Emptying the Pantry – Crockpot Smoky Chili

  
It’s been a while since I’ve been here, so let’s share a recent recipe, shall we?

The weather is getting warmer, which means I’m wanting to use my oven less and less these days. Coming are the days of the indoor grill, microwave and crockpot, honestly. Makes me wish I had five of each of those, let me tell you. ;)

So yesterday, I decided that since I had already made a Shepherd’s Pie the previous day (with ground pork!), that to use up the already cooked/crumbled ground pork that was left over, I’d need a different flavour profile for this dish so as not to get bored mid-week. Travelling from the UK to Texas-ish via the kitchen sounded like a good idea, so chili was next on the menu. 

I should warn that my chili does not have beans (I don’t like them — it’s a texture thing), and it doesn’t have onions (I can’t eat them). Feel free to cut back on some of the veggies or even the meat to make room for beans and/or onions if you want to use them yourself. The point about chili, imo, is that you can make it how you like it, with whatever ingredients you like and whatever heat (or non-heat) you prefer. I like mine mild. Some prefer burn-your-face-off hot. Add hot sauce if you like. Add cayenne pepper. Add jalapenos or chilies. Whatever you prefer.

Anyway, I pulled out the crockpot, yanked a bunch of stuff out of the fridge and cupboards and a half hour later, we had chili a-brewin’ away in the ol’ crock. There are a LOT of ingredients, but that’s the nice thing about chili — you can put into it whatever you want. I kind of think of it as a kitchen-sink meal. You kind of empty the cupboards into it and end up with something yummy. 

Here’s what I did.  Continue reading

PC Appetizers – A quick review

A box of PC Chicken Samosas.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Hubby and I decided for a more relaxing night again this year filled with munchies, movies and PJs. It was great. But also, to prevent me from slaving in the kitchen all day for something special, we opted for a few boxes of various frozen appetizers, some of my homemade crockpot marinara sauce (which I will link to if I’ve got a post up about, or will post a recipe for if not).

We chose a no-name box of sausage roll bites which were yummy as usual, but then we also picked three President’s Choice products: Chicken Samosas (pictured above), Spanikopita and Chicken Grenades (from their Recipe to Riches line). I’d like to share how we liked each of these.

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(Not Your Grandma’s) Chicken (or Turkey) Salad Sammy

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With Christmas festivities behind us, I’ll admit now that I’m feeling rather blaaaaaaah. All that rich food, things that I don’t normally eat, has wreaked havoc on my body. I need to get back on-program. Sure, tonight, we’ve got an evening of filo and puff-pasty hors d’oeuvres, wine and junk food, but that doesn’t mean I can’t eat well prior to that and follow up with that in the new year.

Last night, we swung by the grocery store to pick up food for the next week and food for tonight’s festivities. Sure, hubby and the kitties and I are staying in, but we’ve got Season 3 of The Walking Dead sitting here, as well as Thor 2 — neither of which we’ve seen yet, so we’re going to have a fantastic night of superheroes and zombehs! :)

Where was I? Oh yes, food. So I picked up some of the usual suspects such as mini spanikopitas and sausage roll bites, but we also picked up a few of the Presidents Choice line of finger foods, which I will probably write up a review for later. But then I thought, “What? Are we going to eat hors d’oeuvres for days??” So I grabbed an econo-pack of ground beef and the fixings for tacos, as well as two pre-cooked chickens and some fresh veggies and bread from the bakery section.

So when I wanted breakfast (brunch at this hour, I guess?) I stared at the options and considered what would be a good energy booster without anything too heavy. Then it hit me: chicken salad sandwich!! Now, I was never a big fan of chicken salad sandwiches when I was a kid. Everyone tended to make them with chicken and mayo and not much else. It just tasted like mayo-covered goopy stuff to me. So I figured, why not add some texture and flavour?

Here’s what I did…
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Festive “Confetti” Breakfast Hash – Using Up Holiday Leftovers

So, we’re a few days after Christmas festivities and boy, do I have a lot of leftovers. For the most part, it’s a little baggie of this and a small container of that, mostly leftover from the veggie, meat & cracker trays I made for my Mom’s dinner on Christmas Day. Today, I was hungry and knew that some toast and peanut butter wasn’t going to “do it” for me, so I started taking stock of what I had in the fridge and freezer. Here’s what I found:

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Winter-friendly meal: slowcooker chicken chowder

A bowl of crockpot chicken chowder topped with crumbled bacon.Although it’s a little warmer out today, I know it’s just a matter of time before the winter cold sets in again. Time for soup! But not just any soup: chowder. Now, I know that chowder is more traditionally made with fish, but I’ve made corn chowder more than once. This time, I’m going for a chicken chowder with lots of veggies and I’m trying out Campbell’s Stock First (TM) Cream stock. I got two boxes to give them a try. Earlier this weekend, I made a mac and cheese with one of the boxes (and it was pretty tasty!). So, today, I used the second box to make the chowder.

I will warn: this is not that thick, gloopy type of chowder that is more traditional. This is a thinner broth. If you prefer a thicker broth, you might want to switch to cream instead of skim milk. I’ve heard of some folks who make it with heavy whipping cream. I might consider using two boxes of the cream stock next time, cutting out the milk and sour cream entirely. I just used what I had on hand.

Here’s what I did… Continue reading

More Winter-Warming Comfort Foods: Sausage Bake

Sausage bake with full sausage links.So, winter is finally here because we got snow. Everyone around us has gotten pummeled but we just got a light dusting — still, it’s the white stuff, so winter is here. With winter, as I’ve said previously, I crave comfort foods. Now, for me, comfort foods aren’t necessarily foods I had as a child, but things that are just… comforting. Some, yes, are childhood favourites and some are newer favourites that have made their way into my kitchen in more recent years.

My hubby brought home a double-pack of honey-garlic sausages from Walmart, as they were on sale for really cheap. Typically, we’ll throw those on a pan in the oven and bake them off then serve on hotdog buns. I wanted to do something else. Something not relying on the bready-buns would be preferable. So I kind of poked around the internet, didn’t find what I was looking for, then went looking through the cupboards and fridge to see what I could concoct.

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First days of Winter call for “Empty Your Fridge” Soup

emptythefridgesoupWinter is coming…

I’ve actually only seen the first season of Game of Thrones but I thought this statement was appropriate. Last week, I was wearing just a fleece sweater to work, occasionally with a light scarf. This week, I was wearing the same sweater but with my winter coat and those little stretchy gloves. But no hat. Not yet. That’s just crazy talk. ;)

We’ve started seeing some flurries on and off and with the first signs of winter settling in, I start craving comfort foods such as Shepherd’s Pie (or Cottage Pie, really, as we use ground beef, not lamb, but my family has always called it Shepherd’s Pie), stews, casseroles and soups. So, I got up this morning and started rummaging around in the fridge to see what I could throw together to get that going.

What I came up with was really “a little bit of this, a little bit of that”. I had a few stalks of celery that were just starting to get rubbery (just barely). I’ve got half a bag of large carrots taking up some space in the crisper. Oh, about a cup of shredded cabbage that needed to be used or tossed soon… some dredges of minced garlic in the bottom of the jar on the door of the fridge… a leftover baked chicken breast… a part box of beef broth… half of a red onion and half or maybe one quarter of a white onion…

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