Weekend Chili

I had *THE* best crockpot recipe 15+ years ago and I guess somehow, in several moves or something, I lost the recipe. I was SO crushed because after years of trying different chili recipes, I had finally found one that I loved and I haven’t been able to figure out where it went. I’ve tried a dozen or so chili recipes since and they are often pretty good, but not “THE ONE.” Oh well…I’ll keep trying.

I found this recipe and gave it a try, with a few modifications. I used ground beef and chunks of steak (instead of ground pork). I will try using pork next time but I did enjoy having the chunks of beef in the chili.

My parents were in town for the weekend and I decided chili and cornbread would be a good meal to make for all of us.

Michael’s back is still in bad shape and I’ve been taking over most of the Logan and house duties. (He’s getting an MRI this week, so hopefully we have answers soon!) I’ve been pretty overwhelmed and stressed trying to take care of everything, so it was nice having my parents visit to help with Logan. They took care of him Saturday so I could get a break and go to the gym.

I got home and showered and they picked up lunch (coleslaw, potato salad, quinoa salad and vinegar wings–my new favorites!) and we hung out watching the Olympics. Logan didn’t want to take a nap in his crib, so he took a nap on my dad instead. 🙂

After naps, my mom and Logan made cornbread to go with the dinner. Logan was super helpful! 😉

He loved helping. It was really fun seeing him try and “cook.” My mom liked it too. Lots of good memories! I topped the cornbread with some shredded cheese and popped it in the oven.

The cornbread turned out great!

Time for dinner. The chili was pretty good. I would have preferred it to be a bit more spicy, but my parents aren’t spicy food people. (I will be adding hot sauce to the leftover). They loved the chili and said it was great. Michael even liked it, and he is not really a chili fan.

The chili was definitely better with cornbread and toppings!

The recipe said it had 6-8 servings in it. We each had 2 scoops for dinner (so 4 servings the first night) and I think there are at least 4-5 more servings in leftovers. I am taking some to work for lunches this week.

It’s even better the next day, a little thicker. I would definitely make this recipe again.

QUESTION: What is your favorite chili recipe?

Homemade Tomato Soup

I recently made a recipe that called for a can of whole tomatoes and I didn’t use all of them. I had to use up the leftovers so I decided to try making my own tomato soup. It was the first time I’ve made tomato soup from scratch before. I know–something this simple, how haven’t I made it before? I have no excuses other than laziness. Which is a major shame because we had sooo many tomatoes in our garden this summer.

Since I had to use up the tomatoes I decided to try my hand at tomato soup. I found a recipe that was simple and easy to use.

My friend Star came over for dinner and she brought her amazing cornbread. It has corn, peppers and cheese in it and it’s probably the best cornbread I’ve ever had.

The tomato soup was pretty easy to make. I didn’t have a food mill but I used a sieve to drain the liquid from the chunks. It was messy and kind of a pain but it worked.

I varied the recipe just a tad–I added a bay lead to the simmering sauce. I didn’t have cloves so I sprinkled a little bit of cinnamon in there. I also added back some of the chunks of tomato. This was also the first time I’ve ever attempted making a roux. After I made the roux, I slowly added the liquid and chunks back into the pot.

I tasted the soup and it was a bit tart. I added a little bit of brown sugar to the mixture. I tasted it again and added a little bit more. Then I added some of the Sugar/Splenda Blend that I have and it tasted much better. I let it simmer a little bit longer and then dinner was served.

I’m glad I added some of the chunks back into the soup. It made it heartier. I wish the photos of the soup had turned out better but the steam made the photos a little blurry.

The soup was good! I think I could have added a bit more sugar to it because it was a bit tart, but I liked it. The recipe made 6 servings for 90 calories a serving but I dished up two servings each because it was kind of a small portion. That’s still not bad for under 200 calories.

The cornbread went perfectly with the tomato soup. It was the perfect meal for winter time.  Star also made a nice, healthy dessert for us to share–pears. She peeled the skin off, sliced the pears and put them on a baking dish. She sprinkled cinnamon on it, put goat cheese on the pears and baked them for a few minutes.

The pears were softened and warm and the goat cheese was a bit melty. It was lovely! And a very nice winter dinner with friends. When Star left I found something in my bathroom:

See that $5? It’s a little game we play. (And don’t mind the turquoise countertop–we are remodeling.) Star is the type of friend that will give a complete stranger her shoes if they asked for them, and then she’d offer them her socks as well. She’s a completely selfless person who is also impossible to spoil! She gives everything away and refuses to take money for services (like kitty babysitting). So I started hiding money in her apartment whenever I was over there. I thought I was sneaky but she’d find it and hide it somewhere in my house. That same stinkin’ $5 has been passed between us for who knows how long.

This time when Star was in the bathroom I snuck $5 into her purse but I obviously didn’t do a good job at hiding it because she hid it in my bathroom before she left. I need to get more creative with my hiding. 🙂

QUESTION: What’s your favorite winter soup?