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Whole Lotta Chili

Whole Lotta Chili
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Servings
6
Servings
6
Whole Lotta Chili
Print Recipe
Servings
6
Servings
6
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Heat a large soup pot over medium high heat. Add the bacon and cook until it renders some fat and is just beginning to brown. Remove the bacon from the pan and drain on paper towels.
  2. Add the chicken and turkey sausage to the pot and cook until they are cooked through. Remove from the pan and set aside. Leave the drippings in the pan.
  3. Add the onions, garlic, cumin, coriander, and jalapeno to the pot and cook until the onions soften and everything smells wonderful.
  4. Add the tomato paste and stir to blend it in. Cook for about 5 minutes stirring occasionally.
  5. Add the chili sauce and stock along with the chili powders and oregano. Stir in the green and poblano chilis. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes to blend the flavors.
  6. Add the rinsed and drained beans to the pot and let everything simmer another 15 minutes.
  7. Increase the heat to a low boil. Shake the masa harina with a half cup of water in a jar until it is well blended. Stir the mixture into the chili and continue to stir until it thickens.
  8. Give it a taste and adjust the ingredients as needed. Serve.
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Slow Cooker Sunday Gravy

I am a firm believer that a slow cooker has a specific place in the kitchen of love. That is in the realm of soups and chili and now gravy. While I am not overly fond of large (or small)pieces pf meat prepared this way, I do find that soups, chili and other “liquidy” recipes work well. I do also like the convenience of setting and then forgetting these long cooking recipes.

Soups and chilies benefit from long slow cooking. With a slow cooker to keep an eye on things, the cook is able to go about life without the burden of being constantly available to stir and adjust the heat. At times that can feel like a life changing occurrence.

I had never thought to make Sunday Gravy in the slow cooker. I rather enjoy the process of stirring and tasting and adjusting. It brings back wonderful memories of my father making his gravy, meatballs, and sausage. Please, journey back with me by clicking on this link:

More Memories From the Kitchen of Love 

Back to the present and the slow cooker. This recipe takes the heart of my father’s recipe and introduces it to elements of the classic Bolognese Sauce. San Marzano tomatoes replaced my father’s Tomato paste and puree, though a good amount of tomato paste was needed to pay respect to the bolgonese.

I used meat that I had in the freezer; in this case two spicy Italian sausage links and a bag of “meat bits”. The bits were mostly chicken, remnants of trimmed thighs and breasts, but there were a few pork scraps as well.

I browned the meat and onions before adding them to the cooker. We all know that a slow cooker can’t brown things. Which in my opinion is one of the factors that contribute to the watered down taste. In this case it was worth the time because the flavors were really there. The tomato paste also had a chance to cook out a bit before jumping into the “hot tub”.

I originally planned to let the sauce cook 6 – 8 hours. It wound up going closer to 10. That was a good thing. It resulted in a thick rich sauce that was wonderful. I strongly suggest waiting until the next day to eat this. The aroma that is created in the house will make that difficult but be strong, I guarantee that the wait will be worth it. You have my permission however, to dip a chunk of bread into the pot to check for proper seasoning. That’s where the salt, pepper and perhaps a bit of sugar listed in the recipe come in.

Serve this over your favorite pasta. I chose spaghetti (Papa D’s favorite). I also used my mother’s technique of serving. A ladle of gravy in the bottom of the bowl with a sprinkle of cheese. Half of the pasta and another ladle of gravy, a quick toss, then repeat. Top with two generous ladles of gravy and a generous sprinkle of cheese and bring it to the table.¬†

I don’t know if my father would have embraced the slow cooker. Back then I think he was as concerned about the process as the product. I do believe that if he were around now he would approve of this take on his prized recipe.

Slow Cooker Sunday Gravy
Print Recipe
Servings
12
Servings
12
Slow Cooker Sunday Gravy
Print Recipe
Servings
12
Servings
12
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Pour the tomatoes into a 5 -6 quart crock pot. Use a potato masher or your hands (if you want to be one with the tomatoes) to crush the tomatoes.
  2. In a large skillet, heat a bit of the olive oil. Crumble the sausage meat into the skillet. Discard the casing. Brown the sausage lightly. When it is barely cooked through add it to the slow cooker.
  3. Add a little more olive oil to the pan and add the finely chopped chicken meat. You want this to brown, so if you need to, do it in two batches. Again we are looking for some color and barely cooked. Add this to the cooker as well
  4. Add the remaining olive oil to the pan and add the onions and garlic. cook these until they are just getting translucent and lightly browned.
  5. Add the tomato paste to the onion mixture along with a splash of stock. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes.The onions should be coated and the mixture should be a lovely russet color.
  6. Add this to the cooker along with the parsley and Italian herbs. Stir everything together and cover the pot. Set the temperature on low and let it go. 8 -10 hours should do it.
  7. When you feel that it can't get any more wonderful, turn off the pot. If it seems to thick, add a little more stock. .
  8. Cool slightly. Divide the gravy into 3 containers. Freeze 2 and put the other one in the refrigerator for dinner tomorrow.
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Chicken and Butternut Squash Chili

Chicken and Butternut Squash Chili
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Servings
6
Servings
6
Chicken and Butternut Squash Chili
Print Recipe
Servings
6
Servings
6
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Spray a 6 quart Slow Cooker lightly with non-stick spray. Add the squash, peppers, onion, garlic, hominy, chilies, and black beans to the cooker and stir to combine.
  2. Combine the pureed beans, chicken stock, and red chili sauce in a bowl. Add the masa harina and stir or whisk until the mixture is smooth.
  3. Add the chili powder, cumin, and oregano to the liquid ingredients and stir once more. Pour the liquids into the cooker and stir to combine everything well.
  4. Cut the chicken into bite size pieces. Lay the chicken pieces on top of the vegetable mixture. Cover and cook on Low for 6 - 8 hours (the heat on every slow cooker is different so adjust the time according to how yours cooks).
  5. At the 6/8 hour point, stir the chicken into the other ingredients. Give things a taste and add more of any seasoning you think it needs.
  6. Tilt the lid slightly and turn the heat setting to High. Allow the chili to cook until it is the thickness that you like.
  7. While the chili is cooking on High, mix the sour cream, salsa, and cilantro together. Set aside.
  8. When you are ready to serve, ladle into bowls. Pass the sour cream mixture, lime, and cheese at the table.
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Grilled Pork Tenderloin Stuffed with Kale

Grilled Pork Tenderloin Stuffed with Kale
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Servings
4
Servings
4
Grilled Pork Tenderloin Stuffed with Kale
Print Recipe
Servings
4
Servings
4
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium size skillet. Add the onions and toss to coat. Cook for 2 - 3 minutes.
  2. Add the kale and the garlic and continue to cook for another 5 minutes or so. The kale should be wilted and somewhat tender and the onions and garlic should be golden.
  3. Add a little half and half to keep things moist and continue to cook until everything is very tender. Set aside
  4. If you choose to precook the bacon, lay the strips in a medium skillet and cook over low heat 5 -7 minutes until the bacon begins to render some fat. Remove from the pan and drain on paper towels while you prepare the tenderloin.
  5. Trim any fat from the tenderloin. Using a sharp knife, cut along the length of the tenderloin so that it lays flat. Be careful not to cut all the way through. Set aside.
  6. Spoon the filling into the pork tenderloin stopping a bit short of the ends. Smooth the filling out stopping about 1/2 inch from the edges.
  7. Pull the cut edges together so that the filling is completely enclosed and the tenderloin is more or less back to its original shape.
  8. Wrap the bacon strips around the tenderloin covering it completely. Overlap the strips as necessary to create the coverage. Secure with tooth picks. Know how many you are putting in and make sure to take the same number out prior to serving.
  9. Place the tenderloin on a preheated grill and cook over medium high heat, turning as needed to brown and cook evenly, 20 - 25 minutes. Tenderloin is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees.
  10. Allow the tenderloin to rest at least 5 minutes before slicing.
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Artichoke Lasagna

Artichoke Lasagna
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Servings
6
Servings
6
Artichoke Lasagna
Print Recipe
Servings
6
Servings
6
Ingredients
Bechamel Sauce
Lasagna
Servings:
Instructions
Bechamel sauce
  1. Melt the butter in a small sauce pan. Add the flour and cook, stirring frequently for 2 minutes or so. Add the milk slowly whisking constantly to keep things smooth.
  2. Bring the mixture just to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese. Set aside in a warm place. If sauce gets too thick add a little more half & half.
Lasagna
  1. Cook the lasagna according to the package directions. Drain well and lay out on wax or parchment paper. Prepare the filling while the pasta cooks.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and cook for 3 minutes. Add the bell peppers and mushrooms and cook another 3 minutes. Stir often during this step to insure everything is softening.
  3. Add the garlic and artichoke hearts and cook 3 minutes more or until everything is soft, fragrant, and lightly browned. Allow to cool before adding to the other filling ingredients.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, eggs, pesto, and 1/3 cup of the Italian Cheese Blend. Mix everything together. Add the cooled vegetables and stir it all together.
  5. Spray a baking dish with non-stick spray. Place 2 lasagna noodles in the bottom of the dish. Spread half of the filling evenly over the noodles. Sprinkle with a little of the remaining cheese blend and drizzle a tablespoon or two of the Bechamel over the layer.
  6. Repeat the process with two more noodles and the other half of the filling. Sprinkle with cheese and drizzle with sauce as for the first layer.
  7. Top with the remaining two noodles. Spread the rest of the Bechamel sauce on top and sprinkle with the last of the cheese blend.
  8. Cover loosely with foil and bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Check to see if things are beginning to bubble. If not cover and bake another 5 minutes or so.
  9. When the lasagna is bubbly, remove the foil and raise the oven to broil. Broil the lasagna for 3 - 4 minutes or until it is lightly golden brown and even more bubbly.
  10. Allow to rest 10 -15 minutes before cutting and serving.
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