Friday, October 29, 2010

Slow Cooker Chili

My wooden Spice Rack has been a handy staple in my kitchen for over three decades.  :)  It's located on the wall and is my "go to" area whenever I am adding herbs &/or spices while cooking.  My DH had listened to my specifics for a Spice Rack, built it & stained it. Spaces for tall & short containers were included, much like a shadow box.  Today, I took a quick glance at the tall container of Chili Powder.  Plenty!

The Chili Powder will be used on Sunday for Red-Hot Chili.  Now that our evenings are a bit more brisk, nothing beats a warm bowl of hot Chili topped with a little Sour Cream and a slice of Rye Bread at dinner time!  My West Bend Slow Cooker will be used once again. 
This small appliance is so handy.  Requiring about 15 minutes prep work always results in one no fuss, fragrant, nutritious, hearty dinner.  Yum!  And quite often there are more servings remaining in my slow cooker's pot!  Now, that is an added bonus.    

Red-Hot Chili


About 1 lb. Ground Beef
(1) 14.5 oz. can Diced Tomatoes
(2) cans Red Kidney Beans (about 19 oz. each)
Chopped Onions (dehydrated - 1 TBS.)
Chopped Parsley (dehydrated) - 1 TBS.
(2) tsp. Chili Powder
1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp. Oregano
(2) 15 oz. Tomato Sauce

***Quite often I reach into my freezer and take out a little bag of Green Pepper strips to add while placing the ingredients in the pot.
  1. Spray cooking pot of Slow Cooker with PAM.
  2. Brown about 1 lb. Ground Beef in a frying pan.
  3. Place browned Beef in Cooking Pot.
  4.  Pour (1) can Diced Tomatoes on Beef.
  5. Drain, rinse in cold water & drain again (2) cans Red Kidney Beans.
  6. Place Kidney Beans on top of Tomatoes.
  7. Sprinkle on desired amount of dehydrated Chopped Onions & Chopped Parsley.
  8. Then sprinkle on Chili Powder, Garlic Powder & Oregano.  Add Green Peppers, if desired.
  9. Pour Tomato Sauce over top & spread.
  10. Place lid on top. 
  11. Set temperature to High for 2 and 1/2 hoursThen, reduce to Medium for 1/2 hour.
Before serving, stir the Red-Hot Chili.  Your family will know dinner is ready.  :)  We enjoy a spoonful of Fat Free Sour Cream on top.  And Rye Bread on the side!  

Happy Halloween!!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Halloween Sherbet Punch!!!

Every fall during mid October our Halloween decorations find their way out of hibernation.  At this time of year I also always remember the Halloween Sherbet Punch.  It's a yummy, frothy, orange beverage that we, especially my sons & their friends, would always enjoy whenever our family and friends (both young and old) got together. 

Our punch bowl's ladle would be in constant use.  The stack of cups would need to be replenished.  And ... the punch bowl's ingredients, too.  :)  There are two ingredients to this delicious brew:  Orange Sherbet & 7-Up Soda.  O.K., I use the Diet 7-Up to save a a few calories here.  

The quantity of needed ingredients depends on number of guests.

Halloween Sherbet Punch

For each 1 Quart Orange Sherbet
Use 2 Bottles (Diet) 7-Up Soda (refrigerated)

  1. In large punch bowl place 1 Quart Sherbet.
  2. Pour (2) bottles of 7-Up Soda in bowl, pouring some over Sherbet. 
  3. Stir a little to mix.
  4. Results in frothy, softened Sherbet.
  5. Ladle into cups, adding some of the Sherbet.
  6. Replenish the 7-Up & Sherbet, as needed.
Your goblins will enjoy what you have brewed!  



Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Raisin Craisin Apple Crisp!!!

What a great sunny Columbus Day Weekend it was!  The chilly mornings and the orange pumpkins went hand in hand along with the yearly ride to Meadowbrook Farm in East Longmeadow to purchase the "bushel of Butternut Squash"!  What a wonderful time of year in Western MA!  

For me it also marks baking the first Apple Crisp of the season with the local crisp Cortland apples.  A slice of homemade Apple Pie always tastes great, but if there is no time to roll out the pie crust, Apple Crisp it is!!!  Raisins & Craisins (dried cranberries) mixed in with the apple slices before the baking dish is placed into the oven.  :)  The aromas of Cinnamon & Nutmeg coming from my oven always linger on... The rose colored Pyrex baking dish is used so often filled with seasonal goodies.  Yummy!

The servings of Apple Crisp above only need the large scoop of vanilla ice cream.  Mmmm! 

 Apple Crisp  

Oven Temperature:  375°
Time:  About 45 Minutes

6-7 peeled sliced Apples (I use Cortland or Empire & sometimes 8 Apples.)

3/4 Cup Brown Sugar (I use a little less.)
1/2 Cup Flour
1/2 Cup Old Fashioned Oats
3/4 tsp. Cinnamon
3/4 tsp. Nutmeg
1/3 Cup + 1 TBS. softened Butter or Margarine
*  *  *
1/4 Cup Raisins + Craisins (total amount)

  1. Preheat oven.
  2. Spray 8"x8" glass pan with PAM.
  3. Combine dry Topping Ingredients in small bowl.  
  4. Measure Butter/Margarine and place on top of dry ingredients to soften.
  5. Peel + slice Apples.  Place in glass pan.
  6. Add Raisins & Craisins.  Mix with Apple slices.
  7. Mix softened Butter/Margarine with dry ingredients.
  8. Sprinkle mixture over Apple slices.  
  9. Bake in preheated oven for 45 Minutes or until apples are tender.  
  10. After baking, pierce center with a fork to test for "doneness".  Bake additional 5 minutes, if needed, test again.
  11. Serve warm or chilled with a scoop of Vanilla ice cream. 
  12. Cover & refrigerate any leftovers.
Do you bake desserts containing Apples?  With Oats?   

We did enjoy it!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Zucchini Muffins

Many years ago more than a few gardeners would use some of their abundant Zucchini crop in baking Zucchini Bread.  Perhaps I had baked too many dessert breads of this particular variety to enjoy the taste any longer.  And then many years passed...  

Cupcakes are a dessert to be enjoyed on special occasions or "just because".  Quite often this past summer while I browsed through magazines, read articles and read other blogs, Zucchini Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting recipes were appealing to and baked by many individuals.  I was ready to enjoy the taste of Zucchini as a dessert once again.  It has been a few years.  :)  Perhaps it'd be a good idea to ignore the Cream Cheese Frosting with the additional calories. 

I located many and baked three different recipes.  Each recipe I tried contained a lesser amount of sugar - it's that calorie thing, once again.  The last recipe that I baked (and have done many times this past summer) was located on  Janet Pierce shared a recipe, Zucchini-Chocolate Chip Muffins that results in moisty delicious muffins.  Thank you!  She also shared that she freezes these muffins.  That was a selling point for me.    
This past week there were two green Zucchini in my fridge.  Considering that autumn has arrived, what better way to use these Zucchini than make a double batch of Zucchini Muffins?  I now use Janet Pierce's recipe, but do not include the chocolate chips nor the chopped walnuts.  I also substituted Egg Whites (2 Egg Whites equals 1 Whole Egg when baking), Olive Oil for Sauteeing & Baking and Soy Milk.  In my family it's always "all about the Raisins", so I added 3/4 Cup Raisins.  Plus about 1/8 tsp. Nutmeg.  A double batch of the Zucchini Muffins was baked with two-thirds of the baked goodies placed in my freezer.  The total baking time for 24 muffins was 28 minutes.

They are so good!
We are enjoying them!