Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Chili for a Crowd

This past weekend we hosted a surprise birthday party for my son's sweet girlfriend, Silvia. She turned 23 and is an active duty member of the United States Marines. She is a 4'11" martial arts "weapon of mass destruction". We are so proud of her!
Ain't she a cutie!

We had about 25 guests and I prepared a huge pot of chili and had a toppings bar with all kinds of goodies so each person could fancy it up to their own liking. It was easy to prepare ahead of time, which allowed me to participate in all the goings on instead of being stuck tending food in the kitchen. So here's the recipe:

2 lbs lean ground beef, turkey or chicken
1 large onion, chopped
1 each red, green and yellow peppers, chopped
2 T garlic, minced
2 large jars taco sauce, mild, medium or hot (to taste)
1 jar salsa
1 - 15 oz jar diced tomatoes, juice included
4 - 15 oz cans of beans (any combination you like black beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, navy beans, garbonzo beans; drain and rinse well)
2 packages low sodium taco seasoning
2 T Apple Cider Vinegar
Optional Toppings:
Shredded Cheese
Sour Cream
Corn Chips
Brown ground meat with onions until well cooked and crumbled. Add 2 packages of taco seasonings and mix well. Add chopped peppers, garlic, taco sauce, salsa, tomatoes, beans and apple cider vinegar. Mix and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low temp and simmer to allow flavors to develop, at least one hour (the longer the better). Stir to prevent sticking. Serve in a bowl with toppings of your choice).

Monday, November 14, 2011

Cheater Chicken and Dumplings

One of my sweet baby boy's, Caleb, came home this weekend with his girlfriend Silvia and my precious new granddaughter, Natalie Jade. Caleb requested that I make Chicken and Dumplings because Silvia, who is originally from Mexico, had never had this delightful Southern staple. Well, I admit that getting my hands on that 3 month old angel baby was what was really on my mind, much more than slaving over a hot stove. So I used this cheater recipe and let me tell you my family was none the wiser. It tasted GOOD, Honey!!

1 whole Store-bought Deli Rotisserie Chicken
3 stalks Celery, Split Lengthwise And Sliced About 1/2" Thick
½ whole Medium Onion, Diced
2 teaspoons Seasoned Salt (I Use Lawry's)
1 teaspoon Garlic Salt
1 carton (26 Oz) Chicken Stock (not Broth)
2 cups Water
1 can (26 Oz) Cream Of Chicken Soup (I Use Campbell's)
1 can Ready-to-bake "flaky" Biscuits
¼ teaspoons Dry Poultry Seasoning
1 cup Frozen Carrots (optional)

Preparation InstructionsRemove the skin from the chicken and pick all of the meat off. Cut/tear the meat into bite-sized pieces, and set aside.

Heat a stock pot over medium-high heat. Add the celery, onions, and both salts.

Saute the onion and celery for about three minutes, stirring often. You don’t need any oil. Don’t worry if it starts to brown and stick a little. The next step will take care of that.

Add the stock, water and soup to the pot, reduce the heat and let it come to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. You might need to whisk it a little to get the soup to fully incorporate.

While the liquid is simmering, flour both sides of five of the canned biscuits. Using a rolling pin, roll each biscuit out to about 1/8″ thick. Cut the biscuits into 1″ wide strips and cut the long ones in half lengthwise. You now have dumplings, so set them aside.

(Note: The flour is key, as it will help thicken the liquid.)

Add the chicken, poultry seasoning and carrots (if desired) to the pot and increase the heat to medium-high. Bring the liquid just to a boil (it must be boiling).

Drop the dumplings into the boiling liquid and stir just enough to ensure they are all as submerged as you can get them. Stir gently so that you don’t break up the dumplings.

Let the pot boil gently uncovered for about 10 minutes, softly stirring/folding occasionally.

Remove from the heat, pour into a serving dish and let stand about 10 minutes.

Serve and enjoy!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Chicken Parmesan Casserole

Saw this recipe on Pinterest and tried it last night and it was so good. It was easy for a quick weeknight supper and something different when you are trying to figure out what to do with chicken breasts. It is also a healthier version because there is not all the breading and frying of the chicken. Added a green salad to the side and that is all we needed.

Chicken Parmesan Casserole

2 T Olive Oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
Hot red pepper flakes, to taste
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 cups prepared marinara sauce (I used Prego garden chunky)
1/4 cup fresh basil chopped (I used dried oregano and basil, did not have fresh)
8 oz mozarella cheese, shredded
4 oz parmesan cheese, grated
1 5 oz pkg garlic croutons

Pour olive oil in bottom of 9 x 13 baking dish. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and sperad evenly over bottom of dish. Add chicken breasts. Cover with marinara sauce. Sprinkle with Basil. Layer 4 oz of mozarella and 2 oz of parmesan cheeses over sauce. Spread croutons over cheese layer. Layer remaining cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 - 40 minutes.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Shepherd's Pie Recipe

I did not grow up eating Shepherd's Pie, in fact I don't think I even knew about the dish until I was married with children. Now it is a fall go-to dish for me especially if I have leftover mashed potatoes. It is a comforting all-in-one dish that my whole family enjoys. Little Chief does not like green peas which is a traditional ingredient for Shepherd's Pie, so I use green beans instead.

Shepherd's Pie
Serves 4
For Meat Mixture:

1 pound lean ground beef
1 T butter
1 onion, chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup Worcestershire Sauce
1/4 cup beef stock
1 can Green Beans, drained
Salt and Pepper, to taste
For Potatoes:
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 T butter
1/4 cup milk
1 T mayo
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

In a large skillet, melt 1 T butter over medium heat. Add onions and carrots and saute approx 5 minutes. Add lean ground beef and garlic and cook until browned. Add Worcestershire Sauce, beef stock, green beans and salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low while preparing potaotes.

Boil potatoes until tender, drain. Put 4 T butter in bottom of pot used for boiling potatoes, return potatoes to the pot. Add mayo, milk. Mix with a hand mixer until smooth and creamy.

Layer meat mixture evenly into a baking dish. Spread mashed potoates evenly over meat mixture. Top with shredded cheese. Bake in preheated oven at 400 degrees for approximately 20 minutes.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Bloody Mary Pot Roast with Fall Veggies, YUM

I love pot roast and I love Bloody Mary's so why not combine the two for one delicious slow cooked dinner. The recipe calls for arm roast, but I substituted a chuck roast because they were on sale. This recipe also calls for fall veggies such as leeks and rutagas, but I did not have either so I substituted onion for the leeks and potatoes and carrots for the rutabaga. I must confess that I have never tried a rutabaga, but I'm not opposed to the idea. I don't really think the name of this veggie is really doing it any favors though, it just sounds yucky. I do remember as a kid my Grandma Spellings talking about "rutabager pie" I was thinking to myself that ain't no pie I wanna try!! This recipe seems like a lot of steps but it really wasn't hard to put together and it was worth it.

Bloody Mary Pot Roast With Fall Vegetables
Serves Approx 8 people

• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 3 -4 lbs boneless beef arm roast, seasoned with kosher salt and black pepper
• 1/2 cup low sodium beef broth
• 1 (12 ounce) bottle vegetable juice cocktail (V8)
• 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
• 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
• 1 bay leaf
• 2 leeks, sliced
• 3 ribs celery, sliced into 2-inch pieces
• 1 rutabaga, cut into 2-inch chunks (1 lb.)
• 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
• 1/4 cup cold water
• 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
• 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, leaves
• 2 tablespoons vodka
• 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
• hot pepper sauce
• kosher salt
• black pepper
• celery leaves (optional)
1. Heat oil in a saute pan; brown roast on all sides in hot oil over med-high heat, about 12 minutes total.
2. Remove roast from pan; place meat in a 5 to 6 quart slow cooker.
3. Deglaze the pan with broth, scraping up brown bits.
4. Stir in vegetable juice, horseradish, celery seed, and bay leaf; pour mixture into slow cooker.
5. Arrange leeks, celery, rutabaga, and bell pepper on top of meat.
6. Cover slow cooker, cook until meat and vegetables are tender—on high heat setting for 4-5 hours, or on low heat setting for 9-10 hours.
7. Using a slotted spoon, remove meat and vegetables to a serving platter; cover and keep food warm.
8. Transfer juices from slow cooker to a saucepan; skim off fat.
9. Stir cold water into flour; stir flour mixture into juices in sauepan; cook over medium heat until gravy is thickened, 2 minutes.
10. Stir parsley, vodka, and vinegar into gravy in saucepan.
11. Season gravy with hot pepper sauce, salt, and pepper.
12. Serve gravy over pot roast, vegetables, and noodles (if desired).
13. Garnish each serving with celery leaves.