Monday, November 30, 2009

Sara's Chili

This is my own "made up" recipe for chili. I am not a fan of chunky tomatoes so I concocted this recipe that gets plenty of flavor from the beans and the spices.

Start by browning the beef and onions over medium heat.

When the meat is fully cooked, remove from the heat and drain, if necessary. Then add the tomato soup and the baked beans,

the chili beans,

chili powder,


and cayenne.

The measurements I've given for the spices are all starting points - I tend to use more cause I like chili to have a bit of a kick. I also use "medium" chili beans - if you want a milder version, pick up the "mild." They also come in "hot" for those of you who are really brave!

Return the chili to medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through.

I love serving chili with a dollop of sour cream, a sprinkle of shredded cheese, and warm cornbread muffins.

There are more bean recipes at the Ultimate Recipe Swap. Get more inspiration at Mouthwatering Mondays, Tempt my Tummy Tuesday, Tasty Tuesdays and Tuesdays at the Table.

Sara's Chili

1 lb. lean ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1 can tomato soup
1 - 16 oz. can chili beans (I prefer Bush's)
1 - 28 oz. can baked beans (I prefer Bush's)
3/4 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. cayenne
sour cream and shredded cheese for garnish

Brown beef and onion over medium heat until cooked through; remove from heat and drain if necessary. Add the soup and beans and spices; stir well. Return to heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through. Top each bowl with dollops of sour cream and sprinkle with shredded cheese.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

O give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; for His lovingkindness is everlasting. I Chronicles 16:34

Monday, November 23, 2009

Crumb-Topped Apple and Pumpkin Pie

I don't know about you, but I have a hard time deciding what kind of pie to have at Thanksgiving. Pumpkin is my favorite, but I really like apple too. I tend to sneak a bite of apple from someone's plate along with my own pumpkin. So I was thrilled to find this recipe that combined apple and pumpkin in ONE PIE! I also like that it uses a crumb topping - I'm not a huge fan of double crust pies but I love crumb toppings!

This recipe uses a store bought crust but you could also make your own if you prefer.

Start by preparing the apples. I like to core them first, then peel and slice.

Toss the apples with the lemon juice, then add the flour, sugar,

and cinnamon.

Stir well to coat all the apples. Then make the pumpkin mixture. Combine the pumpkin, evaporated milk,

eggs, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.

Whisk well to incorporate all the ingredients. Lightly flour your rolling surface (I just use my counter!) and your rolling pin, and roll out the pie crust to about 1/2 inch beyond your pie plate. Then carefully tranfer the crust to the pie plate.

Fill the crust first with the apple mixture, then with the pumpkin mixture.

Flute the edges of the crust or embellish them however you desire. Do not take a lesson from me on this, however. I am hopeless at pie crust design!

Bake this for about 30 minutes. While it's baking, you can assemble the crumb topping.

Combine the flour and sugar.

Then cut in the butter, just like in the fruit crisp recipe. Then add the chopped pecans or walnuts.

Stir well to incorporate the nuts into the topping. After the 30 minutes, remove the pie from the oven and sprinkle with the crumb topping.

If you feel like the crust is getting a little too brown for your liking, you can tent it with some foil. This is easier said than done! The pie pan is hot, so be careful!

Return the pie to the oven and bake for an additional 20-25 minutes or until the pumpkin layer tests done. (You can insert a table knife into the pie. If it comes out clean, it's done. Mine took just 20 minutes.)

Cool the pie on a wire rack.

If you have any leftovers of this pie, you'll need to refrigerate them. Happy Thanksgiving!

Get more Thanksgiving inspiration at the Krazy Kitchen and Mouthwatering Mondays. Find more recipes at Tempt my Tummy Tuesday, Tuesdays at the Table, and Tasty Tuesday, Ingredient Spotlight.

Crumb-Topped Apple and Pumpkin Pie

1 sheet refrigerated pie pastry (such as Pillsbury), or homemade
Apple filling:
2 cups thinly sliced peeled tart apples (I used Granny Smith)
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. flour
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
Pumpkin filling:
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin
1 cup evaporated milk
2 eggs
1/2 cup sgugar
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 cup flour
3 Tbsp. sugar
5 tsp. cold butter
3 Tbsp. chopped pecans or walnuts

Unroll pastry to a lightly floured surface. Roll out to 1/2 inch beyond the pie plate, and carefully transfer to a deep dish 9-inch pie plate; flute edges.

In a medium bowl, combine apples, sugar, flour, lemon juice and cinnamon; toss to coat all apples. Spoon into pie crust.

In another bowl, whisk the pumpkin filling ingredients. Pour over apple mixture. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes.

For topping, combine the flour and sugar; cut in butter until crumbly. Stir in pecans. Sprinkle over pie. Bake an additional 20-25 minutes or until a knife inserted into the pumpkin layer comes out clean. (Tent pie crust with foil if necessary during the last 20 minutes of baking.)

Cool on a wire rack. Refrigerate leftovers. Serves 10.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Zesty Cranberry Sauce

This is the easiest thing to make out of all the Thanksgiving side dishes, and it can be made the day before which leaves one less thing to do on the big day. These cranberries are SO good. They are WAY better than anything that comes out of the can, although I think those have their place too, namely in my cranberry salad! (A nice alternative or addition to your menu.)

Place the cranberries in a large skillet. I buy bags of cranberries when they're on sale and toss them in the freezer. You can put them into the skillet fresh from the fridge, or from the freezer. No need to thaw them. Then add the white sugar,

brown sugar,

orange zest, orange juice and water.

(Yes, that is a gravy separator. All my measuring cups were dirty.)

Cook the cranberries over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries begin to pop.

You'll be able to hear them popping (little sizzling noises!) and they'll look like this:

Remove from the heat and let cool. The sauce will thicken as it cools. Serve at room temperature, or chilled. As I mentioned, this can be made 1-2 days ahead and stored in the refrigerator until serving time. As for leftovers, if you have any, this sauce is a delicious condiment on a turkey sandwich!

Get more Thanksgiving inspiration at the Ultimate Recipe Swap and the Krazy Kitchen. And there are more recipes at What's Cooking Wednesday.

Zesty Cranberry Sauce

1 12 oz. bag fresh or frozen cranberries
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup orange juice
2 tsp. grated orange peel
1/8 tsp. cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in a large skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until cranberries begin to pop; about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Serve chilled or at room temperature. The sauce will thicken as it cools. Makes 2 1/2 cups, 8-10 servings.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Corn Bread and Apple Stuffing

It's Thanksigiving week on Cook with Sara! I wanted to post some of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes, and I'll link back to other ideas that have already been posted. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday to cook for, and I hope that these recipes give you some new inspiration, especially if you feel "stuck" in your holiday meal planning.

I must admit that I am not a huge fan of stuffing. At least I wasn't, until I made this version when I hosted Thanksgiving for my family for the first time. And now I'm just a stuffing snob - I really like this kind, but am pretty particular about others! This one is so good - the variety of textures and flavors blend together nicely and it's not very "wet." Personally, I can't stand "wet" stuffing. But that's a matter of preference, of course, and if you like wet stuffing, you can just add more chicken broth!

Ok, on with the preparation. This recipe does have several steps, but a few of them can be done the day before (see below for make-ahead steps). You will need to make a boxed cornbread mix (I use Jiffy) earlier in the day before you assemble the stuffing. Cube the cornbread and the white bread, and put the bread cubes on a large rimmed baking sheet.

Bake this for 10 minutes. While it's baking, melt butter in a large skillet and cook the onions and celery for 4-5 minutes.

Then add the apples and cook for another 5 minutes.

When the bread is done, remove it to a large mixing bowl, and then add the onion and celery and apple mixture to it.

Melt the remaining butter in the same skillet, and then add the mushrooms.

Cook the mushrooms for 3-4 minutes or until they start to give up their juices. Add them to the bread mixture bowl, then add the sage and thyme.

Now, cook the sausage in the same skillet. When it's cooked, drain if necessary and add to the bread bowl.

Add the egg, and then mix well.

Now add about 1/4 cup of chicken broth,

and stir well to moisten. Test the stuffing by picking up a clump of it in your hand, it should stick together a bit.

If it is still too dry, add more chicken broth. Once it's to your liking, transfer to a greased 9x13 baking dish.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until the top starts to form a crunchy crust.

Transfer the stuffing to a warm serving dish, and enjoy!

Make ahead steps:
1. Bake cornbread mix, cool, then cube; Cube white bread. Place on baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes; cool. Store in an airtight container.
2. Cook sausage; drain. Store in refrigerator overnight.

On "eating day," cook vegetables, apples and mushrooms. Add to bread mix along with herbs. Add sausage, egg and chicken broth; mix and bake.

Find more Thanksgiving inspiration at the Ultimate Recipe Swap, Krazy Kitchen, Mouthwatering Mondays, and Tasty Tuesday. There are even more recipes at Tempt my Tummy Tuesday, and Tuesdays at the Table.

Corn Bread and Apple Stuffing

1/2 loaf (8 oz.) white bread, sliced and cut into 1/4" cubes
5 cups cubed corn bread (from prepared Jiffy mix)
5 Tbsp. butter, divided
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 celery ribs, finely chopped
2 apples, cored, peeled and diced
4 ounces mushrooms, chopped
12 ounces bulk breakfast sausage
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh sage, or 2 tsp. rubbed sage
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme, or 1 tsp. dried thyme
1 large egg, beaten
1/4 to 1/2 cup chicken broth

Heat oven to 350. Place bread cubes on a large jelly roll pan and bake for 10 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.

Melt 4 Tbsp. butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and celery; cook about 5 minutes, then add apples and cook 4-5 minutes longer. Transfer mixture to bowl with bread.

In same skillet, melt remaining 1 Tbsp. butter over medium heat. Add mushrooms and cook until they begin to give up their juices, about 3-4 minutes. Add mushrooms to the bread bowl. Cook sausage in skillet, breaking up with a spoon until thoroughly cooked, 5-6 minutes. Drain and add to bread mixture.

Stir in sage, thyme, egg and enough chicken broth so that stuffing just holds together when lightly pressed between your hands. Add additional broth if stuffing seems dry.

Spoon stuffing into a greased 9x13 baking dish. Bake until the top has formed a crust and stuffing is heated through, about 30 minutes. Makes 8-10 servings.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Cheesy Vegetable Soup

I make this soup on the stove top but I think it could easily be adapted to the crock pot. It's not a time-intensive soup, though, so you can have it on the table within 1/2 hour of when you start to make it. It relies on some convenience products, which helps make it quick, and it's also a great way to get lots of vegetables in. I modified this recipe to use what I like, but you could easily add carrots or other favorite vegetables to the mix.

First, saute the onion in a dutch oven coated with cooking spray. Then stir in the potatoes,

the chicken broth and the water.

Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Next, combine the cornstarch with a bit of cold water and whisk well to dissolve the starch. Gradually add this mixture to the soup.

Return the soup to boiling, and cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until slightly thickened.

Add the cream of chicken soup and stir well until blended.

Reduce the heat to medium and add the broccoli

then the cauliflower (or your favorite vegetable mix).

Cook and stir until the vegetables are tender, about 5-7 minutes. Then add the cheese

and cook and stir until it is completely melted and incorporated into the soup. (This recipe calls for 16 oz of velveeta. I think that's a bit much, I would tend to use only 12 oz.)

Enjoy with some warm, crusty bread!

There are more great recipes at the Ultimate Recipe Swap, Slow Cooking Thursday, Foodie Friday, Food on Fridays, and Friday Food. Get crock pot inspiration at Crock Pot Wednesdays and Slow Cooking Thursdays.

Veggie Cheese Soup

1 large onion, chopped
4 cups peeled, diced potatoes
3 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water
1 can cream of chicken soup
3 cups frozen broccoli
3 cups frozen cauliflower
12-16 oz. Velveeta cheese, cubed

In a dutch oven coated with nonstick cooking spray, saute the onion over medium heat until tender. Add the potatoes, water and chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

Combine cornstarch and cold water and whisk until smooth; gradually add to soup. Return to a boil; cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until slightly thickened. Stir in cream of chicken soup until blended.

Reduce heat to medium; add vegetables. Cook and stir until vegetables are tender. Stir in cheese until melted. Serves 8-10.
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