Thursday, August 29, 2013

Chipotle Beans

I have a confession to make. you promise not to tell anyone? Ok then. (Sigh) Here it goes. I developed this recipe as a trick to get my husband to eat chili beans. Oh....good....finally I said it. Whew!! Well, wait, maybe I should explain.
Last week I was driving home after a really long day in the school counseling office and all I could think about was a big bowl of warm, spicy chili beans and cornbread for supper. There was one problem, though, my husband says he doesn't like chili beans. Now, I also feel I should quantify this statement. He eats chili beans for football games, on nachos, and, occasionally, as a meal. However, if you ask him if he wants some made for dinner, he will give a confused glance your way and say no. Ok. So how was this recipe a trick?
Well, although he contests that he does not like chili beans, he does love baked beans. This recipe morphed into a combination of the two. They are spicy from the chipotles, which he also likes, yet sweet from the brown sugar. Instead of using kidney beans, because there were none to be found in the pantry, all of the beans are from plain old cans of pork and beans. In reality, this recipe was originally developed as a way to continue to enjoy my Mexican Campfire Beans while on a camping trip in Cherokee, North Carolina. You will notice the fried hotdog slices on top of the beans in the picture. Why, you ask? Well, why not? These beans are great in a bowl with cornbread, as a side with barbecue, or on top of nachos for tailgating. Be warned, if you don't like spicy, I would definitely cut down on the amount of chipotles used. For me, it is some real sweet heat!

1 Pound Ground Beef
1 Large Onion, Chopped
1 Clove Garlic, Minced
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Dried Oregano
1 teaspoon Paprika
1 teaspoon Chili Powder
1/2 teaspoon Cumin
3.5 ounces (weight) Chipotles in Adobo, Minced
45 ounces (weight) Pork and Beans
1/2 Cup Light Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Ketchup
2 Tablespoons Mustard

1. In a large dutch oven over medium high heat, brown the ground beef. Use the back of your spoon to break the meat into small pieces while cooking. Add the onion and garlic to the meat and cook for 2 minutes.
2. Sprinkle with salt, oregano, paprika, chili powder and cumin. Stir to combine. Cook for another 2 minutes to allow the spices to infuse the meat.
3. Add the remaining ingredients. Stir to combine.
4. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and cover.
5. Cook for 1 hour, stirring frequently.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Banana Split Cake

So I am beginning to notice a recent trend with my recipes. On the weekends, specifically Sunday, I tend to post some delicious dessert recipe. I am not sure if this is an intentional attempt to soften the blow of the approaching Monday or if it is a happy coincidence, either way, I am fine with the results. This recipe arose from a coffee cake meets banana split idea. The topping is slightly crisp with a surprise gooey middle waiting to be discovered. If you really want to make this like a banana split, while hot, top with a nice scoop of ice cream and drizzle with caramel and chocolate sauce. YUM!!! Happy Sunday!

2/3 Cups Packed Light Brown Sugar
2/3 Cups Chopped Walnuts
2/3 Cups Chocolate Chips
1 Tablespoon Cinnamon
1 Stick Softened Butter
3/4 Cup Sugar
1 Egg
3 Ripe Bananas, Peeled
3 Tablespoons 2% Milk
1 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
3/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
3/4 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon Salt
2 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder
1. In a medium size bowl, combine the ingredients for the streusel. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of a large stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the egg and mix until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the bananas and milk. Mix well.
4. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet, incorporating slowly.
5. Prepare a 9x9 inch metal baking pan. You can either spray with cooking spray or smear with butter. (I used butter.)
6. Pour half of the batter into the pan. Top with half of the streusel mixture. Repeat.
7. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 45 minutes.
8. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before cutting.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Chipotle Meatloaf

Meatloaf is a staple in the Southern cuisine. Classic meatloaf recipes include basic ingredients and are heavy on ketchup. While I do enjoy a classic meatloaf occasionally, I prefer diced tomatoes and less ketchup in my recipes. Be warned, this meatloaf is not for those that do not enjoy a little "kick in their mouth." If you are worried about the heat level, reduce the amount of chipotles by half. No matter what heat level you enjoy, this recipe is tender, moist, and flavorful.

1 Pound Ground Beef
1/4 Cup Minced Onion
3.5 Ounces (weight) Chipotles in Adobo, Chopped
1/2 Cup Diced Tomatoes
1 Egg
1 1/3 Cup Saltine Cracker Crumbs
5 Strips Uncooked Bacon, Halved

1. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients, minus the bacon. Use your hands to fold all of the ingredients together, making sure to evenly distributer but not over work. Place the mixture into a 9x5 loaf pan, pressing slightly to make an even layer.
2. Use the bacon strips to cover the top of the loaf.
3. Bake at 400 degrees for 1 hour or until the bacon is completely crisp and the loaf is cooked through.
4. Once removed from the oven, carefully remove the meatloaf from the pan, leaving the juices behind. In order to move the loaf without it crumbling, the use of two spatulas is recommended.
5. Allow to sit for 5 minutes before slicing.
6. Serve with ketchup for dipping. (Optional)

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Chocolate Pound Cake

I love pound cake and I love to make variations of my grandmother's moist, tender, delicious recipe. I make the classic vanilla, spiced pumpkin, fresh strawberry, and even a cinnamon swirl. While every variation turns out amazing, thanks in part to the genius of the original recipe, this particular day beckoned for a rich chocolate version.
This recipe was used to make a wonderful bundt cake for a birthday celebration at work. The texture is moist, never dry, with a rich, almost chocolate bar taste. True decadence would be to top it with a thick ganache and enjoy with a hot cup of coffee.

1 Cup Vegetable Shortening
1 Stick Butter, Softened
3 Cups Sugar
5 Eggs
2 2/3 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon Salt
2/3 Cups Cocoa Powder
1 Cups 2% Milk
2 teaspoons Vanilla
Yield: 1 Large Bundt or Loaves
Preheat Oven Temperature: 325 degrees
Bake Time: 1 hour

1. In a large bowl, cream shortening, butter, and sugar until light and fluffy.
2. While the sugar creams, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder in a separate bowl. Set aside. Combine milk and vanilla in a measuring cup. Set aside.
3. Add the eggs, one at a time, to the butter/sugar mixture. Allow each addition to combine thoroughly before adding the next. Scrape down the bowl. 
4. Add the flour and milk alternately. Begin with a third of the flour mixture followed by half of the milk mixture, ending with flour. Allow each addition to mix completely before moving to the next. Scrape the bowl periodically.
5. Grease and flour the baking pan. Pour the batter into the pan and place in the preheated over for 1 hour or until a toothpick comes out clean.
6. Allow to sit on the counter for 5 minutes before turning out onto the serving dish. Be careful when removing from the pan as it will still be steaming hot.
7. Slice and enjoy!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Slow Cooker Southern Style Ribs

Now that I am back to my day job, a high school counselor, easy meals are back on the calendar. Just like any busy working person, sometimes a hearty, homemade dinner just seems overwhelming after a long day on the job. However, this meal is quick, no-fuss, and delicious but tastes like it has been slow cooking for hours, because it has!
Barbecue and ribs are a Southern staple. There are several recipes on this very site for various flavors and cooking methods. This recipe is a simple, "leave it and forget it" slow cooker recipe that utilizes the less expensive Southern Style Ribs, a meatier version of the popular pork rib.
With this recipe, you may use your favorite barbecue sauce. I used a "Thick and Spicy" version of a national brand. Just be warned, I would consider doubling the recipe for your family. Yes. They are that good!

3 Pounds Southern Style Pork Ribs
1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/4 teaspoon Onion Powder
1/2 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
1/2 Cup Barbecue Sauce
1/2 Cup Water

1. Place the ribs in the bottom of the slow cooker.
2. Sprinkle the dry seasonings over the ribs. Top with barbecue sauce. Carefully pour the water into the bottom of the slow cooker, making sure not to pour over the ribs.
3. Place the lid on the slow cooker. Cook on LOW for 8-10 hours.
4. Carefully remove from the slow cooker. The ribs should be tender and falling apart.
5. Serve and enjoy!