Chili Con Carne

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Chilly nights are perfect for enjoying comfort foods that warm you from the inside out! This was flavorful and has the perfect amount of spiciness. We enjoyed it with this corn bread, aged cheddar cheese, cilantro and some sour cream. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Chili Con Carne – adapted from Simply Recipes

  • 2 Tbsp red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ancho chile powder
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground Mexican oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • One – 2 pound chuck roast, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • Salt and pepper to taste – season lightly
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 jalapeño chili peppers, stems removed, seeded, ribs removed, minced
  • 1 28-oz can whole tomatoes
  • 2 cups water
  • juice of 1/2 of a lime
  • 1 14-oz can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • Salt to taste
  • Grated cheddar cheese, cilantro and lime wedges for serving

Directions –

1.  In a small bowl mix the chili powder, chipotle chili powder, ground cumin, oregano, and ground coriander. Set aside.

2. Heat a Dutch oven over medium high heat, add back in 1 tablespoon of bacon fat. Working in batches so that you don’t crowd the beef (crowding will steam cook the meat instead of browning it), brown the beef cubes on all sides. Remove beef from pan, set aside.

3.  Add another Tablespoon of bacon fat to the pan. Add the chopped onions and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and jalapeño, cook until fragrant, 1 minute more. Add the chili paste and cook for 2-3 more minutes.

4. Put onion chili mixture, beef, tomatoes, water, lime juice. Heat the chili on medium high heat until it comes to a simmer. Then reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for 1 1/2 hours. Then uncover and cook for another half hour, keeping the temperature at a place where you can maintain a simmer.

5. Gently mix in the kidney beans. Add salt to taste. Adjust seasonings. Sprinkle with grated cheddar cheese, cilantro and sour cream if desired. Serve with cornbread.

Grandmother’s Buttermilk Cornbread – adapted from Allrecipes

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (175 degrees C). Butter a 8×8 baking dish or a 9 inch cake pan.

2. Melt butter in large skillet (I put it in the microwave for about 45 seconds). Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Quickly add eggs and beat until well blended. Combine buttermilk with baking soda and stir into mixture in pan. Stir in cornmeal, flour, and salt until well blended and few lumps remain. Fold in the cheese and pour into your prepared pan.

3. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.(*mine took 30 minutes with convection)

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Italian Antipasto Salad

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I made this salad for a group of ladies and judging by how little of this was left, it was a hit 😉 The salami and provolone combo is what makes this crave-worthy and I like the different textures of the lettuces. The vinaigrette compliments this salad perfectly, and thanks to the Dijon it stays well mixed for long periods of time. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

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Italian Antipasto Salad – adapted from The Food Network

  • 1/2 head romaine lettuce, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 head butter lettuce, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 head iceberg lettuce, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 cup rinsed canned red kidney beans, patted dry
  • 1 cup rinsed canned garbanzo beans, patted dry
  • 8 ounces salami, cubed
  • 6 ounces Provolone, cubed
  • Grape tomatoes
  • Red Wine Vinaigrette, recipe follows
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions –

Combine the first 8 ingredients in a large bowl. Toss with enough vinaigrette to coat. Season the salad with salt and pepper, to taste, and serve.

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Red Wine Vinaigrette – adapted from Epicurious

  • 1/4 cup red-wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Directions –

Pour all ingredients in a 8 ounce jar, replace the lid and shake vigorously.

Super Simple Chili

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I was hesitant to try this one because there are so few ingredients, but all the reviews reassured me that this would be worth making. I decided that it wouldn’t be seasoned enough for my taste so I added a few extras to bump up the flavor. I used one pound each of ground beef and pork, sauteed onion and garlic with the meat, added a six-ounce can of tomato paste along with the tomato sauce. I also had a couple of cups of homemade chicken stock that I didn’t want to waste, so I used that instead of water to loosen the chili up. I didn’t modify the spices (although I should have – there still wasn’t much flavor in this). This is not a “soupy” chili at all but it would be perfect for hot dogs, hamburgers or nachos. Overall, this was as I had predicted – too bland for my tastes! Although, it’s a good jumping off point for those who like to tweak recipes anyway. Thanks for stopping by!

**Click the link for the original recipe.

Super Simple Chili – adapted from The Pioneer Woman

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • One 8-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 – 6 ounce can tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • homemade chicken stock for thinning, or water
  • 1 – 15 ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 – 15 ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • Shredded Cheddar, for serving
  • Chopped onions, for serving

Directions –


Place the ground beef in a large pot and throw in the garlic and onion. Cook over medium heat until browned. Drain off the excess fat, and then pour in the tomato sauce, tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt and cayenne. Stir together well, cover, and then reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. If the mixture becomes overly dry, add 1/2 cup water or stock at a time as needed. Add the beans and simmer for 10 minutes. Serve with shredded Cheddar and chopped onions.

Sausage and Bean Soup with Pasta

Cooler weather always motivates me to make comforting meals, and what could be better than soup? This was so good and it made a huge batch – too bad we didn’t get to enjoy leftovers…the hubbs forgot to put the container in the fridge…and it stayed on the counter overnight…boo! I forgave him, of course 😉 There are worse things, I suppose. I once left a container of ice cream out on the counter overnight – don’t be like me! I remember the mess was thick, sticky, and a hassle to clean up! 😉 Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Sausage and Bean Soup with Pasta – adapted from The Italian Dish

  • 1 cup dried cannellini or cellini beans or 1 15-ounce can of any beans you like, drained
  • 1 pound ground sausage (*I used half hot, half mild Italian sausage*)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 6 to 8 cups chicken broth (*I used 6 cups homemade chicken stock*)
  • 1 teaspoon thyme, fresh if you have it
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup ditalini pasta, or any small pasta
  • Parmigiano Reggiano rind (optional)
  • grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

Directions –

If using dried beans, place them in a pot, cover with cold water and let soak for several hours or overnight. Drain.

In a large pot, brown the sausage.  Remove from pot.  If there is a lot of fat left in the pot, pour this out but do not wipe out pot.  Add onion, carrot and olive oil and saute for 2-3 minutes until soft.  Add garlic and saute about a minute more.   Add  the tomatoes, chicken broth, Parm rind, thyme, bay leaf, some salt and pepper and the drained beans and the sausage and cover the pot. Cook for an hour over low heat, at a gentle simmer.

If using dried beans, check for doneness at this point.  (If using canned beans, add the pasta now.)  If the beans are not soft enough, cover the pot again and cook for another 30 minutes or until the beans are soft. Add the pasta and cook, uncovered, until the pasta is tender.  Check the seasoning and add more salt and pepper to taste.  If the soup is too thick for your liking, add some more chicken broth.

Serve with grated cheese on top and an extra drizzle of olive oil.

Cheese Sauce

Quick Post: When faced with the dilemma – “what’s for lunch?” I quickly came up with this solution – nachos! What is a nacho without cheese sauce, right? I remembered pinning this  awhile back and immediately got to work on it. Three ingredients, maybe ten minutes,  resulted in a really tasty cheese sauce that was perfect on our nachos. While I refried these beans, my husband stirred this sauce over medium heat until it became thick and smooth. I successfully transformed leftovers into a fun lunch that everyone enjoyed…score one for me! 😉 Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Cheese Sauce – adapted from Serious Eats

  • 8 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 2 teaspoons hot sauce (we used green Tabasco)

Directions –

Add cheese and cornstarch to large bowl. Toss to combine. Transfer to medium saucepan. Add 1 cup evaporated milk and hot sauce. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly with whisk until melted, bubbly, and thickened (about 5 minutes). Mixture will look thin and grainy at first but will thicken and come together after heating. Thin to desired consistency with additional evaporated milk. Serve immediately with fries, tortilla chips, burgers, or hot dogs

PW’s Spicy Beans

My sister visited this summer – and while that was awesome, she made it even more memorable by making these amazing beans! This will forever be my go-to recipe for pinto beans and the whole family enjoys them – so much that I made them three times in one month. Don’t let the “spicy” deter you, these are easily modified. Two teaspoons of pepper is too much for our palettes, so I only add 1 or 1 1/2 teaspoons. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Spicy Beans – adapted from The Pioneer Woman

  • 4 cups Dry Pinto Beans
  • 1 whole Ham Hock
  • 2 quarts of water (this is the perfect amount for me)
  • 1 whole Onion, Diced
  • 4 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 2 whole Jalapenos, Sliced
  • 2 teaspoons Salt, More To Taste
  • 2 Tablespoons Chili Powder
  • 1 – 1 1/2  teaspoons Black Pepper

Directions –

Sort through the beans, making sure to pick out all the weird looking and broken beans and rocks. Dump the sorted beans in a large colander and rinse thoroughly with cold water.

Place beans in a stock pot with the ham hock and cover with water by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover the pot and simmer for 2 hours, checking occasionally to make sure the water level is fine. Add more water as needed.

Then throw in diced onion, red bell pepper, garlic and jalapeno. Cover and continue cooking for another hour or two, remembering to check the water level.

Add salt, chili powder (if desired) and pepper, then cover and cook for another 20 to 30 minutes, or until beans are lovely and tender.

Chili Cheese Dogs

This turned out to be really tasty. I’m glad I took the time to make this instead of opening up a can of chili like I normally do. Those are always so full of salt and other preservatives…it kind of looks like dog food! The flavor and texture were so good, a little smokey, a nice kick and even a little sweet. We enjoyed this over nitrate/nitrite free all beef hot dogs and these homemade buns. The leftovers would be fantastic on top of fries, tater tots, or just with some cheese melted on top. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Chili con Carne – adapted from Seasaltwithfood
  • 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, chopped
  • 1 Medium Yellow Onion, finely chopped
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 tsp Dried Oregano (I used Mexican oregano)
  • 4 Tbsp Ancho Chili Powder (I used 2 TBSP Ancho, 2 TBSP Chili powder)
  • 1 tsp Cumin Powder
  • 1 can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained well
  • 1 – 14 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup water
  • Sea Salt
  • Shredded Cheese
  • Chopped Cilantro
  • Sour Cream, optional

Directions –

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat the cast iron pot over a moderate heat. Add the oil, garlic, and onion and cook until golden, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes.

Turn the heat on high, mix in the ground beef, oregano, chili powder, cumin, and stir until the beef mixture is deep red in color and the meat is no longer pink.

Add the beans, diced tomatoes, and water into the beef mixture. Bring it to a boil, switch off the heat and cover with a piece of parchment paper and then cover with the lid. Cook in the preheated oven for about 1 ½ hours and season with sea salt. Serve the chili with cheese, cilantro, and sour cream, if desired.

Navy Bean and Ham Soup

Oh, TG leftovers, how I appreciate you! It’s so nice having leftovers that are easily turned into a whole new dish. Take the ham bone for instance – it doesn’t seem like much, but it lends rich flavor to this soup. I chopped up some leftover ham and added it to the pot towards the end of cooking right after using my stick blender to puree some of the soup. The flavor is warm and comforting and this may become a new Thanksgiving leftover tradition for my family 🙂 It’s so cheap to make too, and all I needed to buy was the navy beans because I had all the stock, veggies and herbs I needed for this. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Navy Bean and Ham Soup –

  • 1 pound navy beans, soaked for 6 to 8 hours
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 3 celery, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • thyme, rosemary, bay leaf – tied with kitchen string
  • 1 meaty ham bone
  • 2-3 cups diced ham
  • 8 cups chicken stock or water

In a large soup pot or Dutch oven combine the beans, herb bundle, ham bone, onions, and garlic with the water. Bring to a boil, cover, and adjust the heat so the soup cooks at a gentle simmer, about 1-1/2 hours.

Add the chopped vegetables and beans. Cook for another hour, until the vegetables are soft, the beans are completely tender, and the ham meat easily pulls away from the bone. Pull the meat off the bone and discard the bones.

Turn off the heat and remove the ham bone. Cool slightly. Remove the meat from the ham bone, discarding the bones, fat, and skin. Cut the meat into small cubes. Remove the herb bundle and discard.

Puree about 3 cups of the beans with a some of the liquid in a blender or use your stick blender. (For a smoother soup puree all the beans.) Stir the puree and diced meat into the soup along with the chopped ham. Heat the soup and adjust the seasoning as needed with salt and pepper.

Chunky Beef Chili

This one is an old favorite. I don’t make it very often, but the weather promises to be much cooler tonight, so I had to take advantage of it! It’s not a quick meal but the flavors are worth the wait. The addition of the cinnamon stick is noticeable, but it is probably my favorite flavor note in this chili. The cinnamon’s sweetness/spiciness makes this dish so unique! Please don’t shy away from it 😉

Yum! This was so good and my husband was very appreciative of this dinner. It makes the house smell wonderful – so good, there should be a candle in the scent! 😉 The long simmer makes the meat fall apart tender and there is a pleasant kick to it. It’s not the tongue burning type, but the kind that you feel in the back of your throat. I used two jalapenos, one I left with the seeds and membrane and the other I scooped out to guard against the taste bud searing heat. Thankfully, the sour cream cools it down nicely and the cornbread I made for this (to be in a later post) is perfect crumbled over top the chili. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Chunky Beef Chili – adapted from Martha Stewart

  • 2 pounds sirloin steak, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 12 ounces sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 to 2 jalapeno chiles, (ribs and seeds removed for less heat, if desired), diced
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 can (28 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon yellow cornmeal
  • 1 whole cinnamon stick
  • 3 dried bay leaves
  • 1 can (15 ounces) kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • Toppings, such as shredded Monterey Jack cheese, pickled jalapeno chiles, sliced red onion, sour cream, fresh cilantro leaves, or hot sauce, for serving (optional)

Directions

  1. Heat a Dutch oven (or a heavy 5-quart pot with a tight-fitting lid) over high heat until a drop of water sizzles upon contact. In three batches, cook sirloin until no longer pink; remove each batch with a slotted spoon. Set aside.
  2. Add sausage, breaking it up into small pieces; add onion and jalapenos. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until sausage and onion are browned, about 5 minutes.
  3. Return sirloin to pot. Stir in chili powder, cumin, oregano, tomatoes (with juice), cornmeal, cinnamon, bay leaves, and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer. Cover; cook until sirloin easily breaks apart with a spoon, about 2 hours.
  4. Stir in beans; cook until heated through, about 5 minutes. Discard cinnamon and bay leaves. Serve.

Doctored-Up Black Beans

Quick Post: I wanted a healthy side for these steak tacos. They’re simple, quick and tasty; not to mention healthy. Even my picky husband who doesn’t like black beans ate some and my son really enjoyed them.  I ate the leftovers served over baked brown rice and topped with a dollop of avocado dressing and some crumbled feta. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Black Beans –

  • 2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed really well
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 6 mini bell peppers, diced (or one large pepper)
  • 1 small jalapeno, seeded and diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • lime juice
  • cilantro leaves
Directions:
1. In a medium sauce pan, heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the chopped onion, bell pepper, and garlic and saute until softened. Add the drained and rinsed beans to the pot and smash some with your spoon. Season with cumin, salt and pepper and pour about 1/2 a cup of water over all to thin out the beans slightly. Cook for about 5 to 7 minutes and add your cilantro leaves – taste for seasoning. Serve with a lime wedge and feta (or cojita) cheese. Enjoy!