Monday, September 24, 2012

Frito Chili Pie

Yummy note: Note the chill in the air, and the sweatshirts and jeans are officially out of the closet. Yes, it is chili weather! I used to make a blah, bland chili, aka, meat with tomatoes and beans as my husband would call it. I just couldn't get the seasonings right, until I found the Pioneer Woman's Frito Chili Pie recipe. This recipe rocks, I've made it numerous times since I've first found it. My number one way to eat it is with the Fritos and cheese, but adding corn to this recipe is fantastic, as well as eating this chili on top of noodles or rice. However, you'd like to serve this chili, it is a pretty popular crowd pleaser.

Frito Chili Pie

Recipe from the Pioneer Woman -

2 lbs ground beef and/or turkey
1 1/2 tsp prepared minced garlic
1 can tomato sauce
1 can roasted (diced) tomatoes with green chilies
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground oregano
1 tbsp ground cumin
2 tbsp chili powder
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed (If using chili beans with seasonings, I leave the sauce then.)
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
* optional - 1/4 cup masa (corn flour) or regular corn meal
* optional - 1/2 cup warm water
A bag of Frito corn chips
Grated sharp cheddar cheese
* optional - diced onion

On the stove, brown the meat in a pan. Then dump the browned meat into your crockpot and add in the prepared garlic, tomato sauce, tomatoes, salt, oregano, cumin, and chili powder.

Cover and turn on crockpot on high for about an hour. Add the drained and rinsed beans, stir and simmer in crockpot for another hour. This next step is optional, if you want, add in the masa and water mix to thicken up your chili and to add another layer of flavor to the chili. Lastly, mix the masa with water, then add to the chili. Stir to combine and simmer for final 30 minutes or so until it has thickened up a bit. Now, it is time to enjoy the chili and serve on top of Fritos chips and garnish with cheese and onion if you wish. Another add-in we’ve been enjoying with this recipe, is if we don’t add in the masa mix, we will often toss in a can of corn into the chili to add more depth to the dish. Enjoy!  

Monday, September 10, 2012

Funnel Cakes

Yummy note: As summer comes to a close, I realized we haven't been to any of those carnivals or community fairs this summer. I mean, I'm not really into it at all, except for well, going and getting the food there. I love the corn dogs, caramel apples, cheese curds, kettle corn, cotton candy, and you know, the deep fried anything. Oh wait, back to the matter at hand... the Secret Recipe Club time!  This month, like many other months, I didn't know where to start. When I began my search for this month's Secret Recipe Club, I really was all over the place with my assigned blogger, No Reason Needed. Carol's site has a mix of family blogging, along with her variety of recipe posts. There were so many great choices that once I began my search, I was torn. My husband wanted the taco dish, I was eyeing the meatloaf as I am always looking for easy and tasty meatloaf recipes.  But I decided to go with what I thought the kids would like too, well, secretly what I was hungry for.. shh..don't tell.. I'd like some of that--> the powdered sugary deep fried goodness.  A recipe that totally reminded me of all of those great feelings of nostalgia of country fairs and festivals would be it. I saw this recipe for funnel cakes, I thought this would be an awesome treat, something I normally wouldn't go crazy and make. I tried churros one time and failed miserably, so I was a little nervous at first. This time around though, in my trusty Le Creuset, I fired up my little pot of oil, and knocked this one out of the park.

Funnel Cakes 

1 egg
2/3 cup milk (I used soy milk here.)
2 tbsp white sugar
1 1/4 cups flour 
1 tsp salt 
1 tsp baking powder 
about 2 cups of oil for frying
optional: water, if needed to thin out the batter

In a deep skillet or pan, heat about 2 cups of oil over medium heat until hot while you begin to make the funnel cake batter. Make sure you test the oil later before pouring the batter in. Measure out dry ingredients (sugar, salt, flour, and baking powder) in a small bowl. In a larger bowl, mix the egg and milk together. Once the egg and milk is beaten together, gradually add in your dry ingredients. The batter will become fairly thick. So if needed, add in some additional water to help make the funnel cake batter smooth. Test the heated oil and see if it is ready and make sure it is not too hot. It is is smoking when you do a test drop, turn down the heat a bit and wait.  

Next, pour the batter in a funnel or a large gallon sized baggie. If using the baggie approach, snip off a small corner of it, and begin to squeeze the batter in the hot oil. Squeeze in a web-like pattern, circular pattern until you have reached a desired shape or amount of batter. Fry for about 2-3 minutes, with a flip over halfway. It really doesn't take very long at all, so once they begin to turn puffier and a golden brown, remove the crispy fried goodness from the pan. 

Sprinkle with powdered sugar for the classic funnel cake preparation. Get creative, and check out the other options below to top your funnel cake!   

Note, for the caramel apple version above, I used another No Reason Needed recipe I liked. Carol's fried apple recipe made an amazing gooey, sweet topping. It tasted like a warm apple pie, really it was pretty delicious...