Thursday, February 26, 2015

Italian Chili with Pasta

 So good on a cold winter's night!

Since Hubby had a late meeting (after work) last  night, and I've been fighting a sore throat all week, homemade soup in the crockpot seemed like a logical choice!  Early in the day, I got out my Texas skillet and the ingredients and got started chopping celery, onions and garlic.  It was time to make Italian Chili with Pasta (its fancy name is,"Pasta e Fagioli"). This is sooo good when it's cold out!  I like to serve it with garlic bread.

My Italian Chili with Pasta

1 lb. ground beef
Chopped:  (1 large) onion, 3 stalks celery and 3 cloves of garlic
2 tsp parsley flakes
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
Salt to taste
Large can of chicken broth (Swanson)
2 cans (Hunts) stewed plum tomatoes, broken up
1 can tomato sauce (I like Hunts)
1 can dark red kidney beans
1 can cannelloni (white beans)
Shredded Parmesan cheese for topping
Firm pasta cooked in well-salted water

  In a large skillet, saute onion, celery and garlic in 1 TBSP of olive oil until translucent.  Brown beef in the same pan 
And add seasonings at the end. 
  Dump skillet contents into a sprayed crockpot.  Add chicken broth, tomatoes and tomato sauce and the beans.  Cook on low all day.  
  Right before serving, cook a firm pasta like elbow macaroni just until it's done (do not overcook...and use enough salt in your pasta water!). Drain pasta.  Put a scoop of hot pasta in each bowl.  Top with chili and sprinkle with shredded Parmesan cheese.  Don't forget that garlic bread!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Snow Shovelers' Breakfast

  We finally got snow here in NWA!  It's enough snow to cover the grass, and when you live in a southern state, that's cause for rejoicing!  Of course, with snow always comes the job of shoveling out the driveway and sidewalk.
  Yesterday morning, three of my four guys tackled that time-consuming (bitter cold) job of clearing snow from the pavement!  We have 2 shovels, so they worked in shifts.  This snow had icy slush mixed in so it was heavy.  
  I say that after that kind of early morning job, each shoveler should get to choose his own breakfast entree (I don't make this offer all of the time-breakfast is a messy meal!

Here's how it went!  Dana chose Cocoa Wheats, toast and milk (love that man!  So easy!). No photos-Cocoa Wheats are not an attractive breakfast food;  it looks like a bowl of brown mush!  Justin chose a plain cheese omelet with salsa (he's a purist when it comes to food).  And then there's Ben...

  Ben had 2 entrees (he's a typical youngest!). He started with chocolate chip pancakes and finished with a full-on Spanish omelet with every vegetable from my crisper drawer! 
  It was a fun morning.  Even Miss Abbey, our dog, enjoyed the snow...oh! And she liked her made-to-order eggs, of course!

Monday, February 9, 2015

My Mom's Candied Dill Pickles

I had a half gallon jar of large dill pickles leftover from the holidays, and decided what better way to use them up than to make some of my mom's "candied dills"!

My mom makes these delicious candied pickles for holidays, especially Thanksgiving, but I have to admit that I like them paired with Christmas (or Easter) ham, too.  As children, my brother, sister and I  were always anxious for the time when the pickle spears were done sitting in the crockware bowl basking in sugar!  My dad has been known to add horseradish to the crock bath to give them some,"kick"!  Mom's pickles are a sure winner for your next holiday meal...or summer barbecue...or sandwich.

First, buy a jar of whole dills like these from SAM'S Club.  Slice them into fourths.  If you want to go the easier route, just buy a jar of dill pickle spears.  Next, place the prepared pickle spears in either the empty jar or a crockware bowl and layer them with a generous amount of sugar (add some horseradish if you like a little heat). End the layering process with a top layer of sugar.  Place a paper towel over the top of the bowl or jar and let sit for several hours or overnight.  Refrigerate the pickles to get them cold.  Enjoy!