Category Archives: Recipes

Chili for a week

It’s that time of year again – the time of year where we can fix a pot of chili and eat it for a week!

Chili is one of those things that everyone makes differently. Some like it thick, some like it soup-like. Some like chunks of peppers and onions, some don’t like any at all.

The Mr makes an AWESOME chili that I absolutely love, though I do make a teeny modification to my own bowl. We make so much of it that we end up eating it for nearly a week straight.  Best of all, it’s a one-pot dish! Here’s what we do:

  • 2lbs ground meat of choice (we have deer/venison in the freezer currently so we use that, but we’ve also used hamburger, pork, and turkey)
  • 2 cans tomato juice
  • 2 green bell peppers, chopped
  • 3-5 small-to-medium onions, chopped
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • Chili pepper, red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper to taste (this is really a personal preference thing – you don’t want the chili to taste too tomato-y, but I also prefer mine to not be so spicy that I can barely eat it.)
Brown up the meat in your big pot. If you need to drain it then do so (our venison had very little grease to it so we skip this step a lot). Add in the peppers and onions to cook just slightly – you don’t want them raw, but you don’t want them so cooked that they’re mushy. Add in the beans and tomato juice, and then season to taste. Cook, covered, for a few hours on medium low – the flavor/heat of ours tends to increase as we cook it, so if you add your spices but aren’t sure if you should add more or not, give it an hour or so and then come back and taste-test and see.
We make ours up on a Saturday or Sunday around lunch time and let it cook until we’re ready to eat it for dinner.  If you’ve got a lot of ‘filler’ left as you eat it (the meat and veggies), you can add a 3rd can of juice and more spices to stretch the meal further. We do this about 50% of the time – depending on if we’re getting sick of chili yet.
The only thing I do differently with my own bowl is that I add some brown sugar. I find that brown sugar tames some of the spiciness if we accidentally make it too hot, and it just adds a nice flavor IMO.

Like Magic

Yesterday I had a crock pot full of apple pieces mixed with sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and a pinch of salt. And it all looked like this.

I put it on high for a bit right before bed just to get it kinda going, gave it a good stir or two, and then as we headed off for a much needed night of sleep I backed it off on low to let it do its thing. I was a little worried that it wouldn’t turn out – that I’d end up with more applesauce than apple butter.

But, you guys, it’s totally like magic! It worked! And holy hell is it a delicious thing to smell waking up first thing in the morning (aside from fresh coffee – that’s pretty much always first in my book).

Its hard to capture the right coloring of it – we have a southwest facing kitchen that has great lighting in the evening, but absolute crap lighting in the morning. But look at that delicious brown color!  Its a little chunky, not that smooth stuff you get at the store. I don’t know if I want to leave it like that or if I want to try to blend it down and smooth it out. Personally, I don’t mind chunks of apples – I’ve always been a chunky applesauce kind of girl so why not have some chunks of apples in my butter, too?

I’ve got a few jars in the canner heating up this morning – we’ll see how many jars I get out of this batch. I’m thinking only 1 or 2 half pints since they cooked down so much. So I’m definitely doing another batch overnight tonight

Crock Pot Apple Butter

  • Apples – peeled, cored, and sliced – enough to fill your crock pot up
  • 1-1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp salt
Throw all your apples in the crock pot, add the rest of the ingredients and give a little stir. Put the crock pot on high for an hour or so to get it going, and then throw it on low and let it sit overnight while you sleep. When you wake up you should have a delicious brown butter. Fire up your canner and get your jars and lids ready and then pour into the jars and water bath can as usual.

I ended up with 3 jelly/half pint jars and 1 full pint jar (ran out of half pint jars). You may end up with more or less, depending on the size of your crock pot.

If you’re new to canning or have never canned, I recommend you check out the Ball Intro to Canning PDF and don’t let yourself be too intimidated by it! It took me a lot of courage to do my first batch of jelly a few years ago – even with helping my mom make jam when I was a kid and having a general understanding of the process – but once I got through that first batch and heard the little “tinks” of the jar lids setting I got over it and have been canning easily ever since!

In other news, I checked my apple-ginger jam this morning and… nope, not jam. More like a sauce. Multiple reasons why I failed here, all of my own fault for just kind of winging it. And not reading all the directions. The jars all sealed, however, so I at least didn’t fail at that. Oh well, I bet that shit will be delicious all the same over some ice cream with some warm caramel poured on top!