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Friday, January 24, 2014

Our favorite chili

After years of trying different chili recipes I have finally found one that everybody can agree on.  It's good and filling and pretty inexpensive.  I usually buy ground beef when it's marked down and I can always find ground pork marked down to less than $2 a pound.  I use a mixture of beef and pork but you can use any kind of ground meat you'd like. This chili recipe makes a large amount.  It seems like a large amount to me anyway because there is only 4 of us.  We each eat a bowl for supper.  The boy will probably eat a bowl for breakfast. Yeah, don't ask, he's weird. And I'm taking a bowl to work with me for lunch.  The rest is going to be paired with macaroni for supper on Monday night. So it feeds us for a few days.

What I like about this chili is you can do what you want with it.  If you like peppers, throw 'em in there.  You like it hot?  Add some jalapenos and hot sauce.  Add more chili powder if you want.  Add less.  Add more beans.  Add less beans.  I have used less meat when I didn't have enough or a different combination of tomatoes like a big can of whole and a small can of diced.  Add some corn...well you get the idea. Do whatever you like to this chili.  It's still good.  My other favorite thing about this chili??  I cook it in the crock pot.  Walk away and forget it.  But you don't have to.  You can cook it on the stove
 too...but really, why would you!?!

Carol's Favorite Chili

1 lb ground chuck
1 lb ground pork
1/2 cp. onion, chopped
1/2 cp celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 (14 1/2 oz) cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14 1/2 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14 1/2 oz) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 can mild chili beans
1 sm. can tomato sauce
1 (14 1/2 oz) can whole peeled tomatoes
1 (28 oz) can petite diced tomatoes
1 pkg mild chili seasoning mix
2 tsp granulated sugar
chili powder - to taste
cumin - to taste
salt & pepper - to taste
Shredded cheddar, sour cream, chopped green onions - for garnish

In a large skillet, brown the ground meat with the chopped celery, onion, and minced garlic.  Drain the grease from the cooked meat and add to a large crock pot. (Or kettle if you're cooking it on the stove).  Stir in the beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce, chili seasoning mix, sugar, and the seasoning.  I don't usually measure, I just dump and taste it a couple of hours later and adjust them as needed.  Break up the whole tomatoes if you'd like with the back of a spoon. Put the lid on the crock pot and cook on high for about 4 hours. If you're cooking it on the stove bring it to a boil then cover and simmer it for 4 hours.  Garnish with sour cream, shredded cheese and chopped green onions if desired. 

That's it!  Perfect for cold snowy nights like we have here tonight.  Sometimes I make a big pan of cornbread to go with it but tonight we just used oyster crackers.  It is delicious!  Hope you enjoy it too.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

It's a new year!

Happy New Year!  Hope the holidays were good to you.  We had a good Christmas here.  Until Christmas night when we were having supper at a Chinese restaurant and the 12 year old had an allergic reaction to crab!  Fun times! She had cracked some crab legs and gotten that juice all over her hands.  Then she got tired on the way home and was lying in the back seat rubbing her eyes and BOOM! We already knew she was allergic to shrimp, as am I, but she had no trouble eating crab or clams or fish.  But the doctor wants her to stay away from all seafood now and maybe give it a try in a couple of months.  And yes, she is wearing One Direction pajamas. If only they'd had Donny Osmond pajamas when I was 12.

Anyway, the holidays are over and our houseguests have moved on so life is getting back to normal, which for us is one problem after another.  Currently we are having car problems and also it's been so insanely cold.  The kids are home from school today because of the weather.  At this rate they will be in school until the 4th of July!

So we are back to our old way of cooking and doing things.  I usually buy a chicken marked down or at Aldis so it's around $4. I boil the chicken at the beginning of the week and we have enough meat for 2 meals and also about 8 cups of broth.  One of our favorite easy chicken recipes is Chicken Croquettes.  I try to make these when we've got leftover mashed potatoes so we can make potato patties to go with them.

Here is the recipe!

Chicken Croquettes

2 cps leftover chicken, chopped in the food processor
1  cp seasoned bread crumbs
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cp chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Saute the chopped onion and garlic in a skillet sprayed with Pam until soft.  Mix the chicken, bread crumbs, eggs, and onion mixture together in a bowl.  If it seems really dry, just add another egg. Add the seasonings and mix well.  Shape into patties.  I make mine kind of small so we get about 8 patties out of this.  Heat some oil in a large skillet and fry the patties until they are golden brown.   

I also like to press my patties into some Panko crumbs before I fry them because it gives them a nice crispy coating.  I also just use the heels of my loaves of bread to make bread crumbs if I don't have any of the other kind.  You can change up the seasoning if you'd like, or add hot sauce, or whatever.  But this is a really inexpensive dish to make and the kids love it.   Stay warm out there!