Friday, May 21, 2010

My Favorite Go-to dinners!

(I can't find my camera to take a picture of my chili, but I thought you'd enjoy a shot of me with my TEENAGER on his birthday. And yes, he loves both these dinners!)

I am posting these 2 recipes not only for my friend Amy (who's about to have a baby and wants some good make and freeze recipes), but because I have been asked for the recipies more than once.

These are great, not because it's necessarily my first choice to impress company, but because they consistently taste great, are cheap, and most importantly, the kids gobble them up.

Another tip, I always brown my ground beef in the crockpot. Weird, I know. I dump it all in (sometimes from frozen cubes, or the fresh big costco packs!), sprinkle with dried onion for flavor, and set it on high. I then do whatever, stopping to stir it occasionally, and about an hour later I have perfectly browned ground beef! Easy-peasy. I will usually brown 2-3 lbs. at a time and divvy them up for these 2 recipes. Sometimes I'll just bag it and freeze to reuse in these recipes later. The chili is really fast if you have the beef all ready to throw in the pot.

First up: Weeknight Chili

I actually got this recipe off the grocery store shelf on one of those little cards shortly after we were married. It's been a keeper ever since. I can't tell you how many people have told me they love it, and they don't normally like chili. Please don't do anything to make it weird. You just won't get the same results. I am even very strict about which BRAND of chili powder to use (McCormick ONLY please). I have tried others and it ruins it. If you do insist on going rogue, don't attach my name to the recipe. I have a reputation to uphold.

1/2 lb. ground beef
2 cans red kidney beans undrained (white and black acceptable in a pinch)
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 T. white vinegar
2 T. McCormick Chili powder
2 T. instant minced onion
1/4 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. sugar

Brown the ground beef until no longer pink, stirring frequently, drain fat.
Dump in everything else, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes
Serve with sour cream, cheese, fritos (yummy!) or whatever suits your fancy.

**This is better the longer it simmers. I usually double (quadruple actually, but we're a big family), then freeze half for later. The frozen stuff is always more flavorful from the flavors melding.

Beef and Bean Chimichangas:

1 lb. ground beef
3/4 Cup chopped onion (or dried onion already in ground beef)
3/4 cup diced green or red bell pepper
1 can whole kernel corn
2 cups taco sauce (1 reg. size jar, large one if doubling)
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 (16 oz) can refried beans
flour tortillas
16 oz. shredded cheese (Monterry Jack or cheddar)
1 T. butter, melted

(If you haven't pre-cooked your ground beef, brown first, then drain fat. Unless you're feeling rebellious, then skip the fat drain part. I of course would never do such a thing.) To browned ground beef add onion, bell pepper, and corn. Cook for 5 minutes, or until veggies tender.
Add remaining ingredients(EXCEPT Cheese) and mix together. Cook until heated through.
Spoon beef mixture down center of tortilla (careful not to overfill, amount depends on size of tortilla), top with as much shredded cheese as desired. Continue until you run out of tortillas or filling for them!
Roll, and place seam side down in 9x13 pan or baking sheet.
Brush with melted butter. (Don't skip this part! It makes them slightly crispy, i.e. delicious!)
**At this point you can freeze them for later, or bake right away for dinner**
Bake at 350 for approx. 25 minutes. (Longer if cooking from frozen)

Serve with lettuce, tomato, guac, etc. as desired!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Random Thoughts

1. Is it okay to let your kids have Top Ramen for breakfast? I couldn't come with a good reason not to. I made them have a banana and milk with it, just in case.

2. If you're going to plop your almost 2 year old in front of sign language videos, it would be helpful to watch them yourself a few times, so that when they are frantically signing at you in Target you know what they're talking about. Mental note.

3. I should never, ever go into Target with money in my paypal account without a destination. Destination: Target.