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Hearty 15 Bean Chili

Posted by wcwh2opolo on 2010.06.23 at 20:00

Just tried this tonight and it's awesome!

- 1 bag Hurst's 15 Bean Soup Mix soaked in water overnight (discard spice packet)
- 1lb ground beef (for vegan option substitute 4 large carrots diced or 1 acorn squash diced)
- 2 14ox cans diced tomatoes
- 5c water
- 1 large onion chopped into large pieces
- 2 large bell peppers chopped into large pieces
- 2 Tbsp minced garlic
- 1/2c ketchup (or 1 can tomato paste)
- 1 Tbsp chili powder
- 1 Tbsp Old Bay
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 dash cayenne pepper
- 2 Tbsp diced canned/jarred jalapeno peppers
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 2 Tbsp olive oil

First off make sure that your beans have been soaked overnight and that they are slightly tender to the touch.  In a large stock pot cook ground beef, onion, bell pepper, garlic, jalapenos, salt, pepper, and olive oil, until the beef is completely browned and the onions are starting to become translucent around the edges.  Set the meat aside.  Drain beans from soaking water then add to stockpot with 5c water.  Cover pot, and bring to a boil - allow the beans to boil for 1 - 1.5 hours, allowing the beans to become soft to taste (try them out to see if they are at the softness that you like).  To the boiling bean mixture add the canned tomatoes, ketchup, meat/veggie mixture, and spices.   Return to a simmer and allow to cook, uncovered, for approximately 45-1hr.  Adjust seasoning to taste, although I would recommend not doing so until the mixture has simmered for a minimum of 45min.

Note:  I adapted this recipe from a vegan recipe I found online, and I really liked how it turned out with the ground beef.  In the original recipe they started with boiling the beans with the diced carrots, then everything else was added later and simmered together.

Servings:  At least 12 cups

I made this tonight because I had a bag of bean soup mix, and really wanted to eat it.  Lol.  I was also craving chili.  This recipe turned out really nicely.  The Old Bay was my inspiration because I really like it as a spice mix.  The ground beef was also my idea because I grew up eating chili with beef in it.  Both Dan and I really liked this one.  We served it with shredded cheese on top of the chili with some home made cast iron honey cornbread.  Mmmmm.......  Tasty!!!


Apple Crisp

Posted by wcwh2opolo on 2010.06.15 at 20:18
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Mmmm.....  tasty apple goodness!

- 2 c flour
- 1/2 c oatmeal (I used old fashioned oats)
- 1/2 tsp + 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 c brown sugar
- 3/4 c butter, melted (I used 1/2c cup butter, 1/4c margarine)
- 1 c sugar
- 1 c water
- 3 Tbsp corn starch
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 large crisp apples (I used braeburn, but I think granny smith would be awesome!)
- 3 Tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon

  Preheat oven to 350F.  In a mixing bowl combine flour, 1/2 tsp salt, brown sugar, oatmeal, and melted butter.  Stir with a large spoon or wisk until "crumbles" form.  Set aside 1 cup of crumbles, then gently spread the rest of the crumbles into a 9" x 9" pan (or a medium sized round cast iron skillet) making sure that some of the crumbs go up the sides of the pan (think pie crust like) - set aside.  Peel, core, and thiny slice apples, then mix with lemon juice and cinnamon - set aside.
  In a large sauce pan (on medium high heat) combine sugar, water, and corn starch.  Stirring continuously bring the mixture to a boil, then remove from heat - the mixture should have thickened into a "paste".  Add vanilla then gently mix in apples.  Coat apples thoroughly in sugar mixture then spread into pan with "crumb crust".  Sprinkle remaining cup of crumbs evenly over the top.  Bake for 1 hour.  Serve warm for a crumble type dish, or cooled for a crumb cake type dish.

Servings: 6

  So I wanted a sweet dessert tonight after dinner, but realized most of my normal baking was out of the question due to the fact that we were out of milk and eggs, but didn't feel like going to the store.  Hark-a-lark though!  The June issue of Food Network Magazine had a recipe for a rhubarb brown betty which got me thinking about crisps and crumb cakes.  I knew I had apples in the fridge that were getting a little on the older-doesn't-look-so-pretty-I-don't-want-to-eat-them-because-they-aren't-perfect side, so I started trawling the internet, and came up with a recipe to modify.  I found the original on cooks.com, but decided to add lemon juice for tartness and cinnamon (because who doesn't love cinnamon with baked apples?).  It came out pretty damn tasty..... although it left me wanting a huge scoop of vanilla ice cream for the top! 

Hope you all try and enjoy!  :-)


Garlic Ginger Beef with Broccoli

Posted by wcwh2opolo on 2010.04.07 at 18:46
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- 2 tbsp veggie oil
- 1 good sized steak (skirt or flank work well)
- 2 fresh heads of broccoli
- 1 tbsp (heaping) of minced garlic
- 1 tbsp minced ginger
- 1/2c soy sauce (try to avoid kikkomon or anything overly salty)
- 1/2c water + 2 tbsp
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp (generous) brown sugar
- 1 tbsp corn starch dissolved in water until smooth

Prepare for cooking by slicing steak into strips that are as thin as possible (think paper thin, and cut on the bias). Wash broccoli, and then cut florets off, removing all thick stems and extra leafy matter.
Heat a large skillet, or medium sized wok, on medium heat. Add oil and bring to temperature. Add in broccoli and 2 tbsp water, stir, then cover. Allow broccoli to cook until tender (stirring occasionally). Stir in garlic and ginger tossing it into the broccoli, allow garlic to slightly brown. Mix in water and soy sauce, then raise temperature to medium-high. Put in steak, and brown. Once steak has browned stir in brown sugar being careful not to place any directly onto cooking meat, make sure all sugar has dissolved. Add lemon juice, stir then cover. Allow mixture to simmer for about 5min.
To thicken the sauce gently move all of the steak and broccoli to the side of the skillet allowing the sauce to pool in the center. Make sure that the sauce in the center is boiling/simmering. Slowly stir in half of cornstarch mixture. Stir in steak and broccoli. Allow dish to stand for 2-5min. Season with salt if necessary.
Serve over steamed rice.

Serves: 2 good sized dinners.

So Dan and I LOVE going to Pei Wei, and when we go he always gets the Mongolian Beef, and nine out of ten times I end up with the Ginger Broccoli Chicken. I've always wanted to make them at home, and so a while ago I did some research and found a copycat recipe for the Mongolian Beef. It was TERRIBLE! Absolutely sickeningly sweet. Tonight I had a steak thawed, fresh broccoli in the fridge, and a crazy craving for Chinese food. So I revisited the copycat recipe. I tweaked it a bit, and came out with this. Talk about home-made chinese mouth-gasm! We both loved it and demolished the whole pan full! I decided I had to share right away before I could forget anything that I had done to make it.


Toad in the Hole

Posted by wcwh2opolo on 2010.03.28 at 19:58
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- 2 tbsp butter
- 4 slices multigrain (or hearty white) bread
- 4 eggs
- salt & pepper

Cut a 2-3" diameter hole in the middle of each slice of bread, and remove the centers (save them). Heat a large frying pan, or flat top griddle, over medium heat. Melt butter, and ensure that there is an even coating on your cooking surface. Place bread onto the cooking surface so that the bread is not being squished (but it can touch). Toast one side of each piece, then flip them over. Immediately crack one egg into the center of each piece of bread. Lightly salt and pepper each egg. Cover the pan if possible. Cook until the egg whites are set and resemble a sunny side up egg. Remove. Quickly toast the bread centers on the heated pan (add more butter if necessary). Serve with toasted centers.

Servings: 2

As simple as it sounds, it's really fricking tasty, and not something that most people readily think of. It's quick too! Prep and cooking time was about 15-20min. Mmmm.... I like to spread a little raspberry jam on my toasted bread, and it's especially awesome served with a little bacon on the side.


Easy "Panang" Curry

Posted by wcwh2opolo on 2010.03.28 at 19:45
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- 1lb boneless skinless chicken breast cut into slices
- 2 cans coconut milk
- 1 large yellow onion, cut into slices
- 1 large bell pepper (we use red), cut into thin slices
- 3 yukon gold potatoes (smallish), diced into small 1" pieces
- half a large bag frozen green peas (thawed)
- 1 tbsp yellow curry powder
- 2 tbsp minced garlic
- 2 spoon fulls yellow curry paste (or to taste)
- 1 cube chicken bullion
- salt and pepper to taste
- oil for skillet

Heat a large skillet, with a thin layer of oil, on medium heat. Add garlic and brown slightly; once the garlic has browned add chicken. Stir chicken in skillet, until it has cooked (no longer looks raw) on all sides then add curry powder, salt, and pepper. Lightly brown the chicken. Put in sliced bell peppers and onions, continue cooking until onions are slightly translucent.
In a second bowl combine chicken bouillon, curry paste, and coconut milk. Try to get out any major lumps, then add to skillet. Stir in potatoes, and peas. Bring mixture to a simmer,lower heat to low-medium, then cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are fork tender.

Servings: 6-8

This recipe came about totally by accident one night when I had no clue what to cook, and went out on a limb with a can of coconut milk I found in our pantry. It came out really good, and we have since tweaked it into this lovely concoction. It comes out rather spicy if you use the full amount of curry powder and curry paste, so if you are sensitive to spices please half the curry. We like to eat it over rice, and sometimes it's good with like a nice dollop of sweet apple or mango chutney. I think a green bell pepper would probably give the dish a sharper taste, but seeing as I don't particularly like green bell pepper we have only ever tried it with red.


Easy Stroganoff

Posted by wcwh2opolo on 2010.01.14 at 10:48
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- 1lb stew beef cut into small chunks
- 1 lg bag wide egg noodles (make in a separate pot, cook until fork tender, then drain)
- 1 medium container sour cream (I used light sour cream)
- 1 medium onion diced
- 1 medium can sliced mushrooms
- 1/4c cooking sherry
- 3-4 Tbsp butter
- salt & pepper
- basil
- nutmeg

Brown beef over medium heat in the bottom of a stock pot, or extra large (high sided) skillet; once browned remove beef, and drain the fat. Melt butter in bottom of pan, add diced onion. Drain can of mushrooms, add to pan with onions. Saute onions and mushrooms together until onions are translucent. Add beef into onion/mushroom mixture. Season with salt, pepper, a pinch of basil, and a pinch of nutmeg, to taste. Reduce heat slightly then add sherry, allow to boil off, then remove from heat. Stir in sour cream. Adjust spices as necessary. Stir in cooked egg noodles. Serve.

Servings: 4-6

I made this last Friday night, and Dan and I both enjoyed it. It's based on the stroganoff recipe in The Joy of Cooking (some edition from like the 70's my grandmother gave me) but I adjusted it a bit to suit my tastes which is why there are no measurments on any of the spices. I also think that the recipe would be better served by using a normal sherry (not the grocery store crap that I used) or a good dry white wine. The cookbook said that it freezes well. That remains to be seen..... I have half of the batch I made in the freezer.... I'll edit when I find out if it made it through alright.


"Veal" Piccata

Posted by wcwh2opolo on 2009.12.02 at 10:57
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This is a dish I winged when I found myself craving the chicken piccata from an Italian place near my grandparents in VA. It came out pretty good. Since it is essentially a butter/wine sauce seasoned with lemon and capers you can really adjust it to your own tastes. I used a sweet white wine (Sutter Home Moscato) when I made it, so I'm sure that a drier wine will adjust the flavor.


- 2 good sized cube steaks (or 2 small chicken breasts pounded out thin)
- 1/4c flour
- 1tsp paprika
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- black pepper to tast
- 1/2 bottle capers
- 1 lemon
- 1/2 stick butter
- 1/3c favorite white wine
- olive oil (optional)

In a small bowl combine flour, paprika, salt, and pepper. Dredge meat through flour combo until thoroughly coated. Heat a medium sized skillet/frying pan over medium heat. Melt 1/4 stick butter into pan. Fry coated meat in butter until slightly browned (if you feel you need more oil, or it begins to burn, add some olive oil). Add remaining butter and 1/2 bottle of capers, zest lemon and add as well. Sautee until capers begin to brown/darken, and the lemon is thoroughly distributed in the pan. Lower temperature on pan then add wine, and juice from half the lemon. Allow to simmer for about 5-10 min, or until meat is cooked through. Adjust taste with salt, pepper, and remaining half lemon juice.

Servings: 2

I've made this dish a few times now, and it always comes out pretty good. When I have made it at home I've always used cube steak since it's cheap, but at the restaurant where I used to get this dish I normally ordered the chicken and it was really good.... so use the protien that you have on hand. The capers I picked up were simply the cheapest ones on the shelf in the tall skinny bottle, and the wine mentioned above is just what I happened to have in the house. The big thing I've found that is essential is the lemon zest.... using bottle lemon juice just doesn't cut it with this dish. When I make it I tend to serve it with either rice, or plain pasta, and green beans.


Apricot Chicken

Posted by wcwh2opolo on 2009.03.17 at 09:09
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- 1c chicken broth (I made mine from a cube)
- 1/2c apricot preserves
- 2 chicken breasts
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp Italian seasonings
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1/4c dried apricot halves (optional)

In a medium bowl mix together the chicken broth and apricot preserves until the non fruit lumps have been mostly removed.  Heat a skillet over medium high heat, add olive oil and minced garlic.  When the skillet is hot add the trimmed chicken breasts.  Brown chicken lightly, then add the Italian seasoning and apricot halves. Brown chicken further.  Add chicken broth mixture, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to an active simmer.  Continue to simmer the mixture until the liquid takes the consistency of a glaze (took me about 10min).  Remove from heat, and serve.

Servings: 2-3

Okay, so any of you who have been into an Olive Garden lately have seen the Venetian Apricot chicken on the menu..... I tried it and loved it, and then I found out that they had the recipe on their website.  I tweaked it a little to come up with the recipe above that I love.  I make it with the chicken actually cut into strips (for easier serving), and I generally serve it with steamed white rice and broccoli.  It makes for a very tasty and healthy dinner.  The only thing I left out it that I usually cook it with about 1/2tsp kosher salt while I am browning the chicken - but I tend to like my foods rather salty so I left it out.  For being a copy-cat Olive Garden recipe, this is amazingly easy to make, and takes less than half an hour.


Mint Torte

Posted by bkfstclubmember on 2009.03.16 at 12:33

I made this for one of my roommate's birthdays this weekend. She really likes mint. Giant didn't have mint chocolate chips so I used Andes mints. It is reaallly heavy and thick. But yummy and worth it.

15 chocolate cream-filled sandwich cookies, finely chopped
3 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
2/3 cup mint chocolate morsels, melted and slightly cooled
2 packages (8 ozs each) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 container (8 oz) frozen whipped topping, thawed, divided

Finely chop cookies using food chopper; combine with butter in 1 qt batter bowl. Press crumb mixture onto bottom of spring form pan. Refrigerate while preparing filling. Place chocolate pieces in covered micro-cooker, microwave on high 1-1 1/2 minutes, stirring every 30 sec. until smooth.
Cool slightly. In classic 2 qt. batter bowl, whisk cream chees and powdered sugar. Gradually whisk in milk and melted chocolate; mix until smooth. Reserve 1/2 cup of the whipped topping; set aside. Using super scraper, gently fold remaining whipped topping into cream cheese mixture until well blended and smooth; spread evenly over crust. Refrigerate 30 min. Remove collar from springform pan. attach open star tip to easy accent decorator; fill with remaining whipped topping. Garnih to of torte with whipped topping. Using deluxe chees grater, grate additional chocolate morsels over torte, if desired. Cut into wedges using slice and serve.
Yield 12 servings



Posted by wcwh2opolo on 2008.12.16 at 19:51
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Tasty fluffy salady goodness....



- 1c sweetened shredded coconut
- 1c canned mandarin slices drained
- 1c mini marshmellows
- 1c crushed pineapple drained
- 1c sour cream

     Combine all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl, then refridgerate until cold.  Serve.

Servings: 10 half cup servings.

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