Chili and Cast Iron Corn Bread

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We had the slow cooker out from making the hummus and decided to use it again to make chili. What goes well with chili? Cornbread of course! Corn bread made in a cast iron skillet to be exact. So we put everything in the crock pot before going to work and came home to an apartment filled with the smell of chili, and in no way was that disappointing. Then we whipped up the cornbread and ate a terribly unhealthy, but terribly delicious meal. Got the recipe for the cornbread from here.

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Ingredients for chili (semi made up from a hodgepodge of other recipes Ive seen in the past)

  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 2 yellow onions, diced
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • dash of pepper
  • 3 cans of stewed/diced tomatoes
  • Shredded cheddar cheese and chopped onions for serving

Directions

  • In a large pan on medium heat, cook the onions and season with salt until soft
  • Add the garlic and chili powder and stir for a minute
  • Add the beef and cook until brown
  • Drain the majority to almost all of the oil and transfer to a slow cooker
  • Cook the chili in the slow cooker on low for 8 hours

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Ingredients for corn bread

  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cups finely ground yellow cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp fine salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk

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Directions for corn bread

  • Heat oven to 450 degrees
  • put 2 tbsp butter in a cast iron skillet and set aside, melt the other 6 tbsp of butter in a small dish
  • Whisk cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl
  • Whisk eggs in a large bowl until frothy, then mix in the buttermilk
  • Pour egg mix into the flour/cornmeal mix and stir until dry streaks are incorporated (easier if you use a rubber spatula), but careful not to overmix
  • Fold in the melted butter and let stand for 5 minutes
  • When the oven is hot, place the skillet with the 2 tbsp butter in for 5 minutes
  • Remove the pan and coat the bottom of the pan with the melted butter
  • Pour the batter into the skillet and bake until golden (~15 minutes)
  • After removing the pan from the oven, let it rest for about 5 minutes
  • Cut and enjoy

This meal was pretty damn good. It was hearty and nostalgic, but on the downside it lacked any form of real vegetables whatsoever. The chili was pretty oily in the cooker, so before we mixed and served it, I spooned out most of the oil that had risen to the top. I also added a little bit of cornstarch to the chili to thicken it up. The cornbread turned out perfectly, but next time we might add some cheddar cheese to the mix, and maybe some jalapeños too.

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Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

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The other day my sister randomly said she was going to make hummus. We all like hummus, but she has never made it before, and actually did not know that chick peas and garbanzo beans were the same thing until this whole process. She got the recipe from the Food Network and made one half a garlic hummus, with the other half being a roasted red pepper hummus.

Ingredients

  • 7 cups water
  • 1 lb dry chickpeas rinsed
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or 1/4 cup roasted red peppers
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 5 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup EVOO

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Directions

  • Place the 7 cups water, chickpeas, and baking soda in a slow cooker and cook on high for 4 hours
  • Drain the chickpeas
  • Add the chickpeas, garlic (or roasted red peppers), and kosher salt to a food processor and pulse for ~20 seconds
  • Scrape the sides of the bowl down and pulse again for another ~15-20 seconds
  • Add the lemon juice and 1/4 cup water and pulse for ~20 seconds
  • Add the tahini and pulse for another 20 seconds
  • Drizzle in the olive oil while the processor is running
  • Serve with some pita chips and enjoy

Overall, I liked the roasted red pepper hummus better because it had a stronger flavor. We actually went back and put more garlic in the other one to make a bolder flavor. Both were good though, and hummus is healthy right? If not, don’t tell me. Hope you enjoy too!

Pasta Carbonara

So on my home from work today, I was thinking spaghetti because I was feeling lazy. And what is easier than ground beef and pasta sauce? But then I thought I should put in some effort and stopped at the market to buy some bacon in order to make a carbonara. I love carbonara and order it quite often. I enjoy the creaminess of the pasta, and of course, the bacon/pancetta. So I started to make this dish, and guess what? NO CREAM. I had no idea. I would have put money on it that there was some heavy cream involved. But alas, there is not, which isn’t a bad thing. I got the recipe from the Food Network.  Other than that, this dish came out quite well, but it was fairly heavy, and we had no room for dessert after (even though I had bought a cheesecake).

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Ingredients

  • 1lb spaghetti
  • 2 tbsp EVOO
  • 4 bacon strips sliced (I used 8 lol)
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup grated parmesan
  • Pepper
  • Fresh parsley, chopped

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Directions

  • Salt and boil pasta
  • While pasta is cooking, fry the bacon in a large, deep skillet on medium heat until crisp
  • Add the garlic and continue to saute for a minute
  • Mix the 2 eggs and parmesan cheese together, avoiding clumps
  • Drain the noodles well, and toss into the bacon fat, coating them well
  • Mix the noodles in the fat for a minute over heat
  • Remove the pan from heat and mix in the egg and parmesan mix, allowing the hot noodles to cook the eggs
  • Add a dash of chopped parsley to each plate and enjoy

 

Fish ‘n Chips

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Today I saw that cod was on sale at the market and decided to make something that has been on my “list” for a little while – Fish and chips. I love fish n chips and order it fairly often when I go out (not as much anymore because I can’t eat as much fried food as I used to). But, I have never actually attempted to make it before – until now. Unfortunately this meal took forever to make because I have a TINY fryer and could only cook a handful of fries at a time and one fish at a time. But all in all, it turned out pretty good, and I would try it again in the future.

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Ingredients

  • Cod fillets
  • Russet potatoes
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp backing soda
  • 12 oz of club soda/beer
  • 1lb shredded cabbage
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • Juice 1 lemon
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • Oil for frying
  • Tartar sauce

Directions for fish

  • Lightly salt and pepper the cod fillets
  • Mix the flour, baking soda, egg, 2 tsp salt, dash of pepper, and club soda/beer in a large mixing bowl and let sit for 30 min
  • Coat the cod fillets in the batter and fry until golden brown (~3-4 min)

Directions for fries

  • Cut the potatoes into desired size
  • Place the fries in a large bowl with ice and water
  • Drain and dry the fries with paper towels
  • Fry the fries until crisp (may want to double fry)
  • Salt to taste

Cole Slaw

  • Mix the mayo, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, a pinch of salt, and a dash of pepper
  • Pour over the shredded lettuce and mix thoroughly

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This is a classic meal, albeit a heavy one. Hope you enjoy it though!

Crab Cakes

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So I made crab cakes a few times awhile back and have been meaning to make it again and post it here. It took a lot longer than I expected to get around to it, but I finally brought myself to do it (mostly because I happened to have most of the ingredients already on hand). I followed the recipe from here, and they turned out pretty good. They aren’t that hard to make and the most challenging thing is probably trying to keep them together when you put them in the frying pan. Other than that, pretty simple.

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Ingredients

  • 1 lb crab meat (I used canned crab b/c I am cheap and lazy)
  • 1/3 cup crushed Ritz crackers
  • 3 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped bell peppers
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Dash cayenne pepper
  • Flour, for dusting

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Directions

  • Mix all the ingredients, besides the flour, in a bowl
  • Form the cakes and dust with flour
  • Add oil to large frying pan/skillet and place on medium heat
  • When the oil is hot, add the cakes (being careful to keep their shape) and cook until brown
  • Serve with sauce

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I made a roasted red pepper sauce using jarred roasted red peppers, mayonnaise, and a dash of salt. I placed the ingredients in a food processor and pulsed a few times until the peppers had blended with the mayo. I placed the cakes on a bed of greens and served with the sauce. The crab cakes turned out well, but were a tad on the salty side. This may be due to using canned crab, but next time I will definitely use a touch less salt.  Hope you enjoy!

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Spicy Turkey Sausage Pasta

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The other day I got some spicy turkey Italian sausages from the market.  This is the first time I have ever bought turkey sausage, so I had no idea how it would taste (generally I am a pork all the way kind of guy).  You can definitely taste the difference, but its still pretty good and healthier, so I suppose that’s a plus.  In the past, I have either grilled them up and put them in a bun and called it a day, or made a standard spaghetti and threw them on top.  This time though, I thought I would try to incorporate the sausage a little more, so I made a penne pasta with a light marinara sauce and sausage.  I did not work off any kind of recipe, so feel free to make your own stuff up too.

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Ingredients

  • 1 lb of penne pasta
  • 4 Italian sausages (spicy)
  • 2 yellow/orange bell peppers (chopped)
  • 1/2 red onion (coarsely chopped)
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 1/2 cup marinara sauce
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Parmesan cheese

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Directions

  • Boil the pasta and set aside
  • In a large skillet, grill the whole sausages until they are approximately 1/2 cooked (~4 min on each side)
  • Chop the red onion and the bell peppers
  • Take the sausages off and cut them into slices
  • Continue to cook the sliced sausages on high heat until done
  • Remove the sausages, and add the garlic, onions and bell peppers to the pan
  • Saute the onions and bell peppers until cooked (may need to add a little oil)
  • Add the sausages back to the pan and continue to saute for a minute on medium heat
  • Add the marinara sauce and bring to a light bubble
  • Add the penne and mix throughly
  • Sprinkle some parmesan cheese and enjoy

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