Friday, December 27, 2013

Old-Fashioned Gingersnaps

I got this from Better Homes and Gardens, and it's fantastic. These cookies stay really moist and chewy.

Old-Fashioned Gingersnaps

2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup molasses
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
3 Tbsp. peeled and grated fresh ginger
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 cup extra sugar

1.  Position oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven.  Preheat oven to 350. 
2.  In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and salt; set aside.
3.  In a large bowl, whisk together melted butter, molasses, brown sugar, granulated sugar, grated ginger, and egg.  Add flour mixture.  Stir to combine.  Cover and chill 1 hour.
4.  Place extra 1/2 cup sugar in a small, shallow bowl.  Using a tablespoon, scoop out a ball of dough.  Roll dough between your palms into a ball.  Continue with remaining dough, then roll balls in sugar to evenly coat.  Space balls on baking sheets, 2 inches apart.
5.  Bake 10-12 minutes.  Switch baking sheets between racks and rotate them front to back halfway through.  Remove from oven.  Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool.

Roasted Red Potatoes with Dill

I got this from my mom, I think.  My husband looves these.

Roasted Red Potatoes with Dill

2 lbs red potatoes, halved
1 T olive oil
1 tsp dill weed
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp seasoned salt

Toss olive oil with potatoes.  Combine remaining ingredients and toss with the potatoes.  Spread them in a shallow baking pan.  Bake for 40 minutes on 375 degrees.

The Palladium Cooler

I got this from a cook book I have called Barbecues and Pot Lucks.  I brought it to a family dinner, and everyone loved it.  It's a good punch for parties, and sooo much yummier than the store-bought stuff.

The Palladium Cooler

Serves 14

6 cups orange juice
6 cups pineapple juice
3 cups cranberry juice
1 Tbsp grenadine
1 cup 7-Up
6 cups ice cubes
Garnish:  14 maraschino cherries

Mix all ingredients together except for 7-Up and ice in a punch boal.  Float the 7-Up on top.  Add ice cubes and garnish with a cherry in each cup.

Killer Chili Cheese Dip (Crock Pot)

I got this from  It's soooo good.  I've always loved this dip and have had it, in various forms, at several different parties.  I decided it was about time to have it on hand.

Killer Chili Cheese Dip (Crock Pot)

16 oz Velveeta cheese
2 (10 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
1 (10 ounce) can chili
2 cups shredded queso cheese
1 small can diced green chilies

1.  Cut velveeta into 2-inch cubes.  Place cubes into crock pot with the tomatoes, chili, and shredded cheese.  Mix together.  Turn crock pot on low setting and cover, stirring occasionally.  When all the cheese is completely melted, it's time to enjoy!
2.  If usually takes an hour and a half or so on low temp, but if you need it quicker, use high temp, but watch it and stir often to prevent burning.
3.  If your crock pot has a "keep warm" setting, use that after the cheese is melted.

Make-Ahead Green Bean Casserole

Oh my goooosh, this is so good.  I've never been a huge fan of green bean casserole, but I tried it on a whim (the picture and recipe are from and wowza.  Sooooo good.

Make-Ahead Green Bean Casserole

Yield: Serves 10 to 12 as a side dish (can be easily halved and baked in a smaller dish)
Note: The topping and casserole can be frozen separately for up to 2 months. Hallelujah!

  • 2 slices hearty sandwich bread, white or wheat, torn into pieces
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter , melted
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups canned fried onions
  • Casserole:
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 10 ounces white mushrooms , sliced thin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 6 garlic cloves , minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 pounds fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  1. For the topping: Pulse bread, butter, and salt in food processor until coarsely ground. Combine bread mixture and canned fried onions in a bowl, transfer to a zipper-lock freezer bag, and freeze. (I placed the topping bag right on top of the casserole in the freezer so I could keep track of both.)
  2. For the casserole: Melt the butter in a large 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, salt, and pepper and cook until the mushrooms release their liquid, about 5 minutes. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook until all the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the flour and cook until golden, stirring, about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in broth and cream and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened, about 10 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, toss the green beans with the cornstarch until the beans are evenly coated. Transfer the beans to a 9X13-inch baking dish. Pour the warm mushroom mixture evenly over the beans. Let the casserole cool completely on the counter. Once cooled, cover with a layer of plastic wrap and then a layer of foil. Freeze for up to 2 months.
  4. When ready to bake, adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 400 degrees. Remove the layer of plastic wrap from the baking dish and replace the foil. Bake, covered, until the sauce is bubbling and the beans are tender, about 80 minutes, stirring the beans thoroughly after 50 minutes. Remove the foil and spread the frozen topping mixture over the beans. Bake until golden brown, about 8-10 minutes. Serve.

Baby Back Ribs

I went to a cooking class at my mom's congregation, and that's where I got this recipe.  It's way easier than you would ever think.

Baby Back Ribs

4 lbs. pork back ribs
Peel off membrane on the back side of the ribs (the bone side).  I've found this is sometimes easier to start at the smaller end of the ribs, and pull from there.

Dry Rub:
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. paprika
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. red cayenne pepper

Rub the dry rub mixture on both sides of the ribs.

Put the ribs meat side down on two layers of heavy duty foil.  Put two more layers of foil on top of the ribs.  Roll the sides of the foil up to the ribs to make a pouch.

Bake at 300 degrees for 3 hours.

Open pouch.  Cut the ribs into 2-3 rib sections.  Brush on any kind of pre-made barbecue sauce of your choice.  Broil or barbecue for an additional couple of minutes.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Ruth's Chris Sweet Potato Casserole

Oh my heck, I'm so sorry, guys.  I have been SO BUSY.  We just bought a house, and it flooded, and all of the appliances were broken...yeah.  Good times; good times.

So, kay.  My sis asked for this recipe, and I thought that, since I need to type it up anyways, I might as well put it on here!  Woot!  This is a Thanksgiving must-have.

Ruth's Chris Special Sweet Potato Casserole

For the crust:
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 cup chopped pecans
1/3 stick of butter, melted

For the sweet potato mixture:
3 cups mashed sweet potatoes
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs, well-beaten
1 stick butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

To prepare the sweet potatoes, peel them, chop them into big pieces, and boil them for 35 minutes.  Drain them, then mash them.

Combine brown sugar, flour, nuts, and butter in mixing bowl.  Set aside.

Combine sweet potatoes, sugar, salt, vanilla, eggs, and butter in a mixing bowl.  Mix thoroughly.  Pour mixture into buttered casserole dish.  Sprinkle the surface of the sweet potato mixture evenly with the crust mixture.

Bake for 30 minutes.  Allow to set at least 30 minutes before serving.

Note:  If you pre-make this and refrigerate it, add 30 more minutes in the oven.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Clementine Jicama Salad

Holy cow, this salad was so good!  Which is not surprising.  I loooooooooove jicama.  It gives everything such a satisfying crunch.  I loved that I could make parts of this several hours ahead of time.  I also got this one at

Clementine Jicama Salad

Serves 8


  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 8 clementines (1 3/4 pounds), peeled and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 1 pound jicama, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch-thick matchsticks (3 cups)
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup packed cilantro sprigs
  • 1/2 cup crumbled queso fresco or mild feta
  • 1/3 cup raw green (hulled) pumpkin seeds (pepitas), toasted

Mince and mash garlic to a paste with 1/2 teaspoon salt, then whisk together with lime juice, oil, sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl.
Just before serving, add clementines, jicama, onion, and cilantro and gently toss. Season with salt. Sprinkle with cheese and pumpkin seeds. 

Cooks’ notes: •Vinaigrette can be made 4 hours ahead and kept at room temperature.
•Clementines, jicama, and onion can be cut 4 hours ahead and chilled.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Squash and Sausage Shepherd's Pie

I got this from Better Homes and Gardens, the October 2012 issue.  I've gotta say, I am not usually a fan of shepherd's pie, but this was great and different and felt...fresher...than the usual type.  And two of my four kids gobbled it down, which was amazing.  Ben called this recipe a "double smiley face."  I don't have individual casserole dishes, so I used my own large casserole dish. 

Squash and Sausage Shepherd's Pie

1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into chunks
5 Tbsp butter, softened
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 lb. sweet Italian sausage or ground beef (I couldn't find any sweet Italian sausage that wasn't in casings, so I had to just cut and peel the casings off, breaking the meat apart when I cooked it.)
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
8 oz fresh, sliced mushrooms
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup beef broth
1/2 of a 28-oz can crushed tomatoes (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 Tbsp. snipped fresh or 1 tsp. dried rosemary
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 cup frozen peas and carrots
shaved Parmesan cheese (optional)
sliced green onion (optional)

1.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Lightly coat a large casserole dish (or six 10- to 12-oz. individual casseroles) with nonstick cooking spray.
2.  In a large pan, cook squash in lightly-salted boiling water, covered, for 15-17 minutes or until tender when pierced with a fork.  Drain; return to pan.  Mash with butter, Parmesan, 1/2 tsp. of the salt, and 1/4 tsp. of the pepper; set aside.
3.  Put 2 Tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet; cook sausage in it over medium high heat, breaking up and cooking until no longer pink. Remove cooked meat from skillet.
4. In same skillet, heat 1 Tbsp. oil over medium heat.  Add onion and mushrooms; cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 4 to 5 minutes.  Add garlic; cook 2 minutes more.  Stir in broth, crushed tomatoes, rosemary, and Worcestershire sauce.  Bring to boiling, reduce heat to medium and simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes.  Stir in meat, peas and carrots, remaining 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper; cook 2 minutes.  If using small individual casseroles, divide mixture among them.  If using one large casserole dish, pour the whole thing in the bottom.  Spread top with butternut squash.  Place on a large baking sheet.
5.  Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until top is lightly browned. Top with shaved Parmesan and green onion, if desired.  Makes 12 servings.

Cranberry Walnut Cole Slaw

Hm.  Sorry my pictures are always so crappy.  Trust me that this salad is reeeally good.  I got it from a cookbook called Barbeques: Parties and Pot Lucks.

Cranberry Walnut Cole Slaw
Serves 12

1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp sweet pickle relish
2 Tbsp honey mustard
2 Tbsp honey
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp celery seed
1 head green cabbage, shredded
2/3 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries

In a small bowl, stir together mayonnaise, relish, honey mustard, honey, ground pepper, salt, and celery seed.  In a large mixing bowl, combine cabbage, walnuts, celery, onion, red pepper, and cranberries.  Add dressing to cabbage mixture and toss to coat.  Cover and chill at least 1 hour or up to 6 hours.

*  Kar's note - I only cook every other day, so to make this salad last two days, you'll want to split the mixed dressing in half and the other ingredients in half, then make the other half of the salad the second day.  If you prepare the whole salad, the second day, it will be wilted.

Red Velvet Cheesecake Cake

I was really intimidated by this recipe at first (which I got from Mel's Kitchen Cafe), but it really ended up to be pretty easy.  I finally dropped the money for a springform pan, and I'm excited to do more cheesecakey stuff in the future.  I've made one change from Mel's original recipe - she has you press crumbs from one layer of the red velvet cake into the frosting at the side.  I did do this, but I don't think I will in the future.  I'm just going to do one red velvet layer at the bottom, cheesecake layer in the middle, one red velvet layer at the top, and then cover the tops and sides with the frosting.  This recipe makes oodles of frosting, so I don't think it will be a problem.

Red Velvet Cheesecake Cake

*Note: this cake can be assembled start to finish and refrigerated, well-covered, for up to two days before serving. If you don't have time to make it all at once, the cheesecake layer can be baked, cooled and frozen up to several weeks in advance.
*Serves 8-10


Cheesecake Layer:
2 (8-ounces each) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
pinch of salt
2 large eggs
1/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Red Velvet Cake Layer:
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 tablespoons natural, unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups vegetable or canola oil
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup (two 1-ounce bottles) red food coloring
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons white vinegar

Cream Cheese Frosting:
2 (8-ounces each) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Make the cheesecake layer first so it has time to chill while the cake and frosting are being prepared. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly coat a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick spray. In a large bowl with a handheld electric mixer or in the bowl of an electric stand mixer, whip the cream cheese until it is smooth and creamy. Mix in the sugar and salt and blend for 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the eggs, one at a time, blending after each addition. Mix in the sour cream, whipping cream and vanilla and beat until smooth. Don't overbeat - just mix until smooth and creamy. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake the cheesecake for 40-45 minutes until it is set and not jiggly in the middle. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and let it rest on a wire rack until completely cooled. Wrap the pan in foil and place the cooled cheesecake in the freezer until ready to assemble.

For the red velvet cake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round metal baking pans. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the eggs, oil, buttermilk, food coloring, vanilla and vinegar. Whisk until fully combined, and continue whisking for another minute or two until the batter is thick and smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pans, dividing equally. Bake for 28-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached (don't overbake or the cake layers will be dry). Let the cakes cool in the pans for 5-10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pans, then invert cakes onto a piece of parchment or wax paper set on a cooling rack. Let them cool completely.

Prepare the frosting, by whipping the cream cheese with an electric handheld mixer in a large bowl or in the bowl of an electric stand mixer until smooth and creamy. Add the butter and vanilla and mix. Gradually add the powdered sugar and mix on high speed until it is light and fluffy and creamy.
To assemble, place one of the bottom halves in the middle of a serving platter or cake plate. Remove the cheesecake from the freezer. Gently loosen it from the sides and bottom of the pan with a flat knife/spatula that has been run through hot water (this will help loosen it from the pan). When removed, lay the cheesecake layer on top of the red velvet cake layer on the serving plate. Place the other red velvet cake layer on top of the cheesecake. 

Frost the cake by scooping dollops of the frosting on top of the cake and using an offset spatula, spread the frosting over the tops and sides. 

Cover the cake lightly (or else the cake crumbs on the side will dry out) and refrigerate until ready to serve. The cake can be made up to two days in advance and chilled until serving.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Spicy Pork and Soba Noodles

I got this from Real Simple's October 2012 magazine.  It was really, really good. I'm a sucker for anything involving sesame oil.  I've doubled the recipe here, because I like to cook enough for two night's meals.  So this should make 8 servings.  I found the Soba noodles in the Asian aisle at Albertson's - they didn't have any at Wal-Mart.  Just so you know.

Spicy Pork and Soba Noodles


  • 12  ounces  soba noodles
  • 2 1/2 pounds  pork tenderloin, thinly sliced
  • salt and black pepper
  • 2  tablespoons vegetable oil
  • English cucumber, sliced
  • scallions, chopped
  • red chili peppers, sliced
  • 4  tablespoons  rice vinegar
  • 4  teaspoons  sesame oil


  1. Cook the soba noodles according to the package directions.
  2. Season the pork with 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper.
  3. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. In batches, brown the pork, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a large bowl.
  4. Toss the pork with the noodles, cucumber, scallions, chili pepper, vinegar, sesame oil, and ½ teaspoon salt.

Wasabi Cranberry Salad

I got this recipe on the back of a pre-packaged Dole salad - I believe it was the Tender Garden salad.  As I looked at the ingredients, I was like, oh yeah.  I'm sooo making this.  So I kept the recipe and I made it.  And it was fantastic.  My hubby looooved it, especially the bits of roasted butternut squash.

Wasabi Cranberry Salad

Salad Ingredients
Tender Garden pre-packaged salad (or whatever greens you have on hand.  I had a mix of arugula, spinach, and green leaf lettuce leftover from another green salad a few days earlier, and it tasted fine)
Smoked turkey (I just unfroze some leftover Thanksgiving turkey and tossed it in there, and it was great)
Oven-roasted butternut squash
Toasted pumpkin seeds (also called pepitas.  I found them in the Hispanic aisle of the grocery store)

Dressing Ingredients
2 Tbsp cider vinegar
1 Tbsp lemon juice
3 Tbsp dried cranberries
2 Tbsp chopped cilantro
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tsp. wasabi powder or paste
1 tsp. sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
salt and pepper, to taste

So first, you'll need to roast your squash.  Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Peel the skin off the whole squash.  Cut your squash in half lengthwise.  Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and goop.  Put the halves on a baking sheet, the side with the now-hole you scooped stuff out of, up.  Place 1 tsp of butter in that little hole.  Sprinkle brown sugar over all of the rest of the side of the squash that's facing up.  Roast for one hour.

I can't remember if I used the whole squash in my salad - I think I did.  I had enough greens to make two days of salad, so I used one half one day and the other half the other day.  Anyways, after the squash has roasted and cooled, slice it into bite-sized pieces and sprinkle it on top of your greens.  Add as much turkey as you want and as many pumpkin seeds as you want and toss it.

Put the dressing ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.  I only used half the dressing one day and half the dressing the other day for this salad.  You just kind of pour it on and toss it until you feel that there's a good dressing-to-greens ratio.  Sometimes if you pour too much, the salad gets soggy, and that's obnoxious.  So it's better to be careful and add a little at a time until you get the saturation you want.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Thumbprint Cookies

 Oh baby.  These are so good.  I might have to go snatch a couple before I pick up my son from preschool.
These are fantastic when you're looking to kind of...get rid of all that extra jam and jelly sitting in your fridge.  I end up accumulating a lot of jam and jelly.  People give it to me, plus I use it in some of my marinades.  I currently have orange marmalade, strawberry jam, peach jam, and apricot/pineapple jam. 

So I decided to whip up a batch of these puppies.  They're sooooo good.

Thumbprint Cookies

makes 2 dozen

1 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, separated
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups finely chopped pecans
jam or jelly, any flavor

Mix margarine, sugar, egg yolks, and vanilla.  Sift flour and salt, then add to the sugar mixture.  Roll dough into balls.  Beat egg whites slightly with fork.  Dip balls into egg whites.  Roll in nuts.   Place at least an inch apart on ungreased baking sheet.  Press thumb gently into center of each.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.  After they cool, fill them with the jams or jellies of your choice.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Cumin-Oregano Chicken

Sorry, dude, I forgot to take a picture of the chicken when it was done, so you get a picture of the rub I used. :) 

I got this recipe from Real Simple magazine (one of Ben's favorites) from October.  And dude, it was YUMMY.  Even my toddler ate this chicken, and he usually hates chicken.  Or any other kind of protein except for bologna and peanut butter.  So we were really happy with this.  I've doubled the recipe, since we're cooking for six.

Cumin-Oregano Chicken

2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

This recipe makes enough to season 3 pounds of protein.  Combine the ingredients in a small bowl.  Just before cooking, sprinkle the rub on the protein, pressing gently to help it adhere.  Cook in a 9X13 pan for one hour at 350 degrees. 

This can be used on any lean protein, from a fish fillet to a pork tenderloin.  I just did this with chicken.

Apple and Celery Salad with Peanuts

What a delightful surprise!!  Ben sent me a link about a week ago - it was a cute little article from about the "food horoscope" for the year.  It gave 12 recipes to try out for the 12 months of this year - healthy, yummy-looking recipes.  Last week, I tried a salad from the list; it was a bust for us.  So I was nervous about this salad.  But it was FANTASTIC!  And the lemon juice/olive oil dressing keeps the apples from browning, so you can have it a second night!!  I seriously could not get enough of this salad.

Apple and Celery Salad with Peanuts


2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
3 red apples, cut in bite-sized pieces
2 green apples, cut in bite-sized pieces
4 celery ribs, cut into 1/4-inch-thick julienne
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/3 cup peanuts, coarsely chopped


Whisk together the lemon juice, mustard, and olive oil.  Put the other ingredients in a large bowl.  Pour the lemon juice dressing on top and toss well.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Beef and Black Bean Chili

I got this out of the Better Homes and Gardens magazine for December 2012.  Oh my GOODNESS, was it ever good.  I had to double it for my family's use (I cook every other day and just make the meals very large so that we have leftovers on the second day), so you'll see the doubled recipe here.

Also, the directions say to put everything in a crock pot, which is awesome, but if you don't have the four hours to spare, you can certainly just simmer it on the stove for 20 minutes, because the beef is already pre-cooked and the vegetables are already softened in a skillet.  So. Just food for thought.

You know what makes this chili so good?  It actually has COCOA in it.

Beef and Black Bean Chili

24 oz. ground beef
2 large onions, chopped
2 green peppers
6 cloves garlic, minced
4 15- or 16-oz. cans black beans, rinsed and drained
2 28-oz cans diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cups beef broth
4 Tbsp. cocoa powder
4 Tbsp. chili powder
2 Tbsp. cumin
2 Tbsp. paprika
Toasted baguette slices (optional)
Sliced green onions (optional)

1.  In a large skillet, cook ground beef, onion, green pepper, and garlic over medium heat until browned.  Drain fat.  Transfer meat mixture to a slow cooker.  Add beans, tomatoes, broth, cocoa, chili powder, cumin, and paprika.
2.  Cover and cook on low heat setting for 8 to 10 hours or on high heat setting for 4 to 5 hours.  Top with baguette slices and green onions, if desired.  

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Pear-Lime Salsa

I was looking for something to go with some chicken enchiladas I made last night. (They were a new recipe, and I kind of felt...meh...about them, so I'm not putting them on here.  They're not shimmy-worthy.)  Anywho, I was making dinner for both my family and another family, so I wanted to make it nice and actually have three dishes on the plate instead of our normal two.  So I made this salad to go with it - which is one of my faaaaavorite Mexican salads, and then I saw a recipe for pear-lime salsa.  I thought it would be a perfect salsa for winter, with the pears and the lime juice and all. 
You can chop up the stuff and mix it all together, or you can throw it in the blender to mix it all together.  I like my salsa more runny, so I chose the blender.  If you make it chunky, it might not last overnight, since pears brown so quickly.  But my runny version is still looking and smelling very fresh today, which is great.

Pear-Lime Salsa

Makes 2 cups

2 medium shallots
1 poblano chili pepper, stemmed and seeded
2 pears, halved and cored
2 Tbsp lime juice
1/2 tsp. achiote powder or 3/8 tsp. chili flakes