Tag Archives: Tomatoes

Nowinsky Chili

20 Sep

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Chili is a staple of fall. I don’t care who you are or what you think about that, in my world, it just IS. And when my husband and I were musing about fall foods a few weeks ago, both of us had the “lightbulb” moment of…”let’s make CHILI!”.

Now, having a solid chili recipe in your arsenal is essential. It’s something that could vary a little bit every time you make it, but in theory, you still have the same overall chili outline.

I did not have a chili recipe that I could fall on without looking up something to get me started.

My mother in law has one. A GOOD one. One that the entire Nowinsky family knows and loves. One she tweaks every time she makes it, sometimes with steak and sometimes with ground beef. She had never even written it down until we probed her for the basic outline so that we could give it a try.

This is foolproof, guys. It really is. You put in meat, spices, beans, veggies and liquid…you let it slow cook for several hours…and it becomes chili. That’s the basic premise. And you get to use Bloody Mary mix. (A newfound favorite drink. De-lish!)

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It will also fill your entire kitchen with a chili aroma. That’s a bonus because let me tell you, the way it tastes will warm your insides and make you ooze happiness.

Ok, ok, that’s dramatic. But it WILL be good. And you WILL want to make it again.

We are diving in the chili-making process with a cannonball…here…we….

….GO!

Ingredients:

  •  3 lbs ground beef
  • 2 Tbsp dried basil
  • 2 Tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 2 Tbsp oregano
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 2 white onions, chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 16 oz tomato juice
  • 16 oz Hair of the Dawg (or any other Bloody Mary mix)
  • 3 cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 2 cans chili beans
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 6 (or so) dashes of hot sauce

How to Make:

First, it’s time to brown the meat. And not just the meat, we browned it with 1 Tbsp of each of the dried basil, Italian seasoning, oregano and chili powder.

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Yum.

While that’s browning, chop up your white onions and celery stalks.

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When the meat is mostly browned (my own technical term), add in your onions and celery and low that cook on low for about 15 minutes.

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Now, this makes a large batch of chili. So for us, we divided it amongst our largest stockpot and crockpot. But if you have a BIG stockpot, this will all fit nicely. If not, I do think splitting amongst two big stockpots or between your stockpot and crockpot, will work too. It did for us!

Now, take your meat/onion/celery mixture and pour into your stockpot/crockpot. Now, we get to add everything else!

Add in the tomato juice (not pictured in step format, but I promise it went in) and the Bloody mix, which adds a nice amount of spice (we like Hair of the Dawg…it’s sooooo tasty)…

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…and then the canned diced and peeled tomatoes…

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…and the chili and black beans…

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…add in 1 Tbsp of garlic powder….

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…and the remaining 1 Tbsp of basil, Italian seasoning, oregano and chili powder.

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Give everything a BIG stir and then, for a final touch of ‘zing’, add in some dashes of hot sauce (not pictured, but is an essential final step). We did about 6 dashes, but you can do more or less depending on your affinity for the condiment.

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Now, if you’re doing this as an all-day crockpot item, I recommend doing this is on low for 6-8 hours. The longer and lower heat, the better!

If you’re like us, and wanting to eat this for dinner and you’re making it early afternoon, you can easily do this in your crockpot on high for 4 hours.

Now, for the stockpot option, leave that on medium-low for a short cooking time of 4 hours, or on low for a long 6-8 hour batch.

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The good news is that this is flexible and you can tweak it depending on the time you have and the cooking method you plan to use!

When you’re ready, this is great to serve with a little sour cream or plain Greek yogurt, a sprinkling of your favorite shredded cheese and a big slab of cornbread. We really enjoyed dipping and eating our Beer Bacon Cornbread with this chili and it was perfect.

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So if you too are ready for fall foods, you want something to warm your insides and make your kitchen smell like heaven, you need to make yourself a big batch of Nowinsky chili.

You WON’T be disappointed!!

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New York Breakfast Casserole

12 Jan

Happy 2014! With the New Year starting, felt it would be a great time to get back into the blog. There hasn’t been a shortage of cooking/baking/crafting…there has only been a shortage of gumption to write another post. Shameful, I realize. But here I am, giving this a go with the full intention of keeping post-writing gumption intact. If I don’t post again until 2015, please don’t be furious. But feel free to give me the crap I deserve (a LOT).

So, the blog resurrection of 2014 is starting off with one of my new favorite breakfast recipes. The need for discovering a new breakfast recipe came about as Luke and I were hosting some good friends overnight at the end of December. Ideally we wanted to make a breakfast that we could prep the day before (so we could be sleepy and lazy in the morning with our friends and not have to be up at the crack of dawn) AND that would be fairly easy. We were making quite a bit of food for the weekend (including this Steakhouse Pizza and TBM Salad) and easy to make / prep in advance were our two key factors.

Luke and I are both big bagel fans, Everything bagels to be exact. How can you not love the flavorful goodness of an Everything bagel?! And Luke is a BIG breakfast person to begin with…so we were trying to think of something epic to make for breakfast and when we found this recipe in my Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, well, we were smitten. Breakfast casserole with Everything bagels?!? Done!

We prepped it the night before, baked it in the morning,and four of us just about devoured the whole pan in one sitting. Luke and I were so excited about this recipe that we made it AGAIN only a few days later, for Luke’s family. It’s been getting rave reviews from all who’ve eaten it so I thought it was the perfect thing to blog about for you all.

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We added some of our own twists to the recipe to make this our own, but I can’t take credit for the original wonderful creation that Deb over on the Smitten Kitchen blog and author of the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook crafted up. I highly encourage you to give this a whirl!

Ingredients (Serves 8-10…OR…4-5 very hungry people):

  • 8 cups (or so) of Everything or Sesame bagels, chopped into bite-size chunks (you can do a bit more than 8 cups if you’re using dense bagels…you just want enough to fill a 9×13 pan)
  • 8 oz. of cream cheese (you could go with a light cream cheese here if you want to make this a bit healthier)
  • 1/4 medium red onion, sliced in a half-moon shape
  •  1 pint of cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 8 large eggs
  • 2 1/3 cups of milk (healthier version) or half and half (the not so healthy but delectable version)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp chopped garlic (we used a jar of pre-chopped garlic but about 2-3 cloves would work too)
  • 4-6 slices of bacon, torn into bite-size chunks
  • Ground pepper to taste

How to Make:

This recipe is really very easy to make and definitely goes fast with a co-chef in the kitchen or even a little helper if you have any of those at home who’d like to help!

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First, you’ll need to prep all of the ingredients: chop/tear your bagels…

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…halve your tomatoes…

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…slice your red onion…

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…measure out your garlic (which you can see we did after our other prep…but you should just do it now to save time)…

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…and fry up/microwave your bacon. We went the microwave route to save some time and grease splatter and DEFINITELY went with the 6 pieces of bacon. We are bacon-loving people. However…if you’re not into bacon you could always leave this out. This was one of our additions to the recipe that wasn’t in the original.

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Also, bring your cream cheese out of the fridge for it to soften as working with it later will be a bit easier. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees if you plan to make this right away.

Now it’s time to start to layer your casserole.

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You’re going to be creating three layers, so will need to divide your ingredients into approximate thirds. Lay about 1/3 of your bagel chunks in a large 9×13 pan. Scatter 1/3 of the halved tomatoes and sliced red onions on top. Sprinkle about 1/3 of your chopped garlic all over. Then, tear 1/3 of the cream cheese off and break it into small dollops. Place said dollops throughout the pan, doting the bagels evenly. Finally, throw 1-2 slices of bacon (which is torn into bite size pieces) on top, scattered evenly throughout the pan. When you’ve finished this part, you’re going to start back at the beginning with the bagel pieces and complete the layering two more times. Not too tough, right?

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Once your 3 layers are complete, whisk together in a medium-sized bowl the 8 eggs…

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…the milk or half and half…

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…and the salt and pepper. You’ll want to add as much pepper as you think needed to give your full casserole enough taste. As the Everything bagels are already seasoned, we didn’t go too crazy. But if you’re into lots of pepper, then pepper away. It is YOUR casserole after all!

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Once your egg mixture is all whisked, pour it over the entire casserole ensuring you get the egg in all of the crevices.

Done pouring? Excellent. Getting excited to bite into this later?! We sure were.

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Pop this guy in the fridge overnight if you’re prepping in advance (we covered it with aluminum foil overnight). If not, then pop this guy into your 350 degree oven for an hour to hour and 15 minutes. Ours was always done at the hour mark but your oven may take a bit longer. No need to cover this while baking.

You’ll know it’s ready when the top of the bagels starts to turn a little brown. And be prepared for a VERY pretty casserole. It’s definitely one of those times you’ll take a picture and want to share because it just looks so darn amazing. Those tomatoes and onions just add the right pop of color, I think. To double-check it’s ready to come out, insert a knife it the middle and check to see that if the knife is rotated a bit, no liquid comes out…meaning eggs are set).

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Now, this will smell so good that a bit of drool may start to go down you chin. But WAIT! Let the casserole set for about 10 minutes after you take it out of the oven. That will ensure ALL of the egg is fully set.

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Use a big spatula to slice this up – big squares work well. You will be amazed at how delicious this is, I promise.

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Dang, I sure wish I had some of this right now. My stomach has started to growl remembering how GOOD this was. The cream cheese and the egg, mixed with the warm pop of tomatoes and the chewy, flavorful bagels…wow. Um, I’m hungry.

I hope you and whomever you serve this to find it as delectable as we did and mark it as a favorite to make for many breakfasts to come!

Enjoy!

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