Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Snowy days in PA

Well, I have to tell you, it has been quite a week.   After much research, himming and hawing, I finally got my new range (thanks, Mom and Dad!)  It's a five burner whirlpool with a griddle that fits over the middle burner.  I really had no idea what I was missing!  Did you know that it shouldn't take an hour to pre-heat your oven?!  It was delivered on Saturday and I christened it with a favorite meal, chili and corn casserole. 

I've posted the recipe for corn casserole before, as well as a good chili recipe, but this chili is a little different.  If the other one is Rainbow Chili, named for the vast array of colorful veggies in it, this one might need to be called Tad's Chili because of it's lack of veggies (zucchini being the most offensive) or it could just be Guy Chili, because it's mostly meat and beans. 

Basically, I take 2 hot peppers, a few cloves of garlic, and an onion and finely chop them in the mini food processor.  Get that softening in a big pot with a little olive oil and then add 2 lbs of ground meat (I like ground beef and pork, personally.)  Brown that up, and while it's browning, season with salt and pepper, finely dice (almost puree) two bell peppers in the mini food processor.  Drain off most of the fat from your meat and add the peppers.  Cook that together for a few minutes, then add a big can and a small can of diced tomatoes and your spices.  

Now, I don't measure my spices, sorry!  I just eyeball it for color and proportions, and then taste as I add.  Start with a big palm full of chili powder, half a palm each of cumin, paprika, and hot Hungarian paprika, and then half that of garlic powder and Cayenne pepper.  Then taste and adjust.  Oh, and salt and black pepper, very important!  Then add in kidney beans.  I do a can each of dark red and light red, but use what you like.  Then just let it all cook together, the longer it cooks, the better it tastes.

This chili is hearty, meaty, and perfect for snowy days, which we have had plenty of this winter!

The next thing I wanted to share with you is another tasty meal for a snowy day.  We got nailed with 10 inches of snow here Tuesday, so I'm working on my 5th day off of school with a cold I got for my birthday Monday.  Last night I made a salad that was so good I was sad I didn't have enough ingredients for another one today.  Or so I thought!  This salad is a little bit different from last nights, but equally good.  If you want last night's, use left over filet with sauteed mushrooms instead of the jalapenos chicken sausage.

   Start by roasting some vegetables.  I did this just like I did in my last post, so if you need instructions, check it out.  I was out of potatoes, so I used butternut squash instead (equally delicious!)  With 10 minutes remaining for the veggies, I slice up some chicken sausage and brown it in a pan with a little olive oil.  Put that on a bed of arugula mix with a little chopped fresh mozzarella. Then, in the same pan, add a little butter, and toast up some big sourdough croutons. I add salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and Parmesan cheese right at the end.  Then, take your veggies out and throw them on top of the salad, add some croutons, and dress with just a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  It was so tasty.  I am not a big salad eater in the winter time, but the roasted veggies and the warm sausage make it so comforting and filling, that you will make this your new go-to cold weather salad.
So, hopefully I get back to work again soon because being home this much is spoiling me, and my kitties, rotten.  Stay warm and well fed!

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