Simple Chili (for low-budget food challenge)

Simple Chili

One of the meals I made to last most of the week for the low-budget food challenge was a simple chili. I was surprised I was able to pull this off without my usual poblano and jalapeno peppers, among other ingredients. This isn’t the best chili I’ve made, but it tasted good and it was quite filling.

I made this in the dutch oven, but it could easily be made in any large pot. It could also be made in a slow cooker after browning the beef.

Servings: 7

The 7 total servings is based on 1½ cups per serving – the recipe makes 10½ cups of chili.

Ingredients

  • ½ pound ground beef (I used 80% lean, and the package I bought was just short of a half pound at 0.44 pounds)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • ½ cup dry black beans
  • ½ cup dry kidney beans
  • 1 – 28oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 packet McCormick Original Chili Seasoning
  • 1 tbsp salt

Instructions

Soak beans per the instructions on the bag, either quick soak or overnight method. Do not get rid of the liquid!

Preheat a large pot over medium heat. Add ground beef and cook until brown, stirring occasionally and breaking up the pieces. (Note: Normally I would start with olive oil and cook some garlic and onions first, but being limited in resources due to the challenge, I did not have olive oil to use, and I didn’t want to waste any of the butter. I decided the fat from the beef would be just fine for cooking the onions.)

Add the onions and cook until soft and translucent. Add beans (including the liquid from soaking), canned tomatoes, chili seasoning, and salt. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and let cook for at least 20 minutes. I let mine simmer for about an hour (stirring occasionally) because I was doing other things, but it would have been fine to eat after 20 minutes.

Nutritional Information (per serving)

I estimated the nutritional information using the recipe builder on the USDA SuperTracker. If you’re on a low sodium diet, you can reduce the amount of sodium by about 78% if you don’t add the 1tbsp of salt to the recipe.

Nutrient
Amount
% of Daily Target or Limit
Total Calories 165 8% limit
Protein 12 g 26% target
Carbohydrate 21 g 16% target
Dietary Fiber 7 g 30% target
Total Sugars 4 g No daily target or limit
Added Sugars 0 g 0% limit
Total Fat 4 g No daily target or limit
Saturated Fat 1 g 6% limit
Monounsaturated Fat 2 g No daily target or limit
Polyunsaturated Fat 1 g No daily target or limit
Linoleic Acid 0 g 2% target
α-Linolenic Acid 0.1 g 10% target
Omega 3 – EPA 1 mg No daily target or limit
Omega 3 – DHA 0 mg No daily target or limit
Cholesterol 18 mg 6% limit
Minerals
Calcium 68 mg 7% target
Potassium 563 mg 12% target
Sodium 1269 mg 55% limit
Copper 224 µg 25% target
Iron 8 mg 42% target
Magnesium 55 mg 17% target
Phosphorus 159 mg 23% target
Selenium 6 µg 11% target
Zinc 2 mg 27% target
Vitamins
Vitamin A 29 µg RAE 4% target
Vitamin B6 0.3 mg 22% target
Vitamin B12 0.6 µg 23% target
Vitamin C 16 mg 21% target
Vitamin D 0 µg 0% target
Vitamin E 1 mg AT 5% target
Vitamin K 6 µg 7% target
Folate 106 µg DFE 27% target
Thiamin 0.8 mg 75% target
Riboflavin 0.1 mg 13% target
Niacin 2 mg 17% target
Choline 34 mg 8% target

Sausage & Apple Stuffing

Sausage & Apple Stuffing

I didn’t host Thanksgiving this year, which is one of my favorite things. This was the first year in a really long time I haven’t hosted, but I’m glad I was still able to make some contributions to dinner. (Thanks Annie & Dave for having me – I had a great time!)

I brought stuffing and honey yeast rolls with brown sugar honey butter. I used some of my vintage Pyrex dishes to make the stuffing, and Le Creuset stoneware  pie dishes* for the rolls. I made everything at home and transported it a half hour to dinner, which meant an interesting packing job with rubber bands to hold the Pyrex lids on and a selection of dish towels and oven mitts to make sure nothing broke during the car ride.  The stuffing came out great. I cooked it almost all the way at my house and finished it in the oven when I arrived.

(Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links [marked with *], which means I receive compensation for purchases made using the links.)

Ingredients

  • 1 small bunch of celery
  • 3 honeycrisp apples
  • 2 small-medium onions
  • 3 large mild Italian sausage patties
  • 1 tsp sage
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp white pepper
  • 1 qt chicken stock
  • 16-18 cups hard cubed bread (you want it to be almost crouton-like)
  • Butter (for greasing casserole dish)

I used dried herbs, so you will want to adjust proportions if you’re using fresh.

Instructions

Set aside bread cubes into one or two large mixing bowls.

Preheat a large (or possibly two) saute pan over medium heat. I used my Le Creuset 5qt braiser* and it was the perfect size.

Prep onions, apples, and celery and set aside together:

  • Onions – small dice
  • Celery – leaves removed, medium dice
  • Apples – peeled and cored, small dice

Add sausage patties to the pan, breaking up the pieces as it cooks. Cook all the way through until the sausage starts to brown. Add onions, apples, and celery to the pan. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are translucent and the apples start to get soft.

Mix with bread cubes in mixing bowl(s) using a spatula or wooden spoon. Add sage, rosemary, thyme, white pepper, and salt, and mix well. Transfer into one or more greased casserole dishes. Add chicken stock. You want the bread to be a little wet, but not too wet.

Bake at 350° for about 30 minutes until the top is crispy and the rest seems to be dry-ish (just push down on it and see if it still seems wet or not). Watch and make sure the top doesn’t start to burn. If it does, put the lid of the casserole dish on, or cover with aluminum foil. I cooked mine uncovered and it was fine.

Troubleshooting

If after about 20 minutes it still seems too mushy/wet, put another cup or two of the dried bread in a mixing bowl. Carefully dump or transfer the stuffing from the casserole dish to the bowl, mix, transfer back to the casserole dish, and resume cooking.

Prep Tip

IMG_7044Set everything out to prepare for all of your chopping. Have two bowls handy – one for the things you’re chopping, and the other for all of the scrap pieces (onion peels, apple cores, etc.) Then you can just toss all of the scraps once at the end.

Sauteed Rustic Herb Green Beans

Rustic Herb Green BeansThis is one of the sides I made the other night to go with the steak. This uses one of the seasoning blends from Tastefully Simple*. Sometimes people ask why I buy seasoning blends like that when I like cooking from scratch so much. Well, there are times when I just don’t want to have to think about the proportions of oregano to rosemary and would rather only think about how much seasoning I need in general. Plus, it’s delicious, so why not?

You can do these on a sheet pan or in a saute pan on the stove. I made them on the stovetop because all of my oven space was occupied with other things.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links (marked wth *), which means I receive compensation for purchases made using the links.

Ingredients

1 pound fresh green beans
2 tbsp Tastefully Simple* Rustic Herb seasoning
½ tsp salt
Olive oil

Instructions

Preheat saute pan over medium heat. Meanwhile, trim green beans (another shortcut – buy ones that are already trimmed).

Place green beans in a large mixing bowl and drizzle with olive oil to coat. Use enough olive oil so that they are just coated, not overly oiled. Add the salt and herb seasoning, and stir/toss to combine.

Add the green beans to the pan. Cook covered for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Variation: Preheat oven to 400. Spread green beans on a foil-lined sheet pan and roast in the oven for 10-15 minutes.

Freezer Prep: Combine all ingredients, place in a freezer bag. Move to fridge the morning of (if cooking for dinner), or place the bag in a large bowl of water to thaw. It’s not the end of the world if you put them in the saute pan frozen, just watch out because the ice/oil combo can pop and burn you.

Three Cheese Rustic Herb Ravioli with Cream Sauce and Tomatoes

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I tweeted earlier “Food blogger problem – realizing halfway through making something that you haven’t written any of it down.” That may have related to part of this recipe. The parts I’m unsure of are marked accordingly. Oh, and remember how I said before not to ask me about my pasta recipe because I have no idea about any of the proportions? I took note when I made the ravioli! Problem solved. Now let’s hope I can remember to keep writing these things down.

Ingredients

For Ravioli Filling

  • 1 container ricotta cheese
  • ¼ cup smoked gouda, shredded
  • ¼ cup asiago, grated
  • 1 tbsp rustic herb seasoning (from Tastefully Simple)

For Pasta

  • 2½ cups flour + more for dusting
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • ¼ tsp salt

For Sauce

  • 2 tsp butter
  • 2 tsp flour
  • 4 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ¾ to 1 cup heavy cream (This is where I didn’t take note of measurements. Start with
  • ¾ cup and increase from there if it seems too little)
  • ¼ to ½ cup milk (Same as above. Start with ¼ and increase as needed)
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan
  • 2+ tsp of the pasta water
  • Parsley (optional)

Instructions 

Ravioli Filling. Combine all ingredients. If you have the spice grinder for your Tastefully Simple seasoning container, use it. If not, crush up your seasoning a bit before you add it. Cover with film and set aside.

img_4444

He wanted to monitor the situation.

Pasta dough. Scoop flour onto work surface. Make a well in the center. Add salt. Add one egg and start to incorporate with a fork. Be careful not to kill the walls of your well or it’ll get unnecessarily messy fast! Continue to add eggs one at a time, incorporating more of the flour after each one. Add the olive oil, continue to incorporate everything until it becomes doughy. You will get your hands dirty. You will reach a point where it’s clear you can’t do any more with the fork and you just need to use your hands. Once you have a dough ball, knead, knead, knead for several minutes.

  • Tip: I recommend adding the eggs one at a time because I always end up breaking the walls of the well or sloshing them everywhere when I put them all in at the same time. Also, I always crack my eggs into a small prep bowl before adding them to the flour. There’s nothing worse than trying to fish a piece of egg shell out of the middle of pasta dough (or cake, or whatever you’re making)!
  • Troubleshooting: If your dough is way too dry, add more olive oil or some water. If it’s too wet, add more flour.

Roll out the pasta dough and put it through the pasta machine. Start on the widest setting and work your way thinner. I went to #6 (out of 8) on the KitchenAid. Lay out sheets on a lightly floured surface.

img_4445Assemble Ravioli. Depending on the size of the ravioli you want to make, add 1tsp to 1tbsp filling at even intervals down one piece of dough. Press to flatten the filling a little. My ravioli were big ones, so I used 1tbsp. Lay another piece of dough over the top. Press to seal all around the filling. Cut out the shapes using a pastry wheel or ravioli stamp. Set them aside on a lightly floured surface.

  • Make Ahead & Freeze: You can put the ravioli on a lightly floured sheet pan and put into the freezer. I did this for my entire batch, then stored in an air tight container. I used lightly floured wax paper to separate the layers of ravioli.

Get the pasta water boiling while you start the sauce. Don’t forget to salt your pasta water!

Sauce. Melt butter over medium heat in a sauté pan. Add garlic and cook for a couple of minutes. Add flour to make a roux. Just a basic blond roux is good. Once your roux is done, stir in the cream, milk, and parmesan. Add tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. It should be thickening. Stir often enough so it doesn’t burn on the bottom (I’ve made this mistake before – the broccoli cheddar soup incident).

  • Troubleshooting: Sauce too thick? Add a bit of pasta water.

The ravioli should only take a few minutes to cook. Test an edge since this is the thickest part that takes longest to cook. Use a spider spoon to transfer the ravioli to the pan with the sauce. Let them cook together for a few minutes. Serve and garnish with parsley and some extra parmesan if desired.