Chili de Salchichas - Sausage Chili

December 31, 2014

sausage chili, chili de salchichas, chili con carne, chili
Chili de Salchichas (Sausage Chili)
Chili is one of my favorite cold weather one pot meals.  It's probably one of the first meals I ever made after moving out on my own (oh those many, many years ago) but it's been around since the 1880's.  It's amazing how combining a few bold ingredients can turn them into something completely different and hearty.   It's a versatile dish that can be made many different ways depending on your taste, mood, or even where you're from:  Chicken with white beans, also known as White Chili, Chili Verde, made with chunks of pork and slow cooked in a green chili sauce,  and even Vegetarian Chili are common variations.

Equally diverse is what you put under your chili.  While some people choose to have it plain, Cincinnati style is served over spaghetti noodles and topped with cheese.  In the South, it's commonly served over rice with a side of cornbread.  This particular recipe is for Sausage Chili - or Chili de Salchichas as my dear friend, Michelle calls it.

What favorite or regional versions do you make at home?  Respond in the comments and let me know!

Note:  This recipe works great in the crock pot too!  Just be sure to brown the meat on the stovetop first, then transfer straight to crockpot.  For the recipe, click below.

Italian Meatballs

December 27, 2014

Italian Meatballs

Meatballs - real Italian Meatballs - are among my favorite things to make and I like to have plenty on hand.  While they're not terribly difficult to make, they take more time than I typically have on an average weeknight so I like to make them in advance on the weekends.

Pasta and meatballs are a staple here, and are especially perfect for busy nights when I don't have a lot of time.  You know the kind of nights I'm talking about - the ones where you have to take the kids to three different practices and you spend all your time driving and fantasizing about how much easier your life would be if you just hit one of the ten fast food drive throughs you pass on your way home from work?   Don't do it!  With a little advance planning, you can have a hot meal on the table in just a few minutes that is so much better than anything ever passed through a drive through window.

When I make these, I usually make enough to roll out about a hundred meatballs in any given batch.  I know that sounds like a lot, but if you already planned to make meatballs, and have everything out, it doesn't take that much more time to make a big batch.  I always have my kids help with this part, and we can roll out a hundred in about fifteen minutes.  I freeze them on a cookie sheet, then vacuum seal the frozen meatballs by the dozen.   I like to think of it as feeding the freezer, and this method gets me through on even the busiest nights.   In fact, I use this method of cooking so often, I'll be dedicating an entire section of my blog to feeding the freezer over the coming year.

I'd love to know how you survive busy nights and hungry kids?  What's your favorite meal to serve?  Click below for my meatball recipe.

Salted Chocolate Toffee Pretzel Bark

December 21, 2014

Salted Chocolate Toffee Pretzel Bark
Salted chocolate toffee pretzel bark is one of my favorite things.  The taste is out of this world, and it makes a perfect hostess gift to bring to your holiday parties.  With a red ribbon and some crushed candy cane as a garnish, it looks like it took all day to make.  It'll be your secret that it really took only 15 minutes from start to finish.

I love how this photo turned out, and I have to give credit to my lovely daughter, (tall) Amanda.  Thanks to her creative spirit and food styling skills, we were able to pull the elements of the season  into our shot.

Click below for photos of each step and the recipe - but before you do, what are your favorite hostess gifts to bring to your holiday gatherings?  Respond in the comments.

Interview on Dishfolio

December 20, 2014

I've been waiting to share some news with my readers all week, and am very excited that I have the green light to finally spill the beans.   Earlier this week, I was interviewed by Dishfolio about my blog, and last night the interview went live on their website.  You can check out the interview here:
Elizabeth Obsesses interview on Dishfolio.

For those of you who may not be familiar with Dishfolio, here is an excerpt from their website describing what they're about:
At dishfolio, we love food - and food photography. Our motto is "eat. share. drool." and we aim to do just that with every single image we post.  
Our goal is to provide you with a portfolio of high quality food images and related recipes from around the food blogosphere. We want the general public to be able to search our site and find, not only delicious-looking images of perfectly prepared foods, but also links to many food blogger's sites and their wealth of recipes.  We hope you will participate in our food community by posting your own images and recipes or by browsing through the many "dishfolios" we have to offer. Our photos change all the time, so stop by frequently to be sure you don't miss some great photography and food.  
Dishfolio is also interested in helping you become the best you can be at food photography. We hate it when people get discouraged when their submissions get declined. Yes, we know it isn't fun to be rejected, but our intention is to help you improve your submission so it gets published. To do this, we try to make it as easy as possible to resubmit your photo with our recommendations. We also offer one-on-one assistance if you are having trouble, so please don't be afraid to ask for help. Our goal is to provide you with clear, consistent and useful feedback should your photo get rejected so that you will know exactly what you need to do to get it published next time. We hope you share our love for food and photography.
I hope you'll take the time to check out my interview and let me know what you think of it in the comments!  While you're there, take a look around their site.  It's filled with beautiful images of food that links back to other amazing food blogs for the recipes that accompany the images.

Blueberry Pie With Braided Crust

December 14, 2014

Blueberry pie with braided crust

I also call this recipe Blueberry pie with a LOL crust.  My oldest son, Ryan, devours blueberry pies.  If I were to make a blueberry pie - just for him - every day of the week, he would never get tired of it.   I love how easy it is to throw a pie together and have it ready in no time, although I'm still perfecting my crust technique, as shown in the photo above (it's ok, I laughed at it too).

I've described this before when I wrote about peach pie...and apple pie... and even turkey pot pies.  You don't even need to measure things.  Just add sugar and flour to the desired fruit, dot with butter, and add it to the waiting pie crust.  Bake until it tells you it's done.  It tells you when you can smell it...and by bubbling out of the vent holes...and when the crust is golden brown.  It's easy peasy.  Click below to read more.

Sweet Potato Cookies

December 11, 2014


Sweet potato cookies made from leftover sweet potato casserole
Thanksgiving is over, but the memory of beautiful, cinnamony sweet-potato casserole topped half and half with southern praline and oven toasted marshmallows is still fresh in my mind.  It’s aroma wafting through the corners of our house if only as a ghost of Thanksgiving past.   I thought for sure that whatever we didn’t eat on the big turkey day, we’d eat as leftovers.  Sadly, that never happened.  I used up all the turkey in our (Leftover) Turkey Pot Pie, and I just couldn't get the kids to eat the leftovers without the turkey.

With a family of six, I’m always looking for ways to save money.  Beyond saving money, I hate to waste money, and when you get right down to it…food is money.  So I came up with a plan.  I would give the casserole a leftover makeover.   With just a handful of ingredients that I already had on hand, I turned the leftovers into fabulous cookies.  And best of all?  The kids never knew the difference.  



Click below to read more.

American Twist on Julia Child's Potato Leek Soup

December 9, 2014



Potato Leek Soup with an American twist

Potato Leek Soup has been around in some form or another for hundreds of years, but it was made  famous by Julia Child, an American woman who wrote the book on Mastering The Art of French Cooking.  She had several different televised cooking shows in the 1970s and 1980s.  Her version, a deliciously creamy soup dubbed Potage Parmentier, typically served either hot or cold, is famous the world over.

My Americanized version features the heartier flavors of smoked bacon and rich sour cream in addition to the fresh herbs and vegetable base made famous in her soup but is equally delicious served hot or cold.  I also included fresh lime juice to brighten the flavor.  It pairs perfectly with the velvety broth.  So, what's your favorite soup on rainy nights?  Please respond in the comments!  Click below for the recipe.

Pumpkin Pie with Vanilla in Jim Beam Black Bourbon

December 7, 2014

Pumpkin Pie with Vanilla in Jim Beam Black Bourbon

When I was a child, I remember laughing with my family whenever the subject of my grandmother's pumpkin pies came up.  You see, she would add a bit of whiskey to her pumpkin filling, and was convinced that it made the taste smoother and evened out any bitterness that the canned pumpkin might have.  What made us laugh was imagining this tiny, sweet white-haired woman drinking shots of whiskey as she baked.   Of course, that never happened...at least I'm pretty sure it didn't.  

As I grew up I continued the tradition of adding whiskey to my own pies, and found that I preferred this recipe to other versions of pumpkin pie by far.  This Thanksgiving, I took that concept and added a little twist to it. 


Homemade vanilla extract using vodka, spiced rum, and bourbon
Earlier this year, I made up three batches of homemade vanilla extract using Medagascar Vanilla Beans.  Each batch was extracted in a different kind of alcohol for about 10 weeks.  I made some with Vodka, some with Spiced Rum, and some with Jim Beam Black Bourbon.  

The vanilla extract in Vodka is most like what you would get if you bought a bottle from a regular market, although commercial brands would be about 35% alcohol and would likely contain high fructose corn syrup as a sweetener, too.

I use my vanilla extract exactly the same way I use store bought, except the homemade version tastes so much better.

The spiced rum and bourbon vanilla extract are a little fancier and I  use them both in different ways.   For example, the bourbon vanilla has some darker flavors with strong caramel undertones, and it makes pumpkin pie stand up and sing.  It's that good.

If you don't have vanilla extracted in bourbon, try simply adding some bourbon separately.  If you like it - or even if you don't, please let me know in the comments.  I'd love to know what you think.  What else do you put in your pies to enhance the pumpkin flavor?

Pumpkin Pie with Vanilla in Jim Beam Black Bourbon Recipe

Ingredients

3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extracted in bourbon OR 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1 tablespoon bourbon
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 large eggs
1 15oz can Libby's 100% pure pumpkin
1 12oz can evaporated milk (hold back the volume of the vanilla/bourbon you're adding)
1 unbaked 9" deep dish pie crust


Directions

1.  MIX sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves in small bowl. 
2.  Beat eggs in bowl of stand mixer. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk and vanilla bourbon.
3.  POUR into pie shell.
4.  BAKE in a 425F F oven for 15 minutes, then reduce temperature to 350F and bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. 
5.  Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate. 

(Leftover) Turkey and Cranberry Sandwich

December 4, 2014

Turkey and Cranberry Sandwich on Sourdough Bread
Turkey and cranberry sandwiches have not always been high on my list of favorite foods.  In fact up until about five years ago, I didn’t even like cranberry sauce at all!  But every year I’d try just a little taste of my mother’s homemade version until one day it just happened.   Finally, I realized what everyone else already knew:  cranberry sauce is the perfect accompaniment to roast turkey! 
From the moment I became enlightened, I couldn’t stop thinking of ways to pair the two, and quickly imagined how yummy a turkey sandwich would taste on fresh Sourdough bread with slivers of fresh red onions and this gorgeous Cranberry Raspberry Sauce on top.  This sandwich helps you to make the most of Thanksgiving leftovers and is arguably the easiest and perhaps most satisfying way to use up turkey leftovers after the big meal.
Paired with tart Granny Smith apples and thin sliced cheddar cheese, it makes a perfect lunch for the busy holiday season.

Recipe for Turkey and Cranberry Sandwich

Turkey and Cranberry Sandwich on Sourdough Bread

Ingredients

  • 2 slices sourdough bread (or bread of your choice)
  • 1 tablespoons of mayonnaise
  • Red onion, cut into thin slivers
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh Cranberry-Raspberry Sauce

Optional

  • Arugula
  • Sliced cucumbers
  • Sliced tomatoes


Directions

1.  Spread mayonnaise on one slice of the bread and cranberry sauce on the other.

2.  Add sandwich ingredients/optional ingredients in the following order, omitting or   substituting however you prefer:  Mayonnaise, red onion, turkey and sliced bread with cranberry sauce.

3.  Serve with sliced apples and aged cheddar cheese.

(Leftover) Turkey Pot Pie

December 2, 2014

(Leftover) Turkey Pot Pie
I love this recipe because it’s a “no rules” kind of meal.  The ultimate in comfort food, it can be made with literally any kind of leftover meat and veggies you have on hand.  In this case, I’m using as many of my Thanksgiving leftovers as possible along with some very basic staples like onion, carrots, celery, and chicken broth and flour.  Even the pie crust is made from the uncooked scraps I had after making my pies this year, which earned it the nickname, Frankenstein Pie.  Don’t worry if you have to piece your pie crust together (just use water to seal any seam).  After it’s baked, it will have a charming, rustic appeal that is impossible to get from store bought foods. 
Gather up your leftovers - you'll need about a half stick of butter, 3 cups of diced meat, 1/2 cup flour, 3 large potatoes diced, one onion chopped, carrots, celery, thyme, rosemary, sage, and parsley, leftover veggies like green beans and fresh corn off the cob, a 32oz box of broth and of course, pie crust.  When using herbs, fresh is always best.  I keep them fresh for weeks at a time using this simple method.

In a large Dutch Oven,  melt the butter and sautee the onions, celery, and carrots until the onions are translucent.  Add the flour to the pot and allow to cook for a few minutes then add broth, being careful to scrape the sides and bottom of the pot to release any of the flour that may have begun to stick.  Add potatoes to the pot, cover, and allow them to boil on medium low heat until they begin to get soft, about 20 minutes.

The broth should be thickened at this point and should coat the back of a spoon well.  Add 2 teaspoons chopped parsley, 1/2 each of teaspoon minced sage, rosemary and thyme.  As a final step, add the turkey, corn, and green beans to the pot.  You're just heating the meat and veggies at this step.  Take care not to over-stir at this point because you don't want to break up the turkey or veggies.  They're fragile because they've already been cooked.

Roll out your pie crust and place into a deep casserole dish.  Piece it together if necessary, just be sure to seal the seams with water.  Fill the crust with the contents of the Dutch Oven, and top with the rest of the pie crust.  The truth about this particular crust is that it's store-bought Pillsbury pie crust.  I had a crust and a half leftover from my Thanksgiving pies, and set them aside just for this purpose.  As you can see, my Frankenstein pot pie, has a spot where the pieces of crust don't quite meet up.  No worries!  This will just serve as the vent.  If yours doesn't have this "feature," make sure you cut some vent holes into it before cooking.

Put the casserole on a cookie sheet and pop it into a 400F oven until the crust is golden brown and the contents can be seen bubbling out of the vent, about 50 minutes or so.

Leftover Turkey Pot Pie
Made With Love By The Dutch Lady Designs