Saturday, November 16, 2013

Basic Nothing Fancy Chili

This is not a fancy or "Foodie" chili. It is simply the basic chili that our family requested on cool and cozy Autumn and Winter evenings. It is a very frugal soup to make, especially since I buy dried beans in bulk and meat from the markdown sections of the meat department.

Here is what you will need:

8 oz. dried beans - pinto, kidney, black beans, whatever

16 oz. ground beef or turkey (optional)
1 onion, chopped
5 or more cloves garlic, chopped
1 C chopped carrots
1 C chopped celery
Ground pepper
Ground cumin
Red chili powder
Ground cayenne pepper

24 oz. tomato sauce
28 oz Rotel diced tomatoes and green chilies
6 oz can roasted chilies

The night before you want to serve your chili, you need to start preparing your beans.
Rinse and sort the dried beans, removing and rocks or junk.
Put your beans in a stock pot and cover them with water to soak all night.
The next morning, change the water and set on the stove.  DO not salt your water or your beans will be tough. Bring the beans to a boil and cook them until a bean can be squished between your tongue and the roof of your mouth.

In a large skillet, brown your ground meat and add your chopped onions, garlic, carrots and celery. Dump in your seasonings. Your veggies will cook in the meat fat and you should not have to add any more fat. Depending on the grade of meat you use, you may need to drain off some of the fat.

Once your meat and veggies are cooked, dump them into the pot of beans. Dump in the cans of tomatoes and chilies. Let them all cook together on low for several hours. You can always add more seasoning to taste.

I serve with grated cheese, plain nonfat yogurt or sour cream, chopped onions, cilantro and corn tortillas.


Happy cooking!


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Cinnamon Honey Applesauce

I haven't posted on this blog for a long,
long time!

But I realized that someday my India
will move out for good
and she loves to cook the foods
that are cozy for her.

One very simple and frugal treat
that I make, especially in the Autumn,
is hot applesauce.

To be honest, I make it because I am frugal
and I can't stand it when I see apples getting
wrinkled and forgotten.

But it is delicious and smells divine!

And as usual, no measurements.

But the technique is simple and always works.

Cinnamon Honey Applesauce

Apples- whatever you have that needs to be used.



Peel your apples and cut off any bad spots.
Chop them into chunks of less than an inch.

Dump the chopped apples into a saucepan
and turn on the burner. 

Sprinkle in cinnamon to taste
and pour some yummy local honey into the 
cinnamony apples.

Cook on a low heat, adding water as necessary.

As the apples cook down, you will be able
to mash them a bit.
You can put it all in a blender,
or leave it chunky.

It is done when the consistency is soft 
and able to be mashed easily.

You can make this in your crock pot 
if you want.
You can serve it hot or chill it.

Really, this is the easiest treat in the world!


Happy cooking!


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Zucchini Chevre Frittata

I know I haven't posted to this blog in a long, long time.

But I made the most delicious frittata the other
day and wanted to document it
so I could make it again.

I "wing it" so much, 
that sometimes when my Hot Rockin' Hubby
really likes something, 
I often don't remember how I made it.

Last Sunday at church,
we were blessed with a bag of zucchini
from a friend's garden.

India and Ahnalin fought over those
zukes all the way home!

I apologize for the bad photos.

Here is my creation.

Zucchini Chevre Frittata


2 Zucchini
1/3 onion
2-3 garlic cloves
olive oil
6-7 eggs
2 ounces Chevre cheese
seat salt
cracked black pepper
fresh rosemary

Turn your oven on to 425 degrees

 Slice your zucchini in 1/4" slices and spread on a stoneware pan
or non-stick cookie sheet.
If you don't have either of these, use a regular cookie sheet
but put a piece of parchment paper on it before you place the zucchini on it.

Drizzle a little olive oil

Roast the zucchini slices about 15 minutes
until they are tender.

Layer the zucchini slices in a deep dish baker.

Saute your chopped onion and garlic
in a little olive oil.
I used a red onion so it looks pink.

Spread the sauteed onions and garlic over the top 
of the zucchini.

Whisk your eggs along with your sea salt,
cracked black pepper and fresh rosemary.

Pour your egg mixture directly over the zucchini and onions.

Drop pieces of the chevre cheese onto the top.

And bake, uncovered,
at 425 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

I served this with a green salad and melon.

It was also wonderful the next day, served cold.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Bean And Tomato Salad

I normally call this Green Bean and Tomato Salad.

But a dear friend surprised me with 
a giant bag of green and yellow beans from 
her garden yesterday.

So, I used them all!

And as usual, I didn't measure anything.

So, you just get to play with the amounts
and cook to your taste.

Bean and Tomato Salad

What you need:

Fresh green or yellow beans
2 or 3 fresh tomatoes
1 onion
Garlic cloves
Extra virgin olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Dried dill
Fresh ground black pepper
Sea Salt

What to do:

Rinse your beans and cut the stem ends off.
You can cut the 
beans in smaller pieces, 
but I really like the beans long.
Steam your beans until they are tender
but not mushy.

While your beans are steaming, chop your tomatoes,
onions and garlic.  Put them all in a bowl and
mix them all together.  Pour vinegar and olive
oil over the tomatoes, onions and garlic.
Season with dill, fresh ground pepper
and sea salt. Mix all together and taste.
Play with it and determine if you need more
of anything to get to the taste you like.
This concoction is so good, you may just
eat it right away, or spoon it onto sourdough bread.
It is pretty much like Bruschetta.
Oh yum!

Once your beans are steamed, drain them and
dump them into a large bowl. Pour
 the tomato mixture on top.
Gently mix it all together.
The steamed beans absorb
all the yummyness!

You can eat this hot or cold.
It is pretty outrageous either way.

You can add fresh basil, or dried cranberries,
or Kalamata olives. 
You can shave Parmigiana Reggiano cheese
over the top if you want. 
These are wonderful additions!
I am enjoying some right now!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Greek Orzo Salad

One of our favorite hot weather salads
is Greek Orzo Salad.

There are many ways to make this salad,
but this is my favorite.

As with any of my recipes,
amounts are approximate,
as I pretty much "wing it" 
while I am cooking.

Greek Orzo Salad

What you need:
1 bag Orzo dried pasta
1/2 cup course chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped cucumbers
1/2 cup chopped red bell peppers
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
8 oz. feta cheese 
(I prefer goat feta but all work just fine)
8 oz. pitted Kalamata olives
fresh basil
Extra virgin olive oil
balsamic or red wine vinegar
(yes I have read the health warnings but balsamic is my favorite!)
dill seasoning

What you do:

Prepare the orzo as directed on the package.
Chop your veggies. I do not peal the veggies.
Quarter the olives.
Chop the feta.
cut your basil into skinny ribbons.
Drain your orzo and put in a large bowl.
Dump all your veggies into the hot orzo.
Dump the olives and feta into the orzo.
Now, you can make up your dressing ahead of time
just pour all the ingredients over the pasta.

I usually just pour the olive oil, vinegar,
salt, pepper, and dill directly onto the salad.
I do not measure these ingredients. 
But it is usually around 3 tablespoons olive oil,
and then I am very generous with the vinegar.
I just play with it and go for the taste that suits
me on any given day.

Sometimes I pour fresh lemon juice over it,
and sometimes I add chopped fresh garlic.

You can eat it warm 
or chill it and eat it cold.
It is even better the next day!


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Avgolemono Soup

So, Ahnalin has been begging for her favorite soup.

She was sick with a fever the last several days
and always asks for Avgolemono soup when
she doesn't feel good. 

I find this so funny, because my favorite 
"sick soup" is Hot and Sour soup. 
But then, we ARE a
Greek/Chinese/Scandinavian/European family 
by birth and adoption.

Now, I will be honest here, and tell you that this is how I make
this soup.  You CAN start
with a whole chicken and make the broth and 
use the chicken meat in the soup. 
And it is REALLY GOOD that way.

But more often than not, I make it the way I am 
going to show you.
You can even use canned broth if you are short 
on time. 


Ahnalin is sitting on the heater vent under the
lamp table.

before I tell you how to make the soup,
I will tell you how I make broth.

I always start my broth the day before I plan to make soup.

Don calls it "garbage broth",
because I save all kinds of chicken,
beef and pork bones, 
along with leftover chunks of veggies,
in Ziplock baggies in my freezer. 

So, when I was preparing the chicken from
I put the neck, excess fat and skin,
and giblets into a baggie 
and froze them.
I even saved the lemons and onions
that were baked in the Chicken cavity.

When I knew I was going to make soup,
I grabbed all those little baggies I had been stashing
in the freezer and dumped them into my stockpot.
I quartered an onion and cut up an unpeeled 
carrot, 2 stocks of celery, and
several cloves of garlic
and threw them in too.
I poured in water to fill about halfway 
or three quarters of the stock pot. 
I throw in a tablespoon or so of salt
and tablespoon or so of peppercorns,
as well as some basil, lemon peels
and whatever I feel like throwing in that day.

I bring the pot to a boil and then turn it down low
to simmer the rest of the day. 
I add water as necessary. 
If I am going to be gone, 
throw I it all in the crock pot and let it cook all day.

When I am done cooking the broth,
I strain it through a sieve (which is what lots 
of people call me!).
If you don't have a sieve, put a clean,
plain dish towel in your colander and 
and put it over another pot, and 
pour the broth through it.
Throw out all the solids.
Then, if it is a cold night, I cover the pot tightly
of broth and sit it in the garage or out on the back porch
to cool all night.
If it is a warm night, then I turn off the burner a few

hours before bed so the pot can start cooling and 
then put it in the fridge. 
In the morning, I bring in that pot and skim off the
coagulated fat and throw it away.

And now the broth is ready to use right away,
or freeze for later.

Avgolemono Soup
(remember, this is just how I do it)

About 2 quarts of chicken broth (or more)
1/2 cup of rice or orzo pasta
3 eggs
2 lemons
Salt to taste

(If you have any leftover cooked rice
or chicken in your fridge
or freezer, like I often do, you can throw them in as well.)

Bring your broth to a boil and throw in your
rice or orzo.
While you are waiting for the rice or orzo to cook,
grab a clean small-medium mixing bowl and
crack your eggs into it.
Whisk those eggs until they are frothy
Now, juice your lemons. If you want
to zest them before you juice them, 
you can save the zest to garnish the soup.
Now, get back to your whisking, and gradually
pour in the fresh lemon juice.

When your rice or orzo pasta is tender, you 
are ready to start the most delicate part of this soup.
But, you are within minutes of serving it!

Scoop out about 2 or 3 cups of the hot broth.
Sometimes I just ladle it into a glass
measuring cup with a pour spout.
While whisking the egg/lemon mixture,
VERY GRADUALLY ladle or pour the hot broth
into the egg/lemon mixture. 

DO NOT- I REPEAT- DO NOT (!!!!!) do it the 
other way around. 
If you pour the egg/lemon mixture into the hot broth,
it will be more like the texture
of egg drop soup, not creamy and smooth.

When you have the broth whisked into the egg/lemon
mixture, you can now gradually whisk
THAT broth/egg/lemon into the rest of the broth.
Now you can heat the soup up for 
an additional 5-10 minutes on VERY LOW HEAT. 

You can garnish it with lemon zest if you want,
and then salt and pepper to taste. 
I don't add any more seasoning to mine,
sometimes I will add a dash of hot sauce if I am in the mood.
(Remember, I like hot and sour.)

Pour it into mugs or bowls and serve with a
salad and bread.

So, that's it. Once you learn the whisking 
technique, it is easy and so fast!


Friday, January 21, 2011

Greek Lemon Chicken

You would think
that I would post a lovely picture with my first recipe post.

And it would be a good thought.

you would be incorrect.

But this is yummy and a favorite in my house.

My hubby is Greek and I learned
many recipes and tastes from his mother and Yaya, 
and then did my own thing with what I learned.

Here is my take on baked chicken.

Greek Lemon Chicken
About 6 potatoes
1 roasting chicken
1 onion
2 lemons
2- 4 (or more) cloves of garlic
 3 or 4 (or more) whole carrots
Dill seasoning
1 or 2 cups broth

Preheat your oven to 350 
(or get out your crock pot)
If you are baking this chicken,
you will need a 9X13" backing dish.
(I use Pampered Chef Stoneware.)

Scrub your potatoes and cut out any eyes or bad spots.
Leave the skins on. 
Cut your potatoes into round slices, about 1/4-1/2 inch thick.
Layer the potatoes along the bottom of your baking dish 
or crock pot. 
Take the gizzards and neck out of the cavity of your chicken.
(I save these in a zip lock bag in my freezer for making broth later.)
Trim the excess fat off the opening of the cavity.
Rinse the chicken and pat it dry with a paper towel.
Salt and pepper the inside of the chicken cavity.
Peel and cut your onion in half, then in quarters.
Cut your lemons in half and then quarters.
Peel your garlic cloves.
Squeeze half of the lemons into the cavity.
Stuff the cavity with the squeezed lemons,
the onions and the garlic. 

Now, this probably goes against all the rules of beautiful cooking,
but then, my cooking is rarely beautiful.

Put the chicken BREAST SIDE DOWN on top of the potatoes.
Really, it is juicier that way!
Pour some olive oil over the chicken skin and rub it in. 
Now, for the carrots, you CAN use the little "baby carrots".
But I prefer using whole carrots, peeled and cut into chunks.
They are sweeter and absorb the chicken flavors better.
In addition, they are usually much cheaper. 
So, arrange the carrots around the chicken, 
on top of the potatoes. 
Squeeze the rest of the lemons over the chicken
and carrots. 
Then just lay the squeezed lemon chunks
around on the carrots.
Season the chicken skin with salt, pepper and dill.
Pour the broth around the carrots. 
You can season the carrots with the salt, pepper and dill too.

Now, put the baking dish in the oven and 
bake for about 1 1/2 - 2 hours. 
Check the temperature so that 
the internal temp is 160. 
If you plan on using your Crock Pot, 
plan on cooking the chicken for 6-6 1/2 hours on low.

This is SO YUMMY!!!
If you cook it in your crock pot, be prepared
that it may just fall apart, because it is so moist and delicious.

 After cutting up the chicken to serve,
I save the uneaten everything, to make soup the next day.