to cut out processed foods, I look at this recipe and wonder how I can get that super cheesey flavor without using Velveeta and using just natural cheeses. If anyone has any suggestions as to what cheeses I should start with, that would be awesome. I'll update ya'll and let you know if I find anything that works great.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Banana-Raisin Pancakes



School has started for many families. Even though my little one isn't in school, a nutritious breakfast is still a must. And because I'm not a morning person, I want something quick and easy.

Pancakes are great, but sometimes I find them a bit...bland. I need variety! I need spices! This recipe delivers that. The bananas have  agreat flavor and really keeps the pancakes moist, while the raisins add textural variety (which, according to a lot of Food Network shows, is very important). The cinnamon really brings both flavors together.

Banana-Raisin Pancakes
(Printable Version)

Ingredients


  • 2 medium bananas
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup lowfat milk
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 cup pancake/waffle mix
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Directions
  •  Break up bananas into a mixing bowl. With the back of a fork, mash until smooth. Add egg, milk, and oil; combine.
  • In another mixing bowl, combine pancake mix, raisins, and cinnamon. Add pancake mix to banana mixture and stir until moistened.
  • Heat skillet over medium high heat. Measure 1/4 cup batter and pour onto skillet. Cook as many pancakes as you can at one time. 

  • Brown the underside of the pancake, and when bubbles appear on the surface and the edges start to appear "dry", carefully flip pancakes over and continue cooking for another minute. 
Little L snitching pancakes before I was done cooking

My Take
 


I love these pancakes, and due to the sweetness the bananas bring to the party, I rarely eat them with syrup. Instead, I use a touch of butter, and just chow down on them that way.

A quick tip: The riper the banana, the easier it is to mash, thus giving you a smoother batter. You can tell how ripe mine are in the picture, and they were super easy to mash with the back of my fork. Though, I don't mind finding pieces of bananas in my pancakes. :)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Any Flavor Cookies



Here is a dessert that you can have a different flavor everytime you make them with no additional effort. These are my "Any Flavor Cookies". They're super easy to make, have very few ingredients, and they're super yummy! I first made these back in college and we called them "Magical Cookies" because they tasted so good.

Any Flavor Cookies
(Printable Version)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Cool Whip
  • 1 egg
  • 1 box cake mix (any flavor)
  • Powdered sugar
Directions


Mix all ingredients until a sticky batter is formed. Put about a cup or so of powdered sugar into a bowl.



Drop the batter by spoonfuls into the sugar and roll it around until well covered. Place onto a cookie sheet and bake at 350°F for 7 minutes.



My Take

I had a heck of a time when I was making these cookies for this post. This was coupled with other kitchen fiascos that day. My issue with the cookies was I ran out of Cool Whip befor the batter got moist. After I thought about it for a bit (and did some research online), I figured the Cool Whip takes place of the oil and water in the regular recipe, so I added a little bit of water. This moistened the batter, and I hoped it wouldn't hurt the flavor. Fortunately, this worked. So if your batter is still a little dry-ish after adding the Cool Whip, just add a little bit of water.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Peanut-Free Puppy Chow

Growing up with peanut allergies meant that a lot of foods were off limits for me: Snickers, Butterfingers, PB&Js, a lot of Thai food, and a ton of different desserts. One of those desserts I wasn't allowed to enjoy was Puppy Chow. It always looked so good. I mean, chocolate with powdered sugar!?

Fortunately my mother came up with a way for me to enjoy this wonderful-sounding dessert. Instead of using peanut butter, she used butterscotch chips. My husband, after he tried this for the first time, said it was even better than the original puppy chow. This stuff is so good my family has it every year at our New Year's celebration.

So, without further ado, here's the recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips
  • 6 cups Kellog's Crispix cereal (Non-name brand is fine as well)
  • 1 cup confectioner's sugar (aka powdered sugar)
Directions

  •  In a large microwave-safe bolw, melt chocolate and butterscotch chips on high for 1 minute. Stir and heat an additional 30 seconds on high or until melted. 
 
  • Pour mixture over cereal.
  • Place cereal in 2-gallon zip-top bag. Add coated cereal to sugar and close bag tightly. Toss bag until cereal is thoroughly. coated with sugar. 
  • Store in airtight container in refrigerator.


My Take

When making this to take pictures for this blog, it was honestly the first time I've ever made this. I grew up eating it, but never participated in the creation of it. Fortunately, it was super easy to put together, and takes less time than chex mix. Be careful, though. You may find it slightly addicting!