Wednesday, September 30, 2009

easy and mild three bean chili

the weather here in eastern virginia has cooled down quite a bit, so it got me hankering for some chili. when someone uses the word "hankering", does you mind immediately think this or is it just me? anyway, i am wanting a bowl of chili piled high with fixin's and some frito scoops! so i put together a big ole pot this morning and let it simmer away on the stove. this is what i would call a simple, basic chili, nothing fancy, at all. we just love it. we love it served over rice and even spaghetti piled high with sour cream, shredded sharp cheddar, chopped spring onions, goldfish crackers, you name it. i do like mine a tad spicier, so i just throw some jalapeno slices and shredded pepper jack cheese on top of my bowl. give it a whirl. it is even better the next day. enjoy.

beth's chili

in a frying pan, cook up two pounds ground chuck, 1/2 large onion, diced and three cloves of garlic minced. once brown, drain in a colander to get out the grease, but save all the yummy bits of onion and garlic. i smash my down with a spoon to get out as much grease as possible. i guess you can make this with leaner beef or turkey, but i think some fat is needed for flavor.

next, transfer this to a big lidded pot. add one 28 oz. can of tomato sauce, one 28 oz, can of petite can of tomatoes, one 12 oz. can of tomato paste, two tbsp. of chili powder, two tsp. of oregano, one tsp. of kosher salt, and a healthy pinch of sugar. stir this together and let it simmer on low for about a hour. taste it. adjust seasoning. now you can add one 15.5 oz. can each, not drained, dark kidney beans, pinto beans and black beans(really any combo you like). i let it simmer till the beans are heated through. taste again. you might need to adjust the seasoning, again. i usually make this a few hours before i plan to eat and just let it sit on the stove, heat off. warm it up just before serving. now grab a bowl and throw down. hey, don't hog the scoops!

Monday, September 28, 2009

easy three milks cake

sorry i haven't been around the past few days, the hubs and i have been battling colds, not much fun. i did get it together enough to try my hand at a tres leches or three milk cake. i scoured the net and found this recipe. it had good reviews, and lots of'em, so i figured why not give it a whirl. this is a super simple cake to bake, comes together quickly and tastes good enough for company. surprisingly, it not super sweet as you might expect. one regret, i wished i had some berries. it needs berries. berries would be nice, any berries. fresh or frozen berries. enjoy.

p.s.-a few notes, i used the two cups of "cake soaking" milk mixture that the recipe calls for, which leaves lots of extra milk, enough for cake #2. i think it will be fine in the fridge for awhile. also, i made the effort to find the crema, which is a table cream. it can be found in most mega marts on the hispanic food aisle . one more thing, pay attention to your whipping cream, don't get distracted by a four year old like i did and beat it too stiff. it should be nice and fluffy. it spreads easier that way.
wouldn't this be pretty with some berries?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

dark chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting, need i say more?

make these now! no, listen to me, go make these now. enough said.

the recipe is here. although her's looks way prettier than mine, i am positive mine are just as tasty. let me tell you, these goober cakes are divine, dropped in from above. now, after you spend some time poking around that adorable website, get off of your computer and go make these. enjoy.

are you still here? go, get, scat, vamoose, hit the road, get to stepping....

Saturday, September 19, 2009

five minutes pots de creme, if that

i saw this pots de creme recipe posted over at this fun website. it is apparently a rachel ray recipe, whom i am not a fan, but it called my name regardless. the recipe itself is ridiculously easy, but i mean come on, isn't that the cutest little cup pictured? i want one, or two, what the heck, give me a set of six. i have no shame. i just knew i had to give this baby a whirl. i mean it is made in the blender in about five minutes. holy cow! what more could you ask for? well, turns out it is dang tasty. frankly, i was surprised just how creamy and chocolaty it was. you should serve in small amounts, but i supersized mine of course, so i didn't get quite as many serving as i should. oh well, i also whipped up a little bit of whipping cream to plop on top. i think it will help to cut some of the richness from the dark chocolate. make sure it refrigerates for several hours to get firm. i will make these little gems again, great for a chocolate fix. enjoy!

p.s.-i used 2% milk, one tablespoon of dark rum and hershey special dark chocolate chips. i would use the full dose of rum next time or switch up to some orange liquer. mmmmmm.......

Friday, September 18, 2009

my coleslaw of many colors that my mama made for me

so i made a mess of my lazy man's bbq using a pork loin, no onion. let me tell you, that is some good stuff. it is so easy. i left it in its own juices, shredded the meat with two forks and doused on some honey bourbon bbq sauce. yummy. i had the idea that i wanted to try something a little different than your typical mayo coleslaw, so i scoured the net for ideas, grabbing bits and pieces of info. i came up with this oil and vinegar combo. i was not disappointed. i actually think i like it better than the traditional southern heavy mayonnaised slaw. it is crisp, crunchy and clean, not to mention colorful. i am already thinking about how to use in a panini. did i tell you i got a panini maker? heaven, i'm in heaven........oops, sorry, i digress. anyway, i hope you will give my colorful slaw a try. enjoy.
purdy color, huh?

beth's oil and vinegar slaw

in a huge bowl combine the following veggies:
1 head of purple cabbage shredded
3 carrots shredded
1 yellow pepper, either sliced super fine, or shredded with excess water squeezed out
1/2 sweet onion, do same as pepper

in a sauce pan bring to a boil:
3/4 apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp brown sugar
2-3 hefty squirts of your favorite mustard, i used good ole yellow
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp of seasoned salt
1 tsp celery seeds

once boiling remove from heat and add 2/3 cup canola oil plus 1/2 cup white sugar. whisk till the sugar dissolves and pour over the veggies. stir to combine and let sit for about an hour at room temp. taste it. you might need to adjust your seasonings, such as to add a tad more sugar. also, i add some black pepper at this point and then stick the whole thing in the fridge. the longer it sits, the better it gets.

my coat of many colors, that my momma made for me, made only from rags, but i wore it so proudly, although we had no money, i was rich as I could be, in my coat of many colors,my momma made for me....

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

easy chicken noodle soup

jamie requested this for dinner tonight. he loves chicken noodle soup, so i delivered. why not? the weather is cool and it is beginning to feel a tad like fall, and well, truthfully it is so dang easy to make. i made it earlier in the day and let it sit on the stove till he got home. it was still nice and warm. he inhaled two big ole bowls. i don't really like "noodle" soups, so i opted for a tomato, avocado and cheddar panini (jamie had one of those too, mind you). the kids, travis ate pretty much nothing, a few fig bars and milk. caroline, she had chicken flavored cup o'noodles.

hey, what? wait. isn't that basically the same thing, minus the styrofoam cup? jeez. enjoy.

beth's easy chicken noodle soup

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 large container of chicken broth(32 oz i think, i threw the container away)
1 cup of water to start, maybe more
2 chicken bouillon cubes
big pinch of sea or kosher salt
big pinch of course pepper
2 bay leaves
2 tbsp of butter
2 stalks of celery-diced
3 carrots-diced
1/2 onion-diced
coupla big handfuls of extra wide egg noodles

in a large, lidded dutch oven place you chicken breasts, chicken broth, water, bouillon cubes, salt, pepper and bay leaves. bring to a boil and cook until the chicken is done. remove the chicken to cool. turn the broth to low, to simmer. in a frying pan, melt your butter and add the celery, carrots and onion. cook 3-4 minutes till slightly tender. add all to your broth. now cube your cooked and cooled chicken breast, add to pot too. now let you soup simmer on low for about a half an hour. check your veggies often to make sure they are not cooking too quickly. when they are still slightly firm, add two big handfuls of egg noodles, more or less, your choice. here is where you might need to add some more water. you should have plenty of broth, but the noodles will soak up quite a bit while cooking. you might want to add another cup, just use your best judgment. simmer for another ten minutes, check veggies, noodles and broth. if it is not flavorful enough you can always add another bouillon cube, some poultry seasoning, whatever you would like. once done, just turn off heat, place on the lid and walk away. if the noodles are quite done, they will keep cooking a bit, so don't worry. i let mine sit maybe two hours before jamie got home. throw a pot together for your family today, or tomorrow, or next tuesday, or whenever.
p.s.-i actually think this tastes better the next day.

Monday, September 14, 2009

eggcellent chocolate chip cookies, no yolk

so i whipped the boy up some chocolate chip cookies this morning. i had found a recipe in a cooking light magazine awhile back and decided to give it a try. i also found it on the net, you can view it here. it is quite a bit lower in calories and fat than you typical chocolate chip cookie recipe without skimping too much on the taste. it works. it still has your basic cookie ingredients with a few differences, such as using only the egg white. the dough came together quick and smelled fragrant of vanilla, good vanilla from beanilla. people let me sidetrack for a second. please, if you bake, use real vanilla and not the imitation garbage. i promise you the investment will pay off. there is a huge difference between the two. okay, back to the cookies, they spread very little while baking, so they come out thick and chewy. i am not a real fan of chocolate chip cookies(i like my chocolate unadulterated), but i ate one. it really is good. i am thinking maybe another later with a cup of coffee.

now, if travis can stop tormenting the dog long enough, maybe he too can have one. enjoy.

Friday, September 11, 2009

funeral potatoes, huh?

what a cheerful name, huh? this is nothing more than a cheesy, creamy, calorie laden potato casserole. i guess it gets its name from being a common sight among the food at funeral gatherings. it is a new one on me. we are a fried chicken and potato salad clan. i guess too if you eat enough of this and eat it often, you could quite possibly make an early appearance at your own funeral. i am sure you can make the casserole lighter by using reduced fat products, but i didn't, so i am guessing my bowl shorten my visit here by at least a day. this was disgustingly good and a big hit in my house. leftovers tonight! enjoy.

funeral potatoes

preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit and pam a 9x13 baking dish

in a big bowl mix the following:

1 32oz bag of frozen cubed hash browns
2 cans cream of chicken soup
2 cups shredded cheddar-i used medium
8 oz sour cream
2 green onions, sliced thin, white and green parts
dash of pepper
mix together and put into your baking dish

now melt two tbsp of butter and mix with 1.5 cups crumbled potato chips or corn flakes. bake 45 minutes until brown and bubbly. let it sit about ten minutes for digging in. you could also throw some cubed ham in for a complete meal. teehee, a complete meal, huh?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

quick garlic cheddar drop biscuits

this are the easiest little biscuits to throw together. they are wonderful with just about anything, but especially vegetable beef stew, my favorite. you can buy little bags of mix at the store, but they taste so much better when you make them yourself and really, they are just as quick. the only thing i do that adds a little bit more time to the process, is to grate my own cheese. i just think that stuff in the bag is so dang dry. we all love these buttery little blobs, but my daughter, caroline, will eat everyone till gone.

garlic cheddar drop biscuits

preheat your oven to 400 degree fahrenheit

in a large bowl cut with a pastry blender till pea sized, 2.5 cups of biscuit mix(i use store brand), a half stick cold butter, 3/4 cup cold milk(i use 2%). now mix in by hand, 1 cup of grated sharp cheddar and a 1/4 tsp of garlic powder. drop by big ole spoonfuls onto an ungreased baking sheet. bake about 15 minutes till lightly brown. meanwhile, melt two tbsp of butter and add another 1/4 tsp of garlic powder. mix and brush onto the biscuits as soon as they come out of the oven. keep brushing them, use it all up! at this point you can add more or less garlic powder as well as throwing in some dried parsley flakes for color. makes about a dozen, depending on size. enjoy!

first day of middle school

ahhh, intermediate school, junior high, middle school, apparently no matter whatcha call it, it's all the same-sheer torture. well, at least according to my 11 year old daughter. doesn't she look thrilled to go to her first day of middle school?
come on caroline, school is fun. it is fun to run in between classes to your locker in under three minutes, scarf your lunch down in fifteen, worry about whether you were going to be teased for wearing butter cookies, dressing out for gym, zits, should i shave my legs, your first dance and the big one in general- puberty ! what joy! oh, and don't forget the school work on top of all what is truly important in your life during this time.

i loved school. how about you?

Friday, September 4, 2009

world's easiest buttermilk pancakes, tasty too

whip these up for the family. do it now.

beth's "don't get no simpler" buttermilk pancakes

melt in a your mixing bowl two tbsp of butter or margarine( i just throw the whole thing in microwave and nuke it a few seconds). now to that add one egg, whisk briefly then add 1 cup flour, 3/4 buttermilk, 3 tsp baking powder, one tbsp of sugar, pinch of salt and one tsp of real vanilla. whisk till mixed. let sit while your pan heats up. make your pancakes whatever size you want. i usually get four good sized ones, like in the pic. i have doubled this recipe, no problem. pile on the butter and syrup! enjoy

Bluebird Gap Farm, Smitty's and the Casemate Museum makes for a fun day!

well, this is the last week before school starts and quite frankly, we have done pretty much nothing. summer is the busiest time for my husband, so we usually don't vacation until the fall. i thought i would take caroline, her buddy emma, travis and my brother out prowling today. this is were we ended up.

first, bluebird gap farm, a little city run farm/park that has been around since i was a kid. they used to have a lot more animals, but these days i am more interested in the old cemetery hidden in the woods.
my brother and i have always had a fascination with ghosts.

luckily, the girls do too. time for lunch.

smitty's, has been around these parts since 1956, a hampton institution. i am thinking some of the car hops might be original, too.
who wants a twirley dog?
it was such a nice day we opted to eat on one of their picnic tables.
the aftermath. next stop, the casemate.
the casemate museum at fort monroe-hampton, va is chockfull of history.
(pic courtesy of wikipedia) you can see the casemate right in the center. jefferson davis was held here after the civil war, edgar allen poe was a young soldier here and robert e. lee, as well, even president lincoln came a calling.

mr. poe writing the "The Cask of Amontillado".

robert e. lee's home while at fort monroe and directly behind it is ....
ghost alley. fort monroe is known for its ghosts, some famous. you can read all about them here. we didn't see any, that i know of, but had tons of fun. we even walked the top of the casemate, just briefly. it is dang scary up there, with a big ole drop to the bottom. no thank you.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

pimento cheese and dorito sandwich-yummy

as a kid i have tried many sandwich combos and many failed. let's take the grape jelly and mayo-fail! peanut butter and pickles-fail! bologna and potato salad-fail, no wait, that was gooood. anyway, one of my all time faves is pimento cheese and nacho cheese doritos-excellent. it is even better when the pimento cheese is homemade. i had a whole bag of chips on the counter and to eat them by themselves, no thanks, so i whipped up a batch of the sandwich spread. i have posted before on my pimento cheese, but this time i made it a little different. it is not bad, not quite as tangy as i usually make. it is a good starter pimento cheese for those folks who don't have a clue what i am talking about. pimento cheese, huh? it's creamy and rather mild, not too mention pale. go easy when spreading it on your squishy white bread though, it is still very rich. hmmmmm, i wonder what cool ranch doritos would taste like, tasty too, i bet. enjoy.

beth's pimento cheese spread

with your mixer, blend the following

6 oz soften cream cheese
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded monterey jack cheese
1/2 cup mayo
1 4oz jar of chopped/diced pimentos, not drained
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp garlic salt
1-2 dashes of hot sauce
pinch of sugar

whip till well blended. taste and adjust seasonings. some folks like a little onion powder in theirs, not me. put in the fridge to chill and let the flavors blossom(how cute). i like this on fresh, plain ole white bread, but it is great on crackers, too.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

vegetable beef soup/stew

we have been having some unseasonably cool weather here on the east coast of virginia, so i decided to make a pot of vegetable beef soup/stew. we love this stuff, even my kids will eat it. it is so simple to make. you can start it in the morning, let it sit and it will be perfect for your evening supper. i call it a soup/stew, because the first day it is more like a soup with lots of soup liquor. come day two, it has thickened more like a stew, that is my favorite. as i look at the photos i think how monotone it looks. all the veggies' colors have dulled, but that is the nature of a soup/stew plus my lack of photographic skills. trust me, this is delicious and a favorite dinner. we like to top it with handfuls of grated vermont sharp cheddar. i also made a batch of garlic cheddar drop biscuits to go alongside. i hope you give it a try.

both pics are two day stew....

beth's beef vegetable soup/stew

2 tbsp. of evoo
1 tbsp. of flour
2 lbs. of stew beef or chuck roast cubed
one small onion, chopped
1 bottle of vegetable juice such as V8
one large can of petite diced tomatoes(28 oz)
one bag of frozen mixed veggies
one half bag of frozen butter beans
1/4 bag of frozen green peas
three whole bay leaves
start off with about two tsp of italian seasonings
sea salt
course black pepper
one tsp of sugar
one half box of elbow macaroni

okay, in a dutch oven over med high heat, heat the evoo and add the onion, stir for a few minutes and add the stew beef. sprinkle with the flour and brown briefly. maybe, three or four minutes. pour in the vegetable juice, scraping up all the lovely brown bits on the bottom of the pan. add a little water to the bottle, shake to get out all the juice and pour right into the pot. now, add the rest of the ingredients EXCEPT macaroni. let it start to bubble and turn heat to low, put the lid on. allow it to simmer for about an hour or until the meat is cooked. taste it. adjust your seasonings and allow it cook slowly on low until the meat is tender. now cut it off and let it sit on your stove top. okay, an hour before you are ready to eat, turn it back on to med heat. let it start bubbling,add the macaroni, turn it back down to low, put the lid back on and allow it simmer again till the macaroni is just tender. watch it so it doesn't stick. don't add the macaroni till the end or you will end up with vegetable beef wall paper paste.

you can add most anything you want to the pot, potatoes, okra, whatever. this is the basic combo that my family loves. this is most forgiving recipe, so experiment and have fun. i love it best the next day. enjoy.