Foodie Friday – Chili cook-off test recipe #2

I had to be at work really early this morning (4 AM – yikes!), but I threw together this turkey pumpkin chili before I went to bed and let it simmer in the Crockpot overnight. You wouldn’t think pumpkin puree is a good chili ingredient, but it’s really delicious and perfect for fall. This chili smelled amazing while it was cooking and I got a lot of good reviews from my co-workers (who were probably too hungry to say anything else), but as far as I’m concerned the recipe needs to be tweaked a bit. I think the chipotle chili powder is just too spicy for me (although it seemed perfect for everyone else – I know I have a wimpy palate) and the cinnamon seemed to conflict with the other spices a bit. I’m not sure if I should have reduced the amount or omitted it altogether. I took a few liberties with the original recipe so maybe something I added was the problem. I’m going to try another pumpkin chili recipe soon and make a few changes based on this experience. This is a delicious, healthy meal option that I want to perfect!

INGREDIENTS:
1 lb ground turkey
1 c diced sweet onion
1 c diced bell pepper
2 Tbsp chili powder
1/2 Tbsp chipotle chili powder
1 Tbsp ground cumin
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 can (29 oz) crushed tomatoes
2 cans (8 oz each) tomato sauce
1 can (15 oz) reduced sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (15 oz) reduced sodium kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin puree

DIRECTIONS:
In a large nonstick skillet (I had to use a stock pot because the kitchenette in my hotel room is poorly stocked – no pun intended) cook the turkey, onion, and bell pepper until the meat is no longer pink. When the meat is fully cooked add the chili powders, cumin, garlic powder, cinnamon, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. Stir until the spices are well incorporated and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add the beef mixture to the bottom of your Crockpot (I recommend using a liner to make clean up a breeze). Pour the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, drained and rinsed beans, and pumpkin puree on top of the beef mixture and stir gently to combine. Put the lid on the Crockpot and cook on low for about 9 hours or high for 5-6 hours. Enjoy!

Based on The Skinny Fork’s Crockpot Pumpkin Turkey Chili.

Chili cook-off test recipe #1

Forgive me for another recipe, but the chili I made yesterday turned out so well that I had to share! My hotel room smelled so delicious when my alarm went off this morning to turn down the heat on the Crockpot. I let it cool for an hour or so before carrying it to my car and taking it to work to feed my co-workers. We usually have lunch brought in at work so I figured the chili would be a side dish, but today was an exception so chili was all we had! There wasn’t really enough to go around (I really should have thrown in an extra pound of meat), but I did get to try a small bowl. I have to admit that this chili is a little spicier than I would like (I blame the chipotle chili powder which I added in spite of the original recipe not calling for it), but the flavor was really good. I just had to eat slowly. And adding some shredded cheese would have helped if I’d had any. This recipe is definitely a keeper. Yes, I’m definitely well on my way to being ready for the Halloween chili cook-off!

INGREDIENTS:
1 lb ground beef
1 c diced sweet onion
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp chipotle chili powder (or just another 1 Tbsp chili powder)
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp caynenne pepper
1 can (29 oz) dices tomatoes
2 cans (8 oz each) tomato sauce
1 can (15 oz) reduced sodium pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (15 oz) reduced sodium kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 whole jalapeno peppers

DIRECTIONS:
In a large nonstick skillet (I had to use a stock pot because the kitchenette in my hotel room is poorly stocked – no pun intended) cook the ground beef and onion until the meat is no longer pink. When the meat is fully cooked add the chili powders, cumin, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. Stir until the spices are well incorporated and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add the beef mixture to the bottom of your Crockpot (I recommend using a liner to make clean up a breeze). Pour the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and drained and rinsed beans on top of the beef mixture and stir gently to combine. Place the whole jalapeno peppers on top of everything (use gloves!) and put the lid on the Crockpot. Cook on low for about 8 hours or high for 4-5 hours. Enjoy!

Based on A Year of Slow Cooking’s Basic Chili Crockpot Recipe.

Old recipe – Pumpkin chili

October is almost here which means my favorite time of the year is right around the corner! I’m trying to organize a chili cook-off at work for Halloween and I need to test some recipes beforehand. But how to do that while on an extended business trip? Why, a slow cooker, of course! I picked up a $20 Crockpot at Walmart the other day and now I’m putting it to use. My first batch is cooking right now so I’ll let you know how it turns out later this week. Until then, here’s a quick and easy recipe for pumpkin chili that I made and posted on my Livejournal back in 2008. Back then I topped it with corn bread batter and baked it as a casserole (hence the name, Pumpkin Chili Casserole with Cornbread Topping), but the chili portion stands on its own. I’ll be trying some other pumpkin chilis in preparation for the cook-off, but this is probably the simplest one I’ve seen. And it’s tasty!

INGREDIENTS:
1 lb ground beef
1 c diced sweet onion
1 c diced bell pepper
4 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 c canned pumpkin
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
8 oz chili sauce
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

DIRECTIONS:
In a large nonstick skillet, cook beef, onion, bell pepper, and garlic until meat is no longer pink. Drain. Add pumpkin, tomatoes, chili sauce, and pumpkin pie spice. Simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes for flavors to combine, stirring frequently. Enjoy!

Based on several Taste of Home recipes that I can’t locate anymore.

Sports Authority

Since I can’t seem to find the motivation to write about what I’ve been up to for the last two weeks in Florida I figured I’d tell a little story instead. Today we got the day off after six straight days of work, and it was the first day since I’ve been here that I didn’t have anything planned. Time to drive around and explore the area! I went down south to Melbourne and visited the mall there. It was fairly disappointing, but I did get a pair of yoga pants and some socks for running. (Most of my recent purchases have been for running, now that I think about it! I’ll write another post about running soon.) I’ve been having a lot of trouble with blisters so I’m trying a bunch of new kinds of socks to see if that helps alleviate the problem. Band-aids and tape have helped, but it’s going to take more than that to keep me from getting blisters. The Melbourne mall has a Dick’s Sporting Goods and that’s where I bought the socks I got today, but I also checked out Sports Authority at the Merritt Island mall on my way back to my hotel (before the rain started!) to see if there were any other options available. There weren’t, but I remembered something about Sports Authority when I was a kid. My grandparents moved to the Tampa area in the early 90’s, and just about every year they lived there my family drove down from Tallahassee for Thanksgiving. They lived in Sun City Center, a large retirement community, which wasn’t very interesting for kids, but there were other things to look forward to. Like eating Thanksgiving dinner with family, driving my grandparent’s golf cart, and Black Friday shopping at the nearby outlet malls. Plus, there was one stop that we always made on our way back to Tallahassee. Sports Authority. It was a once-a-year visit that everyone looked forward to. I remember the store was warehouse-sized (although I might be remembering it from a kid’s perspective) and it had everything sports-related you could ever want. Going to Sports Authority was an opportunity to buy new sneakers from their huge selection, pick up some new Speedos for synchronized swimming or summer camp, and generally wander around and look at everything in the huge store. It was lots of fun. Now that I live somewhere that Sports Authority is much more accessible, going there isn’t quite the same magical experience, but I will always remember those childhood visits with my family that wrapped up the Thanksgiving weekend.

Maple bacon chocolate chip cookies

I want to post something about my first few days in Florida, but I’m really not in the mood to write this evening. I’ve had two disastrous runs since I’ve been here and I’m extremely frustrated. So until things looks a little brighter here’s a recipe for some awesome chocolate chip cookies!

Yes, I’m sharing a recipe for maple bacon chocolate chip cookies. I made these as chocolate chip cookie recipe #34 in May, and like I said back then, they were AMAZING. These are not your everyday chocolate chip cookies, but trust me, you won’t care that they aren’t 100% traditional. When you eat one of these sweet and salty cookies you’ll be thanking whoever had the idea to add crumbled bacon and maple extract to chocolate chip cookie dough! Who know that would make it so incredible? It’s a whole new level of delicious. And since they do have maple and bacon, feel free to have some of these cookies for breakfast! In all seriousness, it really doesn’t take much to elevate your usual chocolate chip cookie recipe so try adding some bacon and maple extract next time. You won’t regret it!

INGREDIENTS:
10-12 strips bacon
1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 c granulated sugar
1/3 c light brown sugar, packed
1 egg
3/4 tsp maple extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 c flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 c chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS:
Place the bacon on a cookie sheet completely lined with aluminum foil (to catch the grease and make clean up easy), making sure the strips don’t overlap. Bake at 350 deg F for 15-20 minutes or until crispy, rotating the pan once and keeping an eye on the bacon so it doesn’t burn. Cool the strips on a few layers of paper towels to absorb the excess grease. When the bacon has cooled crumble or chop it as finely as possible.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars. Add the egg, maple extract, and vanilla and mix until combined. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt and mix until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips and crumbled bacon. Spread the dough into an 8×8″ pan lined with aluminum foil and coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 deg F for 25-30 min or until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool to room temperature on a wire rack before slicing. Enjoy!

Based on Noble Pig’s Maple Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies.