Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Chili with a Kick

O this chili is so yummy! The hubbs and I have made it a couple of different times, and we love it. I think the beauty of this chili is that it is fairly easy, and it light on the beans...I love beans, but I always find that chili just has too many for my liking. This recipe has just the perfect kick, and the cocoa powder, although it sounds strange, really gives depth to the flavor of this meal. I can’t wait to eat it again...in a few months when the pregnancy heartburn stops! Enjoy it for me while I can’t!

Chili with a Kick
Printable Version

6 slices bacon
2 pounds ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves chopped garlic
Kosher salt
1/4 cup chili powder
1Tbs. ground cumin
2 tsp. paprika
2 tsp. dried oregano
2 Tbs. tomato paste
1 6-ounce bottle lager beer
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 28-ounce can fire roasted tomatoes
2  cups beef broth, plus more if needed
2 15-ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon hot sauce
Shredded cheddar cheese
Sour cream

Cook the bacon in a large saucepan over medium heat until crisp, 6 to 8 minutes per side. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate and let cool, then mince. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon drippings from the saucepan and reserve the drippings.

Increase the heat to medium high, add the beef and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until browned, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate using a slotted spoon; wipe out the pan.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the reserved bacon drippings in the saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and 1 teaspoon salt and cook 2 minutes. Add all spices and tomato paste and cook, stirring, until the tomato paste is brick red, a few minutes. Add the beer and simmer until almost completely reduced, about 3 minutes.

Stir in the beef, cocoa powder, tomatoes, beef broth and beans and bring to a simmer over low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chili thickens slightly, about 1 hour, 30 minutes.

Stir the hot sauce into the chili and season with salt. Ladle into bowls and top with the crumbled bacon, cheese, and sour cream.

Recipe adapted from Food Network Magazine
Serves 8

Monday, January 23, 2012

Creamy Garlic Cheese Bread

I just asked my hubbs what we should call this bread. We came up with lots of names that would make you feel extremely fat, and in the end, really persuade you away from making this delicious side dish. Let’s just say...eat this on your “off” day. Or, eat this bread on a day when you are going to get in a really good calorie burn workout! Anyway, if you are still on board to eat some amazing, creamy, cheese garlic bread, read on...!

Creamy Garlic Cheese Bread
Printable Version

4 cups Colby Jack Cheese, grated (or cheese of your choice
1/2 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 cup (Real) Mayonnaise
1 dash Salt
1 loaf Crusty French Bread
1/2 stick Butter
4 cloves Garlic, Finely Minced

Mix cheeses with the mayonnaise, and add dash of salt to taste.

Cut loaf of bread in half lengthwise,  then cut each half in half to make 4-1/4 length loaves of bread.
Working 1/4 loaf at a time, melt 1 tablespoon butter in a skillet and add 1 clove of minced garlic. Place 1 of the 1/4 loaves face down in the skillet, swirling it to soak up the butter and garlic. Allow bread to toast in the skillet, removing garlic if it starts to get too brown.

Repeat with remaining butter, garlic, and bread.

Spread cheese mixture evenly on loaves and bake in a 425 degree oven until cheese is hot and bubbly, about 10 minutes.

Recipe adapted from Pioneer Woman Cooks

Friday, January 20, 2012

Chicken Alfredo Roll-ups

Let’s mix it up a little...Lasagna, rolled up in individual portions, with alfredo sauce instead of tomato sauce. Not to mention the perfect rolls plopped onto your plate...they make for a much prettier show than the normal slop of a lasagna serving! These little babies were amazing! I switched the original recipe up quite a bit, and I would 100% recommend making homemade alfredo sauce. But, if you know me, you know I just CAN’T stand pre-made alfredo. Ew. Ew. EEW. I put my yum-o garlic alfredo sauce at the end of this recipe, just in case you share in my disdain! Oooo...and if you served these Divine Breadsticks with the roll-ups...you would be famous:)

Chicken Alfredo Roll-ups
Printable Version

9 lasagna noodles
2 ½ cups alfredo sauce (optional homemade recipe below)
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
garlic salt
3 cups shredded Mozzarella, or cheese of your choice

Spray an 8x8 pan with non-stick spray and pour ½ cup alfredo sauce, or just enough to cover the bottom of the pan. Boil 8-10 cups water in a large pan, cook lasagne noodles until al dente. (I usually cook 1 or 2 extra just because lasagna noodles always seem to break on me when I am stirring them.)
Now this is the important part! Drain and rinse the noodles with cold water to prevent them from sticking to each other. Then, lay out each noodle individually and blot dry with a paper towel.

Spread about 2 Tbs. alfredo sauce over each noodle. (if there is too much sauce you will have a big mess on your hands!) Sprinkle oregano and garlic salt on top of sauce. Take 1/9 of the shredded chicken and spread it out evenly over each noodle. Add approx. 3 Tbs. cheese. To roll up, start at one end and roll the noodle over the toppings. You will need to lift the noodle a little to prevent squishing out the inside ingredients while rolling.

Place the roll-ups in the pan, one by one, seam-side down so they don't come undone. Once they are all in the pan, pour the remaining alfredo sauce over the top. Top with remaining cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until the cheese is completely melted on top.

Serves 3, 3 roll-ups each
Recipe highly adapted from Artsyfartsymama.blogspot.com

The Best Garlic Alfredo Sauce
Printable Version

½ cup butter
2 ounces cream cheese
2 cups heavy cream (or substitute half and half)
2 teaspoon garlic powder
½  tsp. fresh minced garlic
salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp dried oregano
⅔ cup parmesan cheese

In a medium to large saucepan melt the butter over medium heat. Add fresh minced garlic and cook for 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add the cream cheese and whisk to smooth and melted. Whisk in the heavy cream.
Season with the garlic powder, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and whisk frequently until sauce thickens, around 15 minutes. Stir in the cheese and when melted, remove from heat and serve.

Makes 2 ½ cups
Recipe from Momma!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Divine Breadsticks

There is no better name for these than DIVINE! I thought Cody was going to have a heart attack (okay, so he wasn't quite that enthusiastic, but, he did say they were the best that he had ever eaten!) Anyway, I cannot thank Melanie enough for bring this recipe into my life! It will probably be on our menu weekly, if Cody gets his way! One amazing thing that I love about these is the crispy yet tender bottom of them. Butter is melted in the bottom of the pan prior to baking them, and this really makes those bottoms yummy!

Divine Breadsticks

1 ½ cup warm water
1 tablespoon yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
3 ½ cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 Tbs. butter

Mix all ingredients (except butter) and knead for three minutes. Let stand 10 minutes. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Melt 2 Tbs. butter on baking pan (I used a cookie sheet with edges on it). Roll out dough about 1/8-inch thick and cut into strips. Place in butter on the pan and put close together. Sticks may be twisted by themselves or twisted with another strip if desired.

I found that the twisted ones were a bit fluffier, which we loved! Brush an additional 1 Tbs. of butter on top of each individual stick. Sprinkle with garlic salt and parmesan cheese. Cover and let rise 30 minutes. Bake 15 minutes at 375 degrees.