October 18, 2011

Cinnamon Spice Chili

This recipe is a combination of several that I found, putting them together to form a wonderfully unique chili. The first flavor notes are the warmth of cinnamon and then unexpectedly that warmth turns into just the right amount of spice. This chili is perfect for the fall season and will leave you craving more. Super easy to make with the use of a crockpot, this recipe yields about a dozen servings. Enjoy!

1 lb ground beef
15 oz canned kidney beans
15 oz canned black beans
15 oz canned diced tomatoes
16 oz canned tomato sauce
1 package taco seasoning
1 tsp tabasco
2 tsp garlic salt
1 cup diced onion
1 Tbs onion powder
1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
4 tsp chili powder
½ tsp dry mustard
1 tsp cinnamon
2 cups milk

1. Brown ground beef, then discard grease.
2. In crockpot, combine all ingredients.

3. Cook on low for 8 hours, stirring occasionally.
4. Garnish with shredded cheese and sour cream if desired.

October 11, 2011

Chocolate Semifreddo

Italian for "half cold," a semifreddo is any chilled or partially frozen dessert including cake, ice cream, fruit and custard or whipped cream. I had never heard of this before so I was excited to try this simple recipe. It was well worth the effort as the result was somewhat of a mix between ice cream, gelato, whipped cream and cake. It's hard to describe so you'll just have to try it! This would be great for a dessert party as it can be made a few days before and is quick to put together. The recipe below yields 8-10 servings. Enjoy!

1. There are several ways this can be presented. You could use chocolate curls, fresh raspberries or blackberries or any kind of an ice cream sauce. You pretty much can't go wrong if it pairs well with chocolate.
2. Once taken out of the freezer, it begins melting so move quickly to get it cut and on the plates.

4 large eggs
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
6 oz semisweet chocolate, melted
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup heavy cream
Chocolate Syrup, for garnish
Raspberries, for garnish

1. Melt chocolate in a small saucepan then set aside.
2. Line a 9x5 inch loaf pan with plastic wrap, allowing the excess to hang over the edges.

3. Using a stand mixer, beat the eggs on medium-high speed for 3 minutes.

4. In a small saucepan, combine water and sugar and simmer over medium heat until the syrup is clear.

5. With the mixer on medium-high speed, slowly add the hot sugar syrup to the eggs, pouring it down the side of the bowl.

6. Bring additional water to a simmer in another saucepan and over it (not in it) place the bowl with the egg mixture, whisking constantly to prevent curdling until it reaches 160 F. This will take 2-4 minutes.

7. Remove from the heat and beat on high speed until light and fluffy and cooled to room temperature, about 5-10 minutes.

8. Gently fold in melted chocolate and vanilla.

9. In a medium bowl whip cream until soft peaks form.
10. Gently fold the cream into the chocolate mixture.

11. Pour into the prepared pan and place plastic wrap directly on the surface.

12. Freeze until firm, about 8 hours.
13. Remove the plastic covering and unmold the semifreddo onto a serving platter.
14. Peel away plastic wrap, slice, and serve immediately.

October 6, 2011

Banana Nut Muffins

The weather has begun getting very cold here in Utah so what better way to welcome in the Fall than with freshly baked muffins with cinnamon, nutmeg, walnuts and banana? There's really only 3 main steps in this recipe and from start to finish these can be done in less than just over 30 minutes. The aroma in your kitchen will be well worth the effort too. The recipe below yields 12 muffins. Enjoy!

1. Don't overmix after adding the flour. The batter should not be smooth.
2. These muffins are best served the day they are baked.

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
2/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 large egg
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 1/3 cup ripe bananas, mashed (about 2-3)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
2. Grease a standard 12-muffin pan or line with paper liners.
3. Whisk dry ingredients in a large bowl.

4. Stir in walnuts.

5. In separate bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients.

6. Add the dry mixture and fold just until the dry ingredients are moistened.

7. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups.

8. Bake 14-16 minutes, until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
9. Let cool 2-3 minutes before removing from the pan.

October 5, 2011

Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken Pot Pie is one of our favorite comfort foods and this recipe, originally found on allrecipes.com, hit the spot. I made a few modifications to the ingredients and I also made fresh pie crust instead of pre-packaged as it doesn't take that long and the quality is much better. The recipe below yields one large pie that feeds about 6. Enjoy!

1. The edges of the crust have a tendency to cook faster than the top of the pie. As soon as you see the crusts browning, cover them with tin foil so they don't burn while the rest of the pie bakes.

Pie Crust
1 cup butter cubed and chilled
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
8 to 10 Tbs ice water

Pot Pie
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, cubed
1 cup carrots, sliced
1 cup green peas, frozen
1/2 cup celery, slized
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup onion, shopped
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
2/3 cup milk

Pie Crust
1. Put the butter, flour, and salt in the food processor, and pulse lightly just until the mixture resembles wet sand.

2. Add the water, 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing briefly after each spoonful of water. Keep adding water until the dough just begins to gather into larger clumps.

3. Transfer equal amounts of the dough into 2 resealable plastic bags and pat each into a disk. Let rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

4. Remove 1 of the disks from the bag to a flour coated surface. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to a 10-inch round.

5. Gently fit the rolled dough into a 9-inch pie pan, and refrigerate while you prepare the pie filling.

Pot Pie
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
2. In a saucepan, combine chicken, carrots, peas, and celery.
3. Add water to cover and boil for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, drain and set aside.

4. In a separate saucepan over medium heat, cook onions in butter until soft and translucent.

5. Stir in flour, salt and pepper.

6. Slowly stir in chicken broth and milk.

7. Simmer over medium-low heat until thick. Remove from heat and set aside.

8. Place the chicken mixture in bottom pie crust.

9. Pour hot liquid mixture over the chicken mixture.

10. Cover with top crust, seal edges, and cut away excess dough. Make several small slits in the top to allow steam to escape.

11. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

October 2, 2011

Dried Apricot and Almond Scones

These delicious scones combine the wonderful flavors of apricot, almonds and lemon in a nice buttery, flaky biscuit. These are best right out of the oven but can also be made a day ahead if sealed in an airtight container. The recipe below yields either 12 large scones or up to 24 small scones. Enjoy!

1. The ingredients called for diced cold butter but I've found it effective to use a cheese grater for the butter as you'll see in the picture below.
2. Be very careful not to over mix after adding the lemon juice and half and half or the scones will come out too dense.

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 large lemon, zested and juiced
1 teaspoon salt
¾ cup cold butter, diced
1 cup dried apricots, chopped
½ cup almond slivers, toasted
½ cup half and half, chilled
1 teaspoon almond extract

2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon reserved lemon juice

1. Combine dry ingredients and lemon zest and whisk together in a bowl.
2. Add the cold butter in and work with your hands until the consistency of coarse cornmeal.

3. Place almonds in a medium size skillet and heat over medium heat, rotating continually, until nuts are lightly browned. Cool for 10 minutes.

4. Add apricots and almonds to mixture.

5. Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and half and half.

6. Lightly toss with a fork until ingredients are just moist .
7. Form dough into two balls, lightly flatten and cut into sixths.

8. In a small bowl, combine reserved lemon juice and sugar.

9. Brush a small amount of glaze on each scone..

10. Bake at 375 degrees in top third of your oven until a toothpick comes out clean, about 15-18 minutes.