Must Have Chili Recipes for the Big Game

With the recent Blizzard of 2015, chili sounds like the perfect snack to serve this coming Superbowl Sunday.  I recently tackled two recipes – Meaty Crockpot Chili and Veggie Qunioa Chili- that were amazing!  Best news – one batch makes plenty for a party.  We literally ate both recipes for 3-4 days.

ChiliSo skip the cold dishes in favor of one of these two easy chili recipes:

MEATY CROCKPOT CHILI 

Ingredients: 

2 lbs. ground turkey

1 onion – diced

4 cans tomato sauce

1 can diced Mexican tomatoes

1 can diced tomatoes

2 cans pinto beans – drained + rinsed

2 cans spicy chili beans – drained + rinsed

2 envelopes chili seasoning

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tbsp. chili powder

How To: 

Brown the ground turkey  with the diced onion.  Add browned turkey and onion to crockpot with remaining ingredients.  Cook on high for 6-8 hours.  That’s it!

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VEGGIE QUINOA CHILI  (adapted from Publix’ Hearty Chili)

Ingredients: 

1 yellow onion – chopped

1 green bell pepper – chopped

1 can corn

3 cups veggie stock

1 cup quinoa

1 tbsp. canola oil

2 cans  red kidney beans- drained + rinsed

1 can black beans – – drained + rinsed

2 (14.5-oz) cans diced tomatoes

1 (8-oz) can tomato sauce

1 packet low-sodium chili seasoning

How To: 

Boil 2 cups veggie stock, add quinoa, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until most of the liquid has been absorbed.  In a large pot, heat oil on medium-high heat.  Add onion, pepper, corn, and garlic.  Cook until tender.  Reduce heat to low.  Stir in beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce, remaining 1 cup of stock, chili seasoning, and cooked quinoa.  Simmer 20 minutes.  Voila!

Bon Apetit, football fans!

CheersSunshine

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Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting

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I’m not one of those people who are obnoxiously excited about the influx of pumpkin flavor in late September.  But I must say that baking with pumpkin is my favorite!  It has the same moistness as banana without the browning after a few days.  To welcome fall this year, I worked up a batch of pumpkin cupcakes with spiced cream cheese frosting.  I was inspired by a variety of recipes I’ve found.  The pumpkin cupcakes are from Savor Home, and the frosting I made up on my own.  Check out these easy recipes and my special baking assistant below.

Pumpkin Cupcakes: 
 1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup pumpkin puree (about 3/4 of a can)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
Yields: 12 cupcakes

Directions: 

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line a cupcake pan with liners.

2. In one bowl, whisk the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.

3.  In another deeper bowl, whisk the pumpkin puree, packed brown sugar, granulated sugar, vegetable oil, and 2 large eggs.

4.  Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet and whisk until just combined.

5.  Fill your cupcake liners about 3/4 of the way using an ice cream scoop.

6.  Bake for 15-18 minutes.  I always start checking mine early, and 18 minutes was perfect for me.  Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.  Let them cool completely on a wire rack.

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Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting:

8 oz cream cheese, softened

1 stick unsalted butter, softened

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup powdered sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Directions: 

1.  In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, fluff the softened butter.

2.  Add cubes of softened cream cheese to the butter.  Mix on high until smooth.

3.  While the mixer is on low,  slowly add the powdered sugar.  Mix on high until smooth.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl to incorporate fully.

4.  Add the vanilla extract and mix on low.

5.  Add all your spices and mix until combined.

After all this mixing, I had piqued the interest of a new baking assistant, my goldendoodle named Wrigley.  The little guy used to be terrified of the mixer, but now he knows that if he sits patiently something will unintentionally hit the floor, and he’s called dibs!

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I added a little pecan on top to make the cupcakes look a bit more festive.  I love that you can see all the spices in the frosting.  I found that they taste the best when they have sat overnight in the refrigerator.  The cream cheese frosting sets beautifully, and the coolness makes me forget that it is 90 degrees outside.

Happy Fall, yall!

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Cheers + Sunshine, 

Jess

On the Menu: Brewed Iced Coffee At Home

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Iced coffee is a must have for hot and muggy summer mornings in the South.  But who has the time or gusto (before their first cup of joe) to hit the drive thru?  With this cold brew iced coffee, you can start your morning with a cool kick of coffee in your PJs!

((Brief Disclaimer:  I am not a black coffee, Americana with no room on the top kind of girl.  I like a little creamy, sugary addition to my coffee.  I haven’t tried this recipe sans sweeteners, so I can’t say how it tastes straight out of the French Press.))

While many recipes call for a minimum of 12 hours to brew and the use of cheese cloth, this recipe only requires a minimum of 6 hours brewing and a few ingredients that any coffee lover is sure to have in their pantry.

Here’s what you’ll need:

One pitcher (with a lid)  filled with 7 cups cold water

1/2 cup strong coffee grounds

French Press

Iced Cubes

Sweetened Condensed Milk

Any coffee accouterments you love

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Here’s what you’ll do:

Fill your pitcher with 7 cups of cold water + 1/2 cup coffee grounds.  Stir the mixture thoroughly and let sit in the refrigerator sealed for a minimum of 6 hours.  Longer brewing will lead to a stronger concentrate.  Once brewed to your preference, pour the mixture into your French Press.  Don’t feel like you need the top of the line press.  I have Bodum’s Original French Press, and it works like a charm. Comparable products are available at Target.

Pour your coffee into your favorite mug with just a smidge of sweetened condensed milk, a little sugar, and some half and half.  Start off with small proportions of each because a little goes a long way. And that’s all!

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Et Voila! This recipe gets me through about half the week.  It’s a bit more work than hitting a button on a Keurig, but it is worth it!  Try it, change it, and let me know what you think!

Enjoy!

Cheers + Sunshine, 

Jess

 

 

On The Menu: Strawberry Chia Seed Banana Bread

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Generally speaking, when I know something in the kitchen is past its prime, I DO NOT hesitate to toss it immediately.  My husband can attest to the fact that I have snatched a piece (or two) of bread out of his hand thinking it’s expired.  But there is something about tossing bananas out that just bugs me.

When I saw some over ripe bananas on the counter, I knew it was time to try a new banana bread recipe!  To add a little interest, I added strawberries and chia seeds.  My sister-in-law turned me on to chia seeds a year ago, and I love her even more for it!  High in Omega 3 fatty acids, protein, fiber, and antioxidants, chia seeds can help improve your metabolic health.  And the best part is you can add them to nearly anything and notice little to no difference in the taste.

Now, let’s get to the recipe…

StrawChiaBana

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

3 ripe bananas

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tbsp vegetable oil (if you want to add a flavored oil here, go for it!)

1 egg

2 tbsp milk (any variety – almond, skim, coconut, rice, etc.)

1/4 cup plain greek yogurt

1 cup chopped strawberries + some sliced to top

2 tbsp chia seeds

 

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Here’s what you’ll do:

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F + grease a 9 in. loaf pan with cooking spray.  (TIP FROM MOMMA:  My mom always taught me to grease a pan over the sink so that you don’t grease your countertop at the same time.  So next time you go to spray Pam over the stove top, high tail it over to the sink for easy clean up!)

2.  Whisk together the dry ingredients – flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

3.  In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together bananas, brown sugar, egg, vegetable oil, vanilla, greek yogurt, and milk.  Turn the mixer to low and gradually add the dry mixture to the wet ingredients until just mixed.  Don’t overmix or your bread could turn out tough.

4.  Fold in the chia seeds and chopped strawberries.

5.  Spread the batter in the greased loaf pan.  Placed sliced strawberries on top.

6.  Bake anywhere from 40-50 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. (Mine was just right at 40 minutes, but all ovens vary so keep an eye on it.)

7.  Place on a wire rack to cool once the pan is cool enough to touch.

 

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In our household, we don’t love almond butter, but I think it would be phenomenal atop a slice of this bread in the morning!  Or warm a piece up in the microwave real quick + add some margarine.  Or leave it naked!  You can’t go wrong – it’s moist, fruity, and beautiful!

Enjoy!

 Cheers + Sunshine, 

Jess

Fancy Chocolate Chippers

Everybody likes a good chocolate chip cookie with a tall glass of milk, right?  In reality, there is a lot of variety in chocolate chip cookies.  Are they super sweet and gooey inside? Or maybe more crunchy and crumbley?  I had yet to find the perfect combination of sweet but not too sweet, gooey on the inside crunchy on the border chocolate chip cookie until this past weekend.  My mom and I had found a recipe for ‘Cowboy Cookies’, but when we got ready to bake we realized we didn’t have all the ingredients the recipe called for.  Usually, we would have called it a day, but we had enough to try a revised version of the recipe.  And now I give you…Fancy Chocolate Chippers.

Fancy Chocolate Chippers

Ingredients:

2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened (still tastes as good if you microwave it)
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
12 oz semisweet chocolate chips (the more the merrier!)

Directions:

    1. In a large bowl, stir together dry ingredients-  oats, flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
    2. In a separate bowl, blend the butter and sugars with an electric mixer until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs one by one beating in between additions, and continue to beat until fluffy, about 1-1/2 minutes. Beat in the vanilla extract just until combined.
    3. Stir the dry mixture into the butter mixture one half at a time. Stir in the chocolate chips. Refrigerate the dough for 1 to 2 hours. (1 does the trick but the extra time doesn’t hurt if you are patient enough to wait for cookies)
    4. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a large, preferably light-colored baking sheet with aluminum foil, then grease the foil. (This is the trick that will get you a crisp edge and gooey center)
    5. Using just 1/4 cup per cookie, shape the dough into balls and place them on the sheet about 2 inches apart.
    6. Use your fingertips to flatten each ball to about 1/3 inch thick. Bake the cookies on the center oven rack for 13 to 14 minutes, turning the sheet about halfway through. When they’re done, the cookies should be very lightly browned and still look moist. Don’t overbake them.
    7. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for 2 to 3 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack.  They’re ready to eat once you can tolerate the heat!

Fancy Chocolate Chippes