Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Damn these times

I haven't been cooking much at all these days. Two reasons I suppose. One, I am feeling totally uninspired lately. I think it's the produce this time of year. The other is money. Damn these times. I have been trying to make more sensible dishes that will last us a few days and don't cost so much to make. I have also been going the simpler route. I feel so horrible when I am standing in the kitchen cooking all the time and Lucy is just playing all by herself. I don't want her to have these memories of me neglecting her all the time while I cooked. That makes me sad. I hope to soon have her start helping me cook. Just the other day she made her first mini pizza. We bought English muffins, pizza sauce, black olives and some cheese. She sat up at the table and put it together all by herself. We made more for dinner and she even made one for daddy. I want her to have the same memories I had with my family cooking. If it weren't for my family I don't think I would enjoy food and cooking so much. Thanks!

Two Rachael Ray recipes this week. I haven't had one thing yet that I don't like. I am also really good at picking out recipes too though. I am convinced though that I would like anything she makes.

On Sunday I made Uptown Downhome Chili. There are so many things I love about this chili. It makes a huge batch so it literally feeds you for days. We ate it for four days with no complaints. Yeah, it's that good. It's full of veggies. It's totally forgiving which you know I like. I love to add my own twists and change things up a little. I used one small container of baby bells instead of the big portabells caps because they were on sale and instead of the shiitake I bought regular button mushrooms and used almost all of those too. I used only a pound and a half of beef to save money. I added a can of pinto beans into the mix to thicken it up and make up for the beef I left out. I also used one small red pepper and one small yellow pepper. I like to add as many veggies as possible. I accidentally used the whole can of beef stock because I didn't read the recipe but you know what, it all worked out in the end since I added those beans and had the extra veggies. It was delicious. I love it so so much. We had it one other time at my parents house. It's really an amazing chili. I know I will always keep it in my files for another time.

Yes, the other recipe is a soup too. Chipotle Pumpkin Black Bean Soup What a simple soup and so delicious. Very warming and of course the day I decide to make it, it's the one nice day of fall. Oh well. Maybe it will be cooler tomorrow.

Me and Lucy were looking through Yum-O, yeah so what, another Rachael Ray, and saw some baked apples (My Mom's Baked Apples) in there and decided to give them a whirl. It was totally on a whim, but they turned out really yummy. I didn't have Grape Nuts on hand but did have Quaker Oatmeal Squares (the brown sugar variety) and used those instead. We also used raisins instead of currants. (Dude, who has currants on hand?) I really enjoyed it. Lucy loved it and suprisingly she liked eating the baked apple more thant the filling. It was super easy and a lot of fun.

Last night I created my own chili and I have to say it turned out amazing. So here it is. Please give it a try and let me know how what you think of it.

Liz's Chili

1 large white onion minced
4 garlic cloves minced
2 red bell peppers diced
2 14.5 oz cans diced fire roasted tomatoes
1 bottle Mexican beer
1.5 lb of ground sirloin (I actually used closer to two pounds because I love it meaty and thick)
2-3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce seeded and minced or 1 T chipotle pepper powder
1 can pinto beans rinsed and drained
1 t cumin
1 heaping tablespoon of Masa (corn meal flour used to thicken and flavor the chili)
salt and pepper

Man what a simple recipe. Saute the onion in a tablespoon or two of canola or vegetable oil. Add the beef and cook until almost done. Remove beef and onion from the pan. Saute the peppers and garlic together until softened. Add the beef back into the pan. Season with the cumin, salt, pepper, chipotle. Stir to combine and cook about 2 minutes. Pour in the beer and cook another two minutes. Dump in the tomatoes undrained and stir. Sprinkle on the Masa and stir until combined. Heat a few minutes and then add the beans. Cook for about 10-20 minutes until it has reached a desired consistency. Enjoy. This is a wonderful, hearty chili recipe sure to get you through winter.


  1. "Who has currants on hand?" - LOL! Everything sounds so yummy!

  2. Yes, I agree these times are tough! But sometimes it's nice to experiment with our good-old (less expensive) stand by recipes, and chilli is definitely one of them. Yours look/sound delish!