Thursday, October 30, 2014

Bison Chili

We went to Costco the other day and decided to buy some Bison. It weirdly comes in a quantity of 1 1/3 lb in each pack. After buying said bison we had absolutely no time to cook it. I froze half the pack and kept the other 1 1/3lb out. Eventually, we decided to make chili. We got the ingredients and then proceeded to have no time to make the chili.  Finally, Joey made it one day after work. This chili only simmered for about 40 minutes but we have plenty of leftovers. We think there are about 10 servings in this batch of chili and bonus, just 310 calories!  You can totally layer on the cheese & fritos with those numbers!

1 1/3lb bison
1 14.5oz can pinto beans
1 14.5oz can chopped tomatoes
1 28oz can whole peeled or crushed tomatoes
1/2 onion, 1 inch dice
1 bell pepper, 1 inch dice
1 jalepeno, seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic smashed and diced or pressed
1/2 t salt
a few grinds of pepper
1/2 t cayenne pepper
1/2 t ancho chili powder
1 1/2 t chipotle chili powder
1 T oil

1. In a large pot, heat oil. Add peppers, onion and bison. Let soften and become fragrant. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds.
2. If you used whole tomatoes, crush them.
3. Add all ingredients to the pot, bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover partially and then cook for at least an hour.
4. Serve with cheddar cheese on top!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Homemade Chicken Stock turned Chicken Soup

AA couple of weeks ago my friends from work came over bearing roast chicken and pasta.  We froze the carcasses for stock assuming we would never consider making such a thing. Then all of a sudden we decided to actually try it! We have been spending lots of time at home so it kind of made sense. The soup was good so I think that is all due to the great stock, however, it's a lot of time for not too much output. If you go down this path...well you can still make soup with canned broth.

Chicken Stock:
Did not make enough for soup but, then again I didn't add more water when it burned off because honestly I wasn't anywhere near the pot of stock while it was simmering for the entire 4 hours.

2 chicken carcasses
2 carrots, roughly chopped
2 celery ribs, roughly chopped
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 T peppercorns
3 sprigs thyme
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 T olive oil
Enough water to cover the chickens

1. In a large pot, heat the oil. Add the carrots, celery onion and garlic and cook about 8 minutes until softened and fragrant
2. Add chicken carcasses, peppercorns and thyme. Add water to cover the chickens.
3. Bring to a boil, skim off foam (may be gray), reduce heat to a simmer, cover. Simmer 4 hours+.
Supposedly you should stir every so often and also add more water when it boils off. I didn't do that so the output was small.
4. Strain stock into another pan or containers. Use right away or freeze for 3 months.

Chicken and Barley Soup:
This soup was pretty good, these quantities served 4 people along with salad and biscuits with a tiny bit leftover that could be boosted with some chicken broth for another serving.

6 carrots, chopped in bite-sized pieces
6 celery ribs, chopped in bite-sized pieces
1/2 large onion, ""
6 sprigs thyme + 3 sprigs fresh oregano tied in a bundle
3 boneless skinless chicken thighs, chopped in bite-sized pieces
1 can chicken broth + all the stock you made
1 C barley (before preparation, this was actually a lot of barley so you could make less)

1. In a large pot, combine all the ingredients EXCEPT the barley. Don't worry, the chicken WILl cook.
2. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover partially, simmer for one hour
3. In another small pot make barely according to package directions
4. Just before serving, add the barley to the soup. If you make the barley in the soup it will soak up all your hard work liquid.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Cinnamon Apple Pancake Bars

For over a week I have been wanting to make these pancake bars I saw on the Kitchn website. I thought it would be quite handy to have a grab and go breakfast. And yet all week the time to make these morsels alluded me.

Finally, today as I was whipping up some homemade chicken stock and found myself with a baby-holder I was able to make these. These take no time at all to pull together but they do take a while to bake.  The recipe said 12-15 minutes but this took 25 for me. Perhaps it was the dark pan or my overly runny batter but it was sort of a long wait when we were hungry and waiting--so plan ahead!

These are good cold but I bet they'd be great heated up too.

I revised the recipe so that the main batter had some more flavor but don't skip the streusel topping, it makes it.

For the Bars:
2 cups flour
2 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1/2 t kosher salt
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
dash of ginger
3 T sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 3/4 cups whole milk (this seemed like too much)
1 t vanilla
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 apple, diced into 1/2" pieces (or bigger depending on how chunky you want)
2 C granola (I used Bare Naked Maple Pecan, you can't really taste it though)

For the Topping: (consider making a double recipe of the topping!)
1/4 C flour
1/4 C brown sugar, firmly packed
3 T butter, melted
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg

1. Mix all the dry ingredients through sugar in a large bowl.  Add eggs, milk and butter and mix until just combined. Add apple and granola and mix until just covered.  The batter for me was really runny with chunks in it but it still worked out!
2. Prepare a 9x13 pan by spraying with cooking spray. Add a layer of parchment, spray again. Pour prepared batter into the pan. Then heat the oven to 400 degrees and let the batter rest.
3. Make the topping by stirring it all together, it will be thick. Spatter the topping all over the bars. Bale 20-25 minutes until the bars are cooked through and are springy to touch.  Remove from pan, let rest on a wire rack and serve.  I cut these into small bars.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Deconstructed Grilled Cheese

The other day I got this Martha Stewart newsletter that featured this little beauty of a recipe  Grilled cheese wheel. I left this open on my browser for two days. And by the end of the day today I knew I had to have it.  A whole cheese wheel for one person is a little I had half but it was SO WORTH IT.  I recommend this for your next party appetizer!

1 baguette
olive oil
salt & pepper
1 round of brie cheese (pick a round that fits the size of your party)

1. Heat the grill to 400 and then turn off one burner.
2. Diagonally slice bread. Brush the slices with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
3. If you are using less than the entire round of cheese, take the cut piece of cheese and wrap in foil. If you are using the whole cheese, brush lightly with olive oil.
4. Grill bread 1-2 minutes per side over the flame.
5. Grill cheese over indirect heat or on the grill rack for about 2 minutes per side
6. Serve cheese and bread slices immediately and warm

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Rainbow Cake Cups

 This weekend was my niece's 2nd birthday. I have been wanting to make this tie-dye cake for months and I just haven't had a good opportunity. So when this birthday came up I knew I had the opportunity!

Spoiler alert - this is a box mix! I used a box mix and boxed frosting and later we partially made whipped cream but then we ran out so we got canned whipped cream too. Of course you could make this all by scratch but why would you?

I found Duff's cake mix (you know Duff right?) at Target and was immediately interested. I bought the mix and one of his chocolate frosting tubs as well. Then as noted, I didn't use it for months. Still before the expiration date I finally had a chance.
 The cake mixing, color dying and baking is on issue. It's just white cake that you separate into six bowls and then add food coloring (some food coloring comes with the cake but I needed extra). If you can't find Duff's tie-dye mix you can just buy white cake mix and then add food coloring.

Red - 15 drops
Orange - 5 drops yellow, 2 drops red
Yellow - 8 drops yellow
Green - 9 drops yellow, 2 drops blue
Blue - 14 drops blue
Purple - 7 drops red, 2 drops blue

You are then supposed to take 6 MORE bowls and separate out the cake again. But that seemed like a lot of dirty bowls so I decided to just eyeball it. The result was that one cake was way smaller than the other, however, this really wasn't an issue. If you smartly weighed out the batter in the first place, this could've been way easy.  Anyway, pour about 1/4 C of the red batter into the center of a WELL GREASED and FLOURED and PARCHMENT PAPER LINED baking pan. Pour 1/4 C of the orange batter on top of that and let it spread out. Add the rest of the colors in rainbow order ending with purple.  Bake as directed.

In case you were wondering, our problem was that the pans were not well greased even though I seriously felt that I had well greased them. My cake got stuck to the bottom of the pan. The results were a very mangled cake. We first tried to frost it together but it just crumbled, it didn't work and we were frustrated. So I looked online to find out ways to fix a destroyed cake.  This is when I came up with Cake Cups. That's right, it's not cupcakes. It's cups filled with cake pieces and frosting and topped with either frosting or whipped cream.

These cake cups were actually pretty delicious. People thought they were fun and different. Even if you didn't accidentally ruin your cake, you could make these.

1. Break up cooked cake into bite sized pieces
2. Layer cake pieces and globs of frosting (this is white cake & chocolate frosting) in a small cup (if you aren't using rainbow cake feel free to use a non-see through cup)
3. Top cake pieces with whipped cream (or more frosting if you can pipe it on)
4. Use the tiny crumb crumbles as topping on your whipped cream or use sprinkles
5. Refrigerate until ready to serve. If you want to be really wild, you can top the whole thing with ice cream!

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Best Caramel Sauce

Today for Jerry's birthday dessert we had brownie sundaes.  Joey and I made the brownies and hot fudge from scratch and got some ice cream at our favorite ice cream shop.  One of the brownie recipes called for a layer of caramel inside which required us to make our own caramel.  Honestly, I think we didn't put enough caramel inside the brownies because I didn't notice it at all. However, we had a lot of leftover caramel so we served it as a sundae topping.  Delicious! What I liked most about this caramel was the slightly salty flavor and the fact that it was pourable for the entire day! It tasted great on the sundaes!

Salted Caramel Sauce
1 C sugar
1/4 C water
2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 C heavy cream
1/4 C sour cream
1 tsp maldon sea salt

1. In a medium saucepan combine water, sugar and corn syrup over high heat. Stir but don't splatter the mixture on the sides. Cook 6-8 minutes until the sauce is a dark amber color and measures 350 degrees with a candy thermometer.

2. Remove from heat and slowly pour in the heavy cream while stirring. It may splatter.  Add the salt.

3. Whisk in the sour cream and set aside to cool.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Chicken Chorizo Chili

 In order to incorporate the ingredients we bought for our stuffed peppers, we decided to make chili on Monday night. It turned out to be easy, cheap and delicious.  We also tried out some different peppers in the chili from our usual mix. This chili is probably too spicy for the average bird, but it was delicious to us. We both ate a little ice cream after dinner to settle our stomachs.  To make it less spicy, just don't use all the seeds from the jalepeno or reduce the amount of chili powder.

Makes 4 servings
1/2 lb chicken chorizo
1 jalepeno pepper, chopped with seeds
1 Anahiem chili pepper, chopped
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
3/4 red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T chipotle chili powder
1 T ancho chili powder
1 T oregano
1 t garlic salt
1 t salt
1 t cayenne pepper
6 grinds of black pepper
1 bottle beer, we used Pyramid
cilantro, for serving
cheese, for serving

1. Saute onion, garlic, jalepeno and anahiem chili in a frying pan.  Add chorizo after onions are partially softened because it won't take as long to cook.
2. Meanwhile, in a large pot add all other ingredients and bring to a boil.
3. When the onion is soft and translucent add the entire mixture to the large pot
4. Once the large pot of chili has come to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover. Simmer about 2 hours or until you are hungry. Serve with cheese & cilantro and any other toppings you like.