Friday, October 28, 2011

Fall is here. Time for Chili!

It's that time of year. The cold is creeping in and a steaming hot bowl of chili could be just what you need to warm up! This recipe must be credited to our good friend Adam Haslag. After some googling I decided to tweak it just a little to see what would happen. It turned out just right.

2 lbs ground beef or ground turkey, browned
1/2 onion, diced
4 stalks celery
2 cans Brooks chili beans, one hot, one mild, undrained
1 can chunky Rotel, undrained
Williams tex mex chili seasoning
2 tsp. bakers chocolate
1 c. coca-cola (not diet!) or other cola drink
Tomato juice to taste.

Put all ingredients in a crock pot or large kettle or dutch oven. Pour tomato juice over it all until it is as thick or smooth as you like. Cook on high 4-6 hours or simmer on the stove.

The chocolate and cola add a layer of flavor that makes this the best chili I've ever had. Eventually I'd like to experiment with my own seasoning and eliminate the canned stuff, but for now this is perfect! If you like more veggies in your chili, adding more celery, some frozen corn, zucchini, carrots, and/or mushrooms would be great.

For dessert, what would be more appropriate for welcoming fall than fresh apple crisp? Pick a sturdy apple such as Granny Smiths.

Apple Crisp
Taken from Better Homes and Gardens Magazine, August 2010, Pg 152

1 1/2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour                                 8 c. peeled apples, sliced 1/2 in. thick
1 c. granulated sugar                                                         2 T fresh lemon juice (I used one lemon.)
1/3 c. packed brown sugar                                                1/4 c. granulated sugar
3/4 t. cinnamon                                                                  1 T unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 t. kosher salt                                                                1/2 t. kosher salt
2/3 c. unsalted butter, cut into pieces                                1/8 t. nutmeg
                                                                                         butter or cooking spray for dish

Preheat oven to 375. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. With your fingers or a pastry blender, work butter into flour mixture until it just begins to cling together. (The topping can be made up to a week in advance and stored in the refrigerator, or frozen for up to a month.)

In a large mixing bowl, toss together apples and lemon juice. In a small bowl, combine the sugar, flour, salt, and nutmeg. Sprinkle apples with sugar-nutmeg mix then mix well. Heap apples into a lightly buttered or sprayed 2-quart baking dish. Pile them high because they will shrink as they cook and you could end up with a sunken crisp. Cover the top of the apples with the crumb mixture, breaking up large piece as necessary.

Cover the dish with a layer of parchment then foil and bake for 20 minutes. Carefully remove the cover and bake for 30-40 minutes more until top is golden and apples are just tender. To ensure the flour is cooked, bake until thickened juices bubble up fro the fruit. Let cool 15-30 minutes before serving.

When I made this the cover flattened out the crust a little and I had to fluff it with a fork and bake a little longer which resulted in over cooked apples that more closely resembled sauce, but it was so delicious I can't say that was entirely a bad thing. Hubby said it was probably the best dessert he's ever had, besides homemade pecan pie. He wants me to add blueberries and pineapple next time...I have some pineapple languishing in the fridge that is about to go bad, (if it hasn't already) so maybe if I get my other things done quickly today, and my one year old cooperates, I can give that a go. (I need to get more apples so I can make that fruit leather recipe I keep putting off!) You can also try adding 1/2-1 c. of quick-cooking oats or walnuts to the crust. I was out of vanilla ice-cream so I served the crisp with left-over custard sauce from my last bread pudding. A perfect pairing! You can find the recipe here.

This morning we had a treat for breakfast. The kids have gotten tired of blueberry muffins and I was out of chocolate chips for the pancakes, so we did loaded blueberry pancakes. YUM! The pancake recipe can be found here. I've said it before but these are the lightest, butteriest pancakes I've ever had. I adjust it to 12 servings and just stick to 1/4 c. each of the vinegar, sugar, and butter. If you have extra, they freeze well.

Some were more loaded than others.

That's it for now. I'm off to try that bread again!

Go check out all the other great posts at the Homestead Barnhop!

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