Wednesday, December 31, 2008


This Chili was awesome. I actually found it on the internet a while ago and finally tried it last night. They say that it's "Wendy's" chili recipe. I made a few minor changes to it. This is probably the best chili I've ever eaten, and especially ever made.

1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. browned sausage
2, 15-oz. cans tomato sauce
2, 15-oz. cans kidney beans (with liquid)
2, 15 oz. cans pinto beans (with liquid)
1 cup diced onion (I minced mine up to smithereens as we're not fans of big onion chunks)
1/2 cup diced green chilies (2 chilies) OR 1 small can diced green chilies
1/4 cup celery stalk (1 stalk)
3 medium tomatoes, chopped
2 tsp. cumin powder
3 Tbsp. chili powder
1 1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups water

*You'll need a 6 qt. pot, dutch oven (LeCreuset type--not camping type), or crock-pot to make this. It makes a huge amount! Feed a crowd or freeze half for another meal.

1. Brown the ground beef and sausage. Drain off the fat.

2. In your large pot/dutch oven/crock-pot, combine all of the remaining ingredients.
*Crock Pot: place on high for 2 hours and low for the remaining cooking time (3-4 hours). Stir a few times .
*Pot/Dutch Oven: Bring to a simmer over low heat. Cook for 2 to 3 hours, stirring every 15 minutes.

*Serve with corn bread, crackers, or over a baked potato.

*Leftovers can be frozen for several months.
The Adults & the Kids LOVED it. Even my toddler gobbled it up!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

4-Star Brownies

Today, I have a holiday party to go to for one of my kids' class. I signed up to bring brownies. Of course, I look in my cabinet and find NO box mix of brownies. Ugh! Well, I have cocoa, and other baking items, so I'll do it the old-fashioned way. They turned out surprisingly good! Why only 4 stars and not 5...because a 5-star brownie for me is thick, a little gooey, warm, laced with caramel. This is a good basic brownie that you can make from scratch! Yummy and good with milk.

1 cup butter
2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 eggs
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup walnuts or chocolate chips (or both)

1. Melt the butter (or margarine). In a mixer (or with a hand mixer) mix all the ingredients in the order above.

2. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes in a 9x13" greased pan.

*You may frost them, but it isn't needed. You can even dust the brownies with powdered sugar (for presentation).

*Next time, we're going to try making it with Dark cocoa powder, as we love the richness of dark chocolate.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Hot Cocoa Mix

I am a huge fan of hot cocoa. I usually have at least 1 cup a day during the colder months--it warms me from the inside out and is very soothing. Have you noticed that a small can of semi-decent cocoa in the store is at least $4 and makes maybe 6 mug-fulls?? Expensive!! Well, I found this recipe in Good Housekeeping and thought I'd share it with you... I tried it this morning--and it was quick, easy, and awesomely delicious (and I'm pretty picky about my cocoa). I could see making up a batch and putting it in a cute tin as a nice (and useful) Christmas neighbor/friend gift. Hmmm....

1 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 1/4 cup sugar
6 oz. semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used semisweet chocolate chips)


1. In food processor, with knife blade attached, blend cocoa, sugar, chocolate, and 1/4 tsp. salt until almost smooth. Store in a tightly sealed container at room temperature up to 6 months.

2. To make cocoa: For each serving, in a microwave-safe mug, mix 3 Tbsp. Cocoa Mix with 1 cup milk. Microwave on High 1 1/2 to 2 minutes or until blended and hot, stirring once.

*Top with a dollop of whipped cream on top, or marshmallows.

Makes about 3 1/2 cups of mix.
18 servings.

*Mexican Spice
Prepare Cocoa Mix recipe as above, adding 2 tsp. ground cinnamon and 1/4 tsp. ground red pepper *cayenne) before blending in a processor.

*Vanilla Variation
Prepare Cocoa Mix recipe as above, adding half of a vanilla bean (pod and seeds) before blending in a processor.

A great tool for making hot cocoa...Mr. Coffee's "CocoMotion." It blend the cocoa so smoothly and makes it light and luscious. It retails for $10-$15 at places like Wal-Mart. I LOVE MINE. My brother and sister in-law got it for me 2 Christmases ago (they drew our name) and it was a great gift...packaged with mugs and cocoas.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

White Enchilada Casserole

We had this at a friend's house not too long ago. I got the main idea from her, and then came home and put it together as best as I could. It turned out great! (Thanks Ann for the great meal) I'm making it again tonight. I think it has found its way into our dinner rotation. Quick, easy and yummy (my 3 requirements for an inductee to our "dinner rotation").

12 corn tortillas
1-2 cups cut up or shredded chicken (left over chicken or canned chicken is great)
1 can cream of mushroom soup (98% fat free)
2 cups sour cream (I use light)
1/2 4 oz. can of diced green chillies (or if you really like chillies, use the whole can)
1 cup shredded mozzarella or jack cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9x9 baking dish with non-stick spray.

2. In a medium size mixing bowl, mix all of the above ingredients together EXCEPT the cheese.

3. Place 4 tortillas on the bottom of dish. Spread half of the cream/chicken mixture on this layer. Sprinkle 1/3 cup of the cheese over the cream/chicken mixture.

4. Again, place 4 more tortillas, mixture, and cheese (repeating above step). Finish with 4 tortillas on the top and your last 1/3 cup of cheese sprinkled.

5. Cover with foil. Cook for 40 minutes on 350.

This serves a family of 6 (2 adults 4 kids) well. For a larger group, double the recipe (but only use 3 cups sour cream) and place in a 9x13 size baking dish.

You can serve this alone, or over some tortilla chips (which was how we had it the first time at Ann's and since).