Chili


Jesse James (1847-1882), outlaw and desperado of the old American West, refused to rob a bank in McKinney, Texas because that is where his favorite chili parlor was located.  

It is said that Will Rogers judge a town by the quality of its chili. He sampled chili in hundreds of towns, especially in Texas and Oklahoma and kept a box score. He concluded that the finest chili (in his judgment was from a small cafe in Coleman, Texas. 

Mrs. Lady Bird Johnson had “chili pangs” for President Lyndon Johnson’s, 36th President of the United States, “Pedernales River Chili” and had cards printed with the LBJ chili recipe. “It has been almost as popular as the government pamphlet on the care and feeding of children.” 

We have a love affair chili. You can’t pick up a recipe book without a couple of chili recipes in it. I acquired my recipe in 1990. It’s a traditional chili recipe with tomatoes, beans, beef, onions and peppers.

Hope you enjoy and Happy Cooking~                                          

Vonnie

 Ingredients:

2 pounds ground beef

1 TBSP. shortening

1 1/2 cup onions, diced

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 cup green peppers, diced

2 large can tomato sauce

2-14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes

4 TBSP. chili powder

2 tsp. salt

2 tsp. sugar

2 TBSP. Worcestershire sauce

2 cans red kidney beans, drained

 Directions:

Brown ground beef in shortening. Add garlic, onions, and green peppers. Cook until onions are transparent. Drain off fat. Add tomato sauce,  diced tomatoes, chili powder, salt, sugar, Worcestershire sauce. Mix well. Cover and simmer for 1 hour.

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Italian Vegetable Pie


This week I chose a dinner which I love to make. This is a go-to recipe that comes out perfect and satisfying every time. I also love how versatile it is. You can substitute the vegetables to whatever is your liking.  Also, if you want, you can substitute ground beef, ground sausage, a combination of both, or ground turkey for the tofu. When I make it with meat, I use 1/2 pound ground beef and a 1/2 pound of ground hot Italian sausage. Brown and drain before adding to the vegetables.  Also, a nice add-in is a couple of handfuls of washed and chopped fresh spinach. Stir in after simmering and before assembling. Round out your dinner with a nice tossed salad and fresh bread.
Enjoy and Happy Cooking~
Vonnie 

                                                                                                                                         

Ingredients:
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1 (12.3-ounce) package firm tofu, drained and crumbled * 
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 (25.5-ounce) jar fat-free marinara sauce
6 cooked lasagna noodles, cut in half crosswise
Cooking spray
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
* Substitution for tofu: 1 pound ground beef, 1 pound ground Italian sausage, 1 pound ground turkey, browned and drained

Preparation:

 
Preheat oven to 375°.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bell pepper, chopped onion, mushrooms, tofu, and garlic; sauté 3 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir in tomato paste, Italian seasoning, fennel seeds, crushed red pepper, and marinara sauce; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 10 minutes.

Arrange the noodles spoke like in the bottom of an 8-inch round baking dish or 9 inch deep dish pie plate coated with cooking spray. Spread 3 cups tomato mixture over noodles. Fold ends of noodles over tomato mixture, and top with the remaining tomato mixture and cheeses. Bake at 375° for 20 minutes.

Mini Cheeseburger Salad with Yellow Mustard Vinaigrette


It came to my attention today that I did not have this recipe posted. First let me say, I am sorry for not sharing this sooner and second, be prepared to keep this recipe at the front of your recipe file. You will be making this one OFTEN!!  I like to serve it with warm garlic bread and some fresh sliced melon.  Kudos to Rachael Ray!
This is one of her fabulous recipes.
Enjoy and Happy Cooking,                                                                                         
Vonnie
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 pounds ground beef
1/2 small red onion, grated and chopped, divided
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon grill seasoning
3/4 pound brick sharp cheddar cheese, or American cheese, sliced
3 tablespoons yellow mustard
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 large hearts of romaine lettuce, coarsely chopped
1 cup sliced pickles, drained and chopped – choose from sweet, half-sour or dill varieties
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
Preparation Place a large skillet over medium-high heat with 2 TBSP of olive oil. (You can also pre-heat a grill pan or a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat or pre-heat an outdoor grill instead of the skillet).While the pan is heating up, combine the meat with about 3 tablespoons of the grated red onion, the Worcestershire sauce and the grill and poultry seasonings (you may substitute salt and pepper for the grill and poultry seasonings). Form two-inch meatballs, then flatten them into patties.Cook the mini burgers for 3 minutes on each side, then top with cheese. Tent the mini cheeseburgers loosely with foil to help the cheese melt.

While the burgers are cooking, whisk together the mustard and cider vinegar in a large salad bowl. Continue whisking and stream in the remaining 2 TBSP olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Finely chop up the remaining red onion and add it to the bowl along with the romaine, pickles and tomatoes. Toss the salad to evenly coat everything in dressing.

To serve, arrange the salad on a large platter and slide the mini burgers on top.

NOTE: You can use ground chicken or turkey instead of beef

Meatball and Macaroni Soup and Grilled Three Cheese Italian Sandwiches


This is the perfect meal for anyone’s crazy schedule. It seems at this time of year everyone I know is going in three different directions all at this same time!  I made these recipes years ago, when I first started watching Rachael Ray.  She had me hooked after how great everything tasted . I love how easy the soup comes together and it tastes like it was simmering for hours,  but it takes less than 30 minutes to make.  The sandwiches are, as she says “Delish”.  You will be very pleased at how it gets the whole family to the table.  A chance for everyone to gather and share their day.  And a tradition that should be savored for generations to come.

Hope you enjoy and Happy cooking,                                                                      

Meatball and Macaroni Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves, fresh or dried
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound ground beef, pork and veal combined
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Romano
  • 1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated or ground nutmeg
  • 6 cups chicken stock 
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups dried small  pasta, macaroni or  ditalini
  • 1 pound washed fresh spinach, coarsely chopped

Directions

In a deep pot over medium heat add oil, chopped carrots, celery and onions and bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper. Cover pot and cook veggies 5 or 6 minutes, stirring occasionally.

While the veggies cook, combine meat, egg, garlic, grated cheese, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, nutmeg.

Uncover your soup pot and add broth and water to the pot. Increase heat to high and bring soup to a boil. When soup boils, reduce heat a bit and start to roll meat mixture into small balls, dropping them straight into the pot. You are making meat dumplings that will cook in the broth. When you are done rolling the meat, add pasta to the soup and stir. Cover and simmer soup 10 minutes. When pasta is tender, stir in chopped spinach in batches. When spinach has wilted into the soup, the soup is done and ready to serve. Adjust your seasonings. Serve soup with crusty bread or grilled 3 cheese sandwiches

Grilled 3 Cheese Sandwiches                                                                                          

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 clove garlic, cracked away from skin
  • 8 slices crusty Italian bread
  • 1 cup shredded provolone
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Romano

Directions

 In a small skillet over medium low heat, combine oil, butter and garlic. Cook garlic in butter and oil gently for 2 or 3 minutes. Remove garlic butter mixture from heat.

Place a large nonstick skillet on the stove over medium high heat. Using a pastry brush, brush 1 side of 4 slices of bread with garlic oil and place buttered side down in skillet. Top each slice with equal amounts of the 3 cheeses, distributing them equally over the 4 slices. Top each sandwich with another slice of bread brushed with garlic butter, buttered side up. Flip the grilled cheese sandwiches a few times until cheeses are melted and gooey and bread is toasty and golden.