Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Texas Crock Pot Chili

My husband loved this chili.  I was able to put it in the crock pot before work and came home to the whole house smelling wonderfully and dinner (basically) finished.  Original recipe credit to Cooking With Melissa.


Recipe Notes
Original recipe post available here.

  • 2 lbs. lean ground beef
  • 1 small roma tomato, diced
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 30-oz can tomato sauce
  • 1/4 c. chili powder (I used more like 2 tbsp.)
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp. salt & pepper
  • 1/2 cube beef bouillon
  • 1 c. water
  • 4 oz. can chopped green chiles
  • 16 oz. can pinto beans, drained
  • 16 oz. can chili beans in sauce (undrained)
  • 1-2 tbsp. cayenne pepper
1.  In a large skiller, heat ground beef and onion until cooked through.
2.  Drain mixture and set aside.
3.  In a slow cooker, combine all ingredients including ground beef and onion.  
4.  Stir and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
5.  Serve with sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, diced avocado, or anything else you like on your chili.

Note: this is a great recipe to use a Reynolds slow cooker liner for easy cleanup.  They are available with the food storage items in your local grocery store.

Greek Baked Ziti

As far as pasta casseroles go, this Southern Living recipe seemed pretty nutritionally harmless.  It's made with lean ground beef and a reasonable amount of dairy.  I tweaked it a bit to make it slightly more healthy.  The ingredient list may look a bit daunting below, but most of these items you will already have in your pantry (or can very easily get them from the store).


Recipe Notes
For the milk, I used 2%.  You should be able to use skim as a substitute without issue.  The original recipe calls for a very large amount of the milk/cheese mixture.  I halved this portion in my version and didn't miss any of the milk, butter, and cheese that we did not use.  I did not use the entire 8 oz. package of mozzarella indicated below.  I used between 4-6 oz. for my dish.

  • 12 oz ziti pasta, cooked and drained
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1-1/2 lb. lean ground beef
  • 2 15-oz. cans of tomato sauce
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1-1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1-1/2 tsp. kosher salt, divided
  • 1-1/2 tbsp. butter
  • 1-1/2 tbsp. flour
  • 1-1/2 c. milk (I used 2%)
  • 1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly-ground black pepper
  • 8 oz. package shredded mozzarella
  • 1/3 c. fine dry breadcrumbs
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Saute onion in hot oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until tender (4-5 minutes).  Add garlic and saute 30 seconds.
3.  Add beef, stirring occasionally, and cook 5 minutes or until crumbled and browned.
4.  Drain mixture and return to the skillet.
5.  Stir in tomato sauce, lemon juice, oregano, sugar, cinnamon, and 1 tsp. salt.  Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.
6.  Cook and stir occasionally for 2 minutes and remove from heat.
7.  Melt butter in a saucepan over low heat.  Whisk in flour and cook, whisking continuously, for 2 minutes.  Gradually whisk in milk.
8.  Increase heat to medium and cook, whisking constantly, for 5-7 minutes or until thickened and bubbly.
9.  Stir in Parmesan cheese, pepper, and remaining 1/2 tsp. salt.
10.  Add cooked ziti pasta to cheese sauce mixture, stirring to coat.
11.  Transfer pasta mixture to a lightly-greased 9x13 glass baking dish.  Top with beef mixture.
12.  Sprinkle mozarella cheese and breadcrumbs on top of beef mixture.
13.  Bake a 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly.  (Cheese will be melted.)
14.  Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Magazine note: this dish may be fixed ahead and frozen (unbaked) for a future meal.  If frozen, let stand 30 minutes before baking, and add 15-20 minutes to the baking time in the oven.