Slow Cooker Chili + Cheesy Grits

The weather here in Oklahoma is finally getting chilly! I’m so excited to be slow-cookin my way into cooler weather these days. As my patience for reading through recipes gets slimmer (’cause……twins!) I find myself throwing ingredients together in a mad dash between entertaining and feeding two babies. Sometimes my ‘lil on-the-spot meal creations fail. But every once in awhile……they WIN!

I’ve got a winner for ya.

I’ve noticed that most people don’t put a base of some sort underneath their chili when it’s served. Well, my sweet southern belle of a mama raised me differently. Mom would typically cook up some white rice and use that as a base for the chili and it was deeee-lish! But recently I got the inspiration to use cheesy grits as a heavenly little platform instead.

Y’all.

Oh my gosh.

It was pure heaven.

I made this on Sunday afternoon, stored it in the fridge (where it only continued to grow more and more delicious), then by Monday afternoon I was ready for a hearty lunch. I came home from taking the twins with me to Target and they were still asleep in their car seats. WIN! I whipped up some grits, added freshly grated cheese, topped the dish with chili, then more cheese for the garnish, and then…The Hallelujah Chorus broke into song. It was delicious, hearty, and good for my tired mama soul. Do you have a tired soul these days? I highly recommend trying this recipe. Your soul and stomach will thank you.

Here’s the lineup:

For the chili…

  • 1 pound (or so) – Ground Beef
  • 1 – Yellow Onion, coarsely chopped
  • 13 cup – beer (whatever you have, but a full bodied beer is best!)
  • 2 cups – Marinara Sauce
  • 1 can – Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 can – Kidney Beans, drained
  • 1 can – Pinto Beans, drained
  • 2 tablespoons – Chili Powder
  • 1 tablespoon – Cumin
  • 2 tablespoons – Garlic Powder
  • 2 tablespoons – Italian Seasoning Mix
  • 2 teaspoons – Salt
  • 1teaspoon – Cayenne Pepper

6o9c9738For the grits…

  • 1cup – Quick Grits
  • 1 cup – Water
  • 1 tablespoon – Butter
  • 1cup – Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded (mostly for the grits, the rest for the garnish)
  • Salt – to taste

Step 1

Combine all of the dry seasonings (chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, italian seasoning mix, salt, and cayenne pepper) into a small dish, then set aside until Step 3.

Step 2

Cook the ground beef in a skillet so that it’s just browned. Drain the excess fat, then return the ground beef to the stove.

Step 3

Add dry seasonings to skillet, coating the browned ground beef. Be sure to turn the heat to low.

Step 4

Pour the seasoned ground beef into the slow cooker. Add the following: raw coarsely chopped yellow onions (I don’t recommend cooking the onions with the ground beef in step 2 because it gives a slight crunch to the chili – loved it!), drained pinto and kidney beans, diced tomatoes, beer, and marinara sauce. Stir well to combine all that gloriousness.

Step 5

Set it and forget it, y’all! Set it on high, and stir occasionally if you have time. 2 to 3 hours later your home will smell heavenly.

Step 6

Once the chili is ready you can get the instant grits going in a saucepan. First, boiling your 1 cup of water, then add the grits, salt (to your taste), and butter. Be sure to stir this well to avoid clumps. Then…the cheese! Stir the shredded cheese into your grits. Add enough cheese until it tastes just right for you.

Step 7

Layer the cheesy grits first, then the chili, then some more shredded cheese for garnish.

Enjoyyyy!

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Veggie Lentil Soup

It’s been a nice and easy weekend here in Oklahoma. I love weekends like this where there’s no agenda aside from cleaning a bit (but only “a bit”), guilt free laziness, and attempting to be healthy from time to time.

On that healthy note – I’ve heard lots of good things about lentils lately. So yesterday, when I was grocery shopping, I saw a bag of them sitting on the shelf just staring at me. Normally I’d just continue on my merry little way, but this time I checked the back and saw a good lookin’ recipe for lentil soup! It was a little dreary outside with rain due last night and all of today. “Hmmm……I can totally do this!” I thought. So I chucked it in my cart and off I went feeling all proud of myself 🙂

The back of the label was a recipe for Lentil Soup & Kielbasa. Since I was already planning a slow cooker heavy beef stew for tonight (Sunday), I just wanted to keep it veggies & lentils only; nice and light. I researched a few other recipes on the web and ultimately came up with this little number below. I hope you enjoy!!!

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup Olive Oil
  • 1 Onion, diced
  • 4 Carrots (mine were on the smaller side), sliced
  • 4 stalks Celery, sliced
  • 5 small Red Potatoes, peeled + cubed (roughly the same length as your carrots)
  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried Oregano
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried Basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon rubbed Sage
  • 1 can crushed Tomatoes OR 1.5 whole tomatoes chopped + crushed
  • 1 & 3/4 cups dry Lentils
  • 6 cups Water
  • 2 & 1/5 cups Chicken Broth
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

STEP 1

In a large pot, heat the oil then add in the onion, carrots, and potatoes.

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Let it all heat up & soften for a couple of minutes, then add in your seasonings: garlic, oregano, bay leaf, basil, sage, salt, and pepper.

Stir & let it all together and let the seasonings snuggle up and say “heeyheeey!” to the veggies for a minute or two.

STEP 2

I didn’t have a can of crushed tomatoes at home like I thought I did (womp womp) but I DID have two tomatoes ready to be messed with! Score! I chopped them up and used a potato masher to lightly crush them up a little (not too much though – I still wanted some chucks of tomato still in tact). I used one and a half tomatoes for this and it was perfect!

Add those crushed lil’ “toms” to your soup mixture and stir it on in.

STEP 3

Right after adding the tomatoes, go ahead and add in the water, chicken broth, and lentils. Stir it all up, cover, and lower the temp to allow the soup to simmer for 1 hour. Stir occasionally and add salt to taste if needed, but remember that the taste of salt really comes out at the end after letting it simmer for a while…so don’t go crazy ;).
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Enjoy!

Remove the bay leaf, pour, and enjoy!

Well goodness gracious. This was just about the most delicious, wholesome, healthy, and simple homemade soup I’ve ever made! Want some?!

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If you prefer your soup to be more brothy, you may want to add in more chicken broth or water towards the end. The broth gets absorbed by the lentils & veggies as you continue to cook it, especially when it also sits overnight in the fridge.

Can’t wait to have more for lunch todaaaaay! 🙂 Lemme know if you give it a try!

 

 

Slow Cooker Recipes, Please!

Earlier this week as I meandered around Target, trying to keep my paws off of everything and stick to my shopping plan, my eyes suddenly landed on…a slow cooker. The Hallelujah Chorus suddenly erupted over the loud speaker. I vaguely recall confetti falling gracefully from the ceiling. Target shoppers everywhere stopped to applaud me on my brilliant decision to wrap my arms around it and place it into my cart. I waved at everyone, wiping away tears of joy. I then stepped up to a microphone which had magically appeared in front of a gorgeous sparkling banner with “WAY TO GO, KATHERINE!” written in bold, and I began to thank my blog, Newlie, for the inspiration to make this purchase. That’s what I remember at least…

I have the best memory.

Slow Cooker

But seriously, y’all…Hallelujah for a SLOW COOKER in my life! How have I not had one of these before? Before this bad boy, we did actually have a very tiny little red slow cooker that Sean randomly won from a night at Dave & Buster’s…but…I think that speaks for itself as to why I’m way more excited about this new purchase – the real deal.

I already have a gorgeous looking Beef Stew cookin’ away in there at the moment. It’s got about 4 hours to go, so I’ll probably post those step-by-step instructions & my thoughts on the outcome tomorrow for anyone interested. Our home smells amazing, by the way.

But this post isn’t my usual how-to story; it’s more of a call to action. Will you (please oh please!) share a favorite slow cooker recipe (or twelve) in the feedback form below? I’ll select a few favorite submissions and try them out here on Newlie, with cheers and praise back in your direction of course.

Ahhhh I cannot wait to try out your favorites. Looking forward to your submissions!

Happy slooooow cookin, Saturday!

Katherine

A Tale of Two Muffins

This morning I woke up, made myself a cup of coffee, and watched the 8:30 a.m. episode of The Pioneer Woman – pretty standard Saturday morning so far. Ree made her precious family  some cinnamon sugar muffins to kick off some hard work on their beautiful Oklahoma farm. And then it happened. My eyes widened…my caffeine-induced energy spiked…and I wanted to bake. There was no stopping me. I turned to Sean…

Me: So I wanna bake something. I think muffins.

Sean: Chocolate chip and banana.

Me: No bananas.

Sean: Chocolate chip and cinnamon.

Me: Hmmmm….I was thinking about apple cinnamon. I’m pretty sure I want apple cinnamon.

Sean: Chocolate chip…and….chocolate chip…….chocolate…….chip.

Hehe. He’s pretty cute. But oohhh it was ON! Who was gonna win this battle? Luckily – brilliance stepped in.

I researched a few simple apple cinnamon recipes scattered online and decided to adjust the basics to my own variation for the batter and then split it into two separate bowls right before adding the final key ingredient. Problem solved! One dozen muffins – 6 apple cinnamon, 6 cinnamon chocolate chip.

As Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman, says, “Here’s the cast of characters:

Flour – 1 1/2 cups

White Sugar – 1/2 cup

Light Brown Sugar – 1/4 cup

Baking Powder – 1 1/2 teaspoons

Ground Cinnamon – 1 teaspoon

Ground Nutmeg – 1/8 teaspoon (or…just 3-5 sprinkles if it has a filter)

Milk – 1/2 cup

Unsalted Butter (melted) – 1/2 cup

Salt – 1/4 teaspoon

1 Egg (slightly beaten)

1 Apple (pealed, cored, and diced up into little cubes)

1/2 cup of Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips

Penzeys Spices

I’ve gotta add a little shout out here to my girl Jeanne for her contribution to this recipe. For my 30th birthday back in February she and her husband, Travis, gave me some AMAZING Penzeys spices. You better believe I packed these bad boys up carefully when we moved from MD to OK last month. It was time to break out the Penzeys nutmeg and cinnamon for today’s little tale. Jeanne’s fellow blogger who loves to try new recipes, so be sure to check out her delicious recipes here: Jeanne’s Kitchen!

And there you have it! The entire “cast of characters” needed for my own little adjusted recipe for 6 apple cinnamon muffins and 6 cinnamon chocolate chip muffins. Be sure to PRE-HEAT your oven to 375 degrees. Now, here’s how “the tale of two muffins” unfolded:

STEP 1

Combine the flour, white sugar, light brown sugar, baking powder, salt, ground cinnamon and nutmeg together in a bowl/mixer.

STEP 2

Add in the milk, melted butter, and slightly beaten egg to the dry ingredients. Stir slowly, or have the mixer on low. Combine until it looks all fabulous…like this:

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STEP 3

Are you on the edge of your seat!?! Here’s where the magic happens. Separate the batter evenly into two bowls. In one bowl add as much chocolate chips as you’d like. In the other, yes – very good, add the diced up cubes of apple. I didn’t use the whole apple by the way. I only really used like, half of it. You can use as much as you’d like…but be mindful of how the apple will create way more moisture in the muffins depending on how much you add.

STEP 4

Grease or spray a 12-cup muffin pan. Fill 6 with the apple cinnamon batter and the other 6 with the chocolate cinnamon batter. Then, into the oven it goes for 18 minutes.

6O9C1974STEP 5

Check on them periodically, but 18 minutes at 375 degrees should definitely do the trick. Take them out and let them sit for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, melt a tablespoon of butter and brush it over ONLY the six apple cinnamon muffins. Then…sprinkle over a little sugar! Tehe!

STEP 6

Woooohoooo! Enjoy. We sure did. We each thought our original preference was the best. Sean loved the Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Muffins, while I loved the Apple Cinnamon Muffins.

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The beauty of this recipe is that you can add anything to it. There are so many possible variations to the key ingredient that you could play around with, like…blueberries with a little lemon or orange zest thrown in there? Heck yeah! Or maybe go a little crazy during the holidays and make some white chocolate chip and cranberry muffins with this batter. Ooohhhh the possibilities 🙂

Happy baking, friends!

 

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

There are a lot of cookie recipes out there competing for our love, praise, and affection. I actually thought about that last night as I watched the dramatic season finale of The Bachelorette (part 1) unfold. Yes, I watch The Bachelorette. NO JUDGING! I don’t even care how staged and scripted it is….it’s just so addicting! I never really watched any of the previous seasons before, but now I’m hooked. Ben was creepy. James was fake. Anyone else think Des would’ve been great with Zak? Drew’s weird. Chris is okay, and he’s from my favorite city (Seattle!). And what the heck, Brooks?! So many thoughts.

Mid-commercial, I just had to get up and get a cookie.

Cookie recipes and The Bachelorette kinda have a lot in common if you think about it. I’m serious! You know that most, but not all, of the recipes out there are going to give you a delicious chocolate chip cookie when you’re done. But which recipe is going to melt your heart….huh? Which recipe is going to “MARRY” (…hehe) those flavors in harmony? Is there enough…chemistry….(I’m on a roll!) with the ingredients? Okay I’ll stop.

Ingredients!

So what’s a girl to dooo!?

How do I choose among all of these mouthwatering recipes? Well, I got a little crazy – I made my own recipe. I love to research a ton of recipes out there to get a sense of ratios (I’m still learning) and then I have a little fun. This is what I came up with, and it TOTALLY worked! Sean (NOT a Bachelorette fan, by the way) really loved them and went back for more. WIN!!!

Here’s the recipe:

*Pre-heat your oven for 350 degrees

1 & 1/2 cups – Light Brown Sugar, packed
1/2 cup (1 stick) – Butter, softened (please ignore how the photo has 2 sticks…not sure how that other guy got in there!)
1 & 1/4 teaspoon – Vanilla Extract
1 – Large Egg
1 teaspoon – Salt
1/8 teaspoon – Nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon – Cinnamon
1 teaspoon – Baking Soda
1 & 1/2 cups – Unbleached Flour
2 cups – Instant Oats
1 & 1/2 cups (less than1 bag) – Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips

Step 1:

Mix the brown sugar and butter together.

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Step 2:

Keep the mixer on low, and add in the vanilla extract, egg, nutmeg, cinnamon, and baking soda.

Vanilla Extract

Step 3:

Replace the whisk with a more durable stir…er…(is there a better title for that?). Then, add the flour…stir slowly….then the oats….stir slowly….then stop.

Unbleached Flour

Instant Oats

Step 3:

Add the BEST part of this recipe!!!!!!! But stir it in by hand with a wooden spoon, otherwise the mixer will begin taking on a life of its own.

Hmmmmm

Best part!!!

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Step 4:

Roll each piece to the size of a golf ball, and place them on an ungreased cookie sheet. Then into the oven they go! About only 10 minutes should do the trick. Sorry…I don’t have photos of this part because Sean’s camera ran out of battery. You get the idea!

They were out of this world. If you want to see how delicious they looked, check it out and follow me on Instagram! Any favorite cookie recipes of your own? Comment and let me know!

Happy baking.

Chocolate Molten Lava Cake

The most amazing dessert was just made, admired, and devoured. Made it from scratch. TOTALLY DID! Oh my golly. Hello happiness. Lemme set the stage real quick:

It’s a beautiful Saturday afternoon over here in Maryland. Poor Sean has worked 75+ hours this past week, and is so relieved to have a weekend at home. We’ve run errands all morning, and as usual I’m crazy eager to bake something. Baking and cooking is on my mind constantly; especially now that I work for the world’s premiere culinary college: the CIA (www.ciachef.edu!!!). I’m so eager to learn everything I can about our world’s inspiring and ever-changing culinary industry. Soooo I’m thinkin this beautiful afternoon at home with my hubby is a perfect excuse to whip up a mid-afternoon treat for us.

Hands down – this is the best dessert I’ve ever made: chocolate molten lava cake. I researched recipes out there, and this one looked like a great choice: http://www.glorioustreats.com/2013/02/chocolate-molten-lava-cakes.html. Serious high fives go to “Glorious Treats” for this inspiration! I adjusted the recipe just a bit. Here it is below:

Chocolate Molten Lava Cake

You’ll need:

  • 8 ounces of Chocolate ~ I recommend 4 ounces of Bittersweet and 4 ounces of Semisweet
  • 10 tablespoons of Butter
  • 1/2 cup of Flour
  • 1 1/2 cups of Powdered Sugar
  • 6 eggs total ~ then put 3 eggs in a bowl, followed by 3 eggyolks in a separate bowl
  • 1 teaspoon of Vanilla
  • 4 to 5 Ramekins ~ these are oven-safe custard dishes 

Once you’ve got the ingredients armed and ready for this delicious creation…get ready for the easiest next steps you’ve ever experienced:

Step 1:

Melt the butter & chocolate together. You can totally just throw them in a bowl and microwave, but what’s the fun in that? No thank you…I’m in the mood to feel fancy. In which case – I like to melt the butter and chocolate in a double boiler. So – ya just boil some water and place a bowl of the chocolate and butter overtop of it. This carefully melts it all together, and more importantly, the melting process with this method is way more gentle than the microwave.

Step 2:

Once the chocolate and butter looks good enough to swim in (…but please, don’t do that…) then it’s ready for Step 2! Simply just add the chocolate + butter liquid to the powdered sugar and flour in a mixer. Mix that in well, then add the eggs and vanilla. Let it do it’s thing from there until it’s all well mixed in evenly.

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Step 3:

Pour the batter evenly into each ramekin. This recipe calls for 6-8 individual ramekins…but I think 5 works better. I got a little pour-happy and ended up with 4. As long as you don’t over pour (which I did for one of them) then it’ll turn out beautifully. Pour each of them about 3/4 full, and them carefully place them in the center of your oven at 475 degrees for about 13 to 14 minutes.

Step 4:

Once they’re out…get ready because timing is EVERYTHING with this dish. I simply took a plate, placed it upside down over the cake, flipped it over and then gently slid off the ramekin so the cake rested upside down in the center of the plate. Dust it with some left over powdered sugar, and HOLD ON because this will be the GREATEST THING YOU’VE EVER TASTED!!!

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Sean and I sat there in the happiest daze as we tasted each bite. I made four because I wasn’t sure how they’d turn out. It was his idea to drizzle the chocolate syrup on top over the powdered sugar…pretty smart man, huh? It was so delicious.

Now go make them!

Happy Saturday 🙂

Fire Making & Cookie Baking

Well hello, you.

How was your weekend?! Mine was relaxing. I really needed that break from the long week. I just adore being home.

Today we were pretty productive: Sean worked on photography stuff, I went for an hour long run with Stella, I baked homemade bread for the first time (SO yummy. Super time consuming. Worth it. But more on that in another post), and then…Sean thought of how cool it would be to time lapse a few things around the house. Like, one or two perfect representations of a Sunday at home. We decided to highlight him making a fire in our fire place, and me baking chocolate chip cookies. Two of my obsessions this winter: fires in the fireplace, and baking. I’m so proud of Sean’s photography skills (have you “liked” his Facebook page yet?!). He continues to pick up this stuff at lightening speed, and loving every minute of it. He put his time lapse into a video…wanna see? You know you dooo! Here it is:

I hope you enjoyed 🙂

As for the classic chocolate chip cookie recipe, this was straight from Betty Crocker. My good friend Sarah Baker (hey girrrl!) gave me the Betty Crocker cookbook as a wedding/bridal gift back in November. I ADORE this book, and especially the classic recipes that it provides. The simple chocolate chip cookie recipe is in there. Go get it 😉

Happy Sunday.