Chili Potpie with Cheddar Biscuits

Baby, it’s cold outside!  Yesterday was our coldest day yet and I was so thankful to have a warm, comforting dinner at the end of the day.  I’m also thankful that Big Guy is “home for the holidays.”  Of course he’ll still be working, but no more travels for 2017.  This dinner makes use of a smoky beef and poblano chili that I made for friends with a new baby at home.  I love when Cooking Light features “cook once, eat 3 times” but this time I changed it up a bit – making the chili for a friend and then transforming the leftovers into chili potpie with cheddar biscuits for us last night.  The good news is that you can really use any chili (you’ll need 5 cups for this recipe) but I highly recommend making the chili one Sunday and then using the leftovers in new ways all week long.  Instead of making the third recipe in the trio, I decided to give our friends a little extra chili.

For the potpie, butternut squash is added to the mix and then thickened with a little flour.  And then everything is topped with easy cheddar biscuits before being baked until golden brown.

chilipotpie

So hearty and comforting!  I absolutely adored the flaky, cheesy biscuits on top and how the chili thickened up.  I didn’t feel like I was eating another bowl of chili – though the chili was quite delicious.

The perfect dinner on a bone-chilling night.

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Salami Umami Pizza

The name of this post makes me laugh.  This pizza was born on Sunday night after an afternoon of tidying up the house, hanging all the things in BG’s room and checking off a long “to do” list.  I was more than ready to dive into this pizza.

The recipe is actually a marriage of two different recipes:  umami marinara ,that I saw on Rachael Ray and couldn’t stop thinking about, and a Salami, Hominy and Smoked Mozzarella Pizza recipe.  Unfortunately we couldn’t find smoked mozzarella but I think the umami marinara brought a punch a flavor to the pizza so I didn’t miss it too much.  And instead of hominy, we decided to use some of the homegrown corn we have stashed in the freezer.

umamipizza

We used our favorite pizza crust recipe and for some reason this particular one turned out a little crisper and I loved it!  I love a little texture in my crust.  The umami marinara is so yummy.  The secret ingredient is anchovies – I used anchovy paste – and I PROMISE, cross my heart, that you can’t taste any fish.  It seriously gives the sauce a salty, nutty flavor and you would never know it’s in there unless I told you.  Another secret ingredient is sun-dried tomato paste instead of regular tomato paste.  Like I said, lots of flavor.

I love the pops of corn and the salami gave the pizza just enough meatiness and saltiness.  And well, mozzarella is just necessary.  The more cheese the better.

And I’m really excited that I was able to freeze half of the umami marinara to use in the new year.  #stockthefreezer

Slow Cooker Beef-and-Sweet Potato Chili

The slow cooker worked overtime in this household over the weekend.  On Sunday, I knew that I wanted to come home after my baby shower to dinner in the crock-pot for us to enjoy.  I ultimately decided to cook this chili because I had some ground beef in the freezer and we also have a couple of buckets of homegrown sweet potatoes that are ready to cook.  I really never have high expectations for chili because, well, chili is chili.  But this chili was incredible.  It was rich and hearty and I loved all the elements that went into the chili.  This is more than just a bowl of meat and beans.

To make the chili, brown your beef first.  I used a 96/4 blend and it worked perfectly – you won’t miss the fat in this dinner.  You don’t have to stress over cooking the beef all the way through but by cooking it on the stovetop you’ll ensure that the beef will be crumbled in the chili.  Then you just dump the rest of the ingredients into the slow cooker.  Chop the sweet potatoes and make sure to leave the skin on – it will prevent the potatoes from completely falling apart.  Oh, and don’t chop them too small.  Add in chopped bell pepper and onion.  You’ll also add in beef stock, tomato paste and lots of garlic.  The seasonings include chili powder, salt, cumin, and ground red pepper.  Finally add in diced tomatoes (canned – and I went with fire roasted for extra flavor).  All of this cooks low and slow for 7 hours.

swtpotatochili

Serve this bowl of chili with a hearty sprinkle of cilantro for a little freshness and shredded cheddar cheese.

We all really loved this chili recipe and I think it might be my new favorite go-to when I’m craving a warm bowl of chili.

 

Italian Braised Pork with Polenta

Pull out a delicious bottle of pinot noir, because this dinner deserves it.  Unfortunately I wasn’t able to enjoy a glass on Saturday evening, however, I froze the leftovers for after BG arrives and I plan on cracking open a bottle when we reach for this dinner in the freezer in February or March.

Despite there being a little prep work, the slow cooker does most of the hard labor.  To start the Italian Braised Pork, sear a pork shoulder (I doubled the recipe because in the south, small pork shoulders are tough to find) that has been seasoned with salt and pepper until browned on all sides.  Add the pork to your crock pot and sauté the onion, bell pepper and garlic in the same pan until tender.  Transfer the veggies to the crock pot with the pork.  Additionally, add in the diced tomatoes, rosemary and thyme.  Let the slow cooker do it’s thing on LOW for about 7 1/2 hours.  Then add in the balsamic vinegar and Worcestershire sauce and cook UNCOVERED for 30 more minutes.

The pork is served over polenta that is cooked with two parts water, one part milk until thickened.  The polenta also has a little bit of parmesan stirred in along with plenty of salt and pepper.

italianpork

Hearty and warm – perfect to come home to after a long day.

Coconut Blondies

Good morning, friends!  I can’t believe it’s December already.  This past weekend my sister and Momma came into town (they’re actually still here) for my baby shower.  It was such a treat to be spoiled and loved on by all our local friends and I feel so lucky that family traveled to join us.  I’ll talk more about the shower when I do my pregnancy recap of weeks 30 and 31.  I have one more shower coming up next month and that will be in Charlotte with mostly family.  But today I have a delicious treat for you!

I loved these blondies, Maggie loved them, Momma loved them and Big Guy loved them.  This is a winning recipe.  These sweet treats are loaded with chopped pecans (I used Trader Joe’s roasted and salted pecans) and sweet coconut.  These are in no way “light” but they are delicious and a treat that would be perfect for gifting or having around during holiday gatherings.  The recipe is rather fool-proof and involves mixing together only a handful of ingredients before baking and allowing to cool.

Don’t forget to line the pan with parchment paper – this makes removing the bars and cutting SO much easier.

blondies

I was afraid these bars might be a little too sweet but they were the perfect mix of nutty, sweetness.  Don’t get me wrong – they’re sweet – but one bite won’t send you to the dentist.

Add these to your holiday baking list!  You won’t regret it.

Fudgy Flourless Chocolate-Walnut Cookies

As promised, cookies!!!!  And while they are “flourless” they are far from healthy.  These cookies are incredibly rich and remind me of a mix between a cookie and a brownie.  The outside is slightly crispy and the inside is soft and fudgy.  Big Guy enjoyed the cookies warm with ice cream and I preferred them room temperature.  So you’ll have to try them for yourself to figure out your favorite way to enjoy each and every chocolatey bite.

The cookies start by sifting together the powdered sugar, cocoa powder and salt.  Next, whisk the egg whites until frothy and add to the sugar mixture followed by the vanilla.  The batter is incredibly thick – so don’t think you’ve done something wrong.  Next add in your chopped chocolate and nuts (I went with walnuts because I had some on hand).

When baking, allow a little space between the cookies because they do spread out just a little bit.  Bake until the tops are shiny and cracked – about 10 minutes for me (check at 8 minutes).

fudgycookies

These might be some of my favorite cookies – but I adore chocolate and all things fudgy.  The texture was absolute perfection for me.

Perfect for gifting this time of year or keeping on hand for holiday guests.  I even think Santa would approve of these cookies with a glass of milk.

Hummus Soup

One of my favorite dips in soup form!  Y’all know I’m not a soup fan…until it gets cold.  And well this week it’s been quite chilly, especially with workers in and out of the house – I feel like I can’t keep the house warm.  But a warm bowl of soup can make even the chilliest of evenings a little bit cozier.

The soup is garlicky and smooth and seriously tastes likes your favorite brand of garlic hummus.  Onions and garlic are sautéed in olive oil before adding in stock and water, the base of the soup.  Bring that to a simmer and add in your chickpeas – the main ingredient in hummus.  Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.  The mixture is then pureed in a blender until silky, smooth before adding in the tahini (I think Trader Joe’s makes the best) and lemon juice.  Whirl a few more times in the blender to mix everything up.

The soup is topped with feta cheese for a little saltiness as well as crunchy chickpeas.  I loved the contrast of texture that the chickpeas brought to the bowl of soup.  To make the crunchy chickpeas, simply cook a cup of chickpeas in a tablespoon of olive oil until crispy and browned.

hummussoup

I absolutely love this soup.  It’s garlicky, silky and absolutely warming to your soul on a chilly fall evening.