Tag Archives: chili

Meals from Raiding the Freezer

28 Jan
"And what meal shall I select from the freezer today?"

“And what meal shall I select from the freezer today?”

I’ve been on a self-imposed cooking haitus this week. I decided to scour the freezer for all the leftovers we had stockpiled in there from our snowbound two months, and discovered I had NO LESS than 8 meals in the freezer I decided we should heat up and eat before they were freezer burnt and long forgotten.

I made a list on our fridge white board we usually use for our shopping list, and have been gradually eating them and wiping them off. I can’t help but make meals for 4 to 6 or 8 people (some kind of hangup from growing up in a family of 8), and with my daughter gone most of the time, we simply can’t eat the same meal more than two nights in a row (or sometimes every other night). Many of these just needed a side salad, bread, or veggies/potatoes.

I have compiled for you my freezer list meals, along with links to the recipes for them. (Or similar recipes or part of one, and some are adaptations of prior recipes I’ve posted.) I’ll get back to more recipes and cooking soon! Enjoy!

Lasagna Soup

This freezes really well! Just as good, if not better later with loads more fresh-grated Parmesan cheese.

One-Pot Lasagna Soup

One-Pot Lasagna Soup

Beef Stroganoff

A classic with a healthy twist. No canned soups! The version in our freezer was a wonderful meal made with shredded cooked beef that my husband made instead of ground beef, but similar concept.

Homemade Ground Beef Stroganoff

Homemade Ground Beef Stroganoff

Smoked Sausage and Tortellini Soup

Another Italian-based soup recipe that freezes well and gets the same raves as the day you made it!

Smoked Sausage and Tortellini Soup

Smoked Sausage and Tortellini Soup

Cabbage and Chicken Soup

I made this same type of soup, but used shredded chicken instead of ground beef. Try it, you’ll like it!

Mexican-Style Beef and Cabbage Soup

Mexican-Style Beef and Cabbage Soup

Turkey and Turkey Gravy

Traditional roasted turkey leftover from New Year’s dinner, with gravy made from the turkey carcass stock. Here I give you the recipe for the stock.

Turkey Carcass Stock

Turkey Carcass Stock

White Chicken Chili

One of our favorite winter comfort foods. I know it’s many of my friend’s favorite too! I used white beans instead of black beans for the leftovers in the freezer but I’ve posted both versions before, but this one has the printable PDF.

Creamy Chicken Chili and Beans

Creamy Chicken Chili and Beans

Sous Vide Meatloaf with Bacon

I made this with a several pieces of ground up uncooked bacon in it and cooked via the sous vide method. Wow, talk about a flavor bomb! I am linking up to Conor Bofin’s recipe, as his inspired me to make my mom’s meatloaf with bacon and sous vide method. I did not write my own post about it.

Mom's Meatloaf

Mom’s Meatloaf

Spicy Chicken Florentine

Well I know I just posted this, but it IS in the freezer and we need to finish it. Just two small lunch-sized servings left. 🙂

Spicy Chicken Florentine

Spicy Chicken Florentine

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Creamy Chicken Chili and Beans

6 Nov
Creamy Chicken Chili and Beans

Creamy Chicken Chili and Beans

I slammed this dinner together for the crock pot in less than 15 minutes. It was 1:45 pm, my day to cook, but I had a dentist appointment during my lunch break earlier and didn’t get around to thinking about dinner until after my 1 pm meeting. I knew I wanted something Mexican/spicy-ish. I scoured my recipes and found one where I stated about the chicken breasts, “I put them in frozen.” Bingo.

Amazingly I had every single ingredient on hand. The last time I made it I used white beans and this time I used black beans, which I had wanted to use prior, but didn’t have any back then. I also added more cream cheese to make it creamier, as well as some chicken broth and additional tomatoes because I remembered it was slightly too thick last time. I also mixed up the chile powders as my spice cabinet has increased greatly over the past two years. If you only have regular chili powder, then just use a tablespoon of that instead. (Hint: Chile powder is a pure grind of one chile, chili powder is a mixture of chile powders and other spices.)

Each time I make a recipe again, I strive to improve upon it. (Well, unless it was just perfect to begin with — HA!) We did enjoy this chili more this time around (seconds for the daughter!), dinner was on time, and the husband got to watch his Monday Night Football. Mission Accomplished.

Creamy Chicken Chili and Beans

Creamy Chicken Chili and Beans

Creamy Chicken Chili and Beans

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast (can be frozen)
3/4 cup homemade or low-sodium chicken broth
1 10-oz. can Ro-Tel tomatoes or 14-oz. can diced tomatoes and green chiles
1/2 cup additional diced tomatoes if using Ro-Tel
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup canned hominy, rinsed and drained (freeze the rest for future use)
1 teaspoon Ancho (or Pasilla) chile powder
1 teaspoon New Mexico chile powder
1 teaspoon regular chili powder
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons Ranch dressing from a bottle
Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 brick Neufchatel cheese, or regular cream cheese

Add the chicken and broth to a 3-quart crock pot. Dump in the rest of the ingredients on top except the cream cheese, and mix around until combined, leaving the chicken on the bottom as best you can. Last, add the 1/2 brick of cream cheese to the top. Cover and cook on high about 3 1/2 to 4 hours.

Remove lid and shred the chicken breast with two forks right in the crock pot, then mix around thoroughly to incorporate the cream cheese. Turn down to low/warm until ready to serve. Garnish with cilantro, sour cream, shredded cheese, whatever your heart (and tummy) desires!

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Summer Weather in Spring and a Funny Pun

25 Apr
Camper Chili

Big Pot O' Camper Chili

I haven’t posted a new recipe in a week, because everything we ate in the past week has included meals I’ve already blogged about or not something worth sharing. We also just had a fabulous stretch of summer-like weather, and we took advantage of it and went to our property on the river for three days. We had not seen one day this year even hit 70 degrees, when overnight it zoomed all the way into the mid-80s for several days! Now we are back to more seasonal weather but I am thankful for the sunny days we did get.

Since I still don’t have anything new for you, I’d thought I’d link back to some of my older recipes for any newcomers to the site that haven’t looked at the archives before.

While camping this past weekend, I made the obligatory pot of camp chili. This time I added a can of hominy to it instead of the garbanzo beans. My husband commented that I made enough for an army, but I can’t help that it makes a lot! It’s great as leftovers and can be easily frozen. Link: Camper Chili.

Here’s a tried and true recipe for stuffed bell peppers that I made earlier in the week with orange peppers this time:  Stuffed Bell Peppers.

I have made this many times since I first wrote about it back in January. It’s quick, it’s easy, and it’s oh so good.  Chicken Egg Drop Soup

Lastly I’ll share with you a funny picture my husband took while camping. We have an ancient salt shaker that’s been hanging around on the kitchen table in the RV, as well as other assorted sundries that just never seem to get put anywhere. We had finished dinner and were hanging out at the table listening to CDs, when I picked up two of the items and started playing around with them. Then we cracked ourselves up when we realized what a funny visual pun we could make with them. After looking at the picture, I now also realize my wedding ring is in desperate need of cleaning.

A Salt and Battery

A Salt and Battery

White Bean and Chicken Chili

1 Feb

White Bean and Chicken Chili

I may not have written anything yesterday, but I sure did cook! I made a delicious lunch of okra, tomatoes, bacon, and onion (coming soon!) and was then inspired to pull out my faithful crock pot and cook some chili for dinner. I was browsing through a cooking blog site for ideas and found a terrific recipe for a chicken-based chili. The only problem was I didn’t have half the ingredients, but that didn’t stop me! No black beans? Well white beans would work! No corn? Aha, I have a can of golden hominy in the pantry, hominy is corn, isn’t it? Rats, it’s also calling for a packet of dried ranch dressing. Hey, I have some in a bottle, I’ll use that instead. Oh, and what about that package of cream cheese? Let’s see, I have a quarter package of light Neufchatel, close enough for me! Rotel tomatoes? HA! Of course I had a can of those, what Texan wouldn’t?

See, you don’t really need to follow a recipe to the tee to make a great dinner. I’m all about experimenting and basically relying on what I happen to have in the house at the time. Of course I do make a shopping list when there is an ingredient I just have to have for something in mind, but more times than not it is determined by what’s in the fridge, freezer or pantry.

White Bean and Chicken Chili

Two boneless skinless chicken breasts (I put them in frozen!)
1 can drained, rinsed white beans
1 can hominy, liquid included
1 can Rotel diced tomatoes and chiles, liquid included
2 tablespoons Ranch dressing
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Black pepper to taste
1/4 to 1 package light cream or Neufchatel cheese

Put the chicken breasts in the bottom of the crock pot. Add the rest of the ingredients except the cream cheese and stir to combine, making sure the chicken ends up at the bottom again. Put the cream cheese brick on top. Cook on low 6-8 hours, or high 3-4 hours. When done, stir to mix in the cheese. Take two forks and shred the chicken right there in the pot and stir again. Garnish with tortilla chips, cilantro, sour cream or any other condiment of choice.

Snow Day and a Big Pot O’ Chili

18 Jan

Big Pot O' Camper Chili

My daughter got the snow day she was wishing for, and she spent a good part of the day attempting to sled down our steep driveway with her friends. The snow was pretty wet and eventually turned to rain, and I think they spent a majority of the time trying to build a snow ramp which self-destructed each time they went over it. I remember those snow-filled days when I lived in Ohio for a few years starting at her age (shhh…don’t tell anyone) and could spend hours and hours out in the snow and never feel cold.  I lived there during the great blizzard of 1978-79, and we missed three weeks of school. It was pure winter vacation delight! (We did suffer for that on the other end, as our summer break was shortened by the same amount.)

But let’s get back to food. The first thing that popped in my mind to make today was chili! A nice big pot o’ steaming hot chili, not only in temperature but a good dose of chili powder and green chiles to warm you up from the inside out. I had a fairly busy day at work due to my non-productivity yesterday, so I decided to resort to what I will call Camper Chili. This is what I make when we go camping because we have limited room in our tiny RV fridge and only a few pots and pans in the tinier storage space. If you make it the first night, you’ve freed up half your storage space! Pretty much everything comes out of a can or jar (save for the onion) so it’s imperative you rinse all the beans, and buy low-sodium canned tomatoes or use fresh if they are available, otherwise you’ll end up with about five times the suggested daily sodium intake.

I did have a couple of Roma tomatoes as one of the “fresh” counterparts, and since I wasn’t going to drive anywhere in that mess today we ended up with close to the true Camper version.  I scrummaged through the cupboards and came up with a variety of beans to throw in the pot. That’s also the beauty of this — you can mix and match any kind of beans you happen to have on hand. This one ended up with a can each of black, small red, Canellini, and garbanzo beans. Garbanzo beans are a wonderful addition to chili, as they add a corn-like flavor to the dish.

Now any true Texan reading this is probably gasping at the thought of adding beans to a pot of chili. And yes, it’s true that Texans don’t even think it deserves to be called chili if there’s beans in it. However, after living in the Pacific Northwest for so many years, I’ve adapted to some of the local customs, including putting beans in the pot and calling it chili. I will, however, refrain from putting this in the Texas Food category.

Camper Chili

1 pound ground beef
1 onion, diced
1-2 teaspoons minced garlic
1-2 tablespoons chili powder (I also added 1/2 teaspoon of ground red chile peppers, I like it hot!)
Black pepper, to taste
4-5 cans of beans, any kind, drained and rinsed
1-2 cans diced low-sodium diced tomatoes, or 2-3 fresh chopped tomatoes
1 small can diced green chiles
Shredded cheese, diced onion and sour cream for garnish (optional)

In a dutch oven or large pot, sauté the ground beef with the onion over medium heat. When almost done, add the minced garlic and stir for a few more minutes until done. Drain any grease, then return the pot to the stove. Stir in the seasonings, then add the beans, tomatoes and chiles. Bring to a simmer and cook for at least an hour to let the flavors meld, the longer the better. If it starts looking too dry you can add a little water or chicken broth. When done, heft some big spoonfuls into bowls, and serve with cheese, more onion and sour cream. I also like to scoop this up with tortilla chips. This is delicious the next day, and freezes well too.

Update: I think things in my head sometimes that I realize readers might not get. When I list 1-2, or 3-4 in the recipe that does not mean one half or three quarters, that means one to two or three to four. I hope I haven’t misguided you these past days! I use 1/2 or 3/4, etc. for true fractions.

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