Snow Day Chili

Chili and a blizzard go hand in hand. So that is what I made this past weekend when the “blizzard of 2013″ hit our Boston area!

After hours of digging out, (but kudos to the neighbors with snowblowers for doing most of our heavy lifting!!) coming in to chili to warm us from the inside out was perfect!

Chili is such a great thing to eat in general but it is always good on hot dogs, burgers, tortilla chips,salad and my favorite: baked potatoes! I remember when the “Wendy’s” restaurants arrived in New England with their salad bars and baked potatoes. (Yup Wendy’s had salad bars and a good ones too at that time.) My dad and I would sneak down there on the night it was his turn to make dinner and get the salad bar with a cup of chili and the chips. We would crumble up the chips and pile on the cheese. Sometime we got the baked potatoes with the chili and extra fresh chopped raw onion of course! They still offer a “taco salad” and the baked potato with chili but somehow it is just not the same.

My version is fancied up with a little sweet Italian sausage and a can of “Ro*tel” to keep it easy. It is also not crazy spicy (like some of my other chili’s – Holy Mole!) so everybody can enjoy and add their own level of heat with hot sauce of their choice.storm day chili

Production Notes

1 lb sweet Italian sausage, out of casing and crumbled

1 lb ground beef (leaner is nice)

1 onion, chopped small

1 lg garlic clove, minced

1 can (10oz) original “Ro*tel”

1 can (13oz +/-) red beans or black beans or whatever bean you like

2 Tb ground cumin ( less if you don’t love as much as me)

2 Tsp ground chili powder

2 Tsp smoked paprika (sweet not spicy- or spicy if you like it)

2 Tsp ground Ancho Chili powder

salt and pepper to taste

1 Large can (28oz) crushed tomatoes

2 Tb brown sugar (you can omit or cut in half if you don’t want it too sweet)

1/2 a can ( the 28oz one) of water

Brown the meats (no extra oil needed) in a heavy bottomed dutch oven, until done. Scoop meat out and set aside. Pour out about 1/2 the fat. In the remaining fat in the pan add the onions and garlic and saute a few minutes. Add all the dry spices and kinda toast for a minute. Deglaze the pan with the tomatoes and Ro*tel. Add the meat back in, stirring to combine everything. Add the water – you may want less for thicker chili or more for thinner chili – also depends on how long you want to/plan to simmer. Add additional hot sauce at this point – I like a good vinegar based one like Tabasco or Texas Pete but you can use your favorite. Add the beans (drain them first) and simmer on low for anywhere from 1- 4 hours to let flavors develop and deepen.  This could be transferred to a low slow cooker for the day too.  Serve with all the fixin’s! Freeze the extra until the next snow day! It makes a lot!

Even the trash needs shoveling out!

Even the trash needs shoveling out!

Holly’s Frittata

Recently I just found out a friend of mine was a vegetarian and when she checked out my blog, she said I should post more vegetarian recipes. I think she is right and I KNOW my mom would agree!

So she inspired this recipe. (Well, admittedly I was planning on making a frittata but without her inspiration it would have contained bacon! YUM. I won’t tell if you add it in!)

AND it seems that she likes a simple recipe that only uses about 5 ingredients. Any more than that and I sensed a little anxiety!

I took lots of step by step pictures on this one…

Here are the 5 ingredients

8 eggs (1 is missing from the pic)

1 cup milk (I used 2%)

about 3/4 of a cup of chopped green onions – reserve some for garnish

4 ozs feta cheese cubed/crumbled

3 small leftover baked potatoes – I always bake extra when I bake.

“free” pantry ingredients:

salt and pepper to taste, cooking spray and 2 oz of butter or margarine for the pan. ( I suppose you could just use cooking spray to keep this lighter…but why?)

Here is how you make it

Spray a 10″ oven-proof skillet and melt the butter or margarine in the bottom. Turn off the heat.

Slice the potatoes thickly and layer on the bottom in the melted butter/margarine. Next add the green onions and cubed feta.

Whisk the eggs and milk together and pour over the layers in the pan. Add some fresh cracked black pepper on top.

A little sea salt too, if you like.

Put into a preheated 350 degree oven for 40-45 mins until the egg is firm and fluffy through the middle. You can peek gently with a knife. The edges will have pulled away from the pan sides and it should look like this…

Cool for 15-20 mins before slicing. Garnish with the reserved green onions and serve with favorite beverage. (Maybe mimosa’s?) You should get about 8 reasonable slices. Made in a square pan and sliced into squares – it could be used as brunch item with some other things, like bagels and fruit salad? Or bacon.

Mr. Weber’s Last Supper?

Remember Mr. Weber? We got him last year. You can read about that adventure here.

Since then we have been putting him to work. But he was a little tired and rusty when we got him. Even with his new cover to protect him – he has seen better days.

Sunday I decided to get him out and make some dinner, I noticed the wear and tear and thought this might his last supper.

I faithfully fired him up, watched him smoke a bit and chug into action.

I put him to work on some baked potatoes and some brisket that I seared first and braised longer in a juicy foil setup.

But as we sat back and enjoyed a late summer evening dinner together, I realized that Mr. Weber is still the one for me.

This will not be his last supper.