Chili Chili!

I have been craving chili for quite some time now. I mean it isn't even cold here yet (been in the 80-90s all week) but something was screaming fall to me. So I decided to throw a simple batch of chili into the crock pot and enjoy one of my favorite fall/winter meals.

At the last minute I decided that the chili needed a little something more so I looked in the pantry for something to spice it up a bit. And my hands fell upon a Trader Joes cornbread mix. YUM! I love this mix :)

And the combination turned out to be a wonderful, simple dinner with leftovers for lunch the next day.

Chili Cornbread Cups
  • 2 small zucchini, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes w/ chili
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 packet chili seasoning
  • 1 package Trader Joes cornbread mix

Brown turkey and season with salt and pepper. Throw all the veggies, beans, seasoning & turkey into a crock pot and set on low for 8-10 hours.

Preheat oven to temperature stated on package. Make cornbread mix. Spoon chili into oven safe single portion dishes (I used 4 large ramekins). Leave about 1 inch headroom. Than top chili with cornbread mix. Bake for amount of time stated on package (I baked mine for 30 minutes) or until golden brown.

Take out of the oven and allow to cool a bit. Eat right out of the dish or turn over and dump it all out :) YUM!

Sandwich Bread

I love a simple sandwich bread. Well... any bread is simple when you have a bread maker. It's sooo much easier than kneading, waiting, kneading, waiting, baking, waiting and than eating! Now all I have to do is throw in the ingredients, push a button, and wait. Much less work than the old option (although I do love to make a few doughy things by hand...).

So this past week I got on a bread kick. Made bread twice. Usually I only make a loaf once or twice a month so twice in one week is pretty big :) Since you really have to eat most loaves in a day or two I always make the office happy when I bake because the bread comes to work along with me the day after.

This loaf was great for the ham sandwiches I made. YUM!

Source: The Bread Lover's Bread Machine Cookbook

Milk Bread
  • 1 1/3 cups whole milk (I used low fat...)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or margarine cut into pieces (I used butter)
  • 4 cups bread flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon gluten
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons SAF yeast or 1 tablespoon bread machine yeast

Place all ingredients into the pan according to the order in the manufacturer's instructions (I put in order as shown above, liquids first, than dry ingredients with yeast last... I always make a little ditch in the middle of my dry ingredients to put the yeast so it doesn't touch the liquid too soon). Set crust on medium or dark, and program for the Basic cycle. Start the machine.

When baking cycle ends, immediately remove bread from pan and place on rack. Let cool to room temperature before slicing (I know how tempting this is but wait it out!).

Enjoy toasted with some butter or with a nice slab of meat or veggies on it in a sandwich!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Heaven

This cake was heavenly! Seriously. You have to make it. Like for your next party! My coworker's birthday was coming up and I knew I had to make something special for her. She's always been super sweet and is just a great friend/co-worker. I asked her what she wanted for her birthday and she said she was up for anything. As soon as I suggested a chocolate/peanut butter combo she was excited.

As soon as I had the frosting whipped up I tasted a smidge and was hooked. After frosting the cake I licked the spoon. And maybe the bowl. Yum!

Source: Hershey's and peanut butter frosting recipe from Good Things Catered

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup Hershey's Cocoa
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • Perfectly Chocolate Chocolate Frosting & Peanut Butter Frosting (recipes follow)

Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.

Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.

Frost middle of cake (between two layers) with peanut butter frosting and frost the rest of the cake (top and sides) with chocolate peanut butter frosting.

10 to 12 (large) servings.

Perfectly Chocolate Chocolate Frosting

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
2/3 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup peanut butter (I added this to the original recipe)

Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla and peanut butter. About 2 cups frosting.

Peanut Butter Frosting (I used 1/4 of this recipe)

1 stick butter, room temperature
1 c. creamy peanut butter
5 c. powdered sugar, sifted
1/4 – 1/3 c. milk, divided

In bowl of stand mixer, add butter, peanut butter and 1/8 c. milk.

Mix on slowest setting to combine well.

Slowly add powdered sugar, mixing on slowest setting.

1 Tbsp at a time, add remaining milk, just until desired consistency is reached (you may not need all of it depending on climate and temperature).

Spinach and Tomatoes oh my!

My mother-in-law brought over a bunch of tomatoes from her garden the other day and I knew I had to use them up fast. So I looked up recipes that had the ingredients I had on hand (spinach, onions, tons of spices!) and came upon this one.

It was delicious! And it was so simple to make. I whipped it up as the kabobs were grilling and it was all ready to go by the time the kabobs came off the grill. The meal melded perfectly together.

I wasn't as creative with the rest of the tomatoes... they are all now pureed and cooked into marinara sauce for later.

Source: Recipezaar

Spinach and Tomatoes

  • 2 (12 ounce) boxes frozen spinach (I used fresh)
  • 2 (16 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 onion, chopped (optional)
  • 1 pinch basil (optional) or oregano (optional)
  • parmesan cheese
  • balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar

Combine spinach, tomatoes, onion and herbs in a small saucepan.

Heat to boiling then simmer 7-10 minutes or until onions are cooked.

Serve, passing parmesan and vinegar at the table for each person to add as they prefer (I just tossed the parmesan in and sprinkled with vinegar after plating it).


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