Friday, October 31, 2008

Week of the Crockpot Part 3: Halloween Chili

Happy Halloween!!! Halloween is my favorite holiday! I love all the cute costumes and candy and parties - so fun! In my family growing up we always had chili and hot dogs on Halloween and I've continued the tradition in my family with this yummy crockpot chili. It is in my crockpot right now cooking away and I just love the way my house smells like Halloween all day when I cook it! This recipe makes a lot, so I usually freeze half to have another night (usually over baked potatoes to switch it up), but if you'd like to make a smaller amount I've also included a half-batch recipe below.

Halloween Crock Pot Chili

2 lb. ground beef
2 onions, chopped (I always use 2 cups of frozen chopped onions)
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 (14.5 oz each) cans stewed tomatoes, drained
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (15 oz) can pink, pinto, or kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can Hormel chili (I used to not tell people about this ingredient because it's a bit ironic)
2-3 tablespoons chili powder (if you really like a chili taste add 3 tablespoons)
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (can leave out if you don't like it too spicy)
1 teaspoon dried oregano

Brown beef, onions and garlic, and put in the crockpot with all the other ingredients. Cook on low for 6 - 8 hours. We serve it with hot dogs, shredded cheese, corn chips, and apple cider.

Half Batch Halloween Crock Pot Chili

1 lb ground beef
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1, 28 oz can petite diced tomatoes (I usally drain some of the juices, but not all)
8 oz can tomato sauce
2 cans Hormel Chili with Beans
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne

Brown beef with onion. Add garlic and cook anothe minute. Put browned beef mixture into slow cooker with all other ingredients. Cook on low for about 6 hours.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Chicken Tetrazzini

This is what we are having tonight. I know this for sure because I made this as a freezer meal last month and it is thawed in my fridge ready for me to bake momentarily. This recipe is from my friend Kellie, who is an excellent freezer meal cook! I know this because we were in a freezer meal exchange group together a few years ago and I always looked forward to Kellie's meals! So thanks to Kellie for this fantastic tetrazzini recipe! Oh you can make this with leftover turkey too and its very good.

Chicken Tetrazzini


1/2 cup bread crumbs
pinch of salt
1 1/2 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 cup grated Parmesan


6 tablespoons butter
3 cups or 8 ounces sliced white mushrooms
2 medium onions, chopped fine (about 1 1/2 cups)
ground black pepper
3/4 lb. thin spaghetti, strands snapped in half
1/4 cup flour
1 can chicken broth
3/4 cup grated/shredded Parmesan
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
2 cups frozen peas
4 cups cooked cubed chicken or turkey (I use the meat from a Costco rotissery chicken)


Mix the ingredients for the topping and set aside.

In a skillet (medium heat) heat 2 tablespoon butter till melted and foam subsides. Add mushrooms, onion and saute, stirring frequently until onion softens and mushroom liquid evaporates, 12-15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Meanwhile cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking water, drain spaghetti and return to pot with reserved liquid.

Clean the skillet that you used for the mushrooms and then heat 4 tablespoons of butter in it over medium heat. When foam subsides, whisk in flour and cook, whisking constantly until flour turns golden, 1 - 2 minutes. Whisking constantly add chicken broth. Adjust heat to medium high and simmer until mixture thickens, 3-4 minutes. Off heat whisk in Parmesan, nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon salt, lemon juice, and thyme. Add sauce, sauted vegetables, peas and meat to spaghetti and mix well. (I usually add a bit more Parmesan cheese to the spaghetti as well.) Adjust seasonings to taste.

Turn mixture into a buttered 9x13 pan. Or you can do what I do and put half into a 8x8 foil baking dish to freeze and the other half into a 8x8 baking dish to cook right away. (Gotta love double duty meals!!) Sprinkle evenly with topping mixture and bake at 400 until breadcrumbs are browned and mixture is bubbly, 13 - 15 minutes.

Freezer Meal Instructions: If you are making this as a freezer meal pour spaghetti mixture into a 9x13 foil baking pan for a large family or 2 8x8 foil baking pans for a smaller family. Cover with plastic wrap and then a double layer of foil to ward off freezer burn. Put topping mixture into 1 small or divide in half and put in 2 small zip lock bags. Tape the topping mixes to the freezer meals to keep them together and label with cooking instructions.

Freezer Meal Reheating Instructions: Thaw in fridge for a day or 2. Remove plastic wrap and foil and cook at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Sprinkle on the topping mix and cook 5-7 minutes more, until bread crumbs are browned.

Week of the Crockpot Part 2: Lentil Stew

I got this recipe whilst perusing a bunch of recipe blogs out there, but I kind of adapted it a little to suit our tastes. It really is a super easy recipe and everyone in the family gave it thumbs up.

Crockpot Lentil Stew

2 cups dry lentils
8 cups water
8 beef bouillon cubes
4 tablespoons dried onion
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons dried bacon-like bits (Bacos)
5 carrots, chopped
4 potatoes, peeled and chopped
1/4 teaspoon pepper (I just do a few good cranks of the pepper mill)

Mix all the ingredients together in crockpot. Cook on high for 6 hours. Add beef broth as needed to get desired consistency. (We like it fairly thick, but I did add some broth just too thin it out a bit.) We served it with a few cheese crackers (Annie's Cheddar Bunnies) on top and with rolls - it was a hit.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Recipe bloggin'

I've decided to start a recipe blog to keep track of and to share my favorite recipes - stay tuned for my "week of the crockpot" posts!:)