Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Nacho Topped Chili

So, what are you doing for Super Bowl? In my last post, I might have mentioned my football team is going to the Super Bowl (Go 49ers!!!)! Technically, it is not my football team—I am merely a fan, but they are still going to the Super Bowl!

My team going to the Super Bowl does put me in a slightly awkward position though. I usually like to focus on the food, the socializing and the commercials at the Super Bowl party, and I’m committed to doing all of these things this year, in addition to concentrating on the game. How am I going to do this you ask? I’m not really sure, but I hope to come up with something soon.

I’m also not sure what food to bring for the party. A friend at work handed me a fun recipe for chicken bites I might have to try, or I might bring this Nacho Topped Chili. I made this chili for my family during one of the playoff games to test it out. My son and husband loved it. I loved it too since it combines two of my favorite things to eat chili and nachos, and it did it beautifully! The chili is spicy and flavorful and the nacho topping makes the chili fun and delicious.

The original chili is a meat only chili, but I happen to like beans, so I added them to the chili too. I tested the recipe with the kidney beans and without, and my family preferred them with the kidney beans.  
Nacho Topped Chili 
Adapted from Rachael Ray’s Week in a Day
Printable Recipe
4 poblano peppers
2 large jalapeno peppers
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds lean ground beef (no more than 10% fat)
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon coriander
1 tablespoon smoked sweet paprika
2 tablespoons chili powder
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup tomato paste
1 12-ounce bottle beer (Rachael recommends Negra Modela, but I used Budweiser since that’s what I had on hand)
2 cups beef stock
2 14-ounce cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 bag corn tortilla chips
1 16-ounce can spicy refried beans
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 Fresno red chili pepper
½ cup pickled sliced jalapeno peppers
2 green onions, sliced

Place the poblano peppers and jalapeno peppers on a baking sheet and broil them until the skin is blackened. Place the charred peppers in a bowl, and cover with plastic wrap until the peppers are cool enough to handle. Peel, stem and seed the peppers, and place into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the mixture is pureed.

While the peppers are roasting, heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the meat and brown well. Add the onions, garlic, and cook until the onions are softened. Add the cumin, coriander, paprika, chili powder, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper, and cook until fragrant, about one minute. Add the tomato paste and cook for another minute. Add the beer, and let it bubble a minute or two to cook off the alcohol. Add the beef stock, kidney beans and pureed peppers, and cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until the chili is thickened and the flavors have combined.

Place the chili in a casserole dish (your serving dish of choice) and top it with the tortilla chips. Dot the tortilla chips with the refried beans, and add the shredded cheese. Place the chili topped nachos in a preheated 400°F oven until the beans are warm and the cheese has melted. Garnish with sliced peppers and green onions. Serve.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Oatmeal Butterscotch Bars

We are very excited here in the San Francisco Bay area. Our 49ers are going to the Super Bowl! Last year we came really close, but the Giants beat us in the NFC championship game to go on to the Super Bowl and win it.

As excited as I am to watch my team in the Super Bowl, I’m a little out of my comfort zone. For the last 18 years, I have focused on Super Bowl snacks and my football pool numbers. This year, I’m going to have to juggle the snacks, the party, the football pool and rooting for my team! I’m sure I’ll be successful (I just hope I don’t have to hope for a safety against my team in order to win the football pool)!

I baked these Oatmeal Butterscotch Bars while the 49ers played and won the NCF championship game against the Falcons. These bar cookies are chewy and sweet with a deep rich flavor, and I love their texture! Oatmeal Butterscotch Bars would be perfect for your Super Bowl table (even if your team colors aren’t red and gold).  

Oatmeal Butterscotch Bars
Adapted from Great American Brand Name Baking
Printable Recipe

1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup (two sticks) unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups old fashioned oats
1 11-ounce package Butterscotch Morsels

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a 15 x 10 inch baking pan with parchment paper that overlaps the ends.

In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla extract until light and creamy. Gradually beat in the flour mixture. Stir in oats and butterscotch morsels.

Spread dough in prepared pan, and bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until very lightly browned. Cool completely. Cut into 2-inch squares. Makes about 3 dozen squares.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Black Bean Chili with Vegetables

I usually take a few moments on New Year’s Day to, if not review the whole year, to at least review the last few weeks. Last year, I reviewed my “blissful” Christmas season. This New Year’s day, I am reflecting on 2012 as a whole.

My family went through some major changes in 2012, but we are blessed. I will always miss my father, but I had a close relationship with him, and I will always treasure the weekly lunches we shared in the last few years. I am also very proud of my daughter who did well her first semester in college.

While this year’s Christmas season was not quite as blissful as last year, I did love having my daughter home from college, and we did spend some time with friends and family over good food!

Now, I’m busy trying to get rid of all the sweets lingering in the house, and my meal planning is getting seriously healthy!

This black bean chili recipe is another holdover from our vegan Lent, and we all love it. It is full of vegetables, and has a rich flavor and an almost meaty texture. The chili is delicious topped with some avocado and cilantro, or if you aren’t vegan, top it with a little cheese and sour cream.  

Black Bean Chili with Vegetables
Printable Recipe
Adapted from Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped, small dice
1 green bell pepper, seeded, chopped, small dice
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large carrot, chopped, small dice
1 pound zucchini, chopped, medium dice
1 cup frozen or fresh corn, defrosted if frozen
2 cups vegetable broth
3 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
dash of freshly ground black pepper
1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 15 ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
2 teaspoons agave nectar
Juice from one lime

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the onions and bell peppers, and cook until the onions are translucent, about 4 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute. Add the chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, cayenne and black pepper, and cook stirring constantly until the spices are fragrant. Mix in the carrots, zucchini and corn. Add the vegetable broth. The vegetables should be mostly submerged.

Bring the mixture to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer, covered, until the carrots are tender and the zucchini is soft, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, black beans and cilantro. Cover and cook until the mixture is slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Mix in the agave and lime juice. Add more salt to taste if needed, and serve.


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