I’ve never made chili before, and in researching, I came across 50 billion recipes. So, this morning I made my own in the crock pot…
2 cans of condensed tomato soup
1 can of tomato paste
1 packet of chili mix
about ½ cup of water
1 tsp. of beef bullion
1 can light red kidney beans
however much ground meat was leftover from last night
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. black pepper
a dash of cayenne pepper
a dash of paprika
a dash of garlic
…and I slapped it into the crock pot on low for 8 hours.
Hope it tastes good when I get home. I’ve got shredded cheddar cheese for the top of it, & Super-Pretzels to go along with it. They always served pretzels & chili in my elementary school cafeteria so they belong together in my warped mind.
…Most of them use tomato paste, soup, sauce, juice, or diced tomatoes as a base… I even saw one that called for Spicy hot V8… and I think my mom always used soup. Tomato paste is usually bitter, so I figured the tomato soup would counteract it. All of the spices should be rockin’. I like my chili thick.
Oh yeah, about 1/2 the ground meat was cooked w/ some seasoning salt & A1.
Here’s what basically went into my chili. I’ll probably eventually make a blog about it with a narrative so I can remember what I did this time for next time… to see what I wanna change or what I wanna do again.
I ended up only using the one can of diced tomatoes (the one with jalapeños) and still kind’ve overflowed the pot by a small amount. So, next time I may cut out one can of tomato soup or a can of beans. Also, I want to try garbanzo beans in my next batch… and I’ve heard chocolate powder goes good in chili some times… so I wanna try that one day too.
I also tossed in 2 slices of Velveeta ripped apart, a dash of spicy brown mustard, and a drop or 2 of A1 Cracked Peppercorn Steak Sauce.
I think the meat that I used was too fatty or I didn’t drain enough fat (…even though I got a about ⅔ of a regular sized plastic cup full of fat out of it). I had to skim some excess grease off of the top when I popped it open this morning.
I’ll let you know the general consensus after it’s been consumed.
I was hungry for meatloaf, so the other day I asked my wife to pick up some ground meat and croutons at the store, and last night I decided I was in the mood to cook.
Every time I make meatloaf, I think of my mom & grandma telling me how my grandpap used to make it with hard boiled eggs in the middle. I always thought that would be fun to try… but something pushed me into finally doing it. A look at Wikipedia seems to indicate that the eggs-in-the-middle is a Hungarian, Phillipino, Bulgarian or Czech thing… Thanks for the help, Wikipedia. As far as I know, that side of the family is mostly German & Irish… so who knows where it came from? Not like people couldn’t come up with this stuff independently… but I like to read useless information.
Whenever I make meatloaf, I never use a set recipe. I always end up googling something like “How long and at what temperature do I cook a 2 lb. Meatloaf?” or going to Cooks.com and simply searching for “Meatloaf” right before I start. This time was no exception. I also usually end up calling my mom, to see what she would do as far as time/temperature.
I’m amazed at how many things you can do to meatloaf. I’m gonna try shredded carrots some time. And maybe I’ll even try soaking bread crumbs or croutons in milk before mixing them in. I have used just chunks of bread, crumbled crackers, bread crumbs, and even mashed potato flakes… but too many bread crumbs or crackers and the meatloaf is just gross… more loaf than meat, and that’s certainly not a good thing.
This time though, I kept it pretty simple… except for the eggs, I guess… and the bacon…
Here’s what went into it…
About 2 lbs. ground chuck… I think it was the 90/10 stuff.
2 handfuls of “seasoned” croutons… one crumbled, one not…
1 egg (raw)
3 hard-boiled eggs
assorted spices… minced garlic, fresh ground black pepper, whatever else I grabbed out of the cupboard… no real discernible measurements here. I think I even popped in a little ketchup, A1, and Parmesan cheese…
All that got mixed together, well, without the hard-boiled eggs… then I formed the bottom of the loaf in a glass pan, on top of 3 slices of white bread… made spots for the eggs, placed them gently in the raw ground goodness, and covered them over with the rest.
I picked up the meatloaf on top of slices of bread trick from my dad. It serves a double purpose, it prevents the bottom of the loaf from burning, and soaks up any extra grease… I needed a loaf rather than a few slices for this one, but I’ll get to that in a minute.
Grandma used to usually put ketchup on the top of her meatloaf. My mom said that my grandpap used to sometimes top his with some mashed potatoes & brown them for a potato frosting. My meatloaf needed something on top… my signature, if you will.
This is where we cross from odd into ridiculous. I couldn’t decide, so I made a triple topping. Typically I go with a glaze on top that’s a mixture of Ketchup, whatever honey mustard, and A1. But the eggs in the middle told me to do something goofy… so I got out some shredded cheddar jack cheese… Then the eggs reminded me of bacon… so I got that out too.
So for the top of the meatloaf we had…
Frech’s Honey Mustard
A1 Steak Sauce
shredded cheddar jack cheese
The glaze is probably about 2/3 ketchup, 1/6 mustard, and 1/6 A1. How much of each? I dunno. I eyed it & mixed it in a coffee mug. I put that on top of the meatloaf. It looked pretty good. Then I sprinkled the cheese on top of that… Still lookin’ OK, albeit a little brighter.
I’ve used bacon-bits in meatloaf and chili before, but I’ve never wrapped anything in bacon. There’s a first time for everything, right? Of course, I had to top the bacon with more fresh ground pepper.
After reviewing a bunch of stuff on line, and talking to my mom… I decided to cook it for about an hour and a half and make sure the meat thermometer reached 160° F. I had it covered in foil for about an hour, the last half letting it go uncovered to get the bacon nice & brown… maybe a little too brown this time, but oh well.
My sister-in-law asked how many calories it was, and while I know it was in jest, it got me wondering, so I asked Yahoo!.
This is the meal of a carnivore, as it has stuff from three different animals… although one didn’t have to die in the process of harvesting its delicious nutrition.
Next time, I may not use so much bacon… because it made a pool of grease at the bottom of the baking dish that wasn’t all that appealing.
The eggs are a neat surprise, and a good way to stretch it I suppose… but I doubt I’ll do every meatloaf like this from now on. But, at least I can say I’ve done it, and I know what it looks and tastes like.
I hope you enjoyed my tale of meaty decadence… and I hope to hear others recipes/ideas/surprise ingredients!
This past Christmas when we had the family over for a holiday dinner, I decided to try & make some scalloped potatoes. I found a ton of recopies online, and took what I liked from some & what I liked from others and put them all together… leaving out the stuff I didn’t like. They turned out really well, to the compliments of everyone. The only problem is that I didn’t write down what I did… so I had no idea when I went to make them again for an Easter dinner yesterday. Last time, like everyone in the kitchen, I kept adding stuff until the sauce looked & tasted just right.
Friday night, I pulled out the same printed recipes from last time…. made sure we had most of the stuff here & popped what I needed on to the grocery list. This time I wrote down what went into it, but I may have the portions off… Where I have “cup” or “Tablespoon”, I may have just dumped some stuff in by eye.
People have asked how I made them, so I’ll try writing it out coherently here. I’ll add that my wife, Bethany, washed & cut the potatoes while I made the sauce… which was invaluable… because the sauce needed to be watched, and cut potatoes that sit for any period of time get all brown. I guess I could have cut them & put them in some cold water to halt the browning if I absolutely had to… but we get along well in the kitchen, and it’s nice to cook together sometimes. (I offered for her to do the sauce & to put me on potato duty, but she declined in case the cause didn’t turn out well, the blame could go solely on me.)
Eric’s Decadent Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes:
5 lb. bag of russet potatoes
2 cups shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese (I buy the stuff in bags, this is 1 small bag.)
2 cups shredded Colby & Monterey Jack Cheese (The store brand was 2 bags for $5 I think.)
1 pint (2 cups / 16 fl. oz.) heavy cream
1½ cups buttermilk
1 stick (8 Tbsp.) butter
½ cup Parmesan cheese
4 Tbsp. flour
4 Tbsp. corn starch
Salt/Pepper/Season All to taste
1 tsp minced garlic (I used the stuff minced & put in olive oil, in little jars)
2 Tbsp. sour cream
2 Tbsp. Miracle Whip or mayonnaise… (or 1 Tbsp. Each!)
1 sm. bag bacon bits
bread crumbs (or crackers)
9″ x 13″ glass baking dish
spoon and/or wisk
large bowl (if you’re gonna soak the potatoes)
measuring cup & spoons
Preheat the oven to 350°.
Wash & slice the potatoes, store in cold water if you have to so they don’t brown… or have someone do that while you…
Grease a 9 x 13 glass baking dish with the stick of butter. Melt the rest of the butter on medium heat in a saucepan.
Add the flour & corn starch to the butter to make a roux.
Turn it down to low heat, & slowly stir in the cream, buttermilk, sour cream, & mayo/Miracle Whip. Stir like a madman.
Add the bacon bits, garlic, Parmesan cheese, and salt/pepper/spices to taste. Don’t forget to stir.
Add about half of each kind of shredded cheese to the mix, keep stirring like a madman.
Pull the sauce from the heat, keep stirring… add a little to the bottom of the baking dish.
Later potatoes, sauce, & remaining shredded cheese… saving a nice amount of shredded cheese for the top.
Cover with foil, bake at 350° for an hour.
Pull it out, uncover, top with bread crumbs or crumbled up crackers, add some additional seasoning if so inclined, and pop it back in for another 15 minutes.
Well, there you have it. Pretty simple, and nothing makes me happier than cheese & potatoes. I noticed a lot of scalloped potato recipes don’t have cheese, but really… where’s the fun in that? Some also used a cream of chicken or cream of potato soup… makes it too much like White Trash ‘Taters for me. You may want to skip the breading, use chips or those crispy canned fried onions. Everyone has their own thing that they dig. Yukon Gold potatoes would make this really nice, probably wouldn’t need to cook as long…red potatoes might make it bitey… A mix may be nice. As far as the spices, I used coarse ground black pepper, I think some dry mustard, paprika, and some McKormick Season All.