Dutch Oven Chili

We’re half way through JULY! I think Kate will agree, this is our favorite time of year. We’re both July babies so this month has always been special for us. Growing up, we would have joint pool parties together even though there’s a nine year gap between us! This year we haven’t managed to get together, but both of our Julys have been packed with outdoor adventure and ample family time.

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Last week, I took a family of Brazilians out into the mountains for the first camping trip of their lives. We had a wonderful time hiking, learning new skills, and hanging out at camp. I plan on sharing more aspects of that adventure in future posts, but for now I wanted to share a Dutch Oven Chili recipe that is perfect for a camping crowd. The way I make chili is incredibly simple.. So simple that it’s almost one of those recipes that’s not really a recipe, WTF do I mean? You’ll see..

Even though this post is entitled Dutch Oven Chili, you can also make it on the stovetop by following this recipe. If you’re making it in a dutch oven, you’ll want to get a great layer of hot coals going. Another option, and perhaps a more reliable one, is to light a couple dozen charcoal briquettes. For the first half of the recipe have the dutch oven sitting directly on a bed of hot coals or charcoal briquettes. The lid should be kept off while you brown the meat and cook the fresh veggies that way you can monitor the heat, ensuring you don’t burn your dinner. Once you add all the canned items there will be a good amount of liquid in the pot so you shouldn’t have any trouble with burning or sticking. Place the lid on the dutch oven, cover it with coals or briquettes and wait twenty minutes or so (this really depends on the condition of your coals and briquettes) until the contents of the pot comes to a bubble.

Dutch Oven Chili

Ingredients

  • Onion
  • Bell Pepper
  • Jalapeño (or a small can of Jalapeños)
  • 3-5 cloves Garlic
  • 1 lb Ground Beef
  • 1 15oz can Kidney Beans
  • 1 28oz Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 jar of Salsa
  • Ann Schu's homemade Chili Sauce*
  • Chili Seasoning Packet

Instructions

  1. Start by cooking the ground beef over medium heat. Break up the beef into smaller pieces with a fork while it's still raw.
  2. Once the beef is cooking, begin chopping your onion, bell pepper, jalapeño and cloves of garlic.
  3. Add the vegetables to the meat as you chop.
  4. By the time the beef is completely cooked, the onions should be clear and the peppers a little soft.
  5. Drain off the grease if necessary - this is totally your call. When I make it in the kitchen, I drain the grease, when I make it in the Dutch oven I keep it because more liquid and flavor is better than less (usually it's a small amount anyway).
  6. Now it's time to work those arms - open all the cans: beans (drain off the liquid), tomatoes, jalapeño, salsa, and add them to the cooked beef and fresh veggies. Splash a bit of water in each can too, swirl it around, and add it to the chili mixture.
  7. Add your chili seasoning (or your own special spice mix) and mix well.
  8. If it's looking dry, you could add a splash of water or tomato paste and water to add a little liquid.
  9. Turn the heat down to a simmer, cover with a lid and allow the mixture to bubble before enjoying.
  10. If the mixture looks extra juicy, allow it to bubble a bit with the lid off, this should take care of some of the extra liquid.
  11. Serve over couscous or rice and top with shredded sharp cheddar cheese.
  12. *Ann Schu's homemade chili sauce is obviously optional and most times I don't have it, but when I do, I receive five times the compliments!
http://liveseasoned.com/dutch-oven-chili/

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There you have it. Super simple. How do you make chili? Do you serve it over rice or couscous? Are we the only ones?!

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Arugula Walnut Pesto

Nuts are our ingredient of the season. We’ve been using them for sweets, drinks, and snack bars. Today we’re finally using them for a savory condiment!

Sarah here: Comin’ at ya with a republished post today – I’m making this tonight and I’m papapumped about it. Pasta and pesto all day please. Carry on.

I didn’t even know I was looking for it, but I found my new favorite condiment in this arugula walnut pesto! I think I overdid the traditional basil and pine nut pesto, because the past few times I’ve had it, I just wasn’t excited by the flavor, but the peppery-ness of the arugula and parmesan combined with the savory walnuts and olive oil and the zing of fresh garlic allows this pesto to brighten any dish, creating the perfect cure for grey days when you’re faced with another late spring snow!

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I have to admit, I didn’t go to the grocery store with arugula on my list and the intention of making this pesto, but when a super-sized container of arugula landed in our fridge,  I was looking for a way to use it up!

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Summer Quiche

If you follow us on Instagram, then you may have noticed that I’ve been having fun with a #quicheoftheweek hashtag. I don’t make and post a quiche *every* week, but that’s the goal, and I find that my quiche-making really ramps up in the spring and summer time. So, since today’s the first day of summer, I thought it was the perfect time to share my basic quiche formula.

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Basic Quiche Formula

My methods are so stinking easy. As you’ll see, there’s a lot of freedom in what flavors and ingredients you put in the quiche, I’ll share a small list of ideas below, and hopefully you’ll be encouraged to experiment once you see that any crazy combination can work.

The photos in this post all come from the process of making a quick veggie and herb quiche for dinner. Nothing fancy, just leeks and spinach combined with fresh basil, chives, dill, and thyme.

Key Ingredients

  • pie crust. It can be store-bought and frozen or an unbaked DIY crust.
  • egg & milk mixture. I often use about 4 or 5 eggs whisked with 3/4 to a cup of whole milk. Everything is an estimate. I’ve never measured the milk and yet have never had a problem.
  • cheese. You’ll need about a 1/2 cup of grated cheese + a little extra for sprinkling on top. Have fun here. I will use whatever is in my fridge, and I’ll often mix and match. Usually I have some cheddar, maybe some parmesan, swiss, or gouda. You really can’t go wrong.
  • salt and herbs. I don’t add a lot of salt to my quiche, but I will add a dash to the whisked eggs and milk and a few dashes to the veggies as they cook. When it comes to herbs, I like to add dried thyme or even a dried Italian Herb blend during the winter, but in the summer, I’ll experiment with any variety of fresh herbs.
  • savory ingredients. See my suggestions below. Basically, I like to cook most vegetables before they go into the quiche. I like their final texture better if they’ve been cooked, and this also helps to remove water from the veggies, which will give you a firmer final quiche. With meats, I’m a fan of putting salmon (canned or smoked), smoked oysters, canned baby clams (drained), and ham in my quiches. I’d like to experiment with more, but for now that already gives me plenty of variety.

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Putting it Together

  • Preheat the oven to 350F.
  • Place the empty (and uncooked) pie crust on a baking sheet. I always bake the quiche over a baking sheet to avoid getting any drips on the oven if it overflows while baking.
  • Begin cooking the veggies. For this particularly quiche, I sliced and sauteed a couple of leeks over medium-high heat in a pan with olive oil. As they began to soften, I added a big pile of frozen spinach (in the summertime this could be any mixture of fresh greens). I then turn the heat down to low and let the veggies continue to cook and let off steam (never put a lid over the veggies, you want all of that water to evaporate!). I’ll let the veggies cook for anywhere from 10-15 minutes or longer if they have a lot of water in them.
  • While the veggies are cooking, whisk together the eggs, milk, a dash of salt, and any herbs. Then toss in about a half cup of grated cheese. If I’m adding canned salmon to the quiche, I break it up into bits and stir it into the milk mixture.
  • Spread the cooked veggies over the bottom of the pie crust. *Reserving any “decorative” veggies for the top of the quiche.
  • Pour over the egg mixture. Very gently, “blend” some of the veggie mixture with the eggs. I’m not too picky here, but I just give the whole mixter a slight mix-up with my fork, being careful not to prick the pie crust.
  • Decorate the top of the quiche. If I have some fresh tomatoes, I may put a few slices on top, or arrange some asparagus spears. If I’m adding smoked oysters, I do that now by just arranging them on top of the quiche. I’ll also sometimes sprinkle on a little bit more cheese, and if I’ve used fresh herbs, I’ll add a few to the top.
  • Place the quiche in the oven for about an hour. It will puff up as cooking, but then deflate as it cools. I like to let it cook until it starts to get a bit brown around the edges.

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Savory Ingredient Suggestions

I will experiment with any vegetables & a variety of proteins in my quiche. And I’m not joking when I say that I’ve never made a quiche that we didn’t like. So many savory flavors go well together, especially when combined with milk, eggs, and cheese. Believe me.

Consider this list just the starting point. You can mix and match any number of ingredients to create something amazing.

  • spinach
  • leeks
  • asparagus
  • fresh tomatoes
  • sun-dried tomatoes in oil
  • broccoli
  • basil
  • dill
  • thyme
  • chives
  • smoked salmon
  • smoked oysters
  • canned salmon
  • ham

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I’ve found that my boys love quiche! Since it’s mainly eggs, milk, cheese, and pie crust what’s not to love? From my perspective, it’s also a great way to introduce new flavors and give them an extra shot of veggies.

And when it comes to feeding our energetic clan, there’s nothing better than picnic dinners in the park, so I bake a quiche in the afternoon and pack it up with some drinks and fruit for the perfect picnic dinner! It’s so portable, and we even think the quiche tastes better when it’s had an hour or so to cool – no need to serve it hot and no need to worry about letting it sit in the picnic basket until you’re ready to serve.

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As we enter the season of fresh produce and longer days, I hope you’ll bake up a quiche or two and have a picnic in the park! And if you do, be sure to post #quicheoftheweek pic on instagram and tag us, we would love to see it. xo

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Roasted Chicken with Vanilla Bean Butter Sauce

Vanilla is our ingredient of the season. So far we’ve made some vanilla-infused vodka (great for milkshakes!) and a double vanilla cake. Today we’re turning our attention to a savory dinner.

Do you have any snow on the ground? We had a fantastic snow day yesterday! I read that Boulder’s 16+ inches in yesterday’s storm is more than the average snow for the month. I was so distracted by the sledding, matinees, and requests for banana cream pie, that I forgot to post. And I think Sarah’s off taking photos of staircases and doorways, so who knows when we’ll hear from here again ;-)? Anyway, today we’re sharing an amazing use for vanilla, and I really hope you’ll give it a try.

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When we picked vanilla as the ingredient of the season. I knew I wanted to experiment with some savory dishes. That said, I didn’t have anything in particular in mind, and never in my wildest dreams did I see this savory roasted chicken on the horizon! We eat a lot of roasted chicken, and I’ve become so partial to our chicken with the flavors of preserved lemon and olives, but this dish is far on the other end of the spectrum. The flavors are more subtle, of course there’s the vanilla, but there’s also a mild nutty-ness from the browned butter. It’s a nice compliment to our repertoire of chicken dishes.

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Pumpkin Galette

Pumpkin is our ingredient of the season. We have all sorts of sweet and savory dishes, as well as a face mask to wear while drinking your lattes.

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Have you made a galette? I have the feeling that they’re a trendy-food-of-the-moment, as I keep seeing them pop up on blogs and places like the cooking section of the NYTimes. And you know what I think? If it’s trendy, there might be a reason why… flaky pastry crust and savory fillings. That’s why.

Very simply, a galette is a rustic pie without a pan. The pastry dough is rolled out into a rough circle, the filling is piled in the middle, and then the sides of the dough are turn up and over the filling. It gets baked on a flat pan and that’s it. Simple as pie (I had to say it)! Galettes can be sweet or savory. With a filling of pumpkin, caramelized onions, apple, and ricotta cheese, this one is a little of both. The dough’s whole wheat flour is a perfectly nutty compliment to the savory-sweet fall filling. Enjoy!

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Thanksgiving Inspired Tapas

We’re republishing this yummy Thanksgiving inspired Tapas post from last year because it was so darn yummy.  Steal a recipe or two (or all five) for your big dinner this year.

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Happy Thanksgiving! I know, I’m a couple days early, but I wanted to show you how I celebrated Thanksgiving with my bf  last week.  I’m currently visiting a friend in Florida so I wanted to celebrate with K before I left.  I decided to create a tapas inspired Thanksgiving because it is perfect for couples, small families or those who are scared of cooking a turkey (me!). With some prep the night before, this all came together in under an hour.  Can you believe it?! I think my favorite part was the aioli tossed potatoes and the fact that everything is bite sized.  Eating tapas helps me slow down, enjoy the meal and talk between tiny bites.  We had a bunch of leftovers too and who doesn’t love that?!

One thing I try to do before starting to prepare a huge meal is to write a schedule.  I jot down all the names of the recipes in the order that I should start them.  That gives me a general guide so I’m not standing over the stove wondering what to do next.  At the end of the post, I’ll share my schedule with you.  I think it’d be easier to understand after you read the recipes.

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Garlic Tossed Green Beans with Toasted Pine Nuts

  • Half of an onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 1 lb green beans, trimmed
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Fill a tea kettle with water and turn it on to boil.
  • In a large sauté pan, pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil and turn the burner onto medium heat.  After a couple minutes, when the oil has heated up, add the pine nuts.  Toss the nuts every couple minutes.  When they start to pop or turn slightly brown, use a slotted spoon and place the nuts on a paper towel to drain. Turn the burner off for a moment. This should take no more than six minutes.
  • Place the trimmed green beans in a medium sized pot.  Pour the boiling tea kettle over the green beans and turn the burner on high heat.  Time the beans for seven minutes.  The green beans should be cooked, but still crisp. Once they’re done, drain them in a colander.
  • While the green beans are cooking, finely chop half an onion and two cloves of garlic. Add the onion to the sauté pan that you toasted the nuts in. Sprinkle a little salt over the onions.  Cook the onions on medium low heat until they are soft and translucent, about five minutes.  Add the garlic and continue to sauté for two more minutes.
  • By this time the green beans should be finished boiling.  Add them to the sauté pan and drizzle the remaining tablespoon over the green beans. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Stir the beans around to coat them with onions and garlic and add the pine nuts.  Stir for another minute or two to incorporate all the flavors and serve.

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Brown Sugar and Maple Syrup Glazed Carrots

  • 1/2 lb of baby carrots or large chunks of full-sized carrots
  • 1/4 cup of maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
  • Preheat the oven to 375°.
  • Whisk together the maple syrup and the brown sugar.
  • Put the carrots in a cast-iron pan or a vessel that is able to be baked.
  • Add the carrots to the pan and pour the glaze over them.  Don’t worry if the carrots aren’t completely covered or saturated. The glaze will bake into the carrots just fine.
  • Cover the pan with tin foil to create a steaming effect.
  • Time for thirty minutes. Check the carrots by piercing them with a fork.
*These measurements are based on baking carrots for 3 people – increase as necessary.

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Roasted Brussel Sprouts

  • Stalk of brussels sprouts
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • Preheat the oven to 375°
  • Optional step: Wrap the stalk of brussels in plastic wrap and microwave for three minutes.
  • Whisk together olive oil, cayenne, salt and pepper.
  • Place the brussels sprouts in a glass baking dish and drizzle with olive oil mixture.
  • Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.
*I like my brussels sprouts nice and brown, if you don’t, check the sprouts every ten minutes.

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Aioli Tossed Potatoes

  • 1 egg – room temperature
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • sprinkle of pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 lb of very small potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
  • Bring a medium-sized pot of salted (add the tsp of salt) water to boil. Add the potatoes and cook until just soft.  Test the potatoes by piercing them with a fork.  About ten minutes.
  • Whisk together the room temperature egg, pressed garlic cloves, olive oil, and fresh lemon juice.  Sprinkle some pepper into the aioli.
  • Slowly drizzle in the vegetable oil, little by little while whisking the aioli.
  • When the potatoes are cooked, drain them and put them in a large bowl.
  • Toss the warm potatoes with aioli and parsley.
  • Let sit for 10-15 minutes before serving so that aioli soaks into the potatoes.

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Warm and Spicy Grilled Pork Skewers

  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • Juice from one large lemon
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 3 tablespoons roughly chopped parsley
  • 1/2 – 1 lb pork
  • skewers
  • The marinade must be made the night before; please keep that in mind.
  • Whisk all the spices, garlic, lemon juice, parsley and olive oil in a bowl.
  • Cut up the pork pieces into quarter-sized chunks and place in a single layer in a shallow nonmetallic dish.
  • Pour the marinade evenly over the pork pieces, cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge. Ideally, you should stir the pork two or three times over the course of 8-12 hours.
  • 8-12+ hours later, place the pork pieces onto skewers.  If you’re using wooden skewers, soak them in water for at least twenty minutes prior to grilling.
  • Place the pork skewers on the grill or broil them.  I used a George Foreman grill and it took approximately 6 minutes to grill each group of skewers.

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Also shown in the photos are cranberry goat cheese topped crackers and mini no bake pumpkin pies.  I picked up the goat cheese from Trader Joe’s; served at room temperature, it is the perfect appetizer. The mini pumpkin pie recipe will be shared tomorrow, so stay tuned 🙂

After typing all those recipes, I realize that seems like a lot to do, but with a little preparation it comes together quickly.  The night before you can prep by washing the carrots, brussels, green beans and potatoes.  Chop a big pile of parsley and make the marinade and the aioli as well.  I also did a mental walkthrough of all the recipes and pulled out garnishes, gadgets, pots, pans and serving dishes for everything.  It’s a small step, but it really helps on the morning of.  That way everything is sitting out on the counter ready to be grabbed at a moments notice.

The day of, start by making the brussels sprouts and carrots.  Then bring several pots of water to boil for your beans and potatoes.  After your green beans are completely finished and the potatoes are tossed with aioli, quickly grill up the pork skewers.  By that time the oven veggies should be finished up and you are ready to serve dinner!

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Cauliflower Soup!

I know what you’re thinking. Cauliflower soup? Where’s the pumpkin? Well, this chunky soup is packed with our favorite fall gourd.

Kidding! This wasn’t a post we were planning, but I cooked a pot of this soup on Tuesday and had to share it with everyone because it was so delicious. In addition to eating leftovers for lunch, Alex also requested it for breakfast the past couple of days!

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When the days get cooler, I crave all types of soups, and while I make most at home, I’ve always shied away from cheesy soups because I’ve had the bad luck getting the cheese to melt without creating a greasy and clumpy mess. I can’t say for sure what made the difference this time (following instructions, maybe?), but the soup turned out perfectly. I think I may use  this same base recipe for a broccoli version next.

The original recipe can be found here, and it was so perfect that I my changes were minor.

Cauliflower Soup

Cauliflower Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1 medium cauliflower head, broken into florets
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 vegetable bouillon cube
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 3 Tbsp flour
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2 cups 2% or whole milk
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the carrot, onion, and celery. Cook, stirring once in a while, until the onions are translucent (about 5 minutes).
  2. Add the cauliflower, water, and bouillon. Keep the soup at a gentle simmer for about 10-15 minutes as the vegetables cook.
  3. In a medium saucepan, heat the butter over medium-low heat. Whisk in the flour, salt, and pepper until smooth. Continue whisking and slowly pour in the milk. Whisk until smooth. Bring the milk to a gentle simmer over medium heat, stir once in a while, and cook for about 2 minutes until thickened. Reduce heat to low and stir in the cheese until melted.
  4. Stir the milk mixture into the soup and serve.
http://liveseasoned.com/cauliflower-soup/

We found that this soup reheats well, but doesn’t last long! I think this has started a little cauliflower kick in our house. Up next, this roasted cauliflower and garlic dip.

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Pumpkin Chili

Pumpkin is our ingredient of the season. If you like this pumpkin chili, you might want to check out our stew and curry too!

Pumpkin Chili! In our house, chili was one of the first dinners that we learned to make. Our mom had a really simple, kid-friendly recipe (ground beef, canned beans and tomatoes, chili spice packet). Side note : can’t wait to teach Alex to make that one; look for that as a Cooking with Kids post in a couple of years. I was always really psyched to for chili night, but as I’ve grown, so have my tastes. Now I love a chili packed with fresh veggies, and fortunately for me, this chili has not one, but two types of pumpkin. Victory!

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I used two types of pumpkin because they each do something different for the dish. The fresh pumpkin holds its texture well when cooked, making it another vegetable that easy to identify in this chunky chili, while the pureed pumpkin adds a creamy texture to the chili liquid.

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