Monday, November 23, 2009

Awesome Vegetarian Chili

I am very picky about my chili, just so you know. It has to be chunky, include a wide variety of ingredients, have a little kick and it has to taste just right. My sister-in-law Hillary brought this to the family dinner the other night and it was fantastic!

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon salt
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 green bell peppers, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 (4 ounce) cans chopped green chile peppers, drained
2 (12 ounce) packages vegetarian burger crumbles
3 (28 ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes, crushed
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained
1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained
1 (15 ounce) can black beans
1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in the onion, and season with bay leaves, cumin, oregano, and salt. Cook and stir until onion is tender, then mix in the celery, green bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, garlic, and green chile peppers. When vegetables are heated through, mix in the vegetarian burger crumbles.

Reduce heat to low, cover pot, and simmer 5 minutes.Mix the tomatoes into the pot. Season chili with chili powder and pepper. Stir in the kidney beans, garbanzo beans, and black beans. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer 45 minutes. Stir in the corn, and continue cooking 5 minutes before serving.

Pumpkin Chiffon Pie from Heaven

3/4 C. Brown Sugar
1 env. unflavored gelatin
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ginger
3 Egg yolks
3/4 C. Milk
1 1/4 C. Canned Pumpkin
3 Egg whites
1/3 C. granulated sugar

In saucepan combine brown sugar, gelatin, salt & spices. Combine egg yolks & milk and add to brown sugar mixture. Cook, stirring constantly until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat & stir in pumpkin. Chill until it mounds. Beat egg whites to soft peaks, gradually adding sugar. Once stiff peaks form, fold pumpkin mixture into meringue. Fill baked shell or graham cracker crust. Chill. Garnish with whipped cream, if desired.

My favorite graham cracker pie crust:
9 whole graham crackers
1/4 c. brown sugar
5 Tbs. melted butter
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Combine crackers and sugar together in food processor (or the poor man's way: in gallon ziploc with rolling pin :). Add melted butter and vanilla and pulse until it comes together. Press into pie tin and bake for 10-15 minutes at 350.

Almond Toffee Deliciousness

So, I've been addicted to lately and they're having a holiday dessert bake-off. Say what?? A bake-off?? I'm IN! All the recipes come from food blogs that the magazine staff hand-picked and this was the first thing I made. I took it to a family dinner and we all inhaled it in like 30 seconds. Super easy and way addictive. Don't say i didn't warn you!

1 sleeve of saltine crackers
1 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups chocolate chips (i used bittersweet)
1 cup chopped almonds, toasted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray cookie sheet with non-stick spray. Line crackers on cookie sheet close together. Melt butter and brown sugar in a medium pan on medium-high heat. Stirring often, heat the mixture for about 3-5 minutes until it turns into a nice caramel looking sauce. *note* I have used generic brown sugar without success. Not sure why it does not caramelize, but instead the butter starts to clarify and the brown sugar clumps. I recommend using C & H brown sugar. Pour the sauce over the crackers until they are completely covered. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle chocolate chips over the cookie sheet. The chocolate should start to melt. Spread chocolate over the toffee mixture and top with nuts. Allow to completely cool before breaking toffee up in pieces. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sweet Pork Burritos/Salad

So, I know that Cafe Rio is like the best place ever, yadda yadda. Frankly the only thing I like there is the salad. I found this recipe that's supposed to recreate it and we tried it last week. It was way better than Cafe Rio and Luke and I were in love. We put the meat (with some of its sauce), rice, and lettuce in a tortilla and poured the dressing and cheese over it. Sooooo good!
(We didn't use the beans but they look good, huh?)

4 pounds pork
2-3 cans tomato sauce (8 oz.)
1/4 c. brown sugar (or to taste)
1 tsp fresh garlic
2 tsp. cumin
1 can Coke (optional)
1 can sliced green chilies
1/2 tsp. salt
pepper to taste

Combine everything in crock pot on high for about 6 hours (you can do it on low overnight or all day) or until it shreds easily. Remove pork from crock pot and shred.

CILANTRO-LIME RICE (I would suggest doubling the rice to match the rest of the recipe)
1 1/4 c. uncooked rice
2 Tbs. butter or margarine
juice of 1-2 limes
2 1/4 c. chicken broth
3/4 tsp. salt
pepper to taste
1/4 tsp. cumin
3 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro

In a saucepan combine rice, butter until melted. Add rest of ingredients and bring to a boil. Cover and cook on low 15-20 minutes, until rice is tender. Remove from heat.

2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/3 c. tomato juice
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. fresh chopped cilantro

In a nonstick skillet, cook garlic and cumin in olive oil over medium heat until you can smell it. Add beans, tomato juice, and salt. Continually stir until heated through. Just before serving stir in the cilantro. Can also add a can of corn, drained, to the beans with a dash of cumin and chili powder.

CILANTRO RANCH (can also double if you have a lot of meat)
1 packet Ranch dressing mix
1/2 c. mayonnaise
1/2 c. buttermilk
1/2 c. sour cream
2 tomatillos, remove husk, diced (or use a 16 oz. jar of green salsa)
1/2 bunch of fresh cilantro
1 clove garlic
juice of 1 lime
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 jalapeno (remove the seeds for mild flavor) and/or cayenne pepper
salt and pepper

Puree all ingredients together in the blender.

Devil's Food with Whipped Ganache and Dark Chocolate Glaze

So, I'm on this personal quest to find the best chocolate cake. I made my second great attempt at it yesterday for my father-in-law's birthday. In fact, if you invite me to your party, I'll probably make you one too. So many recipes, so little time. Anyway, this was probably the best I've tasted yet, restaurant cakes included (you know they're always too dry) so it's gonna be hard to beat. Good thing too, it took me all stinking day to make. I'll get around to posting the recipe but I had to throw the picture up on here first. Whatcha think??

P.S. the combination of all the various kinds of chocolate was perfect in the cake itself, but the chocolate ruffle decorations made it too much. Next time I'll just decorate with some fresh strawberries. Or maybe even cinnamon sticks dipped in chocolate since the for the ganache I used cinnamon infused cream. Mmmmmm :)