Monday, April 14, 2014

Easy Chili ****

Yesterday was rainy and cold and just all around yucky.  My very favorite cold weather food is chili, so I pulled this recipe out yet again. This has been my tried and true chili recipe for several years, since it's the only one I've found that doesn't contain those dreaded kidney beans (hubby's thoughts, not mine). My original recipe only had 3 cans of beans, but I added a fourth, to make it a little heartier.  I eventually added a fifth, to make the recipe go further.  To me, it's the green chilies that totally make this dish. You can't taste them at all, but they just give another dimension to it.  Hubby and I have ours over Fritos and topped with shredded fiesta blend cheese.  The boys like to have their chili with the cheese on it and then scoop it up with the Fritos. 

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy)

2 lbs ground beef
5 (16 ounce) cans pinto beans, drained
2 (1 1/4 ounce) packages mild chili seasoning mix
1 (46 ounce) can tomato juice
1 (4 ounce) can green chilies (optional)

In large stewpot, cook ground beef until no longer pink; drain.
Put back into pan; add seasoning, beans, chilies, and tomato juice.
Mix well.
Simmer for about 20 to 25 minutes.
Serve over corn chips with cheese on each serving.
Crockpot version: Cook ground beef in skillet on stove until no longer pink; drain.  Add all ingredients to crockpot and cook on low for 6-8 hours.  Do not add extra liquid, as it's not needed.
*Amy's notes: Sometimes, I will skip draining the beans and just use less tomato juice.  I very rarely use the entire 46oz, since we don't like ours overly juicy.

This time around, I made it in the crockpot, since I was so pressed for time. I'll be doing that from now on. I loved how the chili seasoning flavor really soaked into the meat that way. I just cooked the ground turkey and then threw everything into the crock for about 7 hours. I was afraid some of the liquid would evaporate, so I added about 1/4 cup of water to it. It was not necessary at all. The boys both had baseball games until late tonight, and it was so wonderful to come home to a meal that was completely ready!

We had the same winter storm come through that most of the country got this week. Our snow came late Wednesday night, so by the end of the day yesterday, I was really craving chili. This is strange, but I have never made plain chili in my life. I've made vegetarian chili and white chicken chili, but never plain old regular chili. Since that's what I was craving and I hadn't included it in my weekly meal plan, I went in search of a recipe that would be easy to throw together last minute so that I could just hit the grocery store really quickly on my way home from work. I found this one and gave it a shot. It was SO yummy! Dh loved that this one had pinto beans instead of kidney, since he hates kidney beans, lol. We all loved it, though. I stuck to the recipe, except I used 2.4 lbs ground turkey and reduced sodium pinto beans. We had it over Fritos and then topped it with shredded cheddar cheese. The best part is, it made enough for dh and I to both have leftovers for lunch today, and it just gets better the next day!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

One Pot Tortellini and Sausage in Tomato Cream Sauce **

This one was just okay for me.  The kids and hubby liked it, but it was too salty, in my opinion.  I didn't even add in the salt that it calls for.  I figured the kielbasa would give it plenty of salt on its own, and it does.  It's not that it has a bad taste or anything.  It's just a little too much for me.  Like I said, though, the guys all liked it.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ YellowBlissRoad)

1 lb package of Turkey Kielbasa
1/2 cup diced onion
20 oz. package of refrigerated Tortellini
20 oz can of whole tomatoes, cut in the can with kitchen scissors
1 cup chicken broth or water
Pinch of salt & pepper
2 Tbsp cream cheese
2 cups shredded jack and cheddar cheeses

Cook the onion in a little olive oil until soft. Add sliced turkey sausage and cook until browned. Add chicken broth, tortellini, tomatoes, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, stirring often. Turn heat down to low, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until pasta is cooked to al dente. Remove from heat and add cheeses, reserving a handful for topping. Cover and let stand for five to ten minutes. Garnish with green onions, if desired. Serve hot.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Mushroom Rice ***

This one has been all over Pinterest.  The notes say that you can add chicken, but I honestly don't think it would be all that good with the chicken in it.  I think that the chicken might overpower some of the mushroom flavor.  I made it with brown rice, and even after cooking it an extra 10 minutes, it still was firmer than I would have liked.  I'm going to try it with white rice next time and see how it goes.  The flavor and smell are great, though, and it's a breeze to throw it together.  I would absolutely make it again.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~

9 mushrooms
3 tablespoons butter
1-1/2 garlic clove
1-1/2 green onion
3 cups chicken broth
1-1/2 cups rice
3/4 teaspoon parsley
1-1/2 to taste salt
1-1/2 to taste pepper

Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat; cook mushrooms,garlic and onion until mushrooms are cooked and butter evaporated.
Add broth and rice; season with parsley (chopped), salt, and pepper.
Cover and cook on low heat about 15 mins till rice is cooked.
If using as main dish, add cut-up cooked chicken after rice is cooked.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Crockpot Apple and Brown Sugar Corned Beef ***

Well, we just finished our annual St. Paddy's Day meal, and it was a winner as usual. This makes the 6th year that we've had the same thing for SPD, and since we only have it the one time a year, it's always like a treat for us. The kids are always impressed that it's a "real Irish meal," lol. From the 8-year-old's first bite, he was thanking me for making it again and saying it was the best Irish meal he'd ever had. Again, remember that he also thinks that it's the only Irish meal he's had, so take it for what it's worth. We all devoured it, though. The sweetness of the apple juice really makes the whole thing. It even cuts the strong flavor of the cabbage, which is nice, even though I'm normally a big cabbage lover. This is just a nice change of pace and something exciting to look forward to every year. Plus, it's a one-dish meal, which totally rocks too. :)  The only difference I want to make is that it never has enough meat to leave leftovers for lunches.  Next time, I think I'm going to do two small briskets and cut back on the veggies some.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ Recipezaar)

1 corned beef brisket
1 quart apple juice
1 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
8 small red potatoes
2 medium carrots, pared, and cut into chunks
1 onion, peeled, and cut into eighths
1 small head cabbage, cut into chunks

Place all ingredients in a large crock pot (cut meat in half if necessary); stir to mix.
Cook on HIGH for 4 to 5 hours or on LOW for 8 to 10 hours.
Remove meat and vegetables and some of the cooking liquid.
Slice meat thinly across the grain.
Serve with vegetables and some of the liquid.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Slow Cooker Chicken Parmigiana Sandwiches ***

These were yummy.  The 8-year-old (who rarely ever finishes a meal) devoured his.  He practically inhaled it.  I made a few changes, but nothing to really alter the basic recipe.  I forgot to thaw the chicken, so I mixed the sauce up and used 3 frozen breasts.  Then I added an extra hour to the cook time.  It was done perfectly in 7 hours.  I would probably use 4 breasts next time, though.  Tonight, it was just me and the boys eating, so 3 was perfect.  I'd need 4 to have enough for all of us plus leftovers for hubby's lunch.  I used some crusty bolillo rolls.  I didn't want to take the time to put them in the skillet, so I sliced them all in half, used a little spray butter, and stuck them under the broiler long enough to toast them up a bit.  I also added a small tub of sliced fresh mushrooms, since I had some in the fridge that needed to be used up.  I would totally do that again.  They were really, really good in there.  

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ FoodFamilyFinds)

29 ounces canned tomato sauce
14.5 ounces canned petite diced tomatoes
12 ounces canned tomato paste
2 cups sweet yellow onion, finely diced
1 tablespoon garlic, finely chopped (about 2 cloves)
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
2 bay leaves
4 tablespoons fresh basil, finely chopped (about 6 leaves)
3-4 large THAWED/FRESH boneless, skinless chicken breasts
sliced or shredded mozzarella cheese
grated Parmesan cheese
4-6 hard rolls

Start the slow cooker on low heat.
Add tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, tomato paste and stir until combined.
Add onions, garlic, stir.
Add parsley, oregano, bay leaves, basil and stir.
Set chicken breast on top of the sauce, sprinkle generously with salt/pepper, cover and cook on low for 6 hours.
Use two forks to shred the chicken.
Slice the hard rolls in half and toast on a hot buttered skillet.
Use tongs to grab chunks of the chicken, tapping the excess sauce into the pot before adding to your roll.
Top with a generous sprinkling of grated Parmesan, sliced mozzarella and serve.
*luckymommyto2boys/Amy's notes: I used frozen breasts and cooked on low for 7 hours.  I also added a small package of sliced fresh mushrooms.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Slow Cooker Ham with Pineapple ****

I made this for the second time for a family birthday lunch yesterday.  The minute the kids looked in the crockpot, the 8-year-old yelled out, "You made the pineapple ham???  Yay!"  Does that tell you how much we love it?  Lol!  The entire family loved it as well this time.  There were no leftovers, which is always a good sign.  :-)

Amy (amylz)
All Recipes  Servings: 14

1 (6 to 7 pound) picnic ham
1 (15.25 ounce) can pineapple rings
1 (16 ounce) can cola-flavored carbonated beverage (such as Pepsi)

Place ham in slow cooker with the fattier side facing down. Use toothpicks to attach pineapple rings to the ham. Pour juice from the can over the ham. Pour the cola into the slow cooker.  Cook on Low 7 to 10 hours.
*luckymommy/Amy's notes: I doubled the cola and pineapple.

Previous reviews:
1/27/14 ~ This is crazy, scary good.  I could have easily kept eating it until I made myself sick.  I took Amy's advice and used two cans of pineapple, so that we'd have enough for everyone to have some.  I also doubled the Coke in it.  Mine cooked about 10 hours, and it was sheer perfection.  I have never, ever had a ham that was so yummy.  When you take into account that it took all of 2 minutes to throw together, it's practically the perfect recipe!  The kids both asked for seconds on the ham, which is just unheard of around here.  I served it with the Too-Tasty-to-Be-Good-for-You Cauliflower Mac-n-Cheese, and they went perfectly together.  I will definitely be making this one again.  Soon. 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Apple-Pecan Bread Pudding *

I actually made this back in January for my dad.  He loves bread pudding.  I subbed Craisins for the raisins, just because that's my preference.  I'm not a fan of bread pudding in general, so there's that going against it already.  It's kind of a texture thing with me.  The apples and Craisins were absolutely amazing in the sauce.  The bread just wasn't that great.  I used toasted French bread, hoping that it would keep it from getting as mushy.  Didn't work as well as I'd hoped.  My dad seemed to like it, but it's not something I would make again.


Cooking spray
4 cups toasted bread cubes (approximately 8 slices; I used gluten-free bread)
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and diced
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1 cup raisins
1 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
3 eggs
2 cups half-and-half

Use a 2-quart slow cooker. Spray your stoneware insert well with cooking spray. Put the toasted bread cubes into your cooker and add the diced apples. Toss the bread and apples with the melted butter. Dump in the pecans, raisins, and brown sugar, and sprinkle in the pumpkin pie spice. Stir gingerly to distribute the ingredients evenly. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and half-and-half, and pour evenly over the top of the assembled ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 4 to 5 hours, or on high for 3 to 4 hours. Your pudding is done when it has browned on top and pulls away from the sides. The center should be set and not super jiggly. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream as a dessert or plain for breakfast.
Serves 6