Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Andouille Chipotle Chili with Sweet Potatoes & Corn

Julie and I have a crazy busy week cooking for clients, which we love.  It just may not give us as much time as we would like for posting recipes on the blog.  With it being the week right before the Super Bowl we definitely wanted to get you a few recipes for any party you might be hosting or attending.  Today we have a Chili recipe for you and then the rest of the week we’ll have some appetizer recipes. That's the plan anyway!

I LOVE a good bowl of Chili on a cold winter evening, which we haven’t had many of this winter in Kansas.  My husband Dan makes a great bowl of Chili.  He basically puts the same ingredients in the pot every time and it always seems to taste a little different each time.   We also like a pretty thick bowl of Chili around our house.  You can always add some extra tomato sauce or juice if you don’t want your Chili to be so thick. 

I don’t make a lot of Chili because Dan is pretty much the designated Chili Chef around here.  Of course the “foodie” in me is always dreaming of how I can take a basic recipe and give it a little twist by experimenting with different flavors.  I know that the ingredient list is long and I'm sorry, but the flavor has a great depth and I think you'll like it.  I hope you'll give this “dressed up” Chili a try!  

Andouille Chipotle Chili with Sweet Potatoes & Corn

1  pound ground sirloin
1  large onion, chopped
2  teaspoons minced garlic (about 4 cloves)
1  red bell pepper, diced
1  yellow bell pepper, diced
3  tablespoons Chili Powder
2  teaspoons cumin
½  teaspoon cinnamon
1  teaspoon kosher salt
½  teaspoon black pepper
1 (14 ounce) package Andouille style sausage, cut in half and then in ½” slices.
1 (12 ounce) bottle Dark Beer
1  (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2  (14.5-ounce) can Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes, undrained
1  (14.5-ounce)can Diced Tomatoes, undrained
¾  cup BBQ Sauce
2  tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
1 ½ tablespoons Frank’s Hot Sauce
1  Chipotle Chili in Adobo Sauce, finely minced
1  tablespoon Adobo Sauce from can of Chiles
1  pound sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into ½” pieces
1  can black beans, rinsed and drained
1  can Chili Beans in Sauce, undrained
2  cups frozen corn
Salt and Pepper to taste

Green Onions
Cheddar Cheese
Sour Cream

In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the sirloin with the onion.  Drain any grease from the skillet.  When the beef is just about done add the garlic, red bell pepper, yellow bell pepper, chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, salt and pepper.  Continue cooking for about 3 minutes until peppers begin to soften and spices are fragrant.  Drain any remaining grease from the beef and transfer the beef mixture into a large Dutch Oven or Stockpot.

In the skillet you cooked the beef, over medium heat, add the sliced Andouille sausage and cook for about 5 minutes to brown.  When browned, add the sausage to the beef mixture in the Dutch Oven.  Pour the bottle of beer in the skillet to deglaze the pan.  Make sure to scrape all the dark drippings from the bottom of the skillet.  This will add a lot of flavor to your Chili.

After deglazing the skillet pour the beer and loosened drippings into the Dutch Oven or stockpot.

Add the crushed tomatoes, fire roasted diced tomatoes, diced tomatoes, BBQ sauce, Worcestershire Sauce, Frank’s hot sauce, Chipotle Chili, adobo sauce, diced sweet potatoes, beans and corn to the Dutch Oven.  Bring the Chili to a simmer and continue cooking for about 45 minutes for flavors to blend and the sweet potatoes are tender.  Season to taste with more salt and pepper if needed. 
Garnish with Green Onions, Cheddar Cheese and Sour Cream.



Shared at these great link parties:
Six Sisters' Stuff Strut Your Stuff Saturday Link Party
Katherine Martinelli's Chili Blog Hop
Bun's In My Oven What's Cookin Wednesday

Friday, January 27, 2012

Creamy Grits, Bacon and Corn Bake

I was born in the South and grew up in Kansas.  After Dan and I got married the Navy took us to Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, then back to Florida, and finally back to our home state of Kansas when Dan went off active duty. Living in all those southern states and growing up in Kansas you would think I grew up on grits.  I actually didn’t taste grits until I was in college and would visit Dan’s family while we were dating. 

My kids on the other hand have grown up on grits.  We eat a lot of beef in our family, usually in the form of tenderloin or strip steaks on the grill. I have a husband who will grill when the temperature is in the single digits! When I ask my family what “sides” they would like, the majority of the time they want my Cheesy Grits.  Don’t get me wrong I LOVE plain Cheese Grits, but the foodie in me gets tired of not experimenting and trying to jazz it up.

This version has a jalapeno pepper which is optional, and if you like spicy foods it is really good.  If not, just leave it out and it is still delicious. Remember the more of the membrane and seeds of the pepper you use the spicier the grits will be.  Even if you don’t like spicy foods, use the Frank’s hot sauce.  I think it gives the dish a great depth of flavor and it doesn’t make the dish spicy. 

I’d love to know some of your favorite dishes that you or your children have grown up with!

Creamy Grits, Bacon and Corn Bake
8 slices thick bacon, diced
1 (12 ounce) bag frozen corn, thawed
1  teaspoon minced garlic
1  teaspoon kosher salt
½  teaspoon pepper
½  teaspoon cumin
1  jalapeno pepper, diced (Optional)
1 ¼  cups quick cooking grits
4  cups chicken broth
½  cup milk
¼  cup butter, melted
1  teaspoon Frank’s hot sauce
1  teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
½  cup sliced Green Onions
2  cups shredded Sharp Cheddar cheese, (8 ounces)
2  eggs, beaten to blend
Green onion tops, sliced for garnish if desired

Cook diced bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp.  Remove bacon and set aside.  Remove all but about 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease from the skillet.  Add the corn, garlic, kosher salt, pepper, cumin and diced jalapeno (if using).  Saute for about 5 minutes to let the flavors blend. Stir the bacon back into the corn mixture, remove from the heat and set aside.

Meanwhile, bring the chicken broth to a boil in a large saucepan.  Slowly whisk the grits into the boiling chicken broth.   Cover and reduce the heat to low, cook grits for about 3 to 4 minutes until thickened.  Remove the pan from the heat.

Stir in the milk, melted butter, Franks, Worcestershire sauce and green onions.  Add the Sharp Cheddar a little at a time, stirring until melted.  Stir in the bacon and corn mixture.

Crack the eggs in a small bowl and beat well.  With your whisk add a little of your hot grits mixture to the eggs and stir.  Working quickly, add the egg mixture to the grits and stir until the eggs are incorporated into the grits.  You don’t want your egg to scramble, work quickly!

Pour grits into a greased 9 x 13 inch pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. 



I linked this recipe to the Weekend Potluck by The Country CookMeet Penny4 little Fergusons and Baking Bad.  Check it out for tons of yummy recipes!

Thursday, January 26, 2012


We raise cattle as part of our livelihood.  And, a few of them pasture behind our house on a rye field during the winter.  One of my “jobs” is to break the ice and fill the tank with water each day.  There is a pond between our house and the tank that I pass by when headed to do my daily chore.

The pond was frozen over a few days ago and therefore the geese and ducks that are usually there were enjoying themselves somewhere else.  I wondered where they go when their favorite pond is frozen over – and I wondered what little bit of comfort they have when it is 10 degrees out.

Which led me to thinking about Kim’s wonderful, comforting and yummy Mac and Cheese.  A great comfort food for lots of people I know.  However, my family is not into Mac and Cheese all that much.  Odd you say.  It took me the whole walk to figure out the comfort food dishes my family requests.  So, I thought over the next week or so I would share our comfort food with you.

One of my family’s favorites is Spaetzle.  This is a German noodle.  A little lengthy to make but very easy.  I think comfort food not only is yummy and smooth, but also tends to have a little emotion to it – a memory associated with it.  Our family has traveled in Central Europe some over the years (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) and thus how our love of Spaetzle began.  They don’t just make the Speatzle and eat it – oh no, they add sautéed onions and soft cheese and maybe some sautéed mushrooms.  I try and have it almost everyday when I am visiting there.

So, I guess really it is the Europeans version of Mac and Cheese.  I had never really thought about it before.  So, in honor of Kim and her love for Mac and Cheese, I made our family’s comfort food last night and thought I would share it with you.  Maybe we like it because it is different – who knows.

Give it a try sometime when you want to try something with an international flavor, different and something totally carb loaded!!  You don’t even need a Spaetzle maker.  All you need is a ziplock bag!!! (instructions follow the recipe)
Here’s to comfort food in whatever country you are living in or visiting!!!


Saute your choice of items.  We do mushrooms and onions always.  Set them aside and continue with the following.

Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil.  When water is heated and close to boiling, mix the following together:

3 eggs, beaten
3 cups flour
½ tsp. salt
1 cup milk

Whisk the flour and salt together.  Add the milk and eggs and stir until combined.

Take a gallon ziplock bag and poke 12 -14 holes with a toothpick or skewer in the bag at one corner.  Space them out about every ½ inch or so.  Then, place the dough in the bag and push down to the corner where the holes are.  Take the air out of the bag and zip it shut (helps prevent a mess!!).

With the bag over the boiling water, squeeze some dough so it comes out of the holes.  When the little Spaetzle (or dumplings) are 2 – 3 inches long, take a knife and run along the bag to loosen them from the bag and drop into the boiling water.  Boil them for 3 – 4 minutes as they float to the top of the water.  Put maybe 1/3 of the dough into the water at one time.  Once all are to the top, take them out with a strainer or spoon  and place on some paper towels to drain.  Repeat with the next 1/3 of the dough and then with the remaining dough.

Once all are cooked, take the skillet that you sautéed the onion and add a little butter or olive oil and heat.  Then place the spaetzle in the skillet and lightly brown.

Take your plate and place your spaetzle.  Top with some of the onions or mushrooms or both.  Sprinkle with some Romano or Asiago cheese and enjoy!!!

It may seem like a lot of work but really it isn’t.  You can even sauté the onions and mushrooms earlier in the day and then just heat at the end.



Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Spiced Pear and Cranberry Cobbler

I live with a couple of Boy Scouts, and like most Scouts, they love to make cobbler in a cast iron Dutch oven.  This classic camping dessert is made with canned pie filling, a box of yellow cake mix, a can of lemon-lime soda and pats of butter.  It is a popular dessert at campouts and sometimes Dan and Jack will make it here at home as well.  I hate to admit that I am not a real big fan. For me Scout cobbler is just too syrupy sweet.  Now, the recipe below is my idea of a fantastic Cobbler and I think it makes for a terrific fall/winter dessert.  It has a great blend of flavors that really go well this time of year.  I’d like to try mixing some apples into the filling, I think that would be really nice.  It is simple enough to make for a family dinner or special enough to serve company. 

Spiced Pear-Cranberry Cobbler
Ingredients for the filling:
6 medium Bosc or Anjou pears, peeled, cored and chopped
1  (14 ounce) can whole cranberry sauce
1  cup fresh cranberries or 1/3  cup dried Craisins (I used Craisins)
½  cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Ingredients for the biscuit topping:
¾  cup flour
¼  cup cornmeal
3  tablespoons sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½  teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
¼  cup cold unsalted butter, cut up
1  egg, lightly beaten
½  cup pure canned pumpkin
2  tablespoons, half-n-half or milk
Whipped cream for serving

For the filling:  In a large bowl, mix pears, cranberry sauce, cranberries, brown sugar and the 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice.  Transfer to a 2 quart shallow baking dish.  Bake covered in a 375 degree oven for 30 minutes.

For biscuit topping:  While the filling is baking, mix the flour, cornmeal, 3 tablespoons sugar, baking powder and ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice in a medium bowl.  Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or fork until the pieces are pea sized.

In a small bowl, combine the egg, pumpkin and half-n-half.  Add to the flour mixture all at once, stirring until just combined.

Remove baking dish from the oven and uncover.  Spoon biscuit topping into eight mounds on top of the hot pear mixture.

Bake uncovered for about 30 more minutes until a toothpick inserted in the biscuit topping comes out clean.  Cool on wire rack for 30 minutes.
Serve with whipped cream.

Cooks Note:  You'll have to open a can of Pure Pumpkin for this recipe.  If you need an idea for what to do with the left over pumpkin check out our Pumpkin Spice Latte or stir a little into your morning oatmeal.  



This recipe is from Midwest Living magazine.

Monday, January 23, 2012

A Sunflower Supper Club Giveaway!

We decided to have a giveaway to show how much we appreciate all of our friends, both old and new!  We love that you come to visit us on our Facebook page and the blog.  Since we are fairly new to this whole blogging adventure we will muddle through this together. 

We decided that we wanted to be able to offer a giveaway to both friends near and far.  So this is what we came up with.

If you live near us (within an hour away) the giveaway is: Appetizers for a Super Bowl party.  We will provide you with 4 different appetizers for 12 people to be enjoyed on February 5th, which is Superbowl Sunday!  

If you don’t live close to us we will give you a $25 gift card to Target, Walmart or the local grocery store in your area where you prefer to shop.

Now, how to enter:

Like Sunflower Supper Club  on Facebook.
If you already “LIKE” us all you have to do is “LIKE” our post on Facebook about the giveaway.  If we happen to post several times about the giveaway, each time you LIKE it you will be entered!

For even more chances to win…all you have to do is:

SHARE our Sunflower Supper Club page on Facebook (all you do is scroll down our page and hit the Share option on the left hand side.)  If new friends come to our page and LIKE us, have them tell us who sent them and that will be another entry for you.  They will be entered as well!

Hopefully that is clearer than mud!  But, if you have any questions please message us or leave it in the comments and we will get back to you.  Like I said, We will muddle through this together!

Now for the fine print:  This giveaway will run from Monday January 23, 2012 at 9 p.m. until Sunday January 29 at midnight.  We will then pick the winner at random and notify them on Monday morning January 30, 2012.  We will post it on our Facebook page as well as message you on Facebook.  The winner will have 2 days to claim the prize or another winner will be chosen at random.

Thanks again for all of your support!

Kim and Julie  

A Little Winter "Gardening"

I was outside walking my bichon, Gabby, the other day and we took a stroll through the garden.  It was a nice day out, and when I find myself in the garden in winter, I am always dreaming about what I want to plant and where I want to plant it.

If you garden, you know that you need to move where you plant some species so that disease does not get into the ground over the years.  I am speaking of my dear friends the tomato!! 

You probably don't even know I raise tomatoes since last year I had about 20 plants and never picked a single tomato!!!  Not a good tomato year – anyway, I love planning, hoping, dreaming and scheming about my garden.  But, we are still a few weeks away from planting in the garden.

So I wanted to share a little discovery I made here in Hutchinson.  Something that can bring the garden into anyone’s kitchen – at Smith’s Market!!!

I purchased a lovely Basil plant for a mere $2.99.  I placed it by my sink (which is under a window) and have used it lots.  It has stayed healthy and green and wonderful for coming on 2 weeks now.  It is just the touch of something to remind me of my garden when outside it is cold. 

They have other herbs too – I just bought the Basil to see how it would last.  My next trip down to Smith’s I am going to purchase some other varieties.  The herbs are grown in Hesston and they are just fabulous.

I would recommend them to anyone who likes cooking with fresh herbs or for anyone who just likes to run a leaf between your fingers and smell the wonderful aroma of summertime!

My one hint on keeping it perky – I put the container in a bigger bowl and water it probably every other day.  It soaks up a lot of water so just watch it carefully and you will be rewarded quite nicely!!!

Here’s to gardening inside when the outside is chilly!!!

Have a great day!


Friday, January 20, 2012

White Cheddar Chipotle Macaroni & Cheese with Caramelized Onions

I am in love with the smoky flavor that Chipotle Chiles add to a dish.  I knew I wanted to make a Chipotle Macaroni & Cheese, but wasn't sure what flavor to pair the Chipotle pepper with. Then it hit me... Caramelized Onions.  I think that the hotness of the Chile peppers pairs nicely with the sweet onions and the creamy white cheddar.  If you've never used Chipotle Chiles they come in a can and you'll just use a little bit of it.  If you're interested, I have another post that uses them, and I tell you what I do with the leftovers.  You can find it here at the end of the recipe.  Hope everyone has a great weekend!
White Cheddar Chipotle Macaroni & Cheese with Caramelized Onions

For the Onions:
2  tablespoons butter
1  tablespoon olive oil
1  large onion, halved and THINLY sliced
2  tablespoons sugar

The rest of the ingredients:
8 ounces Penne Pasta (I use Penne because I think it pairs nicely with the onions which are about the same length.)
1/4  cup butter
1/2  teaspoon minced garlic
1/2  Chipotle pepper, diced fine 
1  teaspoon Chipotle sauce from the can of Chilies
1/4  cup flour
2  cups milk
2  cups White Cheddar Cheese (8 ounces), shredded

For the Onions:
In a large skillet over medium heat melt the butter and add the olive oil.  Add your onions and saute for a few minutes until they begin to get soft.  Add the 2 tablespoons sugar and turn the heat down a little.  Continue cooking for about 20 minutes until they are a golden brown.  Drain any excess oil and set aside to cool.  (I take mine out and place on a couple of paper towels to absorb any excess oil.)

Cook pasta in salted water until al dente.  Meanwhile, melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Add the minced garlic, diced Chipotle and sauce.  Cook for a minute until fragrant.  Add your flour and whisk constantly for about 2 minutes.  Slowly add milk and bring to a boil and simmer for a minute until it thickens.  Remove from the heat and add the cheese a handful at a time stirring until melted.  Add the caramelized onions and pasta and mix thoroughly.

Place in a baking dish and bake at 375 degrees for about 20-25 minutes.



Linked to the following parties:
Our very own Weekend Potluck
Katherine Martinelli Food Bloggers Support Sandy
Carole's Chatter Food on Friday Pasta & Noodles
Gooseberry Patch Comfort Food Link Party

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Nanny's Creamy Baked Macaroni & Cheese

Everyone grew up with a version of this classic comfort food.  I have had a love affair with Macaroni & Cheese since I was a child.  Who hasn't?  Pasta wrapped in a creamy, comforting, cheesy sauce.  How could you go wrong?  If you have never made homemade Mac & Cheese, except for the blue box with the day glow orange "cheese", I think you need to change that.  This is my family's favorite version of this classic dish, my Nanny's famous Macaroni and Cheese. If you're on a really tight timeline you could serve it after you combine the pasta and the cheese sauce in the saucepan.  I prefer it after it bakes and the cheese on top gets a golden crust.  Not to mention the toasted bread crumbs, which are nice contrast to the creaminess of the sauce.   Keeping with my New Year's resolution of less processed foods, I made this last week.  I know, I know, it is not low fat, but it is made with wholesome ingredients that I can pronounce! Don't tell my kids, but I used whole wheat pasta and bread crumbs on the top.  We are taking baby steps.  Shhhh.....
Nanny's Creamy Baked Macaroni & Cheese
1  pound pasta, your favorite shape
1/2 cup butter, divided
1/2  cup flour
1  teaspoon minced garlic
4  cups milk
1  teaspoon Dijon Mustard
1  teaspoon Frank's Hot Sauce
1  teaspoon salt
1/2  teaspoon pepper
4  cups (16 ounces) Cheese, We like to use 1/2 Sharp Cheddar and 1/2 Colby/Jack.

For the topping:
1  cup fresh breadcrumbs
4  tablespoons grated Parmesan Cheese
2  tablespoons butter, melted

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook your pasta until it is al dente.  

Meanwhile, melt 6 tablespoons butter in a large saucepan or dutch oven. When the butter is melted add the flour and whisk until bubbly, about 2 minutes.  Add the garlic and continue cooking for a minute until fragrant. Slowly add the milk and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and let simmer a few minutes until thickened.  Remove from heat and add the Dijon mustard, hot sauce, salt & pepper.  Stir to combine.  Add the cheese a handful at a time and continue stirring until cheese is melted and sauce is creamy.  Stir in the cooked pasta.  Transfer the macaroni to a 9 x 13 inch dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

In a small bowl combine your breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese and melted butter. Sprinkle evenly over the top of the macaroni.  

Bake at 375 degrees for about 35 minutes or until bubbly and top is browned.

Cooks Note:  Don't let the Frank's Hot Sauce or the Dijon Mustard scare you.  They give the cheese sauce a nice flavor that is not spicy. 



Linked to the following link parties:
Our very own Weekend Potluck
Gooseberry Patch Recipes from Home
Walking on Sunshine Foodie Friends Friday
Six Sisters' Stuff Strut Your Stuff Link Party

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Chicken & Orzo Soup

I posted a soup recipe last week and said in the post to check back in a few days for another soup recipe.  Well, the weather changed again on me in those few days and I didn’t think soup was right for the evening menu!!  One has to be flexible here in Kansas as we shift a good 40 degrees from day to day – who says living in Kansas is boring!!!

Anyway, the thermometer read 17 when I got up this morning and weather.com revealed that tomorrow the high is to be 32 degrees.  So, I think a pot of soup would be just what the doctor ordered for tomorrow night.

I found this recipe over the holiday in a Southern Lady magazine and have just fell in love with the little changes and additions from my regular chicken soup.

Give it a try.  It is very easy and, if I might say so myself, quite tasty! 

Enjoy the day and the new soup recipe!!!!

Chicken-Orzo Soup

4 quarts chicken broth
4 large chicken breasts
1lb. orzo
6 egg yolks
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 Tblsp. lemon zest
½ cup lemon juice
2 Tblsp. chopped dill (fresh if can find good, but I have used dried)
1 ½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper

In a large stockpot, combine chicken broth and chicken breasts.  Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat, cover and simmer until chicken is cooked.  Remove chicken and cool slightly.  Shred or cube into pieces.

Return broth to a boil and add orzo.  Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes or until orzo is tender. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and cream.  Gradually add 2 cups of the broth mixture to the egg yolk mixture and whisk well.  Add the egg yolk mixture back to the stockpot, stirring well.  Stir in the chicken, lemon zest, lemon juice, dill and seasonings.  Cook for 5 to 10 minutes or until slightly thicken and heated through.  Garnish with  more lemon zest or a little dill.

You could probably use other small pasta shapes if you don’t have orzo.  Give it a try and see!!



Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Cheeseburger Macaroni

I know we promised you some more side dish recipes this week and Julie promised you another soup post, and we promise that will still happen. Actually, we'll have Julie's soup post later tomorrow afternoon. We just got a little sidetracked!  

I needed a quick dinner the other night for my kids and thought I would share this recipe. My kids love a box of Hamburger Helper every now and then.  They don't ask for it often which pleases me.  We aren't perfect, but I really do try to limit the amount of processed foods I feed my family.  I have a feeling that Hamburger Helper is about as bad as it gets in the processed department! One of my New Year's resolutions is to cut out the chemicals and additives, and I knew I'd have to find a replacement for the Cheeseburger Macaroni.  I actually think this tastes a thousand percent better, and it really didn't take much longer to get dinner on the table.  It did dirty an extra pot, but I think the trade off is well worth washing an extra pot.  Don't let the length of the recipe discourage you.  The seasonings I added to the meat mixture are just a variation of a taco seasoning I make.  Remember I was trying to limit the processed ingredients, and I like to control the amount of salt.  If you would rather, just toss in a packet of taco seasoning.  I hope you'll try this the next night you need a kid friendly dish on the table quick!

Cheeseburger Macaroni

For the beef mixture:
1  pound ground beef
½  cup chopped onion
1  teaspoon minced garlic
1  tablespoon chili powder
¼  teaspoon red pepper flakes
¼  teaspoon oregano
½  teaspoon paprika
1 ½  teaspoons cumin
1  teaspoon salt
½  teaspoon pepper
1  can (14.5 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes, undrained
2  cups beef broth
8  ounces pasta, elbow or whatever you prefer

For the Cheese Sauce:
2  tablespoons butter
2  tablespoons flour
1  cup whole milk, can use skim or 1% but it won’t be as creamy
1  cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1  heaping tablespoon light sour cream

For the beef mixture:  Brown ground beef with onion and garlic in a large skillet.  Drain well.  Stir in chili powder, red pepper flakes, oregano, paprika, cumin, salt and pepper.  Cook for a minute stirring constantly.  Add the diced tomatoes, beef broth, and macaroni.  Bring to a boil.  Cover pan and reduce heat, simmer for about 10 to 12 minutes or as long as it takes for your pasta to be al dente.  Be sure to stir occasionally to keep it from sticking to the pan and to evenly cook your pasta.

While the beef mixture is simmering, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add the flour and whisk for about 2 minutes until bubbly.  Slowly add the milk and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes until thickened.  Remove from heat and add cheese.  Whisk until mixture is smooth and creamy. 

When the meat mixture is done add the cheese sauce to your skillet.  Stir to combine, stir in sour cream and let sit a few minutes to thicken.  Top with extra shredded cheese if desired.



Shared at these great link parties:
Gooseberry Patch Comfort Food Link Party
Carole's Chatter Food on Friday Recipes Kids Love

Monday, January 16, 2012

Cheesy Artichoke Rice

This week we have a few side dish recipes to share with you. This first one goes really well with any type of grilled meat or just add a salad and have it as a meatless main dish.  I sometimes add some fresh spinach or mushrooms to change it up, but that doesn't make it quite so kid friendly.  I can hide the artichokes and onions.  Just give any extra veggies a quick saute with the onions. This is a great recipe to use as a base for your culinary creativity!  Hope everyone has a great week!

Cheesy Artichoke Rice
1  cup converted rice (Uncle Ben's recommended)
1  can (14.5 ounce) chicken broth, plus water to equal 2 1/4 cups liquid.
2  tablespoons butter
1/2  cup chopped onion
2  cloves garlic, minced
1  can (14 ounce) Artichoke Hearts, drained and rough chopped.
1  teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2  cup milk
1  cup Ricotta Cheese
2  cups Five Italian Cheese (8 ounce package), divided
1/2  cup Parmesan Cheese
1/8  teaspoon ground nutmeg
2  eggs, beaten

Bring chicken broth with water and rice to a boil.  Reduce heat and cover.  Simmer for about 20 minutes until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender.  Remove from heat and set aside covered for 5 minutes.  Uncover and fluff with a fork.

Meanwhile, while the rice is cooking.  Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet.  Add the onion and cook about 3-4 minutes until tender.  Add minced garlic and cook for another minute until fragrant.  Remove from heat.

Add chopped artichoke hearts, salt, pepper, milk, Ricotta,  1 1/2 cups Italian Blend cheese, Parmesan and nutmeg.  Mix well.  Fold in the beaten eggs and transfer to a greased 2 quart baking dish.  Top with remaining 1/2 cup Italian Blend cheese.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes until bubbly and cheese is lightly brown.  



Linked the the following parties:
Walking on Sunshine Foodie Friends Friday
Katherine Martinelli Rice Blog Hop

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Cinnamon Roll Cake

This is a recipe that I fist saw on Pintrest.  I knew immediately that I had to make this cake.  My children love Cinnamon Rolls or any sticky roll for that matter.  What kids don't?  Anyone who knows Julie and I knows that Julie is a wonderful baker.  I can bake, but it is not something I particularly enjoy.  We had a conversation when she was doing her post on Quick Cinnamon Rolls which she originally called "easy".  Easy to me would mean they would magically appear on a platter ready for my family to devour.  In an extraordinary bakers world that was an easy recipe.  This is definitely more "cakelike" than a cinnamon roll, but the flavors are just the same.  Also, it uses 3 sticks of real butter so Paula Deen would be proud, but it is definitely not on the New Year's diet!
Cinnamon Roll Cake
3  cups flour
1/4  teaspoon salt
1  cup sugar
4  teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2  cups milk
2  eggs
2  teaspoons vanilla
1/2  cup (1 stick) butter, melted

1  cup butter (2 sticks) butter, softened
1  cup brown sugar
2  tablespoons flour
1  tablespoon cinnamon

2  cups powdered sugar
5  tablespoons milk
1  teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×13 glass baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside.

In the bowl of a mixer add the flour, salt, sugar, baking powder, milk, eggs, and vanilla. Once combined,  slowly stir in the melted butter. Pour into the prepared 9×13 baking pan.

For the topping:  In a large bowl mix the 2 sticks of softened butter, brown sugar, flour and cinnamon together until well combined and creamy. Drop evenly over the batter by tablespoonfuls and use a knife to swirl through the cake.

Bake at 350 for 28-32 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out nearly clean.

For Glaze:  In a medium bowl, mix the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla together with a whisk. Drizzle evenly over the warm cake. Serve warm or at room temperature.



Recipe from Chef-n-Training who got if from Grin and Bake It who got it from Life as a Lofthouse and so on and so on......

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Steak and Black Bean Soup

Well, good afternoon from what seems like the North Pole!

I was visiting with one of our clients on Monday who is going to be on vacation in February, and told him how since he was going to be gone then, he may just actually miss most of winter here in Kansas.  My way of thinking goes that when I reach March, spring is just around the corner. The weather has been so seasonally warm that I have hardly worn a coat.  So, if I could skip February in Kansas like my friend, then winter is downhill from here baby!!  But, I guess Mr. Winter wanted us both to remember what a delightful guy he is and that there are still plenty of days to unleash the cold north wind.  So, in honor of Mr. Winter, I thought I would have soup tonight.

It has been so nice here that I had purchased some Flat Iron steak to grill (brilliant on my part huh?).  Anyway, I didn’t think that was a good idea today, so I pulled this soup recipe out of my “to try” stash and whipped it up.  In thinking it was definitely a keeper in the ole recipe binder, I thought I would share it with you.

I used the Flat Iron steak but you could probably use hamburger as well.
Make a pot and see what you think – and enjoy the cold weather while it is here!

Steak and Black Bean Soup

2  tablespoons olive oil
1  large yellow onion, chopped
1  tablespoon minced garlic
2  lbs. flat iron steak, cut into ¼ inch by 1 inch pieces
2  (15 oz) cans tomato sauce
2  (15 oz) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
2  (15 oz) cans fiesta yellow corn (with red and green peppers)
1  (10.5 oz) can beef consommé
2  (10.5 oz) cans enchilada sauce
1  (14.5 oz) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
1 ½  tablespoons cumin
1  tablespoon coriander
1 ½  teaspoons salt
½  teaspoons ground black pepper

Sour Cream
Shredded Monterey Jack cheese

In a dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes.  Add steak; cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add tomato sauce, black beans, corn, consommé, enchilada sauce, tomatoes, cumin, coriander, salt, and pepper.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low.  Cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally for 1 hour or until meat is tender.  Serve with sour cream and cheese.



I will post a new chicken orzo soup in honor of Mr. Winter on Friday – watch for it!!!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Steak Soup

Julie and I have been busy cooking all week.  We made this for our clients for delivery on Monday.  The original recipe I had calls this Plaza III Steak Soup, named after a restaurant in Kansas City.  Of course as usual I have made it our own and kicked up the flavor a little. This soup reminds me of my childhood.  I think it was a sneaky way for my Mom to get some vegetables in us.  Have a great weekend everyone!

Steak Soup

½  cup butter
½  cup flour
3  (14.5 ounce) cans beef broth
½  cup carrots, diced
½  cup celery, diced
½  cup onions, diced
1  (14 ounce) can Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes, undrained
1  (14 ounce) can diced Tomatoes, undrained
1 bay leaf
1  tablespoon dried Parsley
½  teaspoon thyme
½  teaspoon curry powder
1  teaspoon garlic powder
½  teaspoon black pepper
1  teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1  (12 ounce) package frozen mixed vegetables
2  pounds ground Sirloin, browned and drained

Melt butter over medium heat in a Dutch Oven or large pot.  Add flour to melted butter and stir to form a paste.  Cook over medium heat for about 3 minutes, whisking frequently.  Slowly add beef broth and bring to a boil.  Add carrots, celery, onion, tomatoes, and seasonings.  Bring soup back to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.  Add frozen vegetables and browned sirloin.  Simmer for 15 more minutes until the vegetables are tender.  



Linked to the following parties:
Gooseberry Patch Soup and Stews Round Up

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Reuben Dip or Casserole

As long as I’ve known my husband Dan he has loved a good Reuben Sandwich.  When we first met let me just say that I would not have touched a Reuben with its sauerkraut and Thousand Island dressing.  Well, my tastes have come a long way since then.  I used to be a pretty picky eater.  Through Dan, I was exposed to lots of different foods. I am not exaggerating when I say that Dan will eat just about anything.  I am a largely self taught cook and I’m sure Dan had to wade through some pretty bad food when we were first married, but I would never know it because he dutifully ate whatever was put in front of him.  Gotta love him for that.

I would say that all 4 of our kids are terrific eaters.  Sometimes they don’t eat a full serving of something, but they will at least try different foods.  They don’t always like it but I’m happy they try.  Our third child is the worst. Doesn’t that stand to reason!  I would have to say she is the pickiest if I had to name one.  I firmly believe they do eat as well as they do because we did expose them to different foods at a young age.  I also never made one supper for Dan and I and something different for the kids.  Maybe I would tweak something a little bit, but if you wanted dinner you would have to eat what the family is eating.  It also helps that Dan and I are big kids at heart and we like kid friendly food.
Now, getting back to the dip.  Dan and I will sometimes go to lunch at a really cool bar downtown here in Hutch.  All of my Hutch friends of course know that I am talking about Carl's Bar.  We both love their Reuben sandwich.  I like this dip because it tastes more like an authentic sandwich. Several versions of Reuben Dip are just canned corned beef mixed with mayo, sour cream, sauerkraut and dressing which I have been making different versions of for a long time.  I like this because the ingredients are layered separately and not mixed together in a heavy mayo base.  At the end of the recipe there are directions so you can also make this into a casserole if you want to make the dip into a meal! 
Reuben Dip or Casserole
1  pound sliced Corned Beef
1  (15 ounce) can Sauerkraut, well drained
2  cups (8 ounces)  shredded Swiss Cheese
½  cup mayonnaise
¼  cup sour cream
2  tablespoons cocktail sauce
2  tablespoons pickle relish
½  teaspoon minced garlic
Pumpernickel or Rye bread for serving

Finely dice Corned Beef and place in the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Top with the well drained sauerkraut, and then the Swiss cheese. 

In a small bowl, mix the mayo, sour cream, cocktail sauce, pickle relish and garlic.  Spread evenly over the Swiss cheese in the dish. 
Bake at 325 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  Serve with pumpernickel or rye bread squares.

Cooks Note:  You can also make this a meal.  Cube about 8 slices of pumpernickel or rye bread and mix with ½ cup melted butter.  Place on top of the mayo mixture.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. You now have a Reuben Casserole!

By the way...the hand in the photo is my darling 3rd child who informed me that Sauerkraut was "disgusting" and "smelled gross" when she saw the can on the counter before I made the dip.  Hmmm...she sure ate a lot of that "disgusting" dip with the sauerkraut in it!



Linked to the following parties:
Our very own Weekend Potluck
Real Housemoms Fabulous Fridays!
Six Sisters' Stuff Strut Your Stuff Saturday
Everyday Mom's Meals Church Supper