Friday, February 25, 2011


Before the weather gets too warm to enjoy it, I thought I'd post my version of this recipe. It's simple, thick, and can be as hot or not as you want. This recipe is about 3.5 or 4 alarm--if you want it milder, reduce the seasoning, or use mild ro-tel. Or both. If you want it hotter, use more seasoning (but not more than 1/3 c per pound) or hot ro-tel. Or both. I usually double this recipe, because if I don't, there's not enough leftovers to do more than top a baked potato.

1 lb lean hamburger meat (90/10 at least) Ground venison is also very good in this.
1/4 c chili seasoning
1 10 oz can ro-tel
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
1 15 oz can seasoned black beans, drained

1. Brown meat over medium heat, making sure to break up any large chunks.
2. Add seasoning, ro-tel (undrained), and tomato sauce. Mix well.
3. Simmer on medium low (I usually set the burner to about 4 [low=1; high=11]; adjust as needed for your stove) until desired consistency is reached (about an hour for my taste), but at least a half an hour.
4. Add black beans, stir, simmer until beans are warmed through (another five or ten minutes).

Serve hot, with cheese, crackers, tortilla chips, or baked potatoes. Tastes good the day you make it, and tastes better the next day.

*Helpful cleanup hint: as soon as you've put the leftovers away, run the tap until the water's hot, put dish soap in the bottom of the chili pot, then fill with hot water. Soak overnight and it comes clean with no effort.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

New toy

We did our taxes, and did the responsible things with the refund first. You know, kids' college, our retirement...not that it'll do much good with the rapidly tanking dollar.

Anyway, after we did those things, we decided to have a little fun. I ordered this. Hopefully, it will arrive tomorrow. I can't wait to go play with it a little.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Welcome to the blog world, babe.

My husband has started his own blog. You can find it in my blog list: By Other Means.

breakfast cornbread

This is a family favorite. I strongly recommend using an 8" cast iron skillet to cook this in, or a cast iron drop biscuit pan. Spray the skillet/pan with cooking spray, and preheat it with the oven before you pour in the batter, and the cornbread flash cooks on the edges, and falls right out when you turn it upside down after it's done. No need to clean up the pan.

1/2 lb bulk maple flavored sausage
1 sweet yellow corn bread mix (I use Morrison's)

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees or as directed on the cornbread mix. Don't forget to spray your cast iron skillet and put it in the oven when you turn the oven on.
2. Fry the sausage, breaking up chunks as you cook it (helpful tip: fry the whole pound, and freeze half for later).
3. Mix the cornbread batter according to the directions (helpful tip: measure the milk in a two to four cup liquid measuring cup with a pour spout, beat in egg, then stir the mix right into the measuring cup. That way, you only have two things to wash: the fork or spoon and the measuring cup).
4. Stir in 1/2 lb of cooked maple flavored sausage.
5. Pour into preheated cast iron skillet. Bake as directed on the mix.
6. Serve hot, buttered, with maple syrup.

No, this likely isn't good for you, but it's easy, tastes good, and heats up well the next day or two.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

New category

I'm going to be posting a series of fast, easy, relatively healthy, and tasty recipes that my family and I commonly eat, all under the label "Mother's Little Helper." (I swear, there aren't any drugs involved, just a lack of sleep causing a bit of a feeling of disassociation from reality.)

First up: Beef enchilada casserole

1 lb extra lean ground beef (90/10 is adequate, 93/7 or higher is better--don't have to drain it)
1 packet taco or enchilada seasoning
1 8-10 oz can of re-fried beans
1 10 oz can of enchilada sauce
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup (I use the 96% fat free)
1 can condensed fiesta nacho cheese or cheddar cheese soup
1 can corn, drained
1 can ro-tel (any variety)
2 or more cups cheese (cheddar works, as does Mexican blend)
4 cups of crushed tortilla chips

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Brown ground beef in large pot. Mix in seasoning according to directions, then re-fried beans. Mix thoroughly.
3. Remove from heat. Add enchilada sauce, soups, corn, and ro-tel. Mix well.
4. Layer chips, filling mixture, and cheese in a 9x13" baking dish (or a disposable steamer tray pan for less cleanup).
5. Bake, uncovered, for 25 minutes, or until cheese is melted and lightly browned. Serve hot.

Edit: my husband pointed out that I didn't specify that we do two layers of each ingredient, or that it's as easy to make two as it is to make one, or that they freeze well. If you want to freeze them, though, you need to more than double the cook time--we've found that it takes two hours to bring one from frozen solid to piping hot.

Monday, February 7, 2011