Always a Winner- Chili

Happy New Year! Real winter has yet to start here in our part of Virginia, the Northern Shenandoah Valley. We have had snow and ice already, but typically we get blasted in January and February. Which makes this recipe a winner all the time.

It is easy to put together, and by the time your family storms through the door at the end of another busy day, they will be asking when will it be time to eat. Perhaps they are running in only to run back out, then you may catch them eating straight from the crock-pot!

In your frying pan:

Heat: 2T oil of your choice (olive, safflower, sunflower, avocado).

Add : 2 cups chopped onion, and 3-4 cloves garlic, crushed

Add: 2 lbs ground beef (Our homegrown beef of course!). Brown beef with onion and garlic well, drain off fat (will not be much with our beef. :))

If the beef is still a bit frozen, place a piece of aluminum foil over pan to help cook meat faster. Set pan on edge of burner to help drain fat.

Rinse and drain:  4 1-pound cans of red kidney beans. Place in crock pot.

Add:  2 28-ounce can tomatoes, 1/2 cup beef stock (I use Better Than Beef bouillon)

The goodies that make it yummy: Remember: T=tablespoon,t=teaspoon

4 T chili powder

1.5 t salt

1.5 t paprika

1.5 t oregano

1.5 t ground cumin

1/2 t cayenne pepper (or a bit more if you are daring)

Add beef mixture, mix well. All ready! Cook on LOW 8-10 hours, or high 5 hours, or on automatic 6 hours.

This chili will take the most wonderful additions. Try any or all of the following:

Shredded cheese; sour cream, greek yogurt, jalapenos, tortilla chips or fritos. Let me know if there is something special you put on yours!

Kitchen Tips

I always season beef when browning. Use your favorite brand.

An excellent way to get iron in one’s diet is cooking with a cast iron skillet. Remember, they are heavy. I would recommend an 8″ skillet. The weight and size are great!

If you noticed in the photo of beans, there was a can of black beans. That is because I did not have enough kidney beans. They worked very well!

Do not be intimidated by recipes. By trying something different you may just discover something wonderful!

Homemade is always best

  

Cowboy Stew

Who would not enjoy a big, steamy bowl of this fun-sounding stew?

Most of the ingredients are canned. 



Ingredients:

1 lb hamburger

1  medium onion chopped (or 2 onions if you like lots of them!  They are great for fighting colds!)

4-6 medium potatoes

Can of:  green beans, corn, and beans  (your favorite type of bean, any type will work).

Large can of diced tomatoes (if all you have is tomatoe sauce, that is fine).

Slice onion, not too thin.
Chop potatoes in a good-size bite!
Brown onion and potatoes while browning hamburger.

It saves time, and makes for great taste to brown onion, potatoes, and hamburger together.  Should they get sticky in the bottom of your dutch oven, add a small amount of water to loosen the goodness.  Also, turn your burner temperature down.  We tend to cook too hot!  Do not know what a dutch oven is?  Check out blog:  https://bluerockhorses.com/2018/10/05/the-million-dollar-question/

You must know your tools and how to make them work for you!

After the meat is browned, add the tomatoes, corn, beans, and green beans.  Season with 1 tsp salt and pepper.  If more broth is needed, add 1-2 cups of tepid water.  For extra fullness in flavor, stir in a teaspoon of beef bouillon into the water.  Better Than Beef is the bouillon of choice for me.

Remember, this is a stew, not a soup.  Which means it should not have as much broth as a soup.

  

Mix everything gently. 

Please do not boil your stew! It only needs to simmer gently.  There will surely be left-overs, and the best part?  They will taste even better the second and third night (or in a lunchbox!).

  This recipe will serve 4-6 with leftovers, which we always strive for! It can easily be doubled as well.  Simply double everything.

Kitchen Tips

Keep your pantry in a good supply of canned green beans, corn, diced (or crushed) tomatoes.  There are usually 5-6 cans of each in my pantry. 

Onion and potatoes should also have a permanent place in your pantry.  Take them out of the plastic bags (this causes them to rot faster), put them in pretty baskets!  Should the potatoes start growing ‘eyes’, break them off and toss out in your flower bed.  This will extent their shelf life (if you do not, the ‘eyes’ will cause potatoes to shrivel up). 

Enjoy!  

Thoughts and ideas are always welcome!

Homemade is healthiest and best!

The Million Dollar Question

Every mother and wife has heard it forever, it seems.  So, what is this question?

“What’s for dinner?”

And it comes everyday!  Even for those of us that enjoy cooking, everyday is a lot.  I am here to help you with this daily chore.  Sans a complete autobiography, suffice to say I raised four rowdy boys, and one brave little girl on one income in a small 1,800 square foot home.   For a couple years, four of the five were teenagers all at once!

They are all now grown and some with children of their own. Feeding them was a mighty daily chore, most especially with one income.  I can say with certainty it can be done, and done well.

So, I have decided to post on my blog recipes that are real winners with moms, dads, and children.  But before recipes come, the right cooking tools need to be on hand.  And anyone who follows my blog knows I love tools! Here is a fun blog on  The Tool Purse

Required Kitchen Tools:

Crock Pot  I do not recommend one over the other, except this, be sure it has a Low, High and Keep Warm feature. Also, I suggest you choose a good size one, at least big enough to hold a whole chicken, or a nice size roast.

IMG_6422

There are lots of crock pots to choose from.  Be sure it is large enough for a whole chicken.

Dutch Oven  This is a round heavy metal cooking pot with a snug fitting lid.  Can be used in oven or stovetop.  This is your most valuable kitchen cooking tool.  In the photo are two different types of Dutch Ovens.  The green enameled over cast iron cooks remarkable meals in remarkable time!  I use this one in the oven.  The stainless steel one I use on the stovetop.

Good Heavy Slotted Spoons and Solid Spoons  Good spoons are necessary tools for your kitchen.  There are so many to choose from.  Try them out before purchasing to be sure they fit your hand well, are comfortable, and have a good long handle.

 

IMG_6416

Have a good supply of sturdy slotted and solid spoons in your kitchen tool box!  The colored ones are fun!

 

 Good Thick Hot Pads   And plenty of them.  Also hold them in your hand to be sure they fit well, are soft and bend well.  Some are so stiff they are a danger for  handling hot pots and lids.

IMG_6418

Be sure your hot pads are thick, soft and pliable.  Do not forget to make them fun too!

 

So, check your kitchen ‘tool box’, be sure you have good tools for working and preparing the delicious meals you will be making for your family with yummy left-overs.  For a very fast starting recipe try this:

 

Crock Pot Whole Chicken

This is one of the easiest recipes to put together.  Do it in the morning before going to work.  It will take less than 15 minutes.

Remove whole chicken from plastic, discard the giblets.  Rinse chicken inside and out.  Place whole chicken, breast side up in crock pot.  Season with salt, pepper, paprika, or your favorite seasoned salt.

For extra flavor add onion and cloves of garlic.  No need to peel them.  They cook sweeter in their skins and can easily be pressed out of skins at end of cooking time with your fork.  Also add a few potatoes with skins on.  Pour a cup of water over all of it.  Set crock pot to “Low”, and go about your day.

You will need your slotted spoons to remove chicken from crock pot.  It will fall apart upon removal.  Arrange on a plate with the cooked potatoes, onion and garlic.   Allow to cool while your favorite vegetable cooks in a little boiling water on the stove.  After cooling some, remove the skin from the chicken, discard, the chicken will fall off the bone.

For extra yumminess, mash your potatoes with a fork, get a little juice with your solid spoon from crock pot, pour over meat, onions and potatoes.  Enjoy!  Let me know how it turned out!

This will serve a family of 4 or 5 for two nights (providing they are all not teenagers!).

 

Homemade is not as hard as you think!