Teaching myself to cook, one recipe at a time.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Fartin' Chili

I thought about renaming my chili for the sake of Jolie and her blog, but, I just couldn't do it. It is, what it is. Fartin' Chili. Sorry Jolie!! I'm Jacki and I'm a guest blogger, yay! We eat gluten free at home because my DH has celiac disease. Luckily, the kids don't show signs of having it, yet.

I intended to make white chicken chili and cornbread for the first time just for this blog, but, well I went for a run, and when I came back Josh had gotten hungry and made it already. It was more like chicken soup anyway, so whatever! Instead, I'm making my favorite fall meal, Fartin' Chili!!

Fartin' Chili


1 pound ground turkey breast
1 pound ground sausage (I prefer sweet italian)
1 medium yellow onion chopped
3 tbs minced garlic
3 14.5 oz cans of diced tomatoes with green peppers and onions
1 can of black beans
1 can of cantinelli beans
1 can of dark red kidney beans
1 14.5 oz can of beef broth
1 12 oz can of tomato paste
3 tbs brown sugar
2 tbs chili powder
2 tbs worcestershire sauce
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (add more for more heat)
shredded cheddar cheese
sour cream

these are the ingredients :)

1. In a large pot brown the meat (I do everything in one pot because I hate doing the dishes). Once browned drain off most of the liquid (especially if you use ground beef as it's more greasy).

2. while that is cooking I chop up the onion and garlic cloves like this:

I'd like to take credit for all that chopping but, I like cheating and used this:

3. add your onion and garlic so it looks like this: (this is starting to sound a little monotonous, sorry!) Start cooking it at about a medium heat until the onions are more soft and translucent.

4. now would be a good time to stop and make sure everyone is still occupied and not getting into trouble:

6. Stir the pot. Now start opening every single can. This takes forever. It especially takes forever on the days I use double the beans, so this time it wasn't so bad.

7. Stir the pot, again. Now dump all your beans in a strainer thing and rinse them!

8. Finally, your onions/garlic/meat are looking like this:

9. Add in the beans and everything else like this:

10. Mix it all together and cook on simmer for at least 20 minutes or as long as you want. Sometimes mine cooks all morning.

Now some people are really weird and put strange things on their chili like rice chex cereal, pretzels, yogurt, sour cream... *cough cough my husband cough cough* But, I prefer just topping it with some yummy cheddar cheese! And, eat it up!!!! It makes about 12 servings. SO YUMMY!

*****Now wait 2-4 hours for the farts to start, get under the blankets and start up that dutch oven =P

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Chicken Pot Pie

I have no idea why I decided to try making chicken pot pie. The only time I’d ever eaten it was at the dining hall in college. I had a recipe bookmarked, probably because it was a featured recipe one day, and randomly decided that I needed to give it a try. So I did.


Start off with a pound of chicken breasts, cut into small pieces. With mine, this was something like 2 chicken breasts. The rest went in the freezer.


Then cut up some carrots and celery.


I put the chicken into a saucepan.


Topped it with the carrots and celery


And some frozen peas.


Then I covered everything with water and cooked it for a while.


While that cooked, I melted some butter in a big skillet.


Added some chopped onions and sautéed it for a while.


When the onions were translucent, I added a bit of flour.


Along with salt, pepper, and celery seed.


Then as it cooked, I slowly added both milk and chicken broth, whisking and cooking until it was creamy and thick.



Then I explored my store-bought pie crusts. Should have used homemade, but didn’t feel like doing all that. I unrolled the first without reading the package, and it cracked in the process.


Trying to prevent that, I nuked the second one for 20 or 30 seconds, as per the directions. That was a mistake, as it softened so much that it was impossible to unroll. This is what I ended up with.


By this point, the chicken and veggies were done, so I drained them and put them in my pie shell.


And then I topped it with my cream sauce.


Then I tried to figure out how to get my smooshed pie crust on top of it. I managed to pry it off the cutting board and got it onto a plate.. but then I had to repair the tears and rips, so it was stuck to the plate.


This was my best idea.


I had to use a spatula to get the pie crust on the chicken pot pie, it looked like this. I tried to seal the edges, but cream sauce leaked and ended up on top. I tried to vent the shell, too, but only ended up with puddles of cream sauce. I decided to quit ruining dinner and put it in the oven without any more tweaks.


Not bad, not bad!


Okay, yes, it’s leaking, and yes, it’s a bit dark on the edges, but the golden brown is pretty awesome. If I’d made my own pie crusts, I would have had much more success, but this isn’t bad.


I felt the need to take a picture of the first cut. I guess it was a magical moment.


It was goopy and difficult to serve, but I know that’s because I couldn’t wait to cut into it, like I should have.


But it sure was tasty. Really, really good. Hubby told me that this is how chicken pot pie is supposed to taste, so I guess that means I did it right.


I think I’ll be adding this to the rotation.


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Ravioli Lasagna

My Dad emailed my brother and I to say that he was going to be in town one night for dinner. We agreed that we would all meet at my place, since it was a weeknight and our arrival times would be staggered because of work. Sounded good to me.

Not sure what to make, I googled “What should I make for dinner?”

Up popped a multiple choice quiz, like the kind I used to fill out in Seventeen magazine except that instead of answering questions about boys and makeup, I answered questions about how many people would be over, how many of them would be kids, how long I wanted to spend cleaning up, how well-stocked my kitchen is, and how picky my guests would be.


After all that, the top recommended dish was Ravioli Lasagna. That seemed to be exactly what I was looking for – easy to pre-make, fancy yet easy, having both protein and carbs, and Italian. I didn’t know from the outset what I was looking for, but once I saw it, I knew this was it.

Start off with teeny tiny zucchini. Seems wrong to buy these when a decent garden would produce 10,000 of these. But I don’t have a garden, so I bought them.


Slice them up.


Put them in a skillet with some oil and sauté them. I seasoned them with salt and pepper. Odd that the recipe didn’t say to do that, but they did need some flavor.


Next, take some thawed frozen meatballs and slice them up. I used Wegman’s turkey meatballs to be a little healthier.


Lots of them!


Then I thawed some of my own homemade meatballs that I had in the freezer and sliced those, too. See, I’m so used to cooking for two people that the idea of cooking for five made me think I needed to double the recipe that I was using.


Pour some spaghetti sauce in the bottom of a big casserole dish. This was Wegman’s Grandpa’s Sauce, which hubby is a huge fan of. It has Italian sausage and roasted red pepper and wine and a bit of fairy dust, as well.


Spread some of the meatballs in the pan. I think I was intending to do three layers at this point, though the recipe technically only suggests two.


Then I put zucchini on top of the meatballs.


Followed by frozen cheese ravioli. Didn’t bother to thaw them, didn’t see the point. Just frozen bricks at this point.


Then grated mozzarella cheese. And that’s the first layer!


More sauce…


More meatballs…


More ravioli and zucchini


And more sauce and cheese.


Then the pan was pretty full, so I stopped there.

I covered it with foil and stuck it in the fridge to be cooked later. See, I had had a really rough day. Long story short, I was pulled over because my emissions had expired in MD and I hadn’t put my brand new NY plates on the car yet. Rather than writing me a ticket and letting me go to my job interview, the cop impounded my car and left me stranded at a gas station. Lovely day. It all worked out in the end, since I had all the valid paperwork I needed, but it was a rough day. So I was happy to be done with dinner super early and free to drink wine with my dad when he got here. Wine never tasted so good.

About an hour before I wanted to serve food, I put the ravioli lasagna in the oven (still covered with foil) and baked it for about 40 minutes. Then I removed the foil and let it cook for a while longer. Then it was done. Cheesy, bubbly, and warm.


Just what the doctor ordered.


My niece really liked it.


And my camera.


And posing for the camera.


My eyes were bigger than my stomach. It looked so good that I really loaded up my plate.


It may have been more complicated than it needed to be. I probably could have just dumped the whole meatballs in a casserole dish, covered with the ravioli, mixed them up, smothered them in sauce and cheese, and called it a day. But I have to say that I liked the layered effect, and sometimes I think that putting in a little extra effort makes it taste better. Anyway, it was a lot easier than my normal lasagna, which involves making the meat sauce from scratch and boiling noodles and using three kinds of cheese and making a huge mess.

Easy, yummy, and good reheated: that’s a winner in my book.