Mother’s Day Planning – Luncheon Ideas

 

vintage mothers day

Thought I would post a few days early as Sunday I’ll be busy with my family and I thought I would share some Mother’s Day food ideas for anyone looking. I was always one to do lots of things for my mother throughout the year but I made sure I would do something a little extra special for Mother’s Day. Twice we took mom out to dinner and it was really a big mistake, restaurants are super busy, long wait times and they are looking to turn over tables as quick as possible, leaving you feeling rushed through a meal. So instead I would plan a nice day with an extra special dinner or Spring luncheon. Lunch was often a perfect choice, we would have the entire afternoon to enjoy being together and share some Springtime dishes.

The dining table would be nicely set and a floral centerpiece to pretty things up. Here are an assortment of the recipes I used over the years.

Sunshine Salad

I found this recipe years ago. When prepared for an evening meal, it’s called “Sunset Salad”.

8-10 Servings
Prep: 10 min. + chilling
Ingredients
•1 can (20 ounces) pineapple tidbits
•1 can (11-15 ounces) mandarin oranges
•1 package (3.4 ounces) instant lemon pudding
•1 cup quartered strawberries
•1 cup sliced ripe bananas

Directions

Drain pineapple and oranges, reserving juices. In a large bowl,
combine pudding mix with reserved fruit juices. Fold in pineapple,
oranges and strawberries; chill for at least 2 hours. Add bananas
just before serving. Yield: 8-10 servings.

Chicken Salad for Sandwiches

You can serve this salad on rolls, sandwiches cut in triangles or fill shells made from biscuits.

2 whole boneless chicken breasts
1 stalk celery
1 onions, quartered
1 cup celery, chopped
1 1/2-2 cups mayonnaise (depending on how wet you like your chicken salad)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon dill (optional)
Directions
Place chicken, celery stalk and onion in saucepan with water to cover.
Bring to a boil and simmer 20 minutes or until chicken is done.
Drain and discard onion and celery.
Let chicken cool.
In a food processor chop chicken.
In a medium sized bowl combine chicken with mayonnaise, salt& pepper, parsley, dill seed, chopped celery and lemon juice.
Cover and refrigerate until chilled.

Orzo Salad

orzo salad 2

8 ounces orzo pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/4 cup minced red onion
1/2 cup grape tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cook orzo according to package directions. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Stir in olive oil, vinegar, red onion, tomatoes and basil and toss to combine. Season, to taste, with salt and black pepper.

Salad Nicoise

Romaine Hearts
4 Hard-boiled eggs
1 can artichokes
Steamed Green Beans
3 Roma tomatoes cut into wedges
Nicoise olives (Greek pitted Olives)
Potatoes cooked and cut into quarters
1 sweet red onion, sliced into thin rings
2 cans of white solid tuna
Anchovies
Dressing
1 garlic clove minced
Lemon Juice
olive oil
Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper
Optional – Fresh chopped basil

Separate romaine heart leaves and arrange on a platter. Arrange hard-boiled eggs cut into quarters, green beans, artichokes, tomatoes, potatoes, and olives decoratively over lettuce leaves. Add the anchovies and onion rings. Break up tuna and arrange over vegetables. Drizzle with dressing.

Cucumber and Onion Salad

1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 cups sliced cucumbers
1 small onion (sliced thinly)

In a bowl, combine mayonnaise, sugar, vinegar and salt. Add cucumbers and
onions; stir to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. Yield: 6-8
servings.

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Deli Style Tuna Salad

You can easily make as much as needed by doubling or tripling.

One 6 oz can albacore tuna
1/4 cup coarsely chopped celery
1 Tbsp coarsely chopped onion
2 Tbsps drained sweet pickle relish
4 Tbsps mayonnaise
2 tsps fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Place all ingredients in food processor and process until consistency of pate.

Tomato & Onion Salad

3 large Tomatoes – sliced into wedges or slices if your prefer
1 small to medium sweet red onion – size depends how much onion you prefer
3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons fresh minced parsley (or 1 tablespoon dried parsley)
2 teaspoons fresh basil leaf (or ½ teaspoon dried basil)
2 cloves garlic, finely minced

Directions:

Peel the onion and cut into thin rings. Add slice vegetables into a glass bowl.
In a small bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients.

Pour over tomatoes and onions.
Cover and allow to stand 30 minutes at room temperature or longer, refrigerated.

Serve with a nice loaf of bread.
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Rainy Day Comfort Food – Baked Macaroni & Cheese

Mac and Cheese Casserole

Even though the calendar says it’s Spring there still may be a bit of a chill in the air and right now we have hit several weeks of on again off again rain.  So it’s still a bit early for starting to make those lighter warm-weather dishes and my old stand-by comfort foods still have a chance to be made once again. So why not make a dish of my homemade baked macaroni & cheese. I know there are many preferences on how people enjoy their mac & cheese, anywhere from the “blue-box” to a thick creamy sauce stirred with pasta and sometimes baked or served as is. I have made and enjoyed them with my family so you won’t get any arguments from me.

While I was growing up my mother made a baked macaroni and cheese casserole that we loved and I pretty much make it the same way. Over the years I made a slight revision to my mother’s recipe to make it just a bit richer by adding two eggs to the milk so it has a more custard-like consistency. I also on occasion add other cheeses to the shredded cheddar like Mozzarella or Fontina when I have it on hand to vary the taste and creaminess.

classic make and cheese

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

You will need: A deep casserole dish or pan

1 lb Elbow macaroni (sometimes I use shells or Cavatappi)

Block of a good quality Sharp or Mild cheddar cheese (about 4 cups shredded) I have on occasion mixed other cheeses to the cheddar like adding Mozzarella or Fontina when I had some left over.

1 Quart (4 cups) Whole Milk

2 Eggs,  beaten

1 Stick of Butter

Ground Black Pepper (as desired)

Directions:

Boil pasta according to the package in salted water, al dente works perfectly.

Drain.

Butter a deep casserole dish

Add the two beaten eggs to the quart of milk and mix well

Place a layer of macaroni (about 1/3), enough to cover the bottom, of the casserole dish. Dot with some butter.

Add a layer of the shredded cheese covering the macaroni.

Repeat these layers until you are out of pasta – the top layer is cheese. Don’t push down on the macaroni or it will make it too dense.

Slowly pour milk/egg mixture over the casserole until the milk almost reaches the top of the casserole dish.

Dot top layer of cheese with butter and ground pepper

Bake uncovered for about 50-60 minutes in a 350-degree oven depending on how crisp you like the top, just make sure the milk mixture has turned to a custard-like consistency when a knife is inserted into the casserole.

You’ll know it is finished cooking when the milk is no longer liquid and is custard-like.

Serves 6 – Cook time and servings are approximate.

A secret to switching up this recipe: If you want to push this recipe over the top my daughter sometimes adds BBQ pulled pork in between the layers when building the casserole. It’s fantastic!

 

Skillet Chicken Cacciatore

chicken cacciatorre

I am all about making a good meal at home even on a weeknight. I look for easy recipes that take less than an hour from start to finish, recipes that don’t take too much time to prepare but are flavorful and might go even with a nice glass of wine after a busy day. Here is my weeknight one-pot chicken cacciatore.

Skillet Chicken Cacciatore

Serves: 4

Ingredients

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt, divided

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 – 2 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into cubes

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 pound fresh mushrooms, quartered or sliced

2 large bell peppers, sliced (a mix of 1 red and 1 green)

1 large onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 3/4 cups beef broth

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1 (28-ounce) jar spaghetti sauce or homemade

1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained

1 lb Spaghetti

Parmesan cheese, grated

Instructions

  1. In a shallow dish, combine flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the black pepper. Roll chicken in flour mixture, coating completely.
  2. In a large heavy skillet, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over high heat until hot; brown chicken on all sides for 5 minutes. Remove chicken from the skillet; set aside. Add mushrooms, green/red peppers, onion, garlic, and remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet and cook 5-8 minutes, or until onions and peppers are slightly tender, stirring occasionally. Adjust the heat a bit as to not burn the garlic.
  3. Add remaining ingredients, including remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt; return chicken to the skillet and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 30 minutes, or until chicken is fork-tender, stirring occasionally.
  4. While the meal simmers have a pot ready to cook the spaghetti then serve over cooked spaghetti, top with grated Parmesan cheese.

Learning to Make Bagels

happy easter

Wishing those who celebrate a very Happy Easter and Happy Passover.

I was so happy to have an extra day off for a three day weekend so I knew I had to plan to make something that I had on my to-do list. One of my favorite online video chefs is Laura Vitale of Laura in the Kitchen. Earlier in the week, I had watched her making bagels. Over the years I’ve learned to make bread and rolls but I avoided making bagels thinking they would be out of my level of cooking skills. I watched her video and I was really amazed at how simple they could be. I’m a bit of a visual learner so her instructions were just what I needed. So on Friday I dug in my heals and gave it a try. All I can say is WOW! My bagels may not look perfect but I was so pleased with how they turned out and so was my husband.

While I do not have my own recipe to share, here are the results of my first time making bagels and the link to the video. I hope you will give these a try as they really are easy to make at home and are very delicious.

Just as an added note the bagels are just a little darker because I had used a whole egg for the egg wash. I needed to use a whole egg wash earlier for something else I baked didn’t want to waste it so these baked up a darker color. Next time I will use the egg white wash as in the recipe.

Thank you to Laura Vitale for your wonderful videos and delicious recipes!

I hope you will give it a try, here is the link to the video.

How to Make Bagels by Laura Vitale

Instant Pot Corned Beef – Homemade Magic!

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As I mentioned last week I was going to try making my corned beef in my Instant Pot for the first time. The recipes I posted last week are ones I had been making for years and the corned beef was a step above the traditional way of just simmering on the stove with the packet of spices. I did try it in the slow cooker once with a bottle of Guinness and found the corned beef to not be very tender at all. I also really didn’t care for the taste of the Guinness beer. I do use beer in some recipes but I am not a typical beer drinker so that may also have been a part of the problem. Guinness is an acquired taste in my book.

So here are the simple steps I used to cook my corned beef in the Instant Pot and I must say it did not disappoint at all. It was tender and flavorful and making it this way will certainly be in my rotation of recipes for making corned beef.

Corned Beef and Vegetables cooked in Beer

Instant Pot – 6 Qt. Duo

Corned Beef 4 lbs. plus the spice packet included with the corned beef

1 – 12 oz bottle of your favorite beer. (I used Blue Moon Belgian White Beer)

Instant Pot rack/trivet (I prefer using the one from OXO)

1 small head of Cabbage cut into about eight wedges

1 – 1 lb bag ready to use Carrots

About 2 lbs of small to medium Potatoes, peeled and all cut to about the same size whether it be quarters or halves if the potatoes are small. I used Yukon Golds this time.

Take the corned beef out of the package and rinse off the brine and place the rack/trivet into the Instant Pot

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Put the corned beef. fat side up on the rack/trivet, this will help to keep the meat moist and tender. Sprinkle the spice packet on top of the corned beef, you can push the spices down a bit so they stay on top.

Pour the beer along the sides of the pot but not on top of the meat.

Close up the Instant Pot and set on High Pressure for 90 minutes. When the 90 minutes are over let the pressure pin on the Instant Pot come down on its own with Natural Release for about 15-20 minutes.

Remove the Corned beef and let it rest on a cutting board for about 10-15 minutes, you can cover with aluminum foil if you wish while you move on to the next step.

Return the rack/trivet back to the Instant Pot and get ready to add the prepared vegetables.

Add the Carrots first, then the Potatoes and lastly the cabbage arranged evenly on top.  Close, set to High Pressure for 4 minutes. When the 4 minutes are up, do a Quick Release. Open and remove the vegetables to a serving platter. (I used one of those Asian Wire Spider Skimmers to remove the veggies from the pot, works like a charm)

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Proceed to scrape any spices off the fat cap. If you prefer you can slice off the fat cap or leave it on if you prefer then slice it down for serving and remove the fat later.

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Our favorite is to use Stone Ground Mustard to go with our meat and Irish Soda Bread on the side

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If you give this a try I hope you enjoy! Remember you can enjoy Corned Beef any time of year, not just for St. Patrick’s Day.

Leftover Ham – Ham and Cheese Muffins & Ham and Split Pea Soup

What to make when you have leftovers? Since making a baked bone in ham butt last Sunday I’ve managed to turn it into several meals this week and the one thing I always look forward to making is Ham and Split Pea soup. The weather is still cold and a warm bowl of creamy soup is comfort food for me and my family.

Another favorite of mine for using left over ham is to make Ham and Cheese Muffins. The muffins pull together quick and go great along side a bowl of your favorite soup. I have even served them up as part of a Sunday brunch.

Ham & Cheese Muffins

Makes 1 dozen muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted & slightly cooled
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, plus more for garnish
1/2 cup diced ham
• Add some herbs and spices to the dry ingredients to make it more savory
Fresh black pepper, for garnish (optional)
1. Preheat oven 400 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper or silicone muffin cups and set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
3. In a separate bowl, combine egg, milk, and butter. Add these wet ingredients to the dry and mix lightly (e.g., with a wooden spoon, not a mixer) until well combined. Once the batter is smooth, fold in cheese and ham.
4. Spoon batter into muffin cups, filling them about 3/4 of the way. If you like, sprinkle some more shredded cheese and freshly cracked black pepper on top. Bake for about 17 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean. Remove muffins from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and finish cooling on a rack. See notes above on storing these.
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Split Pea and Ham Soup

1 pound ham bone
4 cups chicken stock (1 Qt.)
3 cups cold water
1 16 oz. bag split green peas

1 – 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
2/3 cups chopped leeks or green onions
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery

1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1 Bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream or Half & Half
1 cup chopped ham, cooked
Sauté the onions, carrots and celery in butter.
Place the ham bone in a large pot. Add the water, chicken stock and peas and bring to a boil over medium heat, reduce the heat and simmer. Add all the seasonings and continue to simmer the mixture until the peas are very soft, about 1 hour and 15 minutes stirring occasionally.
Remove the ham bone. Use an emersion blender to smooth peas and veggies so they are creamy.
Stir in the milk and cream. Add chopped ham. Simmer, stirring occasionally for another 10 to 15 minutes.
Serve topped with a buttery croutons.
ham and split pea soup

The Old Tin Recipe Box – Steak Pub Banana Nut Bread

Tin recipe box

 

As I go through my recipe file that I now keep on my computer, my memories are sometimes drawn back to the 1970’s where I would collect recipes in a tin recipe box like the one in the photo above. This is how my mother kept her most cherished recipes and I did it that way too. A housewife’s personal treasure chest.

In my tin box I would keep my handwritten recipe cards or clippings from the local paper or magazines that I was sure I would make. In time, it would eventually rust, pit and get scratched up but would continue to be displayed prominently on my kitchen counter. That old rusty box guarded my collection of delicious dishes like a steadfast soldier for years. Then…the home computer arrived and it became my modern recipe box relieving my old tin box of its duties.

When I had one of my first computers I would spend hours using my Mastercook program entering my recipes and browsing the hundreds of recipes they included in the program. Entering recipes could be a bit tedious back then but it gave me a sense of accomplishment.

These days I no longer use any particular recipe program. All I use now is MS Word where I can create lots of different category folders. I am not limited by a pre-designed program and my recipes can be in a free form of  notes and photos that I can store all in one place.

Though the old rusty tin recipe box is long gone and the newspaper clippings have yellowed with age; I still keep several of my most cherished cards from back then in a decorative photo box.

One of the recipes that I’ve saved over the years was originally taken from our local newspaper that was shared from a local steak pub restaurant chain that made the best Banana Bread. I’ve been making it for over 40 years. Although the restaurant is long gone it has always been one of those recipes people ask for after they taste it. Hope you enjoy it too!

Steakpub banana bread

Steak Pub Banana Nut Bread

Ingredients
1 c packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
3/4 c corn oil
1/2 c sour cream
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp orange juice
1 c mashed ripe banana
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 c all-purpose flour
Instructions

In bowl, beat eggs and mix in brown sugar and oil until thoroughly
blended. Add sour cream, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, orange
juice. Add mashed banana to the mixture. Add walnuts and flour mixing well. Pour the batter into oiled 12″ x 4 1/2″ x 4″ loaf pan. Bake in 375 oven for 50-60 minutes. Test for doneness with a cake tester or a toothpick. Cool in pan on rack for 10 minutes. Loosen the edges and turn out to complete cooling on rack. Wrap in foil. Makes 12 Servings

Sometimes you need Breakfast for Dinner

How often do you really have the opportunity to have a hearty breakfast at home? Occasionally we will have a leisurely breakfast on a weekend but when life gets busy I don’t like to bother with things like making pancakes, waffles or French toast.

When I’m planning our weekly dinner menu and I have planned numerous chicken dishes several different ways, I know I need to throw in a night with something different. So when I’m trying to save money and avoid going out to the local diner or pancake house I’ll plan breakfast for dinner once in a while. Baked omelets, eggs and sausage or leftover ham or bacon with home fried potatoes, throw in some buttered toast from the loaf I made earlier in the week and I have a great meal. Other times I just want the French toast or pancakes with melted butter and lots of maple syrup because it has been a long time since we had them. I can then decide what I would like to serve on the side depending what in the refrigerator.

sourdough pancakes 3

Homemade pancakes aren’t hard to make, there are many recipes out there. They take a bit more time when made from scratch compared to the mix in a box but the taste is so much more satisfying. Here are some of my favorite recipes.

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Quick Fluffy Homemade Pancakes

Makes approx. 16 pancakes when using a level 1/4 cup measure

2 cups biscuit mix (you know the one in the yellow box)
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 eggs

1. Heat griddle or skillet over medium-high heat or electric griddle to 375°F; grease with cooking spray, vegetable oil or shortening. (Surface is ready when a few drops of water sprinkled on it dance and disappear.)

2. Stir all ingredients until blended. Pour slightly less than a 1/4 cupful onto the hot griddle.

3. Cook until edges are dry and show bubbles. Flip over and cook until golden. To keep warm, place on a cookie sheet. Cover with aluminum foil, and place in 200°F oven up to 10 minutes while you are cooking the others.

Fluffy from Scratch Pancakes

Ingredients
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 2 tsp baking powder
• 1 tsp baking soda
• ½ tsp salt
• 2 tbsp granulated sugar
• 2 cups buttermilk
• 2 large eggs lightly beaten
• 1 tsp vanilla extract optional
Instructions
1. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl or, as I frequently do, a large glass measuring cup.
2. Whisk in the buttermilk, eggs and vanilla extract just until combined. Some small lumps are okay.
3. Let pancake batter rest for 10 minutes.
4. Heat a large skillet or griddle over medium-high heat.
5. Spray with non-stick cooking spray OR brush with butter or oil.
6. Ladle (1/4-1/3 for regular stack size – 1/2 cup for large pancakes) batter onto the griddle for each pancake.
7. Flip the pancakes over when small bubbles appear on the surface and continue cooking on the opposite side until golden brown.
8. Serve with butter and syrup.

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French Toast

6 thick slices of your favorite bread
2 eggs
2/3 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
Salt to taste

Beat together egg, milk, salt, desired spices and vanilla.
Heat a lightly oiled griddle of skillet over medium-high flame.
Dunk each slice of bread in egg mixture, soaking both sides. Place in pan,
And cook on both sides until golden. Serve hot with butter and maple syrup.

Fluffy Waffles  (I can’t seem to find the photo on this one)

• 1 1/3 cups flour
• 4 teaspoons baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 2 teaspoons sugar
• 2 eggs, separated
• 1/2 cup butter, melted
• 1 3/4 cups milk
1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients.
2. Separate the eggs, adding the yolks to the dry ingredient mixture, and placing the whites in a small mixing bowl.
3. Beat whites until moderately stiff; set aside.
4. Add milk and melted butter to dry ingredient mixture and blend.
5. Fold stiff egg whites into mixture.
6. Ladle mixture into hot waffle iron and bake.

 

IMG_1839(1)  Leftover sliced ham and French toast made from home baked bread.

Heart Healthy Valentine’s Dinner – Skillet Chicken, Sweet Potato & Asparagus

Heart Health Vegetabtle_shutterstock_76317430_cropepd b B

Show your loved ones how much your love them by serving a healthy meal this Valentine’s Day. For those who are budget conscious or would rather avoid the restaurant crowds this is an affordable, healthy and flavorful, meal that is easy to prepare.

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Skillet Chicken with Sweet Potato & Asparagus

A delicious, healthy, and easy to make dinner and it take less than 40 minutes from start to finish and perfect for a busy weeknight dinner.

Ingredients

2 boneless chicken breasts cut into cubes

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and ground fresh black pepper

3 garlic cloves — minced or 3 teaspoons pre-chopped jar garlic

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (Optional)

1 medium to large sweet potato — peeled and diced

1/2-3/4 cup chicken broth (Better than Bullion works perfect for this dish) Amount of broth depends on the size of the sweet potato used.

1/2 lb Fresh Asparagus spears, cut on a diagonal in 1 and 2 inch pieces

1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  1. Cut the chicken into small cubes and season with a bit of salt and pepper.
  2. In a skillet over medium heat, add olive oil, minced garlic, crushed red pepper and chicken. (Make sure the burned is not too hot as you don’t want to burn the garlic and red pepper)
  3. Sauté the chicken for about 8-10 minutes or until it is cooked through. When cooked set the chicken aside.
  4. In the same skillet, add the diced sweet potato and chicken broth.
  5. Cook for about 8-10 minutes or until the sweet potato is cooked through.
  6. Add asparagus pieces and cook for another 4-5 minutes.
  7. Season with remaining salt and pepper to taste more or less if desired.

 

After dinner dessert – Something Sweet

While this bakes in the oven you can prepare the Skillet Chicken dish on top of the stove.

For an easy after dinner dessert  why not give this easy recipe a try.  It is a long time favorite (since the about the 1960’s) that I learned to make years ago. Serve topped with ice cream or whipped cream. Any fruit pie filling works, apple, peach, blueberry or cherry. I have made them all.

crazycrustapplepie

 

 

 

 

Game Day and an Awesome Chili Bar

Today is Game Day or for some Super Bowl LIII.  There will be folks gathering for a day of fun, friends or family with lots of good eats and drinks while watching the big game. But there are many of us who are just not followers of football. Yes, as un-American as that may sound, there are many of us who are just not into “the game”. That doesn’t mean we can’t have a great day of fun, food and gather around the TV or game table.

In years past our Sunday would start in the afternoon where we may watch the Kitten Bowl as I start to prepare the good eats of the day. Later in the afternoon we tune in to our favorite, The Puppy Bowl. We are animal lovers at our house. Have you ever watched those adorable pups frolicking around the stadium? Too darn cute. Then at the end I would often get teary eyed as the pups are adopted and go to their Fur-Ever homes. Silly I know, but we love it.

Once Puppy Bowl was over we would sometimes get together and play World of Warcraft or some other RPG (role-playing game) on our computers. Another time we would have a movie marathon. Nothing like a binge watch of classic Sherlock Holmes movies with Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce. But, no matter what we choose the “game is on” (but not the game) and so is the food. Have fun and enjoy the day no matter how you celebrate it! Any one for Rummikub and pigs in a blanket?

Beef and/or Bean Chili and a great Chili Bar

Items you need:

Your favorite chili recipe (I’ll add mine below)

Bowls of the following:

Sour Cream

Diced Onion, white or yellow

Sliced Jalapeno or your favorite hot peppers

Shredded Cheese, Cheddar, Monterrey Jack or Pepper Jack are usually favorites

Chips of your choice:  Doritos’s, Frito’s or taco

Diced Avocado

Sliced Green Onion

Corn bread or corn muffins (I’ll add my recipe below)

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Instant Pot Beef and Bean Chili

Made for a 6 qt. Instant Pot.

(Easily made in any electric pressure cooker or converts to the Slow Cooker as well)

Serves 6

Ingredients

1 Tbsp. vegetable oil

2 tsp minced garlic

1 1/2 lb. ground beef

1 large onion, chopped

1 large bell pepper, chopped

5 stalks celery, chopped

1 package Chili Seasoning or homemade (See homemade chili seasoning)

1 cup Beef Broth (I use Better than Bullion Beef)

1 15 oz can Pinto beans, drained and rinsed

1 15 oz can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 15 oz can Ro-Tel Original Tomatoes

1 15 oz can diced tomatoes

1 15 oz can tomato sauce

Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Set your Instant Pot to Sauté and vegetable oil and minced garlic to the pot.

Once the pot is hot and oil is simmering, add ground beef.

Once browned, add chopped onion, bell pepper and celery to the beef.

Cook until onion is starting to become translucent, then add McCormick’s Chili Seasoning.

Turn the Instant Pot “off” of Sauté.

Mix well and add beef broth.

Scrape up any browned bits that have adhered to the bottom of the pot.

Add both beans to the pot and stir.

Then add Ro-Tel tomatoes, diced tomatoes and tomato sauce on topdo not stir in.

Put on your Instant Pot lid, make sure vent is set to seal and set your IP to 10 minutes at high pressure.

Once time is up, let your Instant Pot naturally release.

Once released, open your Instant Pot, stir and enjoy your chili!

Homemade Chili Seasoning

Ingredients

1 Tbsp. chili powder

1 tsp ground cumin

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp onion powder

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp approximately freshly ground pepper

Instructions

Add all of the ingredients to a bowl and stir to combine. Store in an air-tight container, away from heat and moisture for up to six months.

Recipe Notes: Makes enough for one pot of chili (about 6 servings).

 

creamed corn-muffins

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CREAMED CORN MUFFINS

1 1/4 cups Flour
1 cup Yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon Baking powder
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 cup Sugar
1 cup Milk
1/4 cup Vegetable oil
2 Eggs — lightly beaten
1 can Creamed corn — (16 oz can)

Preheat oven to 400. Lightly coat 16 muffin cups with non-stick cooking spray or use paper muffin cups.

Mix together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and sugar in large mixing bowl.

Stir in milk, oil, and eggs, mixing just until all ingredients are moistened. Stir in creamed corn.

Pour the batter into muffin tins, filling to the brim. Bake for 25 minutes.

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My Maestro