Posted in Beef, Ground Meat, Mexican, Quick n Easy, Recipes, Slow Cooker, Turkey

Southwestern Goulash

southwestern goulash with beans, corn, bone broth and tomatoes

I made it! I made it! I finally made it!

Aren’t you tickled-oh-so-much-that-there-are-no-words?

Or is that overstating?

Seriously, though … this must hold some kind of household record for most weeks spent on a meal plan without actually being made. I could take the time to look back and count, but I’m feeling lazy at the moment and so I’ll just send you to the page with our meal plans and you can look. If you really want to know and you’re not being lazy, of course.

This Southwestern Goulash recipe is one from our archives of things-we-made-often-before-kids-but-haven’t-made-in-years-because-we-forgot-about-it. (And because they don’t love dishes like this.)

The Man actually clipped this Southwestern Goulash recipe (you know, with scissors) from the Washington Post many years ago when we still got that paper (we are one of those dorky rare households that does actually still get a local paper delivered and even reads it). I kept that clipping for a long, long time. Of course, due to my incapability (you know – the one that prevents me from making something the same way more than one time), I have changed it significantly from what it was on that clipping – obviously for the better – and so, somewhere it ended up in the recycling.

Now I wish I’d kept it. Just so I could share it with you.

Southwestern Goulash
 
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Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 pound ground beef or turkey (we actually prefer turkey)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 14.5 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 15 to 19 ounce can drained black beans
  • 1 cup bone broth (or chicken or beef)
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried cilantro (can use fresh, you'd just need to add more)
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. In a Dutch oven over medium heat, cook beef or turkey until mostly brown.
  2. Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the tomatoes, beans, broth, corn, chilies, chili powder, cilantro, cumin, pepper, and salt. Bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes (or longer).
  5. Serve over noodles (The Man says rotini is the best).
Notes
You can easily make this in a crock pot. Brown the meat first, add to the crock pot with everything else and cook on low for 3-4 hours.

I double and triple this recipe because it freezes nicely and makes a perfectly easy out-of-the-freezer, busy-weeknight meal.

Southwestern Goulash is hands-down one of The Man’s most favorite dishes. “Easily in the top ten.” He was incredibly bothered by the roller coaster of excitement and disappointment that resulted from its being pushed from the plan so many weeks in a row. Poor guy. The kids, though, not so much. They all tried it … that’s all I’ll say about that.

Do you have things that you made before kids but don’t make as much now? Any good old newspaper recipes?

Posted in Soups

Split Pea Soup with Ham

IMG_3893.JPGRemember my experience with the Chicken Noodle Soup?

After that, I’ve decided to throw in the towel. They’ve worn me down. No more attempts to sell them on all of the awesomeness that is soup.

For this winter only. They may have won this battle … but I’m in it for the war!

Going too far? It is just soup after all.

Does that mean “No soup for you!”? (If you don’t get this, then ask an older, wiser someone.)

Oh, no no no no no no. Nope. And no.

Mainly because I still hadn’t made my most favorite soup of all time … the Split Pea with Ham.

When I was a kid, the Campbell’s split pea was one of my lunch staples in the winter. It disgusted me that it came out of the can in one solid lump, and it was always amazed at how after a few stirs and a couple of minutes in the microwave it would get creamy. But it was oh so tasty. In my memory anyway.

Now? Blech. I can’t remember the last time that I had that, but just writing that paragraph … well … Oooooo.

Frankly, with a Split Pea Soup this easy and tasty – who needs it?

Split Pea Soup with Ham
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 pound split peas
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 ham hock (nitrate/nitrite-free) or half a boneless ham or a ham steak
  • 6-8 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 medium carrots, sliced
  • 3 stalks celery, sliced
Instructions
  1. Rinse peas and discard any hard pieces.
  2. In large stock pot, combine peas, onion, garlic, and ham. If you're using actual ham and not the hock, cut it into large chunks.
  3. Add water. Use less water if you like your pea soup a bit thicker.
  4. Add thyme, bay leaf and salt.
  5. Stir to combine.
  6. Bring to boil over medium heat.
  7. Cover and cook about an hour. Peas will be soft but still have some shape.
  8. Remove ham
  9. Add carrots and celery.
  10. Uncover and cook another 45 minutes to an hour, until soup is desired consistency.
Notes
This soup is very forgiving (It just prefers that you actually ask for forgiveness), so you can "overcook" it if it's too runny. Just keep in mind that the carrots and celery will soften quite a bit also.

Just be sure to find a ham hock or a ham that is nitrate/nitrite free. That is one of the non-negotiables in our house. And it would ruin an otherwise perfectly good soup. Not that my kids would know.

The Bread Guy usually tolerates a small bowl of this soup, claiming to love it yet laboring just enough that it’s pretty obvious that love it just too strong an adjective. He didn’t even eat it this time. Big Britches has declared, in no uncertain terms, that he does not do soup. And Mr. Selective can’t get past the way it looks.

And I didn’t even try. Not a bowl. A spoon. Or any intimation that they should sample even the tiniest taste.

But watch out boys … next winter … game on!

Posted in Adventures with Food, Bone-In Pieces, Chicken, Slow Cooker

How to Get Multiple Meals out of a Chicken – For Real

IMG_3837.JPGThere are posts all over the blogosphere about how to stretch a chicken.

You know, grab it by its legs and pull really hard … bwhahaha! Right, stick to the day job.

Stretching a chicken to make like 17 different meals.

Seriously?

Because when I make a chicken, it’s gone in like 17.2 seconds. Definitely no room for 16 more meals after my family is finished with it.

My boys like their chicken.

I do save the bones to make bone broth but that’s as far as it goes.

I can however, combine a whole chicken with a package of legs and thighs and make something usable beyond just one dinner. Not necessarily something that they will all eat because that might very well be deemed impossible, even in a world where everything is possible.

On this particular Sunday, with a whole chicken and a package of 8 chicken thighs and 6 legs in the fridge begging to be used and Brunswick Stew on the menu, I started with some basic broth with the whole chicken. I always make broth with Brunswick Stew because the chicken shreds in the stew anyway so I can overcook the chicken to get a good broth without having to worry about it.

I only use about half the broth for the stew, so I took out the chicken and scooped out the broth that I needed then added the legs …

… which I had warmed first. Never put cold items into a hot crock pot – the ceramic doesn’t prefer it … not that I would know ..

… and some water to make up for what I took out. Kept it cooking until the legs were done. I pulled out the chicken legs, strained the broth, and shoved it all in the fridge for chicken noodle soup later in the week.

At the same time, I roasted the chicken thighs in the oven for my children who have an innate inability to recognize good food and would not eat the stew. Since they only ate a couple of the thighs, I saved the meat for the soup.

And I saved all of the bones to make bone broth after I make the soup.

So much multi-tasking and productivity without much actual effort beyond making dinner. Awe. Some.

Even better … dinner for Tuesday night is mostly already made. Bonus!

So, if you consider that the stew makes 8 servings for us (12 if you don’t have The Man eating it), the thighs make a dinner for the kids, and the soup is at least 8 servings. That’s 23 servings in total. For our alternate-universe family of five, in which the children eat stew and soup happily and in volume, that would be 4 meals plus some.

One Chicken. Some Parts. 4 Meals.

That’s as far as I can stretch a chicken.

Posted in Beef, Ground Meat, Pork, Slow Cooker, Soups

The Best Chili

IMG_2794.JPG

I grew up in a house divided – Chili Lovers vs. Not Chili Lovers.

My dad is a chili lover. My mom is not.

I have always been on team Not Chili Lovers. Just not a fan of spicy food, which is kind of and mostly necessary to a good bowl of chili. Also not too fond of it’s density – like eating a giant bowl of meat and beans, with some oh-by-the-way veggies thrown in for flavor.

Lucky gal that I am, though,  The Man could be the quarterback of team Chili Lovers. He loves his chili.

And so I make it. Mostly for him. And in the name of good wifelihood. But also to torture my children so that my children have the opportunity to fully embrace the chili eating experience, in order to someday make their own fully-informed choice of team.

Except …

Big Britches walked in the door from school, “What is that delicious smell?”

Mr. Selective, “Yeah. What is that??”

“Dinner.”

“What’s for dinner?”

“Food.”

“Mom! C’mon! Why do you always say that?”

“Because if I tell you, you’ll say you’re not eating that.”

“Just tell us!”

“Okay. Chili.”

“Blech. I’m not eating that.”

“I’m not eating that either.”

‘Nuff said.

The Best Chili
 
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Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • 1½ pounds ground beef (preferably grass fed)
  • 1 pound ground pork (pastured and/or organic)
  • 1 teaspoon ground fennel
  • 1 large onion or 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 3½ tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika (you could also use smoked here)
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1½ teaspoons coriander
  • dash cayenne pepper (to taste)
  • 12 ounces dark beer (I use Guinness)
  • 1 6 ounce can tomato paste
  • 1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup bone broth
  • 1 chipotle chili pepper in adobo sauce (just one pepper out of the can), chopped
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste (I used 3 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper)
  • 2 15 ounce cans kidney, pinto, white or black beans (I use the Chili Beans from Westbrae Natural), drained
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 2 cups frozen corn
Instructions
  1. In a large pot over medium heat, brown beef and pork, stirring to break up any large pieces.
  2. When meat is paritally cooked, add ground fennel and stir well.
  3. Add onion and garlic and cook until translucent.
  4. Add carrots and green pepper.
  5. In small bowl, combine chili powder, paprika, oregano, onion powder, garlic powder, coriander, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper.
  6. Add spices to meat mixture and mix well.
  7. Cook 5 minutes.
  8. Add beer, tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, bone broth, chili pepper, and apple cider vinegar.
  9. Stir well. Let pot come to a simmer and then reduce heat to low.
  10. If cooking for a long time (I'd recommend it), cover but crack the lid.
  11. Stir occasionally.
  12. About 30 minutes before you're ready to serve, add the beans, the red pepper and the frozen corn.
  13. Salt and pepper to taste.
  14. Serve with shredded cheese, corn bread or whatever else you like with your chili.
Notes
Crock pot directions: After adding the spices to the meat, transfer to a crock pot and follow the rest of the steps in the crock pot. You may want to omit the bone broth as the crock pot tends to make it a bit runnier.

This makes a fairly thick chili. If you like your chili a bit thinner, add more bone broth.

As for Mr. Selective and Big Britches? They didn’t eat it. Wouldn’t even try it. They ate leftover sausages.

The Bread Guy – who claims to love chili – ate it, but painstakingly slowly and not a very large quantity. He did say that it was the best chili I’ve ever made. High praise coming from the kid who doesn’t often praise.

From a years-long member of the Not Chili Lovers team, I do think this is probably the best chili that I’ve ever made. Not good enough, though to sway me to switch teams.

The Man? He was speechless.

What a lucky guy to have such an awesome wife.

Posted in Beef, Boneless Pieces, Quick n Easy, Slow Cooker

Butternut Squash Beef Stew

butternut squash beef stew from change of plates

Every so often I make something new, hoping that everyone will eat it (not like it, mind you – I’ve given up hoping for that) without a fuss. And then they actually do.

This was not one of those times.

The Man and I both thought it was delish.

The Bread Guy loved it for the first few bites, then decided that he wasn’t really fond of it, but he’d eat it anyway and by the end, he was just stirring his spoon around his bowl, stalling and laboring in the way he does when we’ve served him poison. That’s what you’d think anyway. He didn’t finish it.

Mr. Selective liked the first bite, changed his mind quickly and went for the PB&J.

Big Britches picked all of the meat out and ate it (shocking!), but only because I told him I was not making a sandwich.

Which brings the total of things that Mom and Dad will eat to about 332.  List of things that everyone will eat … still 7.

Butternut Squash Beef Stew
 
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Author:
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs. grass-fed beef stew meat
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp refined coconut oil (or any oil of your choice)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 yellow or red potatoes, diced
  • 4 carrots, sliced
  • 3 stalks celery, sliced
  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 3 c. bone broth (or whatever broth you use)
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce (I use Annie's)
  • 1 8 oz container mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 6 ounces frozen green peas
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Season the meat with salt and pepper.
  2. Drop the coconut oil into a large skillet (preferably iron) and warm it to medium.
  3. Sear the meat on all sides, 5-10 minutes.
  4. While meat is searing, chop all vegetables except mushrooms and place in slow cooker.
  5. Add beef to slow cooker. Add broth, paprika, Worcestershire sauce.
  6. Set the slow cooker to low and move on with your day. About 5-6 hours later, the meat should be tender and the vegetables cooked.
  7. Add the peas and mushrooms and let cook for another 30 minutes.
  8. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Looking at that picture, I really can’t blame them for not eating it.  Can you?