Sunday, February 11, 2007

Totally Bodacious Chili!

So I made chili for the first time ever and my only complaint was that it came out a little too spicy. Otherwise, it looked and tasted exactly as it should! I love my chili served "chili mac" style over spaghetti with shredded cheese on top. You can add beans to this recipe (sadly, the boy does not like beans) and I would just toss them in when you put in the tomatoe-y ingredients. Give it a whirl! We also served this up with buttermilk biscuits (the recipe for which can be found on your local bisquick box) and TALL glasses of ice water :)

Totally Bodacious Chili (Mac)
inspired by The New Best Recipe and Alton Brown
Serves 4-5

1 TBS olive oil
1 lb ground sirloin or ground beef
1/2 onion, chopped fine
1 green bell pepper cored, seeded, and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 1/2 TBS chili powder (decrease to lessen heat)
1/2 TBS cumin
1 tsp. ground red pepper
1/2 tsp. oregano
2 cups crushed tomato (16 oz.)
2 TBS fresh salsa
2 chipotle peppers canned in adobo sauce, chopped (decrease to 1 to lessen heat)
1 TBS adobo sauce (from canned chipotles) (decrease to lessen heat)
1/2 tsp salt

1 lb linguini or spaghetti
grated cheddar or monteray jack
crumbled tortilla chips

1) Heat oil in a large dutch oven (or skillet if, like me, you don't yet have a dutch oven) until shimmery. Add onions, bell pepper, garlic, chili powder, cumin, ground red pepper, and oregano. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables soften and begin to brown, about 10 minutes. Increase heat to med-high and add half the beef, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the rest of the beef and repeat until the beef is no longer pink (about another 5 min).
2) If you are using a skillet instead of a dutch oven, move contents of skillet into a deep pot (otherwise, continue adding to dutch oven). Add crushed tomatoes, 1/2 tsp salt, chipotles, adobo sauce, and salsa and stir. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 hour. Remove cover and simmer for 1 hour longer, stirring occasionally (add water if the chili sticks to the bottom/sides of pan).
3) While chili is cooking, set 2 qt of water on to boil. Add spaghetti/linguini and cook according to package directions. Try to time it so it is finished around the same time as the chili. Drain and transfer to four pasta bowls
4) Serve chili over spaghetti. Top with grated cheese and crumbled chips (other good toppings: chopped raw onion, sour cream, fresh salsa...)

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Steak and Penne Stir-fry

So originally I was planning on doing a more Asian type stir-fry, but since we had rice last night, we decided to use pasta with tonight's dinner, and I felt inclined to shy away from typical Asian flavors. I still used all the same kinds of veggies, but the base of the very light sauce was beef broth rather than soy or teriakyi sauce (though I did use soy to marinate the beef... so sue me :) ). This is a nice, simple, light meal, and it's pretty quick (took me maybe 30 minutes) as long as you prep things in advance to cooking. Things go so much quicker if everything is already chopped to just toss in the pan when the time comes.

Steak and Penne Stir-Fry
Serves 2-3

1 lb. top-sirloin steak, sliced and cut into pieces about the size of a postage stamp
3 TBS soy sauce
2 TBS olive oil
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 TBS scallions, chopped
hamburger seasonings

1/2 red pepper, coarsely chopped
1/2 green pepper, coarsely chopped
1/2 onion, coarsely chopped
1 cup broccoli florets
1/2 cup snap peas, trimmed
2 TBS beef broth
2 TBS beef broth plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch, mixed to a paste
2 1/2 cups dry penne
2 TBS olive oil

1) Set a pot of water on to boil for the pasta. Plan to put the pasta in at about the same time you start cooking.
2) Combine steak, soy sauce, oil, garlic, scallions, and seasonings in a bowl or plastic bag. Marinate for at least 15 minutes.
3) Add pasta to boiling water. Set the timer for 3 minutes less than the suggested cooking time.
4) Heat 1 TBS oil in frying pan or wok until hot. Add steak, but discard marinade. Cook over medium to high heat until no longer pink. Remove meat and any remaining liquid from pan. Set aside.
5) Add second TBS oil to pan and heat. Add onions and peppers and cook until tender and the onions begin to brown (turn down the heat if the vegetables are cooking too quickly)
6) When timer goes off, add broccoli florets to the pasta and water for the remaining 3 minutes. When finished, drain pasta and set aside. Add broccoli to pepper/onion mixture.
7) Add steak and snap peas to the pan and toss. Add broth and cornstarch/broth mixture and stir until thickened and heated through.
8) Add pasta to pan and toss to coat.
9) Serve immediately!