Guess I took a break!

So, for me, when blogging gets to be a little “overwhelming” I take a break. I don’t stop cooking, I just stop writing about it.

The bad thing is, I continue to make up new recipes and try new things on a weekly basis… and then my husband asks if I “blogged” it, or at least wrote it down because he wants it again… I say “no, sorry!”. Sadly, it’s when I’ve “winged” something and cannot remember the exact measurements and will have a very hard time replicating it because I didn’t pay attention when I was making it.

One of those things was this chili. I did re-make it (because he said it was his favorite chili that I’ve EVER made!!!) And so, I figured out how I did it, re-made it, and it’s a winner!!!!

Since he loved it so much, it inspired me to get back into WRITING down what I’m cooking if it’s not a repeat. I also am going to document it here. Not just for the few followers, but for myself! I may also turn this blog into a cookbook, even if it only sits on my family’s shelves.

So, here’s my chili recipe:

 

Husband’s Favorite Recipe:

Ingredients:

1 lb. ground beef
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 small yellow onion diced (freeze the remaining onion for later!)
1 cup crushed tomatoes (I have yet to find a can of crushed tomatoes in an 8 0z. size, so save the rest of it for later, or make a double batch!)
1 – 1 1/2 TB chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
dash cayenne pepper (I go light on this, to turn up the spice, add more!)
2 TB Masa Flour (Corn flour). You can also just grind Corn Grits (or polenta) into a flour consistency with a blender or magic bullet!
1 can black beans
1 cup frozen corn
1/2 bottle of beer (I use whatever my husband has in the fridge… it varies!)

 

(I currently do not have any pictures of this chili…. boo! I’ll have to make this again, and post pictures when I do!)

Place the ground beef in a large pot and throw in the garlic and onions. Cook the meat and “chop” with spatula to get the meat into nice small pieces as it’s cooked. Cook until browned and cooked through. Drain off the excess fat, and then pour in the crushed tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, oregano, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and cayenne. Stir together well, cover, and then reduce the heat to medium to medium low. Simmer for 15-20 minutes stirring occasionally. Add the 1/2 bottle of beer (about 1 cup). If the mixture becomes overly dry, add 1/2 cup water at a time as needed.

A few minutes before you want to serve the chili, place the masa harina (or your ground corn meal) in a small bowl. Add 1/4 cup water and stir together with a fork. Dump the masa mixture into the chili. Stir together well, and then taste and adjust the seasonings. Add more masa paste and /or water to get the chili to your preferred consistency, or to add more corn flavor. Add the beans and the frozen corn and simmer for 10 minutes. Serve with shredded Cheddar, sour cream (or PLAIN greek yogurt) and some fritos!!! You could even top it with some jalapeno slices!!!

 

And that’s it! It’s a basic recipe, but it’s a winner! You don’t need to make it too fancy to make it DELICIOUS!! You will LOVE this recipe! I’m pretty sure it’s going to be the only chili recipe made in this house for a while! 🙂

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“7 Layer Salad” … or Taco Salad…

My daughter asked for tacos again. Ha. She’s obviously her father’s daughter. She ate GREAT tonight. Me, I wanted to make something that was using the same ingredients, but using less carbs. So… I saw this salad, or “7 layer dip”.. although I can’t see using this as a dip honestly. I also should have put this into a clear bowl so that all the layers could have been seen from the outside when I took pictures. It was quite pretty to be honest! And, as I was about to take a picture it fell… and I was so sad!

But… this is a DELICIOUS salad, or … dip… but it’s a bit messy. That’s ok though. It makes up for the messiness and lack of being a “pretty” dish with flavor. That’s all that’s really important anyway!

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Ingredients

  • 4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • 1 avocado sliced
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 lb. grass fed ground beef (85/15)
  • 1/2 cup PLAIN Greek Yogurt
  • 1/2 cup shredded mexican cheese
  • 1 tomato sliced and diced
  • taco seasoning
  • 1 can of black beans
  • 1 can of black olives, sliced
  • 8 oz cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup of salsa

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Directions

Start by cooking the ground beef through until there is no longer any pink. Drain the fat. Then, add the taco seasoning and the amount of water said on the back of the taco seasoning packet. (If you use homemade taco seasoning, it’s about 1/2 to 2/3 cup of water). Stir until well incorporated. Add 1/2 of the black beans to the hamburger meat.

Next chop the lettuce, black olives, tomatoes and the avocado. Place the avocado in a small bowl and add the lemon juice, salt and pepper and the garlic powder. Stir and set aside.

Starting with the lettuce on the bottom of a bowl, add each layer on top of the next, ending with sprinkling the cheese on top. I then drizzled salsa over top.

You can eat this as a salad, like I did… crunch a few chips over top to still get a few chips and crunch in without eating as many chips as you would have if you ate the whole thing with chips… or… go for it and just eat it with scoops chips! Delicious either way right?!

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See, a delicious, messy and just a #getinmybelly moment!!! 🙂 ENJOY!!!

And now, for the quote of the day:

Hang on

Chili Cheesy Homemade Hamburger Helper CopyCat

Today was absolutely crazy… so much so, when my husband came home from work dinner wasn’t even started! So, I picked something quick and filling… very reminiscent of those Hamburger Helper dishes I had as a kid and in college. Lately I’ve started to try and make dishes that are not processed and don’t come out of a box. So, how do you make such a dish from scratch? It’s seriously a lot easier than I thought it would be!
This is one that the whole family would enjoy and just gobble up! I have a feeling that even the leftovers are going to be amazing! You could even use leftover chili with this one and just kind of add a few ingredients to make this yummy dish!

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INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 tsp. Garlic powder
1/2 sweet onion, diced
1 lb. ounces 85/15 grass fed organic ground beef
3 cups vegetable stock
1 (14.5-ounce) can fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 can canned black beans drained and rinsed (or you can use kidney beans!)
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
8-10 ounces uncooked pasta (I used egg noodles, you can eve use elbow pasta)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 TB unsalted butter
3 TB half&half
1 tsp cornmeal (optional!) For thickness and flavor

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INSTRUCTIONS

Heat olive oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add garlic powder, onion and ground beef, and cook until browned, about 5-10 minutes, making sure to crumble the beef as it cooks; REMEMBER to drain the excess fat.
Stir in vegetable stock, tomatoes, beans, chili powder and cumin; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bring to a simmer and stir in pasta. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer until pasta is cooked through, about 13-15 minutes. Add the 1 tsp of cornmeal and stir in.
In a separate pan, melt the butter and then add the half&half. Do not let boil. Drop in 1/2 cup shredded cheese and stir until a smooth cheesy sauce. Should only take 2-3 minutes total. Pour into chili mac pot and stir until well blended.
Top each serving with some shredded cheese!
Serve immediately, garnished with parsley, if desired.

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Enjoy! This one will definitely be made again. Simple, not too spicy, and quick!

And now for the quote of the day… this one made me giggle!

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Beef and Lentil Pasta Fagioli

It’s cold. I know I shouldn’t complain, especially coming from me who wished for snow… today it was cold enough to snow! It definitely did NOT snow though. Boo. If it’s gonna be below 30 degrees most of the day, I seriously think that there should be snow. Ugh.

So, SOUP is on the menu!! I just have to say, when it is cold outside, I LOVE to have soup. It can just simmer on the stove top and make the whole house smell delicious while we wait for dinner time. Then all of the flavors just meld together into warm deliciousness.

I love chili, and I also like the Italian version: Pasta Fagioli. I made my own version of both.

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Ingredients:

  • Lentils : 1/4 cup lentils boiled/simmered in 1 cup water and 1/4 tsp salt for 20 minutes and set aside
  • 1 pound 85/15 ground beef
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped baby carrots
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 15 oz can diced fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 can (4 oz.) tomato paste
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 TB fresh chopped basil
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 cups cooked pasta (I used shells, you can use any small pasta)
  • dash hot sauce

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Directions:

  1. In a large pot, over Medium heat, cook the ground beef.
  2. Drain the liquid from the cooked beef (if any).  If you use ground beef with a lower fat ratio then you will have little to no liquid to drain.
  3. Stir in the chopped onions, carrots, seasonings, and minced garlic.  Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Stir in the can of diced roasted tomatoes, tomato paste, beef broth, black beans (drained and RINSED) and corn.
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste
  6. Add 1 cup of water and stir and simmer. Add additional water as needed to consistency that you desire.
  7. When the soup has 10 minutes left to simmer, cook the pasta in boiling water for 7 minutes or until a bit firmer than al dente.  Do not over cook the pasta.
  8. Drain the pasta and stir it into the soup. Add the cooked lentils at this time as well.  Simmer for 10 more minutes.
  9. SERVE! (Have with bread, or just sprinkle a bit of cheese on top and ENJOY!

pastafagioli

And now, for the quote of the day:

hahahaha….

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(I experienced this today with my 3 year old son… and discovered and ENTIRE roll of toilet paper in the toilet… took him like 10 seconds to do it. I think it’s a world record!)

Cheesy Mexican Rice Skillet DIsh

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This dish was requested by my husband… and once you see the ingredients, you will see why! 🙂 Once again, taco/mexican/salsa etc. ingredients. He’s so funny, I love that he’s predictable in his likes for food. He’s very easy to please and will really eat anything I put in front of him… but he LOVES anything with this specific theme.

So, here is the “skillet” meal:

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 – 1.5 lbs lean ground beef
  • 1/4 sweet onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus an extra drizzle for cooking the onions
  • 2-3  cups cooked white rice (or leftover frozen rice… I cooked mine in my rice cooker)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 cup medium salsa (I use Trader Joes)
  • 1 cup Rotel (or similar)
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 1 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 small sweet yellow peppers diced (or 1 small bell pepper)
  • ¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese (why mozzarella? Because that’s what I had… )
  • 1 avocado, peeled and diced
  • 2 green onions (scallions) diced
  • Fresh cilantro, to taste

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DIRECTIONS
  1. Start the rice in the rice cooker according to package.
  2. Add oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add in the ground beef (or chicken, turkey, etc.) and break it up a bit with a wooden spoon. Add the diced onion and minced garlic, and cook until the chicken has browned and the onion is translucent.
  3. Stir in the spices, chicken broth, salsa, rotel, peppers, corn, and black beans. Bring the liquids to a simmer and then reduce the heat to low.
  4. Once the rice is done, spoon into the meat mixture and stir to combine. Sprinkle the cheese, and avocado over the rice and then cover once more until the cheese melts, about 2 minutes. Then sprinkle with green onion and cilantro and serve!

Filling!! And, if you are so inclined, would be great inside of a burrito shell, I am sure! Great great meal, and quite tasty and filling!!!! YUM!

Enjoy!

And now, for the quote of the day:

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Stuffed Mini Sweet-Peppers

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So, John again made a request… can you imagine what the “ethnicity” of the meal was?? That’s right! Mexican! He specifically requested Refried Black beans (Recipe :https://dancinandcookininthekitchen.com/2014/07/24/spicy-shrimp-tostado-with-refried-black-beans-and-guacamole/), white rice, red sauce (From enchiladas, recipe here: https://dancinandcookininthekitchen.com/2014/07/02/ground-beef-enchiladas/) and Stuffed mini peppers. So… I of course obliged!!! I started out with the homemade refried black beans, and got those cooking and simmering. Then I got the ground beef for the stuffed peppers going, then I started the rice in my rice cooker. Remaining directions for the Stuffed min sweet peppers below:

Stuffed Mini Sweet Peppers

Ingredients:
Vegetable oil cooking spray
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 lb ground beef
1/4 medium onion, finely chopped
3/4 FF cottage cheese (or ricotta cheese)
1/3 shredded cheese (I used cheddar)
dash of cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
2 small jalapenos cut and diced (I kept the seeds in)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
20 (2 to 3-inch long) sweet baby peppers

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Place an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with vegetable oil cooking spray and set aside.

In a medium skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion  and garlic and cook, stirring frequently. Cook until translucent and soft, about 5 minutes. Add ground beef  and jalapenos  and seasonings to the pan and cook through. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.

In a medium bowl, combine the ground beef mixture, cheeses, salt and pepper to taste.

Using a paring knife, cut 1/2-inch from the stem-end of the peppers. Remove the seeds and veins. Using a small dessert spoon, fill each pepper with the beef and cheese mixture. Place the filled peppers on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 15 to 18 minutes until the peppers begin to soften. Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes.

Arrange the peppers on a platter and serve.

You  can pair these with refried beans and rice like I did, or with wings… or salad!! They got high reviews!!!!

And now, for the quote of the day:

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Ground Beef Enchiladas

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I had a little over a pound of ground beef in my freezer… and stuck. What do I make??? BEEF ENCHILADAS!!!! Of Course!! 🙂 And, my husband will always be excited about anything mexican themed at all.  They were scrumptious, and had a little bit of heat… and if you like spice, you can dial up the heat easily!! (I’m a bit of a wimp in that department!!)

I was out of cans of enchilada sauce, but I DID have one 6 oz. can of  organic tomato paste. So… I MADE red enchilada sauce. I made mine mild, in order to dial up the spice, you just add more of the spiciness… cayenne, chili powder etc.

Red Enchilada Sauce:

1 can tomato paste 6 oz.
6 oz (fill that can with chicken broth) of low sodium chicken broth (up to 1 cup)
2 TB canola oil
1/4 cup water
2 TB chili powder (add more for addtl. spice)
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp onion powder
sprinkle of cayenne powder (more for extra spice)

Stir together and set aside

Should look like this:

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Enchilada Indredients:

1 pack of 8-10 flour tortillas
1.5 lbs lean grass fed ground beef (my personal fav.)
1 can organic black beans (I use Trader Joes)
1/4 cup Salsa Verde (I LOVE Trader Joes version of this too!!)
1 cup Organic frozen super sweet corn
1/2 cup water
1/2 packet taco seasoning (or 2 TB homemade taco seasoning: http://www.abigmouthful.com/homemade-taco-seasoning-and-turkey-tacos/)
1/2 (or a bit more) of the enchilada sauce that you made
salt and pepper to taste

 

Fill each tortilla with about 1/8 to 1/4 cup of filling. Enough that when you roll it up, it’s not spilling out. Fill and roll and put seam side down into a 8X8 pan that’s been prepared with cooking spray.  Repeat until all filling has been used. This recipe should use approximately up to 10 tortillas. You may need a 9X13 pan if it doesn’t fit into the 8X8 pan.  I only made 4 because I ran out of tortillas. Then, top with the remaining red sauce, and a bit of the salsa verde, and top that with cheese. Cover with foil, and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Remove and ENJOY!!!!!!! I served this with chips and guacamole and some salsa verde. Filling, and delicious.

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Taco Dip!

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This is a recipe that My mom started making when I was a kid, and I’ve slowly developed and added to it to make it my own version!

Here it is!:

Ingredients:

1 lb. 90/10 ground beef
1 packet taco seasoning OR homemade taco seasoning (really all you need is chili powder and cumin!)
1 can fat free re-fried beans
1/3 can black beans
3/4 can large black olives (I used the “natural” ones brined in sea salt and water)
1 scallion (green onion)
1 small red bell pepper
1/4 cup salsa
3/4 cup light shredded mexican cheese
1/4 cup frozen corn
2 tsp fresh cilantro

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Brown ground beef in skillet until fully cooked. I like to use the pampered chef tool specifically for cooking ground beef because it gets it much more finely chopped! Once the beef is chopped and cooked through, drain the fat. (I drain it into a styrofoam cup and freeze it, and then toss it)I then add the taco seasoning and 1 cup of water and stir until well mixed. After seasoning is mixed well, add the can of re-fried beans. Stir until the re-fried beans are well incorporated.

While the hamburger is cooking, slice the black olives, and the scallions and red bell pepper and cilantro.

Spread the hamburger/re-fried bean mixture onto a cookie sheet that has been lined with tin-foil. Then, sprinkle with black olives, bell pepper, cheese, corn, black beans, and salsa. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes, or until cheese is well melted.

Take out and top with the cilantro and scallions… then, if you wish, you can either put into a romaine lettuce leaf and eat a carb free taco… OR, top the whole dip with chopped lettuce, tomatoes, and sour cream, and eat as “Dip” with tortilla chips! YUM!

 

30-minute Southwest Chili

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My recipe is adapted from this original recipe: http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/browse-all-recipes/southwestern-beef-chili-corn-00000000006977/index.html

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the carrots, onion, garlic and bell pepper and 1/4 cup rotel and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes.
  2. Add the beef and cook, breaking it up with a spoon, until no longer pink, 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, until it is slightly darkened, 1 minute.
  4. Stir in the beans, chili powder, 3 cups water, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Then add the corn. (I used 1/2 cup of frozen sweet white corn)
  5. Simmer over medium heat until the vegetables are tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the corn.
  6. Divide the chili among bowls and top with the Cheddar and scallions.

Tex-Mex Calzones

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Ok… not the best picture… but seriously… these are AMAZING! I had to get this off of my phone. Better pictures in the future. PROMISE!

Original recipe credit: http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=653363

All things that I added or changed will be marked by parenthesis or an asterisk.

1 pound ground turkey, extra lean  (I used 85/15 Ground beef)
1/2 c onion, chopped fine (I never use as much onion, probably 1/4 cup)
2 garlic cloves, minced ( used 1 tsp pre-minced garlic)
3/4 t ground cumin
1 1/2 t dark chili powder
1/2 c red bell pepper, chopped fine
3/4 c salsa verde, fire roasted ( I used regular salsa)
1 (11 oz) can pizza dough, refrigerated, thin crust (I used Publix pre-made bagged dough. They have whole wheat if you prefer. In the bakery section of most grocery stores, or refrigerated sections.)
1 c Mexican blend cheese, shredded
1 egg white, beaten (I used olive oil)Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Adjust oven rack to upper third of the oven.
Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add ground turkey (or ground beef) and cook 5 minutes, stirring to crumble. Add onion and garlic; continue to cook for an additional 4-5 minutes or until onions are translucent.
Add spices and cook for 1 minute to bring out the flavors in the spices. Add chopped pepper; continue to cook 1 minute.
Remove mixture from heat and stir in salsa.
Unroll dough and divide into 4 equal portions. Working with one rectangle at a time place, 1/2 cup of turkey mixture on half of the dough then top with 2 tablespoons of cheese.
Using a pastry brush or fingers, brush the egg mixture (or olive oil) on the border of the dough. Fold dough over turkey mixture and press with a fork to seal. If you prefer a crisp crust, brush some additional egg wash (or olive oil w/some sea salt and oregano) over the top of the calzone.
Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.
*** I then had about a TB of sour cream (or you can use PLAIN greek yogurt) and dipped these into it.

HEAVENLY!!!

ENJOY!