Slow Cooker Texas Beef Chili

Slow Cooker Texas Beef Chili 13

Do you hate beans but like chili? Do you like beans but also like chili that’s a little different? Do you like chili? If you answered yes to any of the previous questions then this chili is for you. It’s beanless and beefy and incredibly satisfying, which is good because though it may be spring SOMEWHERE, in Ottawa we’ve had some major flooding and on Monday it stopped raining enough to SNOW. ALL. DAY. So we kind of need something cockle-warming. This chili is adapted from one my parents found on the internet and printed out and that I stole off their fridge in Florida and smuggled across the border.

Slow Cooker Texas Beef Chili 1

Start with 2lbs cubed beef chuck or stewing beef, and huck that in a non-stick skillet on high to sear all the sides. Chuck the browned beef into a large slow-cooker pot.

Slow Cooker Texas Beef Chili 4

Next, add in 2 tablespoons Worcestershire (“wooster”) sauce, 1 cup beef broth, a 28oz can of diced tomatoes, and 2 tablespoons tomato paste. Now, the recipe did not say to drain the tomatoes so I didn’t and I found my chili ended up a bit on the watery side (I also added twice as many tomatoes as the recipe asked for). I thickened the sauce with some cornstarch later on and it turned out super awesome, but I’ll leave it to your discretion to either drain the tomatoes or use a smaller can.

Slow Cooker Texas Beef Chili 7

Dice up the following: 1 white onion, 2 red bell peppers, 2 large carrots, 2 celery stalks, and a couple large green chilis. I used Anaheim chilis because they are huge and not too hot and I wanted to be able to feed this to LongJohn. Gather as well 1 tablespoon chili powder, 2 teaspoons cumin, 2 teaspoons paprika (ours is smoked), 1 teaspoon onion powder, 2 teaspoons garlic powder, and 1 teaspoon salt. Chuck all that in the slow cooker.

Slow Cooker Texas Beef Chili 5

Slow Cooker Texas Beef Chili 8

Don’t forget to give it a bit of a stir.

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Cook that sucker on low for 8-12 hours, or on high for about 6.

Slow Cooker Texas Beef Chili 11

Before serving, juice 1 lime and add the juice to the mix.

Slow Cooker Texas Beef Chili 16

Serve garnished with either grated cheddar cheese, sour cream, or chopped cilantro (or all of the above, who are we kidding?).

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One Dish Chicken, Tomatoes, and Rice

One Dish Chicken Rice Tomato 17

I’m trying to eat more rice these days, and it’s been easy so far with delicious and simple dishes like this one. I then froze a chunk of this and it was oh-so-good, even leftover!

One Dish Chicken Rice Tomato 20

I had picked up some pre-seasoned chicken thighs from Farm Boy a while back and that was my base of things to go with. You can use unseasoned skinless chicken thighs, if you want: this is just what I had. I also had a litre of chicken broth, a 14oz can diced tomatoes, a 244g package of wild rice, a large sweet onion, and some pearl barley.

One Dish Chicken Rice Tomato 1
Photography tip: never photograph food in the full harsh light of the afternoon sun.

 

I also grabbed a healthy handful of pre-mixed Italian seasoning. While I was grabbing these things I preheated my oven to 350°F.

One Dish Chicken Rice Tomato 8
Clearly I am not very good at photography.

 

So I cut the onion in half and because it was so huge I only diced up half of it.

One Dish Chicken Rice Tomato 2
Or in following my own instructions.

 

One Dish Chicken Rice Tomato 3
More’s the pity.

 

On to my grains.

One Dish Chicken Rice Tomato 4

I wanted about two cups of the grains so that I could use all 4 cups of my chicken broth.

One Dish Chicken Rice Tomato 5

There was some math that needed to be done – I only hoped the juice from the tomatoes didn’t make things mushy.

One Dish Chicken Rice Tomato 9

So first I softened the onions in my big skillet with some butter and olive oil.

One Dish Chicken Rice Tomato 10

Then I tipped in the tomatoes and the broth.

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Then the uncooked grains.

One Dish Chicken Rice Tomato 12

I added a tablespoon or two of the Italian seasoning. Then I gave it a good stir.

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Then I slid in the chicken thighs so they were as on the top as possible. I could definitely have doubled the amount of chicken I used, considering how much leftover rice I had.

One Dish Chicken Rice Tomato 14

Then I hucked the whole thing in the oven for about an hour. You don’t even need to stir it.

One Dish Chicken Rice Tomato 16

And then this gorgeousness was born. Holy moly is it good!

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Rice Pilaf with Tomatoes

Pilaf with Tomatoes 14

I’ve been on a pilaf kick recently, ever since I had one at the Savoy last week and I can’t even deal with how good it was.  They’re really easy to make, too, just a few extra steps more than plain Jane rice.  Why not? This version serves 6 comfortably, with leftovers.

Pilaf with Tomatoes 1

I had half a 28oz can of diced tomatoes in the fridge as well as some shallots left over from probably Christmas so I figured I’d do something to use them up and take advantage of my overstock of Trader Joe’s Wild Rice Medley.

Pilaf with Tomatoes 3

I chopped up a handful of mushrooms and shallots and set those aside.

Pilaf with Tomatoes 2

Then I dumped a hunk of butter and some olive oil into a skillet and let that melt on medium-high heat.

Pilaf with Tomatoes 4

When it was all melted and foamy I tipped in 2 cups wild rice medley (you can use whichever rice you wish, of course).  I had a bit of black rice hanging around as well so I chucked that in too.

Pilaf with Tomatoes 5

Stir that around until it gets all coated with butter.  You’re basically toasting it here, so you want it to get a bit brown and smoky.

Pilaf with Tomatoes 7

Now you can add in your vegetables and stir them around a bit.

Pilaf with Tomatoes 8

I left the tomatoes until last because I wanted the onions and mushrooms to soften a bit.

Pilaf with Tomatoes 9

Now you add your stock.  Any stock you like.  Just make sure that it works according to your rice’s cooking directions.  This rice requires 2 1/2 cups liquid for every cup of rice.  I had 4 cups broth in my little carton here, plus a cup of liquid in the tomatoes.

Pilaf with Tomatoes 10

Give that a stir, then cover it and let it simmer for the allotted time given in the cooking directions (with mine it was 40 minutes).  I stirred mine occasionally, but only because I’m paranoid about burning rice.  I’m really good at burning rice.

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When it’s cooked take the lid off and remove it from the heat and let it sit for about ten minutes.

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We served ours next to a bed of greens and topped with a pan-seared half chicken breast.  It was lovely!

Pilaf with Tomatoes 16

Slow Cooker Dip Week: Bacon Cheeseburger

As a thank you for babysitting Ruby one weekend, Cait gave me these three wee 1.4 qt crock pots as a wee present.

Dips Week 1

Apparently Ruby is more evil than she looks.

IMAG0961-1

For our annual potluck, the Pie and I decided to make three hot dips and have them with crackers and vegetables for people to snack on while they waited for the rest of the food our guests to arrive.  As with all slow cooker meals, the prep pictures look prettier than the final shots, so you’ll just have to take my word for it that they’re well worth eating — so worth eating, I’m giving each dip its own post this week.  Today we’re making BACON CHEESEBURGER DIP.   This recipe is adapted from Betty Crocker.

Start with 8 slices of your favourite bacon.

Dips Week 4

Cook those up nice and crispy, then drain them on a paper towel.  When they’re cool enough, crumble them up with your fingers.  Save a few tablespoons for garnish later on.

Dips Week 9

Then, with your pan still hot (and redolent of bacon), chuck in 1/2lb lean ground beef and cook that stuff up until it’s no longer pink.  Drain that sucker.

Dips Week 19

Chuck the ground beef and your crumbled bacon into your 1.4qt slow cooker.  Turn it on to low.

Dips Week 22

Grate up 1 cup cheddar cheese and chuck that in, as well as a 10oz can diced tomatoes, juice included.

Dips Week 23

Cube up 1 8oz package plain cream cheese and add that in as well.

Dips Week 24

Cover and cook for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally, until everything is hot and bubbly and melted together.

Slice up a few handfuls parsley and chuck that in for colour.

Dips Week 25

We also sliced up some bell peppers for dippin’.  And crackers too.

Dips Week 26

Garnish with your remaining crumbled bacon and serve (it’s the one on the left).  Stay tuned for the rest!

Dips Week 32

Pork Ragu with Fettucine


Gren on a Saturday 5-3

Oh winter.

While Gren may adore this particular season (at least until his little feet get cold), I do not. Some days I just want to wrap myself up in as many blankets as I own (which is quite a few) and count down the days until spring. But I can’t, and this is why people invented comfort food.

This particular recipe comes from a recent issue of Real Simple magazine, and it does the trick. The Pie and I have a resolution to use our slow cooker more (because it’s AWESOME), and it was really nice to come home the other day to a house that smelled like awesome had been slow-cooking in it for hours and hours. And the preparation takes no time at all. I did ours the afternoon before, which was a weekend, and put it in the fridge overnight. Then before I left for work the next morning I popped the crock on the pot and turned it on and blamo kablam it was done.

Pork Ragu with Fettucine 4

So let’s get around to that preparation, shall we?

Start by scrubbing and chopping up a large carrot. I ended up using two because I wasn’t sure if mine qualified as large or not. Do the same with a medium onion and 2 cloves of garlic (I may have used the whole head, but I really like garlic and this head was pretty old).

Pork Ragu with Fettucine 1

For spices, you’re going to need about 1 teaspoon dried thyme, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, and about 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper. But feel free to add more or less if you choose.

Pork Ragu with Fettucine 2

You also need a large (14oz) can of diced tomatoes and a small can of tomato paste. The recipe calls for just 2 tablespoons of the paste, but that’s like a third of the can and I would just have to figure out what to do with the rest of it so I used the whole can.

Pork Ragu with Fettucine 3

Chuck all your vegetables and spices and canned goods in a 4-6 quart slow cooker (for scale, this one is 6 quarts).

Pork Ragu with Fettucine 6

And you need a hunk of pork shoulder or pork butt (haha, butt), about 1 1/2 lb.

Pork Ragu with Fettucine 7

Trim off the larger hunks of fat and cut the shoulder/butt in half.

Pork Ragu with Fettucine 9

Pop that in the slow cooker as well and give everything a stir to coat it in tomato juice (the acids in the tomatoes will help to tenderize that sucker).

Pork Ragu with Fettucine 12

Cover it and let it cook on high for 5 to 6 hours or low for 7 to 8 hours, until the pork is super dooper tender.

Pork Ragu with Fettucine 13

About twenty minutes before you want to eat, cook up a package of fettuccine according to the package instructions (normally fettuccine takes about 12 minutes to cook to al dente).

Pork Ragu with Fettucine 17

While that’s on the go, take two forks and shred all that lovely slow-cooked pork in the slow cooker.

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Pork Ragu with Fettucine 16

Drain your pasta and plop it into the slow cooker on top of the pork stuff and give it a thorough stir.

Pork Ragu with Fettucine 19

Serve, spraying bits of tomato juice everywhere (at least, that’s what I did). Grate some parmesan on top and eat your way into ragù heaven.

Pork Ragu with Fettucine 21

The recipe says it serves four but the Pie and I think that serving size is immense, so we would say that it more accurately serves 6-8, and it’s especially good the next day when all the juices have been sucked into the fettuccine. When I brought it to work everyone became jealous of my delicious leftover lunch.

Chicken Cacciatore

Chicken Cacciatore

Canadian Living always seems to have the best freezer-friendly recipes.  I haven’t tried this, but the stuff smelled great and when I licked my fingers to catch some spills I was quite happy.

I doubled the recipe, but the single batch makes 8 chicken thighs and a bunch of red delicious sauce.

Start with your vegetables.  Chop up an onion and a pepper.  I had some roasted red peppers in a jar so I used those as well to boost my quantities.

Chicken Cacciatore

Take 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs.  You can use bone-in ones to save money, but they will need to cook for twice as long.

Chicken Cacciatore

Toss them in a bowl with 2 tablespoons flour and some salt and pepper for seasoning.

Chicken Cacciatore

In a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat some olive oil and, working in batches, brown the chicken on both sides.  You don’t need to cook it all the way through — you just want a nice crispy edge.  That’s why I like the skillet.

Chicken Cacciatore

Transfer the chicken to a plate and drain any fat out of the pan (if you used skinless chicken this shouldn’t be a problem).

Chicken Cacciatore

Add a bit more oil to the skillet and fry up your onion and pepper, with a little bit of minced garlic and some Italian seasoning (or basil and oregano if you don’t have it).

Chicken Cacciatore

Pour in 1 can diced tomatoes and 1 can tomato paste and bring it to a boil. Because I doubled the recipe, I ran out of room in the skillet and had to move to a pot, alas.

Chicken Cacciatore

Add your chicken back in and simmer for about 20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.

Chicken Cacciatore

Serve over rice or pasta and sprinkled with parsley, or freeze for later, which is what I did.

Chicken Cacciatore

Sausage Stuffed Peppers

Thanks to everyone who stopped by on Friday and over the weekend from Freshly Pressed, and thanks for all your great comments!Sausage Stuffed Peppers

This is a strange experience.  I’m actually eating this meal (leftover) as I blog about it.  I have already gotten rice on the keyboard.  This is one of those recipes I wrote down as a child in my magic recipe book and which I haven’t made in twenty years.  But it was also another one of those if-I-have-to-eat-plain-sausage-AGAIN-I-will-throw-something nights so, it had to be done.  And of course I changed it around a bit.
Sausage Stuffed Peppers

First you take 4 red peppers, wash them, and cut the tops off.

Sausage Stuffed Peppers

Pull out all the guts.  If you wish, you can parboil them for a few minutes at this stage but I like my veggies crisp so I left them raw.  Spray a small oven-proof dish and pile them all in, open side up.

Sausage Stuffed Peppers

Preheat your oven to 350°F and cook up 1 cup of rice, or enough that you come up with 2 cups cooked rice when you’re done.

I made the mistake here of chopping up 1 large onion.  What you should really do is chop up 1 medium or small onion.  Plop those in a saucepan with some olive oil.

Sausage Stuffed Peppers

Squeeze the meat out of 1lb sausage (I used about a third less, and with the extra onion, mine ended up a little meh) and add them, together with a few teaspoons minced garlic, to the onions.  Sauté those until the onions are tender and the sausage is broken up into little bits and fully cooked.

Sausage Stuffed Peppers

Stir in the cooked rice.

Sausage Stuffed Peppers

Melt 3 tablespoons butter and add it to 1/2 cup bread crumbs.

Sausage Stuffed Peppers

Stir that around.

Sausage Stuffed Peppers

Stuff each pepper with as much of the rice-sausage mixture as will fit.

Sausage Stuffed Peppers

Squish it down a little at the top to make a shallow depression.

Sausage Stuffed Peppers

If you have extra rice, put it in a casserole dish.

Sausage Stuffed Peppers

Open up a can of diced tomatoes.  Spoon on a few pieces of tomato, enough to cover the top of the pepper, and be generous with the juice.

Sausage Stuffed Peppers

Use more on your extra rice.  See how the tomato juice kind of percolates down?

Sausage Stuffed Peppers

Top each pepper (and your casserole) with bread crumbs.

Sausage Stuffed Peppers

Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until everything is all bubbly and the bread crumbs are brown.  Serve hot!

Sausage Stuffed Peppers