Monday, October 29, 2012

Chicken and Sweet Potato Chili

Week 8 of this series brings me back to chicken. Although beef is the traditional meat used in making chili, there are several excellent varieties of chicken chili that can be made. In this dish, the chicken is slow simmered in the chili liquid, then removed and shredded while the sweet potatoes finish cooking in the chili.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Skillet Chicken And Rice

One dish dinners are a staple in our household. This dish is one of those one-pot meals that was originally created out of necessity. In this case, necessity was created by not a lot of food in the house and not enough time to run to the store, get dinner made, and still get to Cub Scouts on time.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Chocolate Chili

Week 7 of the football season brings us to a chili with that uses a couple ingredients that most people would consider a little unusual:  chocolate and coffee. Most people would never think of adding chocolate and coffee to chili. I know I thought it was crazy at first, and when I told my family about it, they were more than skeptical. Then I remembered mole sauce. Mole is a classic Mexican sauce, and this chili borrows its inspiration from that sauce.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Pork Chili Verde

Week 6 of the NFL is nearly in the books, and although I did not get to see my team play (which was probably a good thing, they lost 35-9), I still had time to make this slow simmered dish. This chili is very simple to make, but does take time if you want to do it right. When given enough time to simmer, the pork comes out fall apart tender. Combine that with the flavors of roasted peppers, tomatillos, and garlic, and you have a delicious bowl of chili verde, no beans or pasta needed.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Pumpkin Latte Turnovers

Every year I look forward to Starbuck's holiday flavored coffees. One of my favorites is the pumpkin latte, and with autumn here (at least on the calendar, it's supposed to be almost 80 in Omaha this week), I can almost taste one right now. This dessert is inspired by the flavors of a tasty fall snack, a warm cinnamon roll and a pumpkin latte.

The filling for these turnovers is a cooked pumpkin custard. I start with brown sugar, flour, and seasonal spices, to which I add canned pumpkin and milk. Once cooked, I add egg yolks, butter, and coffee extract and let it cool.

The pastry for this dessert could not be easier. It is Pepperidge Farms Puff Pastry, and is as simple as thawing it out, cutting into squares, and filling with the pumpkin filling.  Once baked and cooled, I top them with a cinnamon cream cheese frosting.  The final result is a pastry that has all the flavors of a pumpkin latte, but is also reminiscent of pumpkin pie as well.

Pumpkin Latte Turnovers

3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
2 Tbsp flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp nutmeg
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
3/4 cup milk
2 egg yolks
1 Tbsp butter
1/2 Tbsp coffee extract
1 package Pepperidge Farms Puff Pastry

In medium saucepan, combine brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt. Slowly whisk in pumpkin and milk. Bring to a boil over medium heat. In separate bowl, beat egg yolks. Add 1/2 cup of hot pumpkin mixture to eggs and whisk to combine. Add egg mixture back to pan and boil another 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter and coffee extract.  Let cool about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Thaw puff pastry according to package directions (about 40 minutes on the counter). Unfold each sheet and cut each sheet into 4 squares. divide pumpkin filling evenly and spoon onto pastry. Fold pastry in half by taking one corner and folding over to opposite corner, forming a triangle.

Place turnovers on parchment lined baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees F for 15 to 20 minutes, or until tops are golden brown and puffed up. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack at least 30 minutes. If desired, top with cinnamon cream cheese frosting (see recipe below).

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

1 Tbsp butter, softened
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 Tbsp cinnamon
2-1/2 cups powdered sugar

In medium mixing bowl, whip together butter and cream cheese. Add vanilla and combine. Gradually add cinnamon and powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, until icing is stiff enough to spread. Frost as desired.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Hawaiian Chili

I knew going into this weekend I was going to need a quick chili recipe. I had a lot on my plate and not a lot of time to get everything done, so I went with a chili I could put together in about 30-40 minutes. The end result came out pretty amazing, and my wife said it is the best chili I have made so far for this series (click here to see the other chili recipes).

Friday, October 5, 2012

Apple Dumplings

This is a recipe I shared for the first time ever last fall. I first made this dessert about 16 years ago, and have been asked numerous times for the recipe. I finally decided to share it because it is one of my favorites. Over the years, I have made very minor changes to the recipe, but the basics have stayed the same.

These apple dumplings just scream fall dessert. The apples are wrapped in pastry and baked, then topped with an apple cider sauce and served with either vanilla ice cream or maple whipped cream. They are a bit labor intensive, so they are usually reserved for special occasions in our house. Hopefully you enjoy these as much as my family does. If not, seek mental help.

Apple Dumplings

8 Granny Smith apples
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/3 cup raisins, if desired
1 recipe Basic Pie Crust
1 recipe Apple Cider Sauce (see below)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  In small bowl, mix butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and raisins (if using).  Set aside.

Cut a very thin slice off the top of each apple. Using a melon baller, scoop straight down from top to remove seeds. Make sure you leave the bottom of the core intact or the apple will fall apart. Peel apple, leaving about 1/4 of peel around bottom of apple. Divide butter mixture evenly between apples and stuff into cavity.

Roll 1/2 of dough out to 16x16 inch rectangle. Cut dough into four 8x8 inch squares. Place once apple in center of each square. Fold dough up around apple and, using a small amount of water, seal at top. Repeat with remaining apples and other half of dough. Cut a small slit in top over center of apple to allow steam to escape. Bake at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees F and bake for another 20 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. Top each apple with 3 Tbsp of Apple Cider Sauce and return to oven for 5 minutes. Let cool for at least 45 minutes before serving.

To serve, top Apple Dumplings with remaining warm Apple Cider Sauce and a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of maple whipped cream.

Apple Cider Sauce

3 cups cups apple cider, divided
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
3 Tbsp cornstarch

In medium saucepan over medium low heat, bring 2 1/2 cups apple cider to a simmer. Stir in brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice. Cook 5 minutes. In a small container with a tight fitting lid, shake remaining 1/2 cup cold apple cider together with cornstarch to dissolve. Slowly pour cornstarch mixture into simmering apple cider, whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Bring to a boil and cook 1 minute. Remove from heat.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Cincinnati Chili

Week 4 of my chili series takes me back to the Midwest. My wife and I both grew up in the Indianapolis area, and this type of chili can be found at numerous restaurants around town. This is not surprising, especially considering it originated just two hours down the road in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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