Archive | January, 2011

It’s Chili time!!

21 Jan

The weather here has been cold and snowy.  With temperatures approaching zero degrees this weekend and wind chills below zero, it’s a great weekend for some chili!  My husband loves his spicy food and by seasoning the meat prior to adding the remaining ingredients the flavor is distributed nicely.  I don’t add a lot of diced tomatoes because we doesn’t enjoy the consistency of chili with lots of tomatoes, but if you do you can surely add an extra can of diced tomatoes to this recipe.


1 pound ground beef; I used 85%
1 pound ground sausage; I used hot sausage
1 can of diced tomatoes with garlic and basil
1/2 oz. can of tomato sauce; more/less depending on your liking and desired level of thickness
1 can of kidney beans; with liquid drained
1 can of black beans; liquid drained
1/2 large yellow onion chopped
1 packet of hot chili mix

In addition; please note that the following will add a level of hotness to your chili, but the brown sugar will add a bit of contrast to it as well:

1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
1 tablespoon mexican chilli powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon Frank’s Red Hot Sauce
2 tablespoons Brown Sugar


1.  In large skillet, cook meat over medium high heat until evenly browned.  While cooking, break apart the meat until it’s crumbled.
2.  Drain liquid.
3.  Put meat into a large pot and add the seasoning packet of chili mix.  Mix well and add a little water if you need to distribute more.
4.  Add the chopped onions, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and beans to your meat mixture.  Stir well.
5.  Add your remaining seasonings, hot sauce, and sugar and mix.
** Here is where I taste the chili to see what I think it needs.  Perhaps you want to add more heat to your chili or added seasonings.  Add them now
6.  Cook over low heat for 1-2 hours.

Serve with plenty of shredded cheese!  I occasionally make corn bread to go with chili, but with the Superbowl coming up, it may be nice to have a potato bar and some chili!

Adapted from Blue’s Chili Recipe via local chat board


Soft & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

21 Jan

Who doesn’t enjoy a chocolate chip cookie right from the oven?  Warm and gooey with chocolate morsels overflowing…can it get any better than that?  I don’t think so!  These cookies fulfilled everything I expected and more.  Even 2 days later, the cookies were nice and soft. 
Martha Stewart knows how to cook and she can bake just as well!  These will be my go to cookie in a crunch!


Makes about 3 dozen

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups (about 12 ounces) semisweet and/or milk chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter with both sugars; beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low; add the salt, vanilla, and eggs. Beat until well mixed, about 1 minute. Add flour mixture; mix until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  2. Drop heaping tablespoon-size balls of dough about 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
  3. Bake until cookies are golden around the edges, but still soft in the center, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool on baking sheet 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool completely. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.

Linguine with a White Clam Sauce

15 Jan

My husband loves linguine and clams.  When we go out for Italian, it’s almost a given that he will either get this dish or a pasta dish with red sauce and sausages.  For this blog update, I will give you my take on linguine with a white clam sauce.  I don’t eat clams, so I can’t truly give you my review on this dish…but I got a great review from DH! 
DELICIOUS!  He loved this meal and ate the whole thing!  It’s a very fast meal to make and could easily be a week night meal!

1 pound of linguine or your favorite pasta (I used cavetelli)
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
6 garlic cloves
1 12oz. can of Victoria White Clam Sauce
10 little neck clams
3/4 cup of white wine
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Italian Seasonings
3/4 cup of heavy cream
Salt and Pepper
Red Pepper Flakes
Grated Cheese


1.  Cook the pasta according to directions.
2.  In a large skillet/pot over medium high heat, add the olive oil and 1.5 tablespoons of butter. 
3.  Add the garlic, clams and white wine.  Stir and then cover.  Reduce heat to medium.
4.  Take the little neck clams out as the shells open up and remove clams.
5.  Place clams back in pot and cook for an additional 3 minutes until the sauce had reduced.  Add the remaining butter and stir to melt.
6.  Reduce the heat and squeeze in the lemon juice.
7.  Sprinkle with the Italian Seasonings and Red Pepper Flakes.
8.  Pour in the heavy cream.
9.  Add the salt and pepper and stir well.  Cook until well heated.
10.  Plate the pasta and pour on the clam sauce mixture.
11.  Top with grated cheese.

Adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks Cookbook

Garlic Knots

2 Jan

Garlic Knots…what more do I need to say!  Little garlic balls of goodness loaded with butter and full of flavor!  These things are so addicting. One of my best friends and I head to a local restaurant that features these on their menu and we normally finish the whole order!  They are usually served with red sauce, but I can easily take them without the sauce!  You can make the dough yourself or head to your local pizza place and pick up a package of dough already made!

Package of pizza dough
Kosher Salt
1 stick of salted butter
3 tablespoons of minced garlic
Italian Seasonings


1.  Begin by flouring your surface or cutting board.  Place pizza dough on work surface and flour both sides.  Flour until dough is no longer sticky to work with.
2.  With dough on surface, grab a rolling-pin and begin rolling the dough until flat.  Add extra flour on rolling-pin if dough is sticky to work with.
3.  Once dough is flat and relatively in shape of a rectangle; sprinkle with kosher salt and olive oil.  Spread olive oil all around the dough until all is covered.
4.  Let dough sit for 20 minutes.
5.  After 20 minutes, take a knife or pizza cutter and cut the dough into strips.  My strips varied in size, but they averaged about 1/2 inch in width.
6.  After all the dough is cut into strips, begin rolling each strip back and forth until each strip is in a rope/worm form!

7.  Once all the dough is in ropes, take a rope one by one and tie into a knot.  Tie it over, under, and through. I actually kept tieing each rope until knots formed through most of the rope.   With the ropes tied into knots, place on lightly sprayed cookie sheet.  If there is any leftover rope that is not tied into knot, just place that extra dough on the top of the knots… it should look like a lump of dough!

8.  Place the stick of butter in microwave safe bowl.  Add minced garlic to bowl and microwave until butter is fully melted.  Keep an eye on this so butter doesn’t overflow!
9.  Once butter is completely melted,  take a pastry brush and brush each piece of dough with the butter/garlic mixture.  I normally make sure that some of the garlic is infiltrated into each nook; the more garlic each piece has, the better!  Sprinkle each knot with Italian Seasonings.
10.  Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until dough is fully cooked and the garlic knots are lightly brown.
11.  After knots are cooked, brush with any remaining butter mixture.
12.  Serve immediately and enjoy!