Why did the Invisible Man flunk out of school? Because the teacher kept marking him absent! This was the best joke that I heard this year….and honestly, it wasn’t that great. I heard all of the “oldies but goodies” but there still wasn’t anything that made me laugh uncontrollably. Well, there was that 2-year-old that said, “whole bunch” and held up his pumpkin after I gave him 2 pieces of candy. Apparently he wanted more. It was cute, and it worked, but his parents were mortified. Hey, at least he knows how to ask for what he wants.
What’s Halloween without chili? It’s like Thanksgiving without turkey, Christmas without snow, St. Patrick’s day without beer, Mardi Gras without….um, well, I’ll skip that one. Each year I make chili for Halloween. I take that back, the hubby usually makes beef chili and I make my chicken chili. This year we decided to find a recipe for chili and make a big pot of only 1 kind of chili. I searched through Allrecipes and came across one of their highest rated recipes. Of course I had to adapt it to make it my own, including making it a slow cooker recipe. If I can put something in the crockpot to cook all day, I will do it!
The hardest part of this recipe is chopping up all of the fresh veggies. You could probably put it all in a food processor or buy pre-chopped to save time. Either way, this recipe is pretty simple and very forgiving. If you don’t have the beans that the recipe calls for, use what you do have…within reason. I’m pretty sure that you wouldn’t want to use baked beans or garbanzo beans, but hopefully you already knew that.
I adapted my version to be gluten free by using this bouillon. But you can use regular bouillon if you don’t have an issue with gluten.
This recipe makes a TON of chili, so be prepared to feed a crowd or have tons of leftovers. I guess I need to start researching recipes that will help me use up my leftover chili. We’ve already done chili dogs, so maybe some chili mac??? Anyone want to come over for some chili?!
This recipe has been shared at:
A Southern Fairytale
11th Heaven’s Homemaking Haven
Cheri’s Slow Cooker Chili
Adapted from: Allrecipes.com
2 pounds ground beef
1 1/2 pounds bulk Italian sausage
3/4 cup water
4 cubes beef bouillon
1/4 cup chili powder
2 (15 ounce) cans chili beans, drained
2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, drained
2 (28 ounce) cans petite diced tomatoes with juice
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 orange bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 (4 ounce) can diced green chiles
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons white sugar
In large skillet, brown ground beef and sausage. Drain and add to large crockpot. Dissolve bouillon in water to form a concentrated broth and pour into crockpot. Add the reminder of the ingredients to the crockpot, stir to combine and cook on low for up to 8 hours. *I prepared this the night before and just stored in the fridge and put it in the crockpot the following morning.
02 Nov 2011 Leave a Comment
31 Oct 2011 1 Comment
Is there a website that just sells 1 shoe? There has to be. I couldn’t possibly be the only person out there that has a dog that chews up just 1 of their shoes on a regular basis. I wish someone could explain to me why our dog only chews up 1 shoe and they are only MINE. The children could leave shoes on the floor for a month, but if I leave a pair of shoes out, she takes only one and tears up only the important parts like the tips of the heel or one of the loops for the shoe strings. Why can’t she just chew up the laces??? Anyway, if you find a website that sells single shoes, let me know. I have a closet full of single shoes.
When I first started cooking, I had no idea what “roasting” potatoes meant. I thought it was some complicated cooking technique that was too much for me to handle. Um, wrong! Roasted red potatoes are one of my family’s favorite dishes, and it’s the easiest way to add potatoes to a quick, weeknight meal. These can be prepared in 5 minutes. The thing that takes the longest is baking them. This recipe is very versatile and can be used with veggies as well. I’ve added squash, carrots, sweet potatoes and asparagus and they all taste great. Potatoes take longer to bake, so reduce the cooking time for veggies. I served these with the hubby’s favorite slow-cooker roast beef (recipe coming soon).
Roasted Red Potatoes
Recipe by: The Accidental Cook
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. italian seasoning
2 tsp. salt + more for seasoning
3 cups red potatoes, cubed
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray.
Place in oven and bake for 20 minutes. Stir potatoes and continue to cook for an additional 10-15 minutes. Cooking time varies depending on the size of your potatoes. The potatoes are done when they are crispy on the outside. Serve immediately.
30 Oct 2011 Leave a Comment
My blog should be named…Everyday I dream of Bread. I have an issue with bread. I love everything about it…I love to eat it and I love to make it. There are so many things you can do with bread. It can be used for sandwiches, Thanksgiving stuffing, French toast, bread crumbs, croutons, and almost anything else that is awesome.
The worst part about having Celiac disease, at least what I think would be the worst part, is not being able to eat regular breads. The gluten-free breads are ok, but they aren’t stellar. We pretend like they taste good, and to someone that can’t eat the regular stuff, it’s better than nothing, or a poke in the eye.
So this morning, the hubby suggested that we have chicken pot pie for dinner. I started looking around for a gluten-free recipe and then I remembered that I had just bought a box of gluten-free Bisquick mix. The main reason that I ever started buying Bisquick was to make the cheddar bay biscuits that they serve at Red Lobster. Which gave me the idea that became this recipe. Could I top the pot pie mixture with a layer of cheddar bay biscuits? Oh yes I can!!! Everything about this recipe was perfect, except the hubby thought the topping was too thick, so I posted the recipe for half of the topping mixture, and that should be the perfect amount.
You could make this recipe using regular flour and regular Bisquick, just decrease the amount of milk by half in the topping mix. If you or someone you know has issues with gluten, make this for them. It’s so good that I had 3 helpings.
Cheesy Chicken Pot Pie
Recipe by: The Accidental Cook
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1/4 cup gluten-free flour (I used Andrea’s)
3 cups chicken broth
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
1 cup cooked chicken, chopped
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/2 cup whole kernel corn
2 whole carrots, chopped
2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 1/4 cups gluten-free Bisquick
2 tablespoons cold butter
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2/3 cups cold milk
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
1/8 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In large skillet over medium/high heat, melt butter. Add onions and sauté until translucent. Add garlic and sauté for another minute. Sprinkle the onions with flour and stir until the flour is completely mixed into the onions. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth, and continue whisking until the mixture starts to simmer and becomes thick. Add in the chicken, peas, corn, carrots and potatoes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Continue simmering over low heat and prepare the top crust.
Pour Bisquick in a large bowl. Add in the chilled butter and use a pastry cutter, pizza wheel or 2 knives to cut in the butter to the Bisquick until is resembles small pebbles. Add in milk, cheese and garlic powder and mix until just combined.
Remove vegetables from heat and pour into a 9×9 baking dish. Spoon the topping mix over the top of the vegetables and spread to cover the entire dish.
Place in preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes. Place a cookie sheet underneath the pan to catch any drippings.
Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons butter and add garlic, parsley and salt. After the pot pie has been baking for 15 minutes, brush the top with the butter mixture and return to the oven for another 5 minutes.
Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
27 Oct 2011 1 Comment
Comfort food! We all have our opinion of what comfort food should be. What’s yours? Mine are a big pot of chicken and dumplings, mashed potatoes, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, Campbell’s chicken noodle soup and lasagna. If you’ve never made homemade lasagna, you cannot fully appreciate the time that goes into preparing it, especially if you make your sauce from scratch as well. I don’t care how many times you see commercials advertising delicious homemade lasagna from a box, or canned lasagna – Um really? – there is nothing that will beat a good slice of freshly prepared lasagna. Now, I didn’t go all out and make my noodles from scratch, but everything else was made from ingredients and not a mix from a box.
My Sous Chef was super excited about making lasagna. He wanted to make it without my help. I gave him the task of preparing the tomato sauce, and provided him with a simple recipe to use. He followed the instructions perfectly, but then I went behind him and added in a little of this and a little of that to make it our own special sauce. It really turned out great. I was so proud of him and a little proud of myself for creating my own recipe that didn’t completely fail! Woo hooo!
Feel free to use “no-boil” noodles for your lasagna – I did. Mine were actually gluten-free, no boil noodles (details here).
I made an entire pan of this lasagna and planned to take a picture of a cut piece, but it never happened. The lasagna was gone by the next evening. The hubby had 3 pieces for lunch! I told him that he would have to workout for at least 3 extra hours to work it off! This recipe isn’t something you want to eat everyday. I hope you will make this for your family. It really is worth the extra effort.
I have included the recipe below with step-by-step photos to help you with layering the lasagna. A link to a printable version (no pics included) can be found below.
Cheri’s Homemade Lasagna with Crockpot Tomato Sauce
Recipe by: The Accidental Cook
2 cans tomato paste (6 ozs.)
2 cans diced tomatoes (14.5 ozs.)
1 tbsp. granulated sugar
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. oregano
2 tsp. parsley
1 bay leaf
1 lb. Italian sausage
1 lb. ground beef
1 tbsp. chopped garlic
½ cup chopped onion
1 box Lasagna Noodles
16 ozs. Small curd cottage cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Add tomato paste, diced tomatoes, sugar, salt, oregano, parsley and bay leaf to large crockpot. Cook on low for 5 hours.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, add Italian sausage, ground beef, garlic and onions and cook until all meat is browned. Drain and then add meat mixture to the tomato mixture in the crockpot. Continue cooking for 4 hours.
Prepare lasagna noodles according to directions on box. I used “no-boil” noodles.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare a large baking dish (9×7) by spraying with a non-stick cooking spray.
In a small bowl, combine cottage cheese, parmesan cheese, and egg.
Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 15 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.
27 Oct 2011 6 Comments
The Daring Baker’s October 2011 challenge was Povitica, hosted by Jenni of The Gingered Whisk. Povitica is a traditional Eastern European Dessert Bread that is as lovely to look at as it is to eat!
Have you ever heard of Povitica? I hadn’t until this challenge. Honestly, I really didn’t want to participate because this recipe seemed quite difficult. There were so many steps that I even missed one. Oops! I started watching the other bakers as they finished their challenges and became inspired. Their loaves turned out so beautifully and I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it as well. I also wanted an excuse to use one of my most prized possessions, besides my Kitchen Aid mixer, my marble rolling pin which was handed down to me from my mom who received it from her Aunt. I remember seeing that rolling pin in my great aunt’s dining room when I was a kid, and I always thought it was so cool. I bet she never could have imagined that it would end up in my hands and that I’d be using it weekly….thanks Aunt Iva!
As I say with most of my Daring Cooks recipes, this isn’t for the novice baker. In fact, it almost wasn’t for me either. The thought of rolling out that dough and having to fold it really scared me. But it wasn’t tough at all. I should have known better. There have been many times in my life that I was scared of something that turned out to be less painful than expect or not painful at all. I guess the lesson in all of this is to always give yourself the opportunity to know if you like something or not. I almost declined to participate in this challenge because I thought it would be too hard. I’m so glad I didn’t. This Povitica was delicious! My children loved it, my friend loved it and even the neighbors liked it. If you are looking for a challenge and a way to impress a guest that may be from Eastern Europe, make them a Povitica.
To activate the Yeast:
½ Teaspoon Sugar
¼ Teaspoon All-Purpose Flour
2 Tablespoons Warm Water
1½ Teaspoons (1 package) Rapid Rising Yeast
½ Cup Whole Milk
3 Tablespoons Sugar
3/4 Teaspoon Salt
1 Large Egg
1 tablespoon Unsalted Butter, melted
2 cups All-Purpose Flour, measure first then sift, divided
(I accidentally forgot this step)
2 Tablespoons Cold STRONG Coffee
1½ Teaspoons Granulated Sugar
Adapted from: Sweet Pea’s Kitchen http://sweetpeaskitchen.com/2011/03/23/caramel-crumb-bars/
1 stick unsalted butter
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 cans (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
To activate the yeast:
To prepare the dough:
In a large bowl of a stand mixer, combine the milk, 3 tbsp. sugar, and the salt. Add the beaten egg, melted butter and 1/2 cup of the flour. Switch to the dough hook (or remove and knead the rest of the flour in by hand), kneading with the dough hook and adding in the flour until the dough starts to clean the bowl. I used almost all of the 2 cups of flour. Remove from the bowl and knead in any additional flour until the surface of the dough is smooth and does not stick.
To prepare the filling:
Rolling and Assembling the Bread:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
After the caramel is spread out completely, begin rolling the dough into a long snake. Use the sheet to lift up and let the dough roll itself up like a jelly roll. This technique works really well.
Mix coffee and sugar and brush over the top of the bread and place in preheated oven.
Bake at 350 for 15 minutes and then lower temperature to 300 and then bake for an additional 45 minutes.
Let bread sit in pan for 30 minutes, although I used a knife to ensure that the caramel wouldn’t stick and make it impossible to remove from the pan.
26 Oct 2011 Leave a Comment
Have you ever taken a recipe out of a magazine or a book expecting it to be one of the best recipes you have ever made? If you answered yes, then you will understand the next question. Did that recipe totally suck? I’m sure you have experienced this at least once in your life. You see something that sounds so good on paper, and yet it completely fails to deliver in the end. Most of the time it usually sucks because it’s too bland. This happened to me quite often when I was first learning to cook. I can honestly say that Allrecipes.com changed my life. When I first visited the site, it was the first time that I was actually able to see what others thought of a recipe and then I could decide whether or not to make the recipe based on that information. I am a huge fan of Allrecipes, and I spend a lot of time at that site.
Several years ago, my children came home with one of those lovely magazine fundraisers that the school puts on. I really dislike fundraisers. I understand why they are important, but it would be nice if we could opt out of all the drama and just mail a check. I have actually done that before and it worked out beautifully. But, back in 2008, I felt the need to actually order something, so I ordered Everyday with Rachael Ray. I must admit…I am not a huge fan of most of her recipes because they are a little strange. I prefer simple ingredients that aren’t going to cost me a fortune. I suppose that’s why I was drawn to her Apple Slump recipe. I had never heard of apple slump, but I knew I had a full bag of apples that needed to be used, so this looked like the perfect recipe. I tried it back then, using gluten-free flour, and it was fantastic. This was not one of those instances that I talked about above. It did not suck! So, when I came home from the grocery store yesterday with a big bag of apples, I immediately thought of this recipe. My Sous Chef, a.k.a. my son, and I made this dish together. He sliced all of the apples for me using my handy dandy corer, peeler, slicer machine. This recipe came together pretty quickly. If you don’t have one of those “apple thingys,” get one. It makes preparing apples for pies and other desserts really simple.
This recipe was copied from the 2008 issue of Everyday with Rachael Ray. The only adaptation that I made was to use gluten-free flour, but I recommend regular flour if you don’t require a special diet.
Recipe from: Everyday with Rachael Ray
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus 3 tablespoons chopped and chilled
2-1/4 pounds fuji or granny smith apples, peeled and chopped into small chunks
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon flour (gluten-free or regular)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup whole milk
25 Oct 2011 3 Comments
St. Louis is famous for a lot of things, at least we like to think that we are. We have a wonderful area here called “The Hill.” This area is full of Italian restaurants, grocery stores and bakeries that have some of the most wonderful items in St. Louis. I have eaten at quite a few of these restaurants, but I have never eaten at Zia’s. And, I STILL haven’t eaten AT Zia’s, but I had the pleasure of trying out their new food truck on Monday.
New food trucks continue to show up outside of my office everyday. We now have the Sausage Syndicate, Big Balls and Zia’s. I haven’t been real excited about trying the first 2, but as soon as I saw Zia’s, I knew I had to try them. I could smell the garlic wafting through the elevators as I made my way down to the first floor.
They have a small menu, but they have some really great items such as toasted raviolis, Portabello mushroom ravioli, sausage sandwiches, and a house salad. I opted for the mushroom ravioli and house salad.
I was cautiously optimistic about the ravioli. It seemed impossible for those ravioli to be very good because 1) they came out of a food truck and 2) I was locked out of my building for about 10 minutes after I got my piping hot raviolis, so they would most certainly be cold and gross. Boy was I wrong! This food was fantastic. The raviolis were some of the best I have ever had, AND they came out of a truck and not from a waiter at a fancy restaurant. This food was cooked to order, and it showed. The taste was phenomenal! The salad was exactly as expected. It was nothing special, but it was exactly what I expected and wanted. It was fresh and the perfect side to my mouth-watering ravioli. The total cost of my meal, $11! I know that sounds like a lot for lunch, but if you just got the ravioli, it was only $7. I think that’s a steal for the quality, quantity and the fresh veggies that were included.
If you want to find out where this food truck will be and to see their full menu, visit them on Facebook (link here). Check them out soon. I’m certain that this will be one of the more popular trucks and the lines will be long!
24 Oct 2011 3 Comments
I like to think that I’m an awesome chef. Ok, I’m not a chef at all. In fact, I’ve only been trained by all of the wonderful bloggers and websites out there. I have no formal training in cooking and baking.
As I was talking to the hubby a few nights ago, I made a really dumb comment. I said,
“I’m actually a pretty good cook, I hardly mess up recipes. Everyone makes it sound like cooking and baking are so difficult; I just don’t understand why they say that. Cooking and baking are so easy, I don’t know how people mess up recipes so badly.”
Leave it to the hubby to put me back in my place…he said, “so, like when you baked that pumpkin pie without sugar.” Dang! He got me with that one. He had a few others that I had conveniently forgotten. Oh well, let me live in my fantasy world please.
One of the dishes that I completely screw up everytime is homemade hashbrowns. My husband has perfected the art of making hashbrowns from scratch. He grates the potatoes himself and fries them up perfectly. He is a hashbrown connoisseur. Well, on Sunday morning he made a mistake. He decided to take his motorcycle for a ride to the grocery store to get sugar, leaving me with the task of preparing the hashbrowns. I told him that I would happily go to the grocery store, mostly because I knew I was going to have to cook those darn hashbrowns if I stayed home. And, he eagerly handed over the “hashbrown cooking” reins to me so he could ride his motorcycle, even it was only for a short distance. Neither of us wanted to cook the hashbrowns, but the potatoes had already been peeled. I should have made a different recipe, but instead I forged ahead with my husband’s original plan.
It always seems like such a simple recipe; shred the potatoes, heat some oil and fry. But it never turns out this way for me. The potatoes always end up burnt, there is never enough oil and they are raw in the middle. This Sunday was no exception – burn, raw potatoes. I vowed to concur this dish, and I WILL do it. I’m going to make hashbrowns to rival the ones they make at Denny’s! Watch out!
I just realized that I have been rambling on and on about potatoes and this post really has nothing to do with potatoes. I better get back on task….
Sunday is a big cooking and baking day for me. I love to spend the entire day in my kitchen baking up the fancy things that I don’t have time for during the week. I decided that homemade lasagna would be the perfect Sunday dinner for us, paired with some homemade garlic bread. YUM! I’m going to post the lasagna recipe next, so watch for it.
I made this french bread a few weeks ago, and it is really easy and good. I figured it would be a good bread to use for fresh garlic bread. My 11-year-old son was my Sous Chef, and I was really excited to teach him how to make bread. He was such a big help and I’m hoping that by teaching him early, he will be able to cook for his family when he gets older. We had such a great time cooking together.
We prepared the french loaves (recipe found here), and then made it in to garlic bread. It was so fresh and delicious. I’m somewhat upset that I didn’t bring some to work for lunch, but it will be waiting for me when I get home. Enjoy!
By: The Accidental Cook
1 loaf fresh french bread, sliced in half
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 tbsp. minced garlic (more or less depending on taste preference)
1 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. parsley
1/2 tsp. salt
Combine all ingredients in small bowl, mixing until completely smooth and light. Spread butter mixture on each half of french bread.
Preheat your oven broiler. Place bread on baking sheet underneath broiler and broil for 5-6 minutes, or until bread reaches your desired level of doneness. Serve immediately.
21 Oct 2011 1 Comment
Pumpkin. Why are there so many pumpkin recipes? It seems that October is all about pumpkins and apples. November is as well. I guess it could be worse, it could be all about brussel sprouts and olives. VILE! I guess it’s good that I love both apples AND pumpkins.
I was talking with a coworker yesterday about baking a pumpkin cheesecake, and she inspired me to make pumpkin cheesecake brownies. I’ve never made these or even tried them. But, I know I love pumpkin and I know I love brownies. They have to be a good combination. The inspiration for my brownies came from another blogger at Pass the Sushi . Her pictures looked yummy, so I knew this was going to be good. I did use my own brownie recipe, found here, but I followed her recipe for the cheesecake. What I didn’t do was follow her instructions. Oops! The cheesecake was supposed to be layered in the middle of the brownies. If you make the same mistake that I did, you will understand why she said to layer the cheesecake in the middle. The cheesecake is heavy and causes the brownies to sink. They still taste ok, but they certainly didn’t look as pretty as I’d hoped. I will write the correct instructions below, including using a smaller pan so you can get thicker brownies. I think these would be much better if they were thicker. But, they do taste really good, and the pumpkin cheesecake layer smells delicious.
Pumpkin Cheesecake Swirl Brownies
Adapted from: Pass the Sushi and Allrecipes.com
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 oz cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9×9 inch baking pan.
For brownie layers – in a medium bowl, mix together the oil, sugar, and vanilla. Beat in eggs. Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt; gradually stir into the egg mixture until well blended. Spread half the batter evenly into the prepared pan.
For cheesecake layer – Cream together cream cheese and sugar. Continue mixing and add in egg, flour, pumpkin, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger and cloves, scraping down the sides of the bowl, until well mixed.
Pour cheesecake mixture on top of the first layer of brownie mixture and then top with remaining brownie mixture.
Using a butter knife, slowly swirl the mixture to ensure that the brownie and cheesecake layers are swirled together. This is done by slowly pulling the knife through the mixture horizontally first and then vertically. Do not stir or mix.
Place brownies in oven. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the brownie begins to pull away from edges of pan and toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack before cutting into squares.