Posts Tagged ‘Comfort Foods’

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Pumpkin Chili

November 21, 2013

Yes, you read that  right. Chili made  with  pumpkin. I won’t lie  and tell you  this  is  a quickie  recipe. The prep is  fairly labor intensive.  I think I created a few new  cuss words  while  cutting the pumpkin. Next time I make it …and   there will be a next  time as  it was “that” good” , I will cook the pumpkin a little longer before attempting to cube it. I was  afraid it would lose it’s  shape and become  too soft, (like butternut squash can in soups and stews) but the pumpkin retained it’s shape  even  after being reheated several times. It definitely can  withstand a few more minutes in the microwave, or some roasting to make the prep easier. Once you have  everything roasted and cut, it becomes  simple. Into the crock and  done. It is also  optional to leave the peppers raw. I roasted them, which added  a little more time. Now about the taste… vegetarian wise, hands down this is  the best  chili you will ever make. Rich, earthy and filling. Vegetarian soul food. My carnivore devoured it, and  the next  day arriving home from Busch Gardens  asked for a  bowl..and wanted to  know if I had  enough so he could have it the NEXT day, as a  snack after school.  My daughter said.. “don’t  give me the big  container”, (she was  going back to school)” because I forget what I have and I hate throwing things  out.” (she lives with  7 people – I won’t  detail  the  refrigerator situation!). Two days later she texted “The chili is gone :(“. So…6 thumbs up in this family of three. I hope you  agree.

1 small pie pumpkin
1 T. olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 28 oz. can plum tomatoes, rough chop
2 cans  black beans, drained and rinsed
2 C. Pacific Vegetable Broth
2 T. brown sugar
1 T. chili powder
1 T. ground cumin
1 T. cinnamon
1 T. oregano
2 poblano peppers, roasted, chopped (or raw)
1 roasted red pepper, rough chop (I just tore the peppers by hand)
1 can corn

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Pierce the pumpkin with a sharp knife in a few spots. Microwave it at least 5 minutes and set aside to cool. Roast peppers in
400 degree oven for  20 minutes. Put in a sealed container until you can handle them and peel the skin. Rip into small pieces.

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Once cooled, Clean out the inside of the pumpkin.(Save the seeds and roast them!) cut the pumpkin in sections.
Score the sections as  shown.Carefully cut between the skin and the sectioned pieces, making cubes. Be careful!

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Measure oil in pan, add onion and saute until just clear, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and pumpkin, and continue cooking for another 15 minutes. I added just a pinch of each of the spices to infuse them into the pumpkin. I can’t tell you how good the house  smelled!

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While that is cooking, pour broth into your  crock and all the other ingredients except the corn. Add in the pumpkin and onions.

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Cook on high for 3 hours. Add corn. Continue cooking  3-4 on low, depending on your crock.Pumpkinchili8

Serve  hot with your favorite chili garnishes – grated cheddar, sour cream, green onions and black olives and a sprinkle
of red pepper flakes is what you see here.

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Since pumpkin is  seasonal, I plan on getting another, cubing and then freezing. This one is  a keeper and I want to make sure I can make it more than once  a season. I might  even  have to try growing my own! Enjoy!!

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Savory Cornbread Casserole

January 16, 2012

This recipe as a “meal”, came from a recipe shared by a friend for cornbread stuffing. I switched it up and the result was a deliciously satisfying casserole, perfect for the chilly winter months. Tired of the same old comfort foods? This is the answer…

  • 1 package Jimmy Dean sausage ( I used the sage flavor)
  • half of a 8 oz.container of baby Portabella mushrooms
  • 1  large boneless chicken breast, cubed
  • 1 can cream of chicken or mushroom soup
  • a few tablespoons  finely minced jalapeno
  • 1/2 C or so of shredded Monteray Jack / Cheddar
  • 1 box corn bread mix (or if you make your own -enough for a 9×9 pan)
  • paprika

Brown sausage and drain well. Remove from pan.Add raw diced chicken and brown (I left it a little underdone since the casserole is baked.Saute mushrooms in same pan for about 3-4 minutes.

Combine: Sausage,chicken,mushrooms,jalapenos,soup and cheese.Put in a 9×9 pan.

Prepare cornbread according to package directions.Add a tablespoon or more of the jalapenos to it, depending on your love of heat.I added a tablespoon of  jarred minced jalapenos to both the sausage mix and the cornbread and it was spicey. Cover the sausage blend with the cornbread, taking it all the way to the sides and spreading evenly.Sprinkle with some smokey paprika.

Bake in a 350 degree oven until the cornbread is baked through and the mixture is bubbling up underneath it.

Cut in squares and serve with a chilled green salad.

Classic comfort food kicked up a notch. Enjoy and stay warm!

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Can’t Beat it Meatloaf

December 6, 2011

We think this is the perfect meatloaf. It’s adapatable to your family’s tastes. You can use beef and turkey instead of beef and pork.Some fat is good though,and makes a moister meatloaf.We use a 87/15 combo of ground beef. If you don’t like the spinach,leave it out. Try  a grated carrot or two in it as well. The veggies add vitamins, color and moisture, as does the addition of the diced tomatoes (again adaptable- I had none so I used a can of Ro-Tel,which gave it a nice spicey kick). Adding oatmeal I have found  makes a far better meatloaf than any other I’ve made with crackers or bread crumbs. I never add egg,it makes the meatloaf tough. Try it- you’ll like it.Easily doubled making great leftovers.

  • 1 lb. ground meat of your choice
  • 1/2 C. oatmeal
  • 1/2 C. chopped onion
  • 1/2 C.  cooked drained spinach
  • 1 grated carrot
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (1/2 used in meat,1/2 used in topping)

Topping

  • 1/3 C. ketchup
  • 1 – 2 T. brown sugar, depending on your love of sweetness
  • 1 T. mustard (yellow or Dijon,your choice)
  • 1/2 can diced tomatoes

Combine meat with all ingredients.(except topping!)

Shape into a free form loaf on a cookie sheet. I prefer a rectangle, flat- ish loaf.It makes for more even cooking and cutting. Using a loaf pan doesn’t allow for a nice glaze all over the meat. The meat will hold it’s shape- don’t worry!

Mix up your topping and slather it on your meat.

Bake 45 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Remove from oven and let it rest, as with all meat, about 10 minutes before slicing.

Slice and enjoy with mashed potatoes and corn, or a nice loaded baked potato,topped with mushrooms and onions.