A Chili Recipe You Will Want To Try This Fall!

I was finally able to finish decorating for fall this past weekend. One of the things that I do when I start to nest is craft like crazy. I was very busy crafting some fall stuff two weekends ago with a friend. We spent the entire afternoon crafting! Don’t you love when you have friends who have the same hobbies? These are two of the four wreaths we made.

This was one of my must do’s before the baby comes. Why? Because Pinterest put it into my head that I could make one for cheaper than buying one and I really wanted one made with deco mesh so… I finally got that out of my system. Nesting is a crazy crazy thing I tell you. Wether it’s cleaning, cooking, crafting, organization,… whatever it is that get’s you going, that nesting bug will literally make you stay up all night doing it or thinking about it.

I think a house looks it’s best around fall and Christmas. There is something so heart warming about walking into a fully decorated house during the fall and winter. With the decorations comes a longing for cooler temperatures. While I am not suffering in 100 degree weather every day, I could still wish for at least 70 degree weather. Since we don’t live in Vermont (my dream one day), we will just have to pretend it’s cooler outside and bring in the fall foods regardless of the temps because that doesn’t change for us until December. One of of the first foods that I crave as soon as fall hits is chili.

Last year I posted a chili recipe that I loved to make. Well, I have a new favorite right now. This is my friend, Vickie’s chili recipe. She has given us a few recipes for this blog such as her minestrone soup and the best ever lasagna. If you have tried any of her recipes, you can attest to her great taste in food. What I love about this chili recipe is it’s creaminess. It’s thick and hearty without being too chunky. I also love that it is simple and does not call for 15 ingredients- just 6! This recipe makes a whole lotta chili. Sorry, I have been watching Swamp People. I think I have picked up some Orleans slang. Choot ’em! Yes, I am laughing at myself right now. That awkward moment when you realize you are making yourself laugh in a blog post & probably everyone reading it is wondering what’s funny about what you just typed. Back to what I was saying. I like to make this around the holidays when we have a house full of people right before Thanksgiving or Christmas. When I make it for us I just freeze the leftovers for later.

Let’s pull out the grocery list:

2 lbs of beef (or turkey)
2 cans of diced tomatoes
2 cans of bushes chili beans or kidney beans (I only use one)
2 packets of McCormick’s chili seasoning
40 oz of tomato juice

Brown your meat in large soup pot or dutch oven and add your chili packets according to the directions on your packet. Once you have done this step you can continue to make this on the stove top or throw it all in the slow cooker. Add all of the the remaining ingredients and stir. Bring to a slow simmer if on the stove top and let it go for at least an hour. If using your slow cooker, cook on low for 3-5 hours.

I serve this with a side of cornbread, sour cream, cheese and crackers on top! Enjoy!

Slow Cooker or Stove Top Chicken and Dumplings

Have leftover seasoned chicken and don’t know what to do with it? Why, make chicken and dumplings of course. This post is part of a three-part post connected to my Soggy Chicken recipe. In that post, I cooked a whole seasoned chicken and used over half of it for two additional meals. This is one of the meals I used the chicken for and the other meal is the Chicken Biscuits.

I do love chicken and dumplings, and we can’t talk about chicken and dumplings unless I talk about the very first time I took the man to eat BBQ. You may have read this story before, and if so, just skip to the recipe, but for the new comers, you are in for a treat!

I have a funny story to share about chicken and dumplings. Paul, my husband, is originally from Michigan. Poor thing, he didn’t know about the goodness of southern foods. I, who had never spent much time across the Mason Dixon line before we met, didn’t know that people up north didn’t know about soul food. I thought everyone ate like we did. We are a fried, butter loading, cheese using, bacon grease using, Lawry’s seasoning, calorie filled, generational recipe using bunch. I took him out to lunch with my best friend, Alicia, at the best BBQ place in town. For those of you not from the south- BBQ in the south is pulled pork. It’s a noun and not a verb 🙂  It was a buffet style restaurant. We arrive and I grab my plate, Alicia gets hers and Paul gets his. Alicia and I are off. We start loading up on all the goodness that the buffet has to offer: fat back, fried okra, bbq, chicken bog, sweet potato casserole, collards, squash casserole, biscuits, you know.. all the good stuff. After stacking our plates full of the good stuff, we get our sweet tea (because that is all you drink in the south) and sit down. Paul is still in line. Finally he starts walking very slowly to the table. I check out what’s on his plate. I look at him like it must be a joke and burst into laughter. He sits down with us. Alicia see’s why I am laughing and she joins in. We are the only one’s laughing. Paul is just sitting there with a bewildered look on his face. Realizing something is wrong, I stop. I said, “Hon, why did you put chicken and dumplings on top of your rice?” I will never forget it… he looked like a kid… he says as honestly as he could, “I have no idea what this stuff is! I have no idea what any of that stuff is up there. You just left me in line and I don’t know what I am eating.” I am laughing as I type this, remembering that moment. I eventually took him back up there and explained what it all was. He is now very skilled in soul food- he can even cook it! I trained him well. He can eat collards and black-eyed peas with the best of them. I will forever have that memory attached to chicken and dumplings and we will carry it with us through old age laughing about that day every time we sit down to eat Chicken and Dumplings.

This is my recipe. I have modified how I use to make it so that it is more like what I grew up eating.

You can make this over the stove in a hurry or throw it together in your slow cooker. The batch that I made this week I threw over the stove about 20 minutes before we were supposed to eat because my chicken was already cooked. If you have frozen chicken, then just throw everything in the slow cooker except your crescent rolls and half and half. About 15 minutes before you are ready to eat add those to your slow cooker. I will be writing the recipe below from the perspective of stove top cooking and already cooked chicken.

Chicken and Dumplings

What you need:

2 cans of cream of chicken

A can of water

A good splash of Half and Half

1 can of Crescent Rolls

Cooked Shredded Seasoned Chicken

Salt and Pepper.

In a stock pot add all of your ingredients except your crescent rolls and Half and Half. Bring to a simmer. Pinch off pieces of your crescent rolls and add them to your pot. I use about a half of can. What you don’t use just make into rolls.  Once those fluff up a little, give your pot a gentle stir. Let it continue to simmer slowly until the dough is no longer expanding and looks like it’s as fluffy as it’s going to get. This takes about 15 minutes. At this point add your Half and Half. I added a good splash. If I had to guess I would say I add about 1/2 cup to the batch. Stir gently to incorporate throughout your dish. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

We had this the other night and the man walked through the door and saw what was in the bowl and asked where the rice was. It’s always good to laugh at yourself once in a while!

Vicki’s Homemade Minestrone Soup

This is a super easy, filling soup that my friend Vicki Pauli, from Texas, gave me the recipe to. This is her creation and it’s a recipe you will want to try out. She is the same person who gave me the Best.Ever.Lasagna. Anytime she posts something and says it’s hers I usually try it out because she has never let me down. As we draw closer to fall, I know you will want to have this soup recipe in your recipe box! This recipe makes a very large batch. Large enough to feed our family of 5 twice. We froze our left overs and I am so happy we did so I could use them on a night when I didn’t want to be in a hot kitchen.
Minestrone Soup
What you need:
1 whole chicken or 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 large can of crushed tomatoes
1 bullion cube
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 can of tomato paste
1 bag of mixed veggies (I use Bird’s Eye mixed vegetables for soup found in the frozen vegetable section)
1 box of shell pasta
2 tbsp Italian seasoning
salt and pepper
First season your chicken with salt and pepper and carefully place it in a large stock pot of boiling water. Boil your chicken until it is cooked all the way through. I usually let mine boil for about 30 minutes to 45 minutes depending on how thawed it was and how many breasts I am cooking. Once it is cooked, remove it from the water to cool and add your bullion cube to the same pot you cooked your chicken in. While your chicken is cooling, add your crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and mixed veggies into the stock pot. Let that simmer for a bit while you shred your chicken. Then add your box of pasta and your shredded chicken to the stock pot. Season with Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Let it slow simmer until the pasta is tender and cooked. Give it one last taste test to make sure your salt and pepper ratio is ok and serve with a side of corn bread.
If you make this soup, please let me know. I know you will love it and would love to give her the feedback. Thank you Vicki for sharing once again!

Slow Cooking with Jana on Tuesday: Fried Chicken

Fried chicken in a crock pot! Looking at that plate of goodness makes me hungry. Jana knows how to make some good southern food!  This is recipe number 10 as Jana and I cook our way through A Year of Slow Cooking! Stop over to Just Makin’ It and browse through Jana’s posts. She has a lot of great natural cleaning tips as well as recipes.

I did it. I sure did! I “fried” chicken drumsticks in the crockpot. I found this recipe after searching on Stephanie O’Dea’s website, A Year of Slow Cooking, for something to do with drumsticks. We are low in the meat department of our freezer, and I’m not much for the bone-in-my-chicken meal, but it was on sale, and I bought it. After checking out Stephanie’s site, I have learned to read the comments to see other suggestions. What I have found at Stephanie’s website is the recipes are good, but not exactly healthy. So I try to reduce the fat and increase the healthy. I didn’t do it with this dish. Now that I know how it tastes, though, in the future I am going to change it up just a bit.

Here’s the original recipe.
And here is mine.

Crockpot Fried Chicken:
Ingredients: 

  • 5 thawed drumsticks
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted (this is what I’m changing next time. Not sure yet, but I’m changing it)
  • 1/4 cup flour (probably going to change this to wheat next time to see how it tastes)
  • 3 T seasoned salt
  • 1 T Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
Directions:
  • Shake and bake that chicken. Dump all your ingredients, minus the butter, into a plastic bag, dump in your chicken, and SHAKE!!
  • Place your seasoned chicken into the crockpot and pour the melted butter over the chicken. This is how the chicken is going to “fry”
  • Cook on HIGH for 6 hours or LOW for 8-10
This came out yummy, yummy. I think it needed a little more seasoning. Stephanie suggested her’s needed more, so I added more to mine, and I still think it could have used more. The meat fell off the bone, though, and even my non-eater at the chicken. I served it with steamed collard greens, steamed sweet corn, and a biscuit. It was a great Sunday afternoon dinner that I served on a Monday. I will try this again, with the new adjustments. If I remember, I’ll let you know how it turned out.

Slow Cooking with Jana on Tuesday: White Bean and Apple Chili

Good morning! I am on the ball this week. If you are new to MommyTime, Jana over at Just Makin’ It and I are cooking our way through Stephanie O’Dea’s A Year of Slow Cooking. I do believe we are on recipe number 9. We post twice a week. Tuesday’s and Friday’s. Since I am behind, I am going to post Jana’s recipe from last week, Cowboy Soup and Cornbread on Friday. Next week I will post the two I plan to review: Slow Cooker Cheese Fondu and Pumpkin Spice Latte! Stop by and say good morning to Jana. She is doing a series on Every Day Cleaning Items. Last week she blogged about the uses of Baking Soda. Good stuff. On to the post!

Ahhhh….cool weather. Here I am sitting in my jeans and long sleeve t-shirt in front of an open window, snacking on some ginger snaps, and kissing getting hot and sticky goodbye (for the next few months). This time of year is seriously my favorite. Not only is the only time of year that I feel completely comfortable all the time, but it gives me excuses to use spices and cook soups that just seem out-of-place any other time of the year. So when a friend of mine (Hi Charity!!!) brought me a bag full of apples straight from her mama’s apple trees in Pennsylvania, I knew I was going to have to try a few recipes to eat those apples right up. As I and my friend Tara (over at MommyTime) are cooking through Stephanie O’Dea’s Year of Slow Cooking recipes, I checked out her recipes that had apples in them. And let me tell you, she’s got quite a bit. Warning, though, most of her recipes call for green apples, so if you use other types (like I did), it may not turn out like she is describing. I DID try her ApplesauceApple Cheddar and Turkey MeatballsApple Crisp,  and Stuffed Baked Apples. I made slight adjustments to all of these to fit my family, so check them out and let me know what you think.

 

Today’s feature recipe is White Bean and Apple Chili (Original recipe here).

 

And sorry, there are no pictures. This was eaten so quickly that there wasn’t even a chance to snap a picture.

 

Ingredients: (Don’t be intimidated by the amount that goes into this. It’s really a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Prepare the spices together ahead of time and it should take no time at all the make this soup) 

 

  • 3 Cans of white beans
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 4 small apples, chopped (leave peel on)
  • 3 garlic cloves, diced
  • 3 T butter
  • 2 tsp chili powder (use more if you like spice)
  • 1/2 tsp ground thyme
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 4 cups broth (I used chicken, but vegetable is a good substitute….I wouldn’t do beef)
  • 1/2 cup low fat sour cream

Directions:

  • Put butter in the bottom of the crockpot.
  • dump in the rest of the ingredients, saving the sour cream for last
  • Cover and cook LOW 8 hours or HIGH 4-5 hours
  • Stir in cheddar cheese (and I did a dollop of sour cream) in your bowl and EAT!

I served this with some Jiffy Cornbread muffins. My husband was seriously skeptical about this recipe. He was not excited about eating a soup that tasted like apples. But after eating one bowl, pretty quickly, he got seconds. This was amazingly good! It wasn’t sweet and surprisingly filling. Two bowls was plenty. If you are looking for a good vegetarian meal or something pretty quick to put together, this is really a great recipe. It’s not too heavy, but just perfect for these 60 degree weather days. It took me no time to put it in before church and was ready by the time we got home. Please, please try this one. And if you try it with a green apple, let me know how it tastes. I bet it’s just as good!

Slow Cooking with Jana on Tuesday: Crock Pot Raisin Bread

Good morning everyone. This is recipe number 8 from A Year of Slow Cooking. Follow Jana over at Just Makin’ It and I as we slow cook our way through Stephanie O’Dea’s blog. You may not hear a whole lot from me this week as we are a little tied up over here but next week I am hoping to get back on track! In the mean time, I can not wait to try out this bread!

I love to make bread. I really, really do. So as I was looking through Stephanie O’Dea’s recipes for bread ideas (because I know I saw desserts and such), I found a plain, well, gluten free, recipe for bread in the crockpot. I was SO excited! Here’s the thing, though, I don’t really do gluten free. And by “do” I mean it is not necessarily a priority in my household. I know it’s important to some of my friends (Kristin!), so I will provide the link to her bread, and then show you how I adapted it for me and mine. And remember, Tara, over at Mommy Time, and I have been working through these recipes. Since we have started, she and I both have come across some great recipes, and there is even a Facebook page (Slow Cooking Freezer Meals) where we can share (because Sharing is Caring). 🙂 



Oh, and PS: there are three very nifty links in the above paragraph. Check them out. You will not be disappointed. 


Original Recipe “Perfect Gluten Free Bread Baked in the Crockpot” 


And here is my recipe: “Raisin’ Crockpot Bread” (Pun intended) 


Ingredients: 

1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup warm water
2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
3 eggs
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup raisins
8 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup white sugar
2 Tbsp ground cinnamon


Don’t mind my generic products from, like, 4 different stores.
Steps:

  • Warm the milk

  • Dissolve the yeast in the water and let sit until it foams (about 10 minutes)
  • In a large mixing bowl, mix yeast mixture, eggs, sugar, salt, butter, and raisins. Stir in milk.

  • Gradually add the flour in until the dough is firm.
  • At this point, you are supposed to add the dough to a greased loaf pan and place it inside your crockpot to cook (picture 1), but my loaf pans wouldn’t fit inside the crock. So, I just put the dough inside the crock (picture 2). First though,  I mixed the sugar and cinnamon. As I was dumping it into the crock, I was sprinkling the mixture in. Turned out great!

  • Turn on high for 3-4 hours, checking it every 45 minutes or so.
  • This rose crazy high, so after about an hour in the crock, I deflated it.
  • After about 3 hours, mine was done. So I turned it out on the cooling rack. Check out this baby!

  • So….it’s huge. Once it cools, I cut it in half and froze half of it. I’m going to make some french toast with the other half.
What I love about this is that it shows that I could bake some bread in my new (kitchen) best friend. If you are in to baking bread in the crockpot, give this a shot, but make sure you keep on eye on it.

Slow Cooker Tomato Soup

It’s Friday! It’s been one of those weeks. I am barely keeping my head above water over here. I’m sure many of you feel my pain. Don’t you love Slow Cooked Fridays? I do! I look forward to the one day of the week that I know I have no plans to cook (really cook). I have no idea what I am going to be throwing in that slow cooker tomorrow, but, I am sure it will involve chicken and no real work for me 🙂 Speaking of, my crock- pot bit the dust at the ripe ‘ol age of 7 months. It was cracked in the bottom. I have no idea what happened to it because my last crock-pot lasted through years of cooking. I think everyone must be on a slow cooker kick with the new websites coming out about crock pots because when I went to Target to buy a new one.. they were sold. out. I ended up with this one.

Here’s my thoughts on it so far.  LOVE the automatic shut off! Great function. One I have never had before. However when it goes into the warming mode, it makes a really loud squeal that makes me jump. It sounds like our fire alarms, but not as loud. I think I will get used to it.  Other than that, I am happy.

The recipe,… still want it?

Before I just fork it over, let me say it was good. When I read the title, “Restaurant-Quality Crock-pot Tomato Soup Recipe” I knew I needed to try it. I love tomato soup and the very idea of having some fresh tomatoes simmering away quietly in my slow cooker just made me giddy.  Was it restaurant quality? YES!  The man really liked it, I of course liked it and guess who else! Thing 1 and Thing 3 ate bowls of this stuff. Thing 2 wasn’t up for even trying it. I was surprised and very pleased!

Here’s how I made it.

Restaurant- Quality Crock-pot Tomato Soup Recipe
Adapted from Stephani O’Dea’s A Year of Slow Cooking

3 lbs of vine- ripened tomatoes
1 tbsp onion powder
2 cups of tomato juice
3 tbsp white sugar
1 chicken bullion cube
about 2 tbsp basil
1 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese for garnish

I got exactly 3 pounds. We did have enough soup left over to freeze a small batch.

Rub a dub dub dub, 3 lbs. of tomatoes in a tub. I use Environne to wash all of my produce (no affiliation, I just love the product!).

Once they are good and clean get them ready to quarter.

Don’t bother peeling them. Slow cooker meals aren’t supposed to be a ton of work 🙂 Quarter them and add them to your slow cooker.

Add the rest of your ingredients.

Cook it on low for 6-8 hours and let it go.

After my timer went off, I used my soup blender to help me to get it to the consistency that we enjoy. A few chunks and creamy all at the same time. I stirred in one cup of heavy cream and served it in a bowl with parmesan as garnish.

If you are a fan of tomato soup and have a slow cooker, please try it. It is as good as the stove top versions that I have tried and the best part is you start it in the morning and when you are ready to eat, it’s ready to be served.

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

God bless!