Friday, October 30, 2009

Aaron's Chili

This is a good chili… a nice gentle burn that sets in slowly, and a definite deep flavor to it.

2 Yellow Onions Sauteed in Olive Oil
2 Lbs Ground Meat (Pork & Beef combined, coarse grind is best) Browned

28 Oz Crushed Tomatoes
28 Oz Tomato Sauce
12 Oz Tomato Paste
15 Oz Beef Broth

4 x 15 OZ Dark Red Kidney Beans

Heaped TBSP Each of
Cocoa Powder (Unsweetened)
Ground Cumin
Cayenne (Red Pepper)
Garlic Powder

Cumin and and Red Pepper are of course a critical constituent of any chili. The Beef Broth and the Cocoa are the 'secret' ingredients. Cocoa sets off the Cayenne nicely. It does not make the chili ‘chocolatey’, although if you know it is there you can detect it.

The balance isn’t perfect yet, it didn’t win the office competition, but I had three bowls of it myself, and my coworkers had kind things to say about it (even the ones who don’t report to me directly)…

Thursday, October 15, 2009

French Dip

I decided to use Melissa's French Dip recipe a couple of weeks ago, in response to her challenge (2 points). I just didn't upload pictures from my camera until now.

I have never made French Dips before (5 points). And this is not a dessert (1 point). I did make a few changes to the recipe, basically because I had a roast in the freezer (from a quarter beef we bought a few months ago - food storage - 1 point) and I didn't want to buy au jus in a packet, for digestive reasons I'd prefer not to get into. For starters, I put sliced onions and chopped garlic in the crock pot,

threw the roast on top of it, added a little water, salt and pepper,
and let it go all day. So, it wasn't exactly sliced roast beef - more like shredded, but it was fabulous. I'll mention here that the onions were some transplants from Amy's Worthington house's garden that I grew in my garden this year (1 point). They are terrific in a roast. The garlic was also grown in my garden (1 point).

The second great part of this plan was that I didn't have to buy a packet of au jus. It was a natural by-product of making the roast myself.

The hoagies were store-bought. I had originally thought to make my own, but didn't get to it that day. Next time, I'll make them myself. They cost a fortune at the grocery store.

We melted mozarella on them (from our deep freezer - food storage - 1 point). They were really good. It is funny how a meal this good could have escaped my brain for so long. I think this will be at least a monthly dinner item in our household. Yum!

And if I can claim 12 points when I didn't really follow her recipe all the way, I'll take it!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Chris's Salsa

By request:

5 qts tomatoes, peeled and chopped
2 lg green tomatoes, chopped
10 jalepeno peppers, chopped
2 cloves garlic, diced
6 onions, chopped
2 cups celery (about 1/2 stalk), chopped
1/4 cup saltscant
1/4 cup honey (it says 3 Tbls, but I just usually dump in about 1/4 cup)
2 green peppers, chopped
1-2 cans tomato paste to thicken it up, if desired (I add 1 or 2, and it's still pretty thin.)

Tomatoes- wash them, and then put them in a pot of boiling water until the skins crack a little. Take them out, let them cool a minute and then peel the skin off, and cut the stem out, and cut any bad spots out. Throw them in the food processor. I do the tomatoes first because it gives me how many batches I'm gonna make. One 5 gallon pail of tomatoes makes about 2 batches, give or take. All of the veggies get chopped up in the food processor. Do the jalepenos last, because it's just easier to get everything else done, in the pots, and then do those. Be sure you wear gloves and don't touch your face!!! After you have everything in a pot, bring it to a boil. Let it simmer for at least 15 mins (but you can let it go all day, too, just don't let it burn. Stir it!) Here, you can play with it to adjust heat and flavor. This recipe, as is, is pretty spicy. I water bath can them. Quarts need 50 mins, pints need 40. One batch makes 8ish quarts, depending on how long you let it boil down.

Taco Dip

Every Christmas, growing up, we enjoyed this wonderful taco dip on Christmas Eve. My aunt, Teri Kukachka, made it, and she spread it in a Santa-shaped platter. I don't have a Santa-shaped platter, so I put it in a Christmas tree-shaped platter. I'd say it is about a 12"x8" size.

8 oz cream cheese, softened
8 oz sour cream
8 oz guacamole or avacado dip (use store-bought or make your own)
Lowry's Seasoning (garlic, salt & pepper)

Cream these ingredients and spread on platter.

taco sauce or salsa (I use Pace Mild Picante Sauce)
shredded lettuce
shredded cheddar cheese
sliced green olives
chopped onions (omit if you don't like crunchy little onions in your dip - I leave them out)
diced tomatoes

Spread a thin layer of taco sauce or salsa on top. Add a layer of each of the other ingredients on top of each other, in order. It looks quite festive, as well as being tasty.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Spider Web Dip

I saw this in Taste of Home. Disclaimer, I have not tried it. But, I do know the recipe portion of it quite well. This is really just a creative idea to do with the recipe. I figured Nancy could maybe use it.

Make guacamole. (We all know mom's, right? Is it on here somewhere?)

Put it in a round pan or plate.

Put some sour cream in a plastic bag, cut the corner, and pipe circles around the guacamole. Run a toothpick from the center out, to give it a web design.

Take some colossal olives. Pipe two small dots on half for eyes. Place two next to each other on the web. (Repeat for as many spiders you want on there.) Add black food coloring (like, the real stuff, because that's the only way to actually get black), and draw legs on the spiders.

My other thought was, you could take the method of making lots of things with raisins in it. And, at random points during the evening yelling "ugh, I just ate a dead spider. It was in my cookie!" That would make everything with a raisin, also a spider-themed food. For added effect, have one or two guests also participate.

Bisquick Mix

I promised Tom chicken and dumplings for dinner tonight, and found myself without Bisquick. I remembered seeing a recipe for my own mix on hillbillyhousewife. I decided to give it a try. It passed. The texture of the dumplings were slightly smoother, which I liked better. And, they did cook a few minutes faster than usual. No biggie, there. Considering what we saved on with this recipe, it's a keeper. (She has a bunch of other convenience food recipe, which I haven't tried, but probably will now.)

White Flour Biscuit Mix

9 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
1/4 cup baking powder
2 cups solid vegetable shortening

(Or, you can do 10 cups of self-rising flour and the shortening instead)

Mix the first three ingredients. Add in the shortening. Mix together with your hands until it resembles lumpy cornmeal.

Store in a tightly sealed container. It makes 11-12 cups. You can use it anywhere you see Bisquick or Bixcuit Mix called for.