Monday, December 30, 2019

Three-Bean Vegan Chili (Re-post)

I love this chili.  I first made it over 10 years ago and I made up the recipe back then.  I used to buy these boxes (not cans, lol) of Stagg's veggie chili.  I looked at the ingredients and made my own one time and kept doing it because I liked it so much.  It's a mix of beans, canned tomato products, and fresh veggies like bell peppers, carrots, and onions.  It cooks low and slow (lol) all day in the crockpot.  This is vegan if you don't use any of the optional dairy toppings.  Or, use vegan topping options.

I served this at a Halloween party this year and one of the guests was vegan.  It got her stamp of approval and non-vegan guests also loved this chili; they "couldn't even tell it was vegan".  Lol.  I also had this chicken chili  at the party and a lot of guests chose this vegan recipe, although that chicken one is also really, really good.  

This makes a lot; we eat it as chili the first day and as a topping for frito pies the next day.  I love frito pies!

Three-Bean Vegan Chili
from my original recipe here

3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped carrots
1 green or yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 (14.5 oz.) can whole petite diced tomatoes, with liquid
1 8 oz. can no-salt-added tomato sauce
1-3 canned chipotles in adobo, chopped, optional
1 teaspoon adobo sauce from canned chipotles, optional (I use chipotle paste from a squeeze tube now)
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, undrained
1 (15 oz.) can red or white kidney beans, undrained
1 (15 oz.) can pinto beans, undrained
1-2 cups frozen corn
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoons dried oregano
1 tablespoons dried basil
1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
salt, to taste (I don't add any, on account of the canned products that contain salt)

Optional Garnishes:
shredded sharp Cheddar
plain greek yogurt or sour cream
chopped cilantro
tortilla chips

1. Put all ingredients (except garnishes) into a large crockpot; stir together. Cook on low about 5-8 hours, or until carrots are tender. Taste and add salt, if needed.  
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Sunday, December 29, 2019

Peanut Butter Fudge

This fudge is so good.  It's such a simple recipe too.  You boil milk and sugar together, then add peanut butter and marshmallow creme.  I added a little salt and vanilla extract, too.  We stored this in the fridge at first, but it seemed a little dried-out even though it was in an airtight container.  Then I read on the original recipe that you don't have to store it in the fridge, so I took it out, and it is 100x better at room temp.  Creamy with a great texture.  I'm really glad I tried this one, although I didn't have time to make it before Christmas.

Peanut Butter Fudge
adapted from Love Bakes Good Cakes

Butter or cooking spray, for greasing the foil
2 cups white (granulated) sugar
1/2 cup milk
1-1/3 cups peanut butter
1 jar (7 oz.) marshmallow creme
dash of salt
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1.  Line an 8-in. square pan with foil and butter the foil well (or use cooking spray).  Set aside.

2.  In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring the milk and sugar to a boil. Boil for 4 minutes. Add the peanut butter and marshmallow creme and mix well, then stir in the salt and vanilla. Quickly pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Chill until set. Cut into squares. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.  

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Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Merry Christmas!

My daughter really wanted to make cut-out sugar cookies for Christmas, so we made these yesterday on Christmas Eve.  Then the whole fam got involved in frosting and decorating them.  It was a good time! This is a recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe.  I just used a regular buttercream for the frosting.  One thing Mel mentioned was to make sure you don't roll these out too thin or they won't be very good.  I rolled some out thicker than I thought I should and those were the best.  These are so good with frosting! It's been years since I made roll-out cookies but these weren't as hard as I thought they'd be. 

Roll-Out Sugar Cookies
adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe
Makes: a lot!! 

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks, 12 ounces) butter, softened to cool room temperature
1 1/2 cups (11.25 ounces) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (2 ounces) powdered sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
5 cups (25 ounces) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

Buttercream Frosting:
1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter
2 pounds powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
milk, to taste

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees (if baking right away).  In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars for 3-4 minutes, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add vanilla extract, and almond extract; mix. Add two cups flour, baking powder and salt. Mix. Add remaining flour and mix just until flour is incorporated and the dough is smooth and soft.

2.  The dough can be wrapped in plastic wrap and kept in the refrigerator for up to a week or it can be rolled out right away (if it seems too sticky add another 1/4 cup flour or refrigerate for an hour or so-I opted to refrigerate). Dust a counter with powdered sugar or flour and roll the dough to desired thickness (1/4-inch, maybe even slightly thicker than that). Cut the dough into shapes. (Re-rolling the scraps is fine.) Place the cookies on a lined or lightly greased baking sheet. Bake for 6-8 minutes.  The cookies won’t appear browned on top (or on bottom) when they are done baking so don’t let them overbake! If the first batch is even slightly browned on the top or bottom, decrease the bake time by 30-60 seconds. 

3.  Cool the cookies completely on a wire rack before frosting. The baked cookies (unfrosted) can be stored in a tupperware or ziploc bag in the freezer for up to a month. (There are more freezing instructions on the original recipe. I've never frozen these.)

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Saturday, December 14, 2019

Smothered Sweet Pork Burritos

I loved these Sweet Pork Burritos.  They were so good and flavorful.  The filling made twice more than I expected; I was able to make a whole pan of burritos and then an equal amount I froze individually for lunches to take to work.  Also, I was able to make the rice in my mini rice-cooker.  I loved this recipe, but my kids were weird and weren't too excited about them.  Their loss.  I'll still make these again because my husband I loved them so much.  You can make the filling ahead and keep it for a few days in the fridge.  You can also assemble the burritos ahead of time and bake when needed.
Smothered Sweet Pork Burritos
adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe
This made 16 burritos for me

2 1/2 pounds pork roast like pork shoulder or butt roast
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon oil
1-2 teaspoons liquid smoke
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
2 (15-ounce each) cans green enchilada sauce (my cans were smaller, also, can sub canned/jarred green salsa)
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Dash of hot sauce (optional)
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
8 ounces Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese (or a combination), grated
6-8 whole wheat or white flour tortillas, burrito-sized (I needed 16 for this amount of filling)

1/2 tablespoon butter
1 cup long-grain white rice
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
juice and zest of 1 lime
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1/4 teaspoon cumin

1.  Trim any excess fat pockets from the pork roast (it's ok to leave a bit here and there just trim the large pieces off). Cut the pork into 2-3 large pieces. Season each piece on all sides with salt and pepper.
In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil until rippling and hot. Add all the pieces of pork and brown on each side, 2-3 minutes total. Transfer the pork to the insert of a 5-6 quart slow cooker. (I made these before work one morning with no extra time to sear... and they were still so good.)

2.  Add the liquid smoke and 1/2 cup water. Cook on high for 4-5 hours or on low for 8 hours.

3.  While the pork is cooking, prepare the rice. (I used my small rice cooker- worked perfectly!  Just dump in all ingredients except cilantro-stir in the cilantro after rice is done cooking if you do this.)  In a skillet or medium saucepan, melt the butter and add the rice. Stir, letting the rice and butter cook for 1-2 minutes. Add remaining ingredients (broth, salt, pepper, lime juice and zest, cilantro and cumin) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and cook for 15-16 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes. This can be made ahead and refrigerated until ready to assemble the burritos.

4.  Remove the pork from the slow cooker and shred into bite-sized pieces (discarding the bone, if these is one, or any large pieces of fat). In a large bowl, toss the shredded pork with the brown sugar, 1/2 cup of the green sauce, chili powder, salt and pepper (add more salt and pepper to taste if needed). Add the hot sauce, if using.

5.  Stir in the beans, rice and cilantro to the pork mixture.

6.  Preheat oven to 350F.  Lightly grease a 9X13-inch baking dish with cooking spray and spread about 1/2 - 3/4 cup of the green sauce on the bottom.  Warm the tortillas lightly in a skillet or in the microwave. Scoop about 1/2 cup of the meat mixture into each tortilla and sprinkle with a bit of cheese (you'll want to leave some cheese for the top of all the burritos before they bake). Roll up burrito style (folding the ends in and rolling).

7.  Place the burritos seam-side down in the prepared baking dish. Pour the remaining sauce over the burritos and sprinkle with remaining cheese.

8.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes until heated through and the top is bubbly and slightly golden. Serve immediately.
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Saturday, December 7, 2019

Slow Cooker Maple-Mustard Pulled Pork

 I love pulled pork recipes and especially making sliders out of them with little sweet Hawaiian rolls.  This is a great make-ahead recipe because you're actually supposed to put the pork together with the other ingredients and refrigerate overnight so the flavors meld (I forgot that part, oops).  This recipe made too much extra sauce for our family because not everyone wanted the extra sauce, so I'd cut that in half next time. I made this Pea Salad to go with it.

Slow Cooker Maple-Mustard Pulled Pork
adapted from The Kitchn

For the pork:
1 (4- to 5-pound) boneless pork shoulder or pork butt, halved
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup maple syrup
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth or water
2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 large yellow or white onion, peeled and cut into 8 wedges
4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed

For the maple-mustard sauce: (I'd cut this in half for our fam)
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

For serving:
Hamburger or slider buns
Pickled red onion

1.  Make the pork: Trim off any large pieces of fat from the surface of the pork. Sprinkle the salt, pepper, and oregano evenly over all sides of the pork, then rub the seasonings into the meat. Place in the crock of a 6-quart or larger slow cooker.

2.  Place the maple syrup and mustard in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Pour over the pork, then turn the pork so that all sides are coated in the mixture. Pour the broth or water, tamari or soy sauce, and vinegar around, but not on top of, the pork. Scatter the onion pieces and garlic cloves around the pork. Cover and refrigerate the pork in the crock overnight.

3.  Place the crock in the slow cooker and cook on the LOW setting until the meat can be easily shredded, 8 to 10 hours. Transfer the pork to a cutting board. Pour the cooking liquid through a fine-mesh strainer into a measuring cup and discard the solids. Skim the fat from the surface of the cooking liquid.

4.  When it is cool enough to handle, use 2 forks or your fingers to shred the meat into bite-sized pieces. Discard any large pieces of fat. Transfer the pork back to the slow cooker. Add some of the cooking liquid until moist but not wet and toss to combine. Reserve the rest of the cooking liquid for storing leftovers.

5.  Make the sauce: Place all of the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Pile the pulled pork onto buns, drizzle with some sauce, and top with pickled onions.

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Monday, November 25, 2019

Peanut Butter Texas Sheet Cake

I loved this Peanut Butter Sheet cake.  I especially loved that the right size pan fit in my tiny oven! You need an 11x17 pan for this.  That's just a regular cookie sheet I use all the time.  The sides aren't even super high, and it still worked great.  Texas sheet cakes don't rise super high anyway.  I had never thought about making a peanut butter one until I saw it on Mel's Kitchen Cafe.  I'm so glad I spotted this recipe!
Peanut Butter Texas Sheet Cake
adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sour cream, light or regular
2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup butter
1 cup water

1/2 cup butter
2/3 cups creamy peanut butter
6 tablespoons milk
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees. For the cake, in a medium bowl combine the sugar and flour. In a large mixing bowl mix eggs, baking soda, and sour cream well. Set aside. In a small saucepan combine peanut butter, butter, and water. Bring to a boil. Stir the boiled peanut butter mixture into the flour mixture. Add to the sour cream mixture. Mix well. Pour into a lightly greased 11X17 inch sheet/jellyroll pan.  Bake 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

2.  For the frosting, while the cake is baking, combine the butter, peanut butter, and milk in a saucepan. Bring to a boil stirring constantly. Add the powdered sugar and mix well. (If you want the frosting lump-free, sift the powdered sugar.  I didn't do this, obviously.)  Stir in the vanilla. The frosting will be thick. Mix well. Pour and spread over cake while both are still warm.  Let the cake and frosting cool completely. Cut into pieces and serve.

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Monday, November 18, 2019

Creamy Beef and Shells

I loved this quick and easy recipe.  It all cooks in one pot, so no boiling the pasta separately.  You just have to steam some frozen veggies while this is cooking.  I made it three times. The last time, I left out the beef to make it meatless.  It was still really good and even easier.  It's good both ways. 
Creamy Beef and Shells
adapted from the Kitchn

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion power
2 cups beef broth
8 ounces dried pasta shells
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
7-8 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
1/2 cup heavy cream or half-and-half

1.  Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add 1 pound lean ground beef and cook until cooked through and browned. Season with kosher salt, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1 teaspoon onion powder, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute more.

2.  Stir in 2 cups beef broth, 8 ounces dried pasta shells, and 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce. Cover and cook until the shells are tender and the sauce is slightly thickened, 8 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, shred 8 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese (about 2 cups). Remove from the heat and stir in 1/2 cup heavy cream or half-and-half and the cheddar until the cheese is melted.
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