Easy Vegetarian/Vegan Slow Cooker Chili

I love veggies, especially if they are spicy! Here is the recipe for my super easy slow cooker chili. It takes 10-15 minutes to prepare, and was perfect for my busy Sunday.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 small bag frozen corn (or whatever vegetable you want)
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 green peppers (you can really put any kind of fresh vegetables into it… whatever you have on hand)
  • 1 28oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup water
  • I had some Tuong Ot Toi (Chili Garlic Sauce) on hand, so I put 3 heaping spoonfuls in, but you really probably don’t need it. Just put in some garlic instead. Or make your own instead.
  • 2-3 tablespoons chili powder (I like it really hot so I might use more.)
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • some sprinkles of black pepper

Put in slow cooker for 6-8 hours. Yum!

My Take on Apple Crisp – Part 2

AppleCrisp

 

I made it up a bit as I went along, but it came out delicious!

Ingredients:

  • 4 -5 baking apples, sliced and peeled (I used Golden Delicious)
  • 1 and 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 2/3 cup softened/melted margarine
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • About 2-3 teaspoons of Laird’s Apple Jack Brandy
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. I used non-stick baking spray on an 8×12 pan.
  2. Spread out the apples in the pan, and sprinkle the Apple Jack over the apples. I may have used more. I kind of threw it on.
  3. Mix together everything else in a large bowl. Sprinkle it over the apples.
  4. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
  5. Eat immediately for maximum joy!

Croutons

So… Husband and I are getting into salad. It’s pretty convenient, yummy, whatnot, but we needed croutons. And here you have it, the first thing I ever learned how to bake when I was in seventh grade:

Ingredients:

  • Old bread
  • Melted butter or olive oil [I used melted butter, but hated everything about using it. Next time… I will go with the olive oil.]
  • Pinch of garlic salt [I didn’t have it, so I didn’t use it. But wished I did.]
  • Parsley Flakes
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
  2. Cube the old bread.
  3. Toss lightly with a melted butter/olive oil until lightly and evenly coated. Pour it in slow. [I hated everything about melting the butter in the microwave and having to keep doing that over and over again until I coated my odd assortment of bread cubes. I’m just going to use olive oil next time – it’s already liquid and I like how it tastes a lot better.]
  4. Also throw in the garlic salt and parsley. I just kept dumping the parsley in until it looked pretty/smelled good. [It was a very scientific process.]
  5. Spread the croutons out in a single layer on a greased cookie sheet – I always use the baking spray – and bake for 15 minutes. [Preferably… a cookie sheet with little SIDES to it. Those crumbs go EVERYWHERE.]
  6. Check to see if they are sufficiently dry, crunchy, and golden, if not, bake another 15 minutes or until done. [I had them in for a little over half an hour. Your mileage may vary.]

 

The Search for The Perfect Apple Crisp

I made Betty Crocker’s Apple Crisp last night. I ended up doubling the crumble/crisp because it did not sufficiently cover the apples to my liking. Next time, I will  also use light brown sugar instead of dark… it was way too molasses-y for my taste. I also put the apples in Apple Jack, however, instead of using the apple wine that they make, I ended up getting the apple brandy by mistake… and it was… very strong flavored. [The apples tasted like they were jacked up on… apples. It’s pretty delicious now that I think about it.]  It also came out SUPER nutmeg-y. BLECH. GROSS. YUCK. So next time I will also be substituting a cinnamon-spice mix that they sell already mixed in the baking aisle. That stuff is a lot more mild and yummy. Oh, and also I’ll try using a deeper dish. My apple layer was pretty thin.

But all in all, it’s apple crisp. I like it.

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium tart cooking apples, sliced (4 cups) [I used 4 large apples of whatever variety it was that I got at Shop Rite. Rome something or other. I didn’t know that different apples have different baking results… but the apples were good, anyway!]
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar [I ended up using dark brown sugar, but next time I will use light brown sugar. The dark color was… very dark. The taste was… very molasses-y. So, no more dark brown sugar. Ever.]
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats [I used old-fashioned… but what is the difference, anyway? Everyone on the internet seems to swear by old-fashioned, so I’ll stick to that, I guess.]
  • 1/3 cup butter/margarine [I used Land-O-Lakes baking margarine, which is 80% vegetable oil. Apparently the more it has, the better it is for baking… I don’t really notice though.]
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg [BLECH.]
  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease bottom and sides of 8-inch square pan with shortening. [I didn’t have a square pan, and it sounded really small anyway, so… I used a rectangle and that low-calorie, no-fat baking spray stuff.]
  2. Spread apples in pan. In medium bowl, stir remaining ingredients until well-mixed; sprinkle over apples.
  3. Bake about 30 minutes or until topping is golden brown and apples are tender when pierced with a fork.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Mmmm… perfect for autumn! Or anytime!
I made these and they were delicious right out of the oven.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of pumpkin
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (I just used the whole small bag [about 12 oz.]  that I got from the store)

Directions:

  1. Combine pumpkin, sugar, vegetable oil, and egg. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon, and salt. Dissolve the baking soda with the milk and stir in. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and mix well.
  2. Add vanilla, chocolate chips and nuts if you want.
  3. Drop by spoonful on greased cookie sheet and bake at 250 degrees F (175 degrees C) for approximately 10 minutes or until lightly brown and firm.

Irish Scones

Mmmmm… I love scones. It makes me feel so British or something.
I have no idea if this is period for the SCA, but it’s still something yummy to make outside on the fire.

Makes 6 Scones.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup white flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ pound butter, softened
  • 2 ounces sugar
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 2 ounces milk
  • walnuts (optional)

Mix flour and baking powder.
Add butter, blending until mixture is butter-colored.
Add sugar and continue to mix well.
Add half the beaten egg and all the milk, add nuts if you want, mixing well to make a sticky dough.
Turn dough onto floured board and knead at least 5 minutes or longer.
Cut dough into rounds and place on greased baking sheet or hot frying pan.
Brush tops of scones with remainder of beaten egg.
Place walnuts or whatever on top, if you want.
Bake at 350-375 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 – 20 minutes, or until brown.

*If preparing over an open fire, heat frying pan until very hot. Places scones in pan and cook 7-8 minutes. Turn and cook 7-8 minutes more. Will attract friends during an SCA event. In that case, you can make the dough ahead of time and bring it with you.

Graham Cracker Crust & Chocolate Pudding Pie

  • 1.5 cups graham crackers, smooshed. (I take a packet of graham crackers from the box, but them in a Ziploc bag, then smash the daylights out of it with a rubber mallet. True story.)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons melted butter

Smoosh them all together, and spread in the pie pan. Chill. Or if you want to get fancy, bake at 375 degrees for 7 minutes.

I make my chocolate pudding pie with this crust. My friends think it’s magical, but it’s really just a large box of sugar-free Jello chocolate pudding mix made with only 80 percent of the recommended amount of milk. Use electric mixer on “beat” setting until it’s super thick, dump into the pan, and chill. Impress friends.

Mrs. M’s Delicious, Scrumptious Piece of Heaven

Every Thanksgiving… my almost mother-in-law makes the most scrumptious tray of heaven-on-earth. I think this is perfect for… well… anytime.

Ingredients:

  • 5 large sweet potatoes (about 5 lbs.)
  • 3 Golden Delicious apples
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup coarsely chopped pecans

Preparation:

  • Wash sweet potatoes, and place on a baking sheet; prick with a fork. Bake at 400 degrees for 1 hour or until almost tender. Remove from oven. Let stand 45 minutes or until cooled.
  • Meanwhile, peel and core apples. Slice apples into 1/3″ thick wedges; toss with lemon juice in a bowl.
  • Peel cooled potatoes, and slice 1/3″ thick. Arrange potatoes and apples alternately in a greased 13″x9″ baking dish. Pour remaining lemon juice over potatoes and apples.
  • Combine brown sugar and next 6 ingredients in a saucepan, stirring well. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally; boil 2 minutes or until slightly thickened. Pour glaze over potatoes and apples. Bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.
  • Remove from oven; baste with glaze in bottom of dish, and sprinkle nuts across top. Bake 14-15 more minutes or until apples look roasted. Baste with glaze just before serving.

Delicious Things

Whenever I need to bring food to something, I go for chocolate pudding pie. People tell me it’s yummy, so it’s all good. It offsets the lazy I put into it. I take Jello Chocolate Pudding with no sugar added mix, I use about 80% of the milk it calls for, follow the directions and dump it into a pan of homemade graham cracker crust. My graham cracker crust is just a package of graham crackers put into a plastic bag, and then I beat the stuffing out of it. I mix in softened butter until it looks kind of spreadable and then smoosh it all over the pie tin. Stick it in the fridge, watch a movie, and then make the pudding part for it. Ta-da!

————————————————

My dark love is for Cheez-Its. They are super unhealthy. So I will try this:

Homemade Cheez-Its

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 4 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small squares
  • 1 (8-ounce) bag grated extra-sharp 2% Cheddar cheese (preferably orange)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients in food processor, and pulse until crumbly. Add cold water, a tablespoon at a time, until dough comes together. Form into ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill in the freezer for at least 30 minutes. Place dough between two pieces of plastic wrap or parchment paper, and roll out to 1/8 inch thickness. Transfer to parchment-lined baking sheet, and, using pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut into 1 inch squares. Sprinkle with kosher salt and bake for 25 minutes. Test for crispiness; crackers may take a few minutes more to finish crisping. Remove from oven when crisp and just starting to brown. Let cool and serve.

———————

Guacamole

(How I do it… scoop out a sufficiently delicious amount of avocado. Mix with salsa.)

How you’re probably supposed to do it:

Ingredients

  • 3 Haas avocados, halved, seeded and peeled
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

Directions

In a large bowl place the scooped avocado pulp and lime juice, toss to coat. Drain, and reserve the lime juice, after all of the avocados have been coated. Using a potato masher add the salt, cumin, and cayenne and mash. Then, fold in the onions, tomatoes, cilantro, and garlic. Add 1 tablespoon of the reserved lime juice. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour and then serve.

——————————–

Basil Pesto

Ingredients

Directions

Combine the basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add 1/2 cup of the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

If using immediately, add all the remaining oil and pulse until smooth. Transfer the pesto to a large serving bowl and mix in the cheese.

If freezing, transfer to an air-tight container and drizzle remaining oil over the top. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw and stir in cheese.

———————

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts
  • 3 medium sized garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

METHOD

1 Combine the basil in with the pine nuts, pulse a few times in a food processor. (If you are using walnuts instead of pine nuts and they are not already chopped, pulse them a few times first, before adding the basil.) Add the garlic, pulse a few times more.

2 Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. Add the grated cheese and pulse again until blended. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Serve with pasta, or over baked potatoes, or spread over toasted baguette slices.

——————————————-

Spanakopita (Spinach Triangles/Pie)

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 pounds spinach, washed and drained
  • 1 bunch scallions, white and green parts, chopped
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 pound feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 to 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 pound filo pastry sheets

Directions

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large saute pan, add half of the spinach and saute until spinach wilts, tossing with tongs, about 2 minutes. Remove spinach and squeeze out excess liquid, then choproughly. Repeat with remaining spinach, using 1 more tablespoon of olive oil. Pour off any liquid from the pan, and add remaining olive oil. Add scallions and saute until soft, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the spinach to the scallions, along with the parsley, salt and pepper. Cook over low heat for 1 to 2 minutes, then remove from heat to cool. (This part can be done ahead and kept refrigerated).

Stir the feta and as much beaten egg to moisten the cooled spinach mixture.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Brush a baking sheet with some of the melted butter.

Unroll the filo dough on a flat surface and keep it covered with waxed paper and a damp towel so it doesn’t dry out and become brittle. Using a sharp knife, cut the filo into 3 by 11 inch strips, and recover with the towel. Use a pastry brush to brush a strip of filo with melted butter. Place a small spoonful of spinach filling 1 inch from the end of the pastry. Fold the end over the filling to form a triangle, then continue to fold up the strip in triangles, like folding up a flag. Continue with remaining strips of dough, placing filled triangles on the baking sheet and keeping them covered with a towel until all are ready to bake.

Brush the triangles lightly with butter, then bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Serve hot. (These may be frozen before baking, layering waxed paper between layers of triangles to keep them from sticking. Bake frozen triangles an extra 10 minutes.)

Variation: Butter a 9 by 13 inch baking pan, and spread 6 sheets of filo, brushing each with butter, on the bottom. Spoon the spinach filling over the filo, then cover with 6 more sheets of filo, buttering each sheet. Score the top 3 sheets with a sharp knife. Bake 40 to 45 minutes, or until top is golden, let stand 15 minutes, then cut into squares and serve warm.