February 24, 2015

Slow Cooker Chili

Winter seems to have finally hit here in the South.  A little snow this morning, not much but it's just a teaser about what's on it's way.  I might be the only one happy about that.

Because of this cold weather, now is an excellent time to post this chili recipe.  I usually just wing my own chili and it always turns out well, so it was unusual for me to follow a recipe.  But it was going into the slow cooker so I thought a recipe might be helpful.  I'm so glad I tried it.  Talk about yummy.
I loved the texture and the fact that it wasn't overly soupy.  I used one regular Rotel can and one mild just in case but it wasn't too spicy at all.

We served ours with some sour cream and some shredded cheese but there are ton's of things that would be delicious on top.  I can tell you that crushed up Dorito's are also really good on top.  Don't ask me how I know that.

If you're looking for a basic chili recipe that will appeal to a large group, this is it!

Slow Cooker Chili
Recipe from CookingClassy

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 (14.4 ounce) cans diced onion with green chili's
  • 3 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup water or beef broth
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 2 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 (15 ounce) can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 ounce) can light red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
Cooking Directions
  1. Add the oil to a large skillet, when hot add the diced onion. Cook for about 3 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
  2. Add to a preheated 7 quart slow cooker.
  3. Use the same pan to brown the ground beef until no longer pink. Drain all but 2 Tbsp of fat. Pour into the slow cooker with the onions.
  4. Add all the remaining ingredients except the beans and stir. Cook on low 5-6 hours.
  5. Add the beans and heat through about 10 more minutes. Add 1/2 more beef broth or water if you want it soupier. 
  6. Serve with your choice of toppings.  Some recommendations are shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, chopped chives, crackers, cilantro, red pepper flakes, hot sauce. 

February 17, 2015

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

This is a quick and easy recipe to make for dinner or an appetizer.  If you're making it for dinner just serve it on top of some rice.  For an appetizer just dig in with some toothpicks.  Everyone loves sweet and sour and when you add it to the convenience of meatballs, it just can't be beat.

Sweet and Sour Meatballs
Recipe from Six Sisters Stuff

  • 2 pounds frozen meatballs
  • 1 (10 oz) jar sweet and sour sauce
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, cubed
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, cubed (I used orange)
  • 1 medium onion, cubed
  • 1 (20 oz) can pineapple chunks
Cooking Directions
  1. Place the frozen meatballs in the slow cooker.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, add all the other ingredients and mix together and then pour over the top of the meatballs. Stir until coated.
  3. Turn slow cooker on low and cook for 7-8 hours or 4-5 hours on high. 

February 12, 2015

Marbled Cheesecake Hearts

Are you ready for Valentines Day? Yea, me either.  Well, at least dessert is done. 

This is one of those recipes that anyone can do.  Really.  Even if you're not a "baker".  It's not difficult, if you can run a mixer you can make this.

As you can see, my marbling didn't turn out great but the taste is exceptional.  Your loved one won't care that the marbling isn't exactly right. The taste will win him/her over. The bottom is a delicious chocolate cookie crust.  The filling is a mixture of vanilla and chocolate cheesecake.  You bake it in one large baking pan and then cut them into whatever shape you want.

Feel free to drizzle or top with whatever you like!  Easy!

Happy Valentines Day to you and yours.

Marbled Cheesecake Hearts
Recipe from Eagle Brand

  • 2 cups finely crushed chocolate creme-filled cookies (Oreo's for example)
  • 3 Tbsp butter or margarine, melted
  • 3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 - 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 whole eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate, melted
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 300º
  2. Line a 9x13 inch dish with foil and set aside.
  3. Mix the cookie crumbs and the butter and press into the prepared dish. 
  4. In the bowl of your stand mixer, or using a hand held mixer, beat the cream cheese until fluffy. 
  5. Add the sweetened condensed milk and beat until smooth. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth. 
  6. Pour half the batter over the prepared crust and smooth out so it's even. 
  7. Add the melted chocolate into the remaining half of cream cheese mixture and then spoon over the vanilla mixture that is on the dish. Use a knife to make a marbled design. 
  8. Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until set. Cool.  Chill for at least 1 hour. 
  9. When cold, use the foil to lift the cheesecake out of the dish. Use a heart shaped cookie cutter, or any shape to prefer to cut out shapes. You can also just cut into bars or use a template made of wax paper to create shapes. Once cut, refrigerate until ready to eat. 

February 10, 2015

Shepherds Pie

This is another one of my husbands favorite dishes.  He's from New England and it's a favorite up there.  If you've never heard of Shepherds Pie, you're in for a real treat.  This is one of those comfort food meals that you will love to make on a cold winters day.

I love to whip this up after a meal where I have leftover mashed potatoes. If I don't use the mashed potatoes in a respectable dish like this, I'm likely to sit down with just a bowl of them and dig in.  Not as respectable.

Shepherds pie is derived from "cottage pie",  however cottage pie was typically made with beef and shepherds pie was usually made form lamb.  Because shepherds have sheep, see.  Originally a pie made of any meat and mashed potatoes was called "cottage pie".  That concludes your history lesson for today.

Shepherds Pie
From Alissamay's kitchen

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp A1 Sauce (or your favorite steak sauce)
  • 8 ounces tomato sauce
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 3-5 cups already prepared mashed potatoes
  • shredded sharp cheddar cheese (optional)
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350º
  2. In a large skillet, add a little oil and then add the chopped carrots and onions.  Cook until they are beginning to soften. 
  3. In a medium saucepan, add the frozen peas and corn and add water and then heat to boiling. 
  4. Add the ground beef and cook until no longer pink. Drain. 
  5. Add the A1 sauce and tomato sauce and stir until well combined.  Remove from the heat and pour the meat mixture into a 9x13 inch baking dish. 
  6. Microwave the mashed potatoes until warm. Set aside. 
  7. Drain the water from the peas and corn and add them to the top of the meat mixture. 
  8. Use a spoon to dollop the prepared mashed potatoes onto the top of the peas and corn.  Use the spoon to press the potatoes into an even layer. 
  9. Sprinkle the top with cheese if desired and bake for 30-45 minutes or until the shepherds pie is hot all the way through. If the cheese hasn't turned as golden as you'd like, broil it for about 5-10 minutes.  Keep a careful eye on it so it doesn't burn. 
  10. Serve hot and refrigerate leftovers. 

February 4, 2015

Peanut Butter and Nutella Fudge

Another item that I made this past week was this delicious fudge.  I have to tell you that I haven't had the greatest luck with making fudge in the past.  Even the easy "no fail" fudge recipes get me.  My neighbor makes the BEST fudge and I'm so envious of her. I didn't have much hope when I decided to make this recipe but I was making it for my daughter and her babysitter to enjoy one night, so I figured they'd be easier to please.  In fact, I didn't even taste it until the next day (Super Bowl Sunday) when I brought what was left to a friends house to watch the game.

Everyone who was eating it was saying it was great, so I tried it.  You know what? It was great.  I think this might be my first non-failed fudge. I'm so proud of me. :)

Peanut Butter and Chocolate are a favorite of so many people, me included.  Nutella is another slight addiction of mine, so really there isn't much not to like here.  I think your family and friends will appreciate your efforts.

Peanut Butter and Nutella Fudge
Recipe from Wine and Glue

  • 1 cup peanut butter chips
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup Nutella
  • 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
Cooking Directions
  1. Line an 8x8 inch pan with tin foil.
  2. Get two saucepans. In one saucepan add the peanut butter and peanut butter chips. At the same time, add the chocolate chips and Nutella in the other pan. Turn the heat to medium low heat. 
  3. Add half the sweetened condensed milk to one pan and half in the other. 
  4. Stir until completely melted and creamy. 
  5. Dollop the peanut butter and chocolate mixtures with two separate spoons alternatively in the prepared pan. You can use a knife to swirl if it's warm enough but mine set pretty quickly and wouldn't really swirl. 
  6. Let set for at least 4 hours or overnight.  If you're in a rush you can refrigerate it.  When set you can cut into squares. Enjoy!

February 2, 2015

Chocolate Chunk Coffee Cookies

Not sure if there are many football fans out there.  Well, in my house my husband is a huge football fan.  He played it in high school and college and happens to be from New England so there was NO WAY we weren't going to be cheering for the Patriots this year.  Luckily, it worked out for us.  Some years haven't been as pleasant. 

One of my neighbors invited us over so I made these cookies and a couple other things to bring.  The cookies were a hit.  Many people drink coffee and there is an undertone of coffee in these cookies.  Let's just say I didn't bring any back home with me. There were only three left when we left at halftime so we just left them there.  

The cookie is a nice chewy type cookie.  Browned butter is an ingredient and that does intimidate some people but it really shouldn't.  It's just butter after all. It doesn't take long to create browned butter once a stick of butter has melted so it pays to stay right there and watch it while you swirl the pan around occasionally so it doesn't burn.  But that's really it.  The big chocolate chunks are always loved but it's the little brown flecks of coffee granules that really get people wondering what's in it.  So many of the people at last night's get-together asked me what was in it because they recognized the flavor but really didn't expect there to be coffee in them.  Once I told them they were in love. 

My husband and I aren't coffee drinkers but we still really enjoyed the cookie.  Especially after they've cooled down and had a chance to meld their flavors. Straight from the oven I think the coffee flavor is more prominent. It mellows as they cool. 

Great cookie, glad I made it and I had a lot of people asking for the recipe!
Chocolate Chunk Coffee Cookies
Recipe from The Pioneer Woman

  • 2 sticks salted butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 whole large eggs
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups + 2 heaping Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 heaping tsp instant coffee granules
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 8 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips or chocolate chopped up
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans (optional)
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375º
  2. In a medium saucepan, melt one stick of butter over medium heat.  Once melted continue to cook while occasionally swirling the pan.  It will begin to foam and then begin to turn golden. Once the butter has begun to get golden all over remove from the heat as it will continue to cook off the heat, and you don't want to burn it. Let cool. 
  3. Take the second stick of butter out of the refrigerator so it can soften before continuing. 
  4. Add the softened stick of butter to the bowl of your stand mixer with both sugars and mix until well combined. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix. 
  5. In a separate bowl combine the flour, coffee granules, baking soda and salt. 
  6. Slowly add the flour to the wet mixture 1/3 at a time. 
  7. Dump in the chocolate and nuts if using and just give a quick mix to incorporate. 
  8. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper and bake for 8-10 minutes.  Let cool slightly before removing to a cooling rack.