Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Family Favorite Chili

This is my Go-To Chili recipe and what my kids think of when they crave chili. I have been working on it for many years and it is really still a work in progress because I do still change it up a bit from time to time. At this point I have to say it is excellent though.

At our house we always serve chili (homemade or out of a can) over rice in a big soup bowl. There is a bit of a story there. Many, many, many (you get the point) years ago, back when I was a young bride we had some very dear friends that dropped by one day. As dinner time neared they were invited to stay to eat (without consulting me as to whether this would be in the cards) and I went into a slight panic mode. You see, I had planned chili for dinner and there really was only enough for 2 not nearly enough for 4. EEK! What to do?? I started going through the meager supplies in my cabinets and found a box of rice. Aha, I thought rice will stretch almost any meal. So I made up a nice big batch of rice, we filled our bowls with the rice first, topped it with the chili and then some toppings to garnish and a new family favorite was born. Now according to all 4 of my kids if there isn’t rice under it, it just isn’t chili!

You will find this to be a fairly mild chili, at least by many standards and yes, I have beans in there. I know, real chili isn’t supposed to have beans but I like them there.

You can top this with your favorite toppings, I have suggested our favorites but anything goes. This recipe multiplies easily and makes for a great inexpensive dish to entertain with. Just increase everything in proportion and taste as you go to adjust.

Family Favorite Chili

1 pound lean ground beef
2 medium onions, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 jalapeƱo pepper, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon chili powder (your favorite brand)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon dry oregano
½ cup red wine
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
½ cup water
1 (15-16 once) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15-16 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed

In a large pan (soup pot or dutch oven) combine the meat, onion, garlic, jalapeno, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper and cook over medium heat until meat is cooked through and veggies are tender.

Add cocoa powder and dry oregano and stir to combine. Add red wine and stir up any bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook until the liquid is almost all gone.

Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, and water bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and simmer for at least 2 hours, 3 is better.

Add the canned beans and cook covered for 20 minutes to heat through.

Serve over in bowls over rice and topped with sour cream, shredded cheese, sliced green onions and chopped cilantro.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Black Bean and Cheese Enchiladas

Even though we consume probably more than our share of meat in this house I do like to throw in a vegetarian meal from time to time. Most of the time those vegetarian meals are well received.  However from time to time I come up with a recipe that the kids more than like; they absolutely love. This is one of those recipes. No one ever misses the meat when we serve this either so it is great for everyone. The combination of the black beans, mushrooms and cumin gives this dish a wonderful satisfying flavor.

I use green enchilada sauce in this recipe because that is the version we prefer, if you prefer the red sauce feel free to substitute it.

Black Bean and Cheese Enchiladas

1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
2 medium onions, chopped
1 cup chopped mushrooms
2 teaspoons ground cumin
a generous pinch of salt
1 (15 oz0 can black beans, drained and rinsed
8 (8”) flour tortillas (heated)
2 ½ cups Mexican blend shredded cheese (jack cheese, cheddar and sometimes other cheeses are included)
1 (10 oz) can green enchilada sauce

Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
Spray a 13”x9” baking dish with non-stick spray

Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat; add the onions, mushrooms, cumin, and a generous pinch of salt. Cook until the veggies are softened, stir in the drained beans and allow to cool a bit.

Use about 3 Tablespoons of the bean mixture and ¼ cup of the cheese to fill each tortilla. Roll the tortillas around the filling and place in baking dish seam side down.

Spoon enchilada sauce over the top of enchiladas in baking dish.
Cover with foil and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
Sprinkle remaining ½ cheese over top and serve.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Margarita Steak Sandwiches

If you like a good steak sandwich I think you will love these. You will have to do a bit of planning ahead because first the meat needs about an hour in the freezer to make it easier to cut into thin slices (you don’t want it frozen just firmed up a bit) and then it really needs to sit in the marinade for at least a couple of hours.

I do use tequila in the marinade and you can leave it out if you really want to but I think you will be missing a lot of the flavor if you do. I do cook with alcohol a lot because I like not only the flavor it leaves behind in foods but because it goes a long way on tenderizing meats. You don’t need to break out an expensive bottle of tequila; a moderately priced one will do just fine here.

Margarita Steak Sandwiches

1 lb boneless beef sirloin steak
1 large onion, sliced
¼ cup lime juice (2 or 3 limes)
2 Tablespoons tequila
3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic roughly chopped
2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon salt
Oil for cooking
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
4 large hamburger buns, toasted
4 slices Pepper-Jack cheese

Freeze the steak for about an hour and then cut into very thin slices across the grain. Place the steak slices and sliced onion into a gallon size food storage bag. In a small bowl combine the lime juice, tequila, oil, garlic, chili powder, cumin and salt and mix well. Pour the liquid into the bag with the meat and onion and seal the bag. Make sure all the contents of the bag are in contact with the marinade and place into the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (3 or 4 is better) Turn the bag a few times during this process

Heat a large skillet over high heat when it is hot add a bit of oil to cook the meat in and then dump the entire contents of the bag into the pan. Add the green and red peppers too and cook until the meat is cooked and the onions and peppers are crisp tender and most of the liquid has evaporated.

Divide the meat mixture between the bun bottoms top each with a slice of cheese and broil until the cheese melts.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Pork Teriyaki Burgers

This is a recipe I came up with to satisfy a craving for teriyaki pork and a burger at the same time. It really does merge the flavor of teriyaki pork into the incredibly handy format of the burger and the flavor coming off the grill adds the perfect compliment to everything.

This is also the perfect companion recipe to yesterday’s Asian Coleslaw because between the two you will use up a small can of crushed pineapple and a most of a can of sliced water chestnuts. And because the flavors compliment each other so well the paring is perfect and a wonderful twist on the typical burger and coleslaw dinner for a warm day.

I have made these burgers both over a grill and in a skillet they work wonderfully either way, you could also broil them if you would prefer. I do use one of those burger-grilling baskets over the gill since they are a bit on the soft side to prevent crumbling.

I think this recipe would be equally good with ground chicken although I haven’t tried it that way yet.

If you are also serving fries with this you might want to double up on the Teriyaki Mayo since it also makes a great dipping sauce for fries.

Pork Teriyaki Burgers
¼ cup crushed pineapple (well drained)
¼ cup diced water chestnuts (canned)
2 Tablespoons Teriyaki sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
1 1/3 to 1 ½ pound ground pork

Teriyaki Mayo
4 Tablespoons mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons Teriyaki sauce
Tabasco sauce to taste

4 Large size hamburger buns

Combine the burger ingredients and mix gently but thoroughly. Form into 4 burger patties, wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (up to all day)

Combine the ingredients for the Teriyaki Mayo, cover and refrigerate until serving time.

Heat grill.
Oil burger grilling basket and place burgers in the basket
Cook through
Toast buns on grill

We like these with the Teriyaki Mayo spread on both halves of the buns and lettuce on the sandwich too.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Asian Coleslaw

I was in the mood for some coleslaw to go with some burgers I was planning for dinner. The burgers (the burger recipe will be posted here tomorrow) are made of ground pork and are definitely Asian inspired so I wanted a side dish that would take that same path. It used to be that I was not a fan of coleslaw and then a couple of years ago I started to love it, I can’t get enough and make it often changing it up to go with whatever the main dish will be. For this variation I did some checking of what was in the cupboard/fridge and also what I was going to need for the burgers that might have extra. I really think the combo I came up with is really yummy. Be sure to make it a few hours ahead since coleslaw really likes to sit for a while before it is served.

My daughter pointed out during dinner that this coleslaw was extra good because it tastes like coleslaw and still definitely has an Asian flavor at the same time. So many times when you see Asian Coleslaw (or any of the flavored coleslaws) they seem to miss that balance. They either taste like coleslaw or taste like a flavored cabbage salad. I worked really hard to keep the balance here so that both flavors come through.

Asian Coleslaw

½ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup sour cream
2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
½ teaspoon dark sesame oil

Veggie mix
5 cups packaged coleslaw mix (shredded green and red cabbage and shredded carrot)
½ cup finely chopped celery
¼ cup water chestnuts (I used part of a can of slice water chestnuts and chopped them)
¼ cup sliced green onion
¼ cup crushed pineapple, well drained.

Combine dressing ingredients in a small bowl making sure to combine well.

In a large bowl combine the veggie mix and the dressing. Stir to combine, cover and refrigerate until serving time (at least 1 hour)