Saturday, February 22, 2014

Cincinnati Chili at Home!

My kids love Cincinnati Chili, and ask to eat at one of the Cincinnati Chili parlors in and around Cincinnati often.

This is certainly an acquired taste for many, and is a regional food that those in our little pocket of the US love. It's even served in the kids' schools for lunch, altho they make their own and do not get it from one of the chili parlors, as I expected they would.

Anyway, it certainly isn't a health food. It is, however, a sort of comfort food around the Cincinnati regional area.

I believe in the original recipe that the beef is boiled. My daughter gets mad when I say things like "mmmmmmm, yummy yummy meat water" which is, really, what Cincinnati Chili pretty much comes out to be. I don't bother with boiling the beef. Too time consuming and, frankly, too unfamiliar. I am not concerned with getting the texture of the beef just right, but with getting the spice blend as close as possible to what we experience in the Cincinnati chili parlors. And believe me, it is a tad difficult. I've managed to piece together various recipes I've found online and elsewhere on the different occasions I've made this. I tend to wing it in this way. This time, I decided to write what I did so I can refer back to it instead of guessing and piecing various recipes together each time I make it.

If the ingredients seem odd to you for "chili", it's because they kinda are. It's still really good, in my opinion. There are many who would disagree. All I can say is, "Mmmmmmm.....yummy, yummy meat water!"

Want to learn more about Cincinnati Chili? Go HERE.

(Tidbit: Cincinnati is probably one of the only places you can ask for a 3 way and it's automatically assumed that you want CHILI).


  • 1 TBSP canola oil
  • 1 lb lean ground beef or ground turkey
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 TBSP tomato paste
  • 1.5 TBSP Chili Powder
  • 3 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 2.5 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cans tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire
  • 2 TBSP Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 tsp light brown sugar
  • 1TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder
  • More chicken broth or water if it is too thick

Garnish: (optional)

Pinto or Red Kidney Beans
Finely shredded cheddar
Diced onions
Sour Cream

In large pot, heat oil over medium heat then add onion and beef. Cook, chopping up beef as fine as you can while cooking, until beef is brown (about 10 minutes).

Add the paste, chili powder, oregano, cinnamon, cloves, salt, pepper, allspice. Cook, stirring, for about 1 minute.

Add the rest of the ingredients. Bring to a boil, stirring all the while. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, on low for about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally. If it gets too thick, add more broth or water, 1/4 cup at a time.

Serve over cooked spaghetti, or over hot dogs.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Meatless Taco Salad

I've been in a food funk here lately. With all the talk about pink slime, as well as other research into what is *really* in the food we absentmindedly buy at the grocery store, I've gotten to the point where I wish I was adept at mass gardening and animal farming so I could know exactly where my food is coming from.

I've been so disgusted by the pink slime reports lately that since last week, I've eaten NO meat at all. I've been in this daze, walking through the grocery store as well as driving down the road past all the fast food restaurants. Much of what I see is not an option in my head anymore, as disgusted as I am at the moment.

I don't plan to fast from meat indefinitely, but I do plan to cut red meat out of our diet now. We had already cut down significantly anyway on red meat, due to its strong link to colon cancer and heart disease. I figured we could get our protein elsewhere, you know? Ground turkey is a good substitute in most cases for ground beef, and recently we've been buying ground wild turkey from Whole Foods.

Anyway, with this has come more searching for tasty meatless recipes that we can live with. My big thing is trying not to sacrifice taste in eating healthier!

So, in this, I present you with a Meatless Taco Salad! We've decided to use some of the full fat products, particularly in dairy, to eat as little added crap as possible to the food. When fat comes out, something else (usually unnatural) goes in to preserve the taste. Ive decided that I'd rather have completely natural, even if that means more calories and fat.


  • 4 whole wheat tortillas (8 inches)
  • 6 cups shredded romaine, or acceptable lettuce
  • 1/2 cup no salt added canned pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 small tomato, chopped
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 2 tablespoons sliced ripe olives, drained
  • Sliced jalapeno peppers, optional
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons ranch salad dressing
  • 1 teaspoon taco seasoning found here
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce, optional


  • Place four 10-oz. custard cups upside down in a shallow baking pan; set aside. Place the tortillas in a single layer on ungreased baking sheets.
  • Bake at 425° for 1 minute. Place a tortilla over each custard cup, pinching sides to form a bowl shape. Bake for 7-8 minutes or until crisp. Remove tortillas from cups to cool on wire racks.
  • In a large bowl, combine the romaine, beans, tomato, cheese, onions, olives and jalapenos if desired. In a small bowl, whisk the dressing ingredients. Pour over salad ; toss to coat. Serve in tortilla bowls.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Simple White Bean Soup and Cornbread

Hot soup and a cold day.

I've used this recipe for more than 10 years, and it never disappoints. It is so very simple too. It doesn't matter if you use canned Navy Beans, or dry ones, this is an easy and hearty meal that is perfect for winter.

Now, I use dry beans. The biggest reason is to control the sodium content, but I have found that Kroger's Private Selection of organic canned beans have a super low sodium content. I have used those in a pinch, but I prefer to use dry beans -- if I can remember to soak them overnight!!

There isn't a huge difference in the nutritional value between canned and dry beans, but there are indeed some differences which leads to dry beans being the better nutritional choice if that is something you look at, as I try to do.

The biggest difference nutritionally is the sodium content. Well, as well as heavy metals absorbing into your food from the cans. Dry beans have, well, zero sodium. For us, that is a huge deal since hubby has high blood pressure. Most things that come in cans contain astronomically high sodium content, yet as I listed above, Kroger does make canned beans that actually have a low sodium content if you'd rather use that in a pinch.

Personally, I also think there is a huge taste difference, again with the dry beans winning out. Dried beans are also so much cheaper. And, quite honestly, they're more nutrient dense than canned.

Just take a small amount of time to soak the dry beans while you are sleeping, and you will have the better option.

And, you know, if you aren't at work all day and think in the morning, "Bean soup for tonight sounds good but I didn't soak them!" Never fear. You can do as I am doing today, and 1:30pm when I decided that I was going to make bean soup for tonight.

You can do what is called a "Quick Soak". Take the dried beans and cover them with cold water, Heat to boiling, and let boil for 2 minutes. Turn off heat, cover pot, and let stand for an hour.

Then, you are ready to cook with them, which will take about 2 hours or so to simmer on the stove. Even getting started at 1:30, I will have delicious bean soup made from dried beans (that I forgot to soak) by dinner time!

If you DO go to work all day, the beauty is you can soak the beans overnight in the crock pot and in the morning just thrown in a ham hock, turn on high and leave while dinner cooks itself as you busy yourself away for the day! All you'll have to do is whip up some cornbread, and you have dinner!


  • 1-lb dry navy or great northern beans
  • ham hock


  1. Rinse beans carefully to remove any dirt or rocks that may be present.
  2. Cover in a crock pot with 6-8 cups of cold water. Let soak overnight, or at least 6-8 hours.
  3. Add ham hock to crock pot and cook on high for 6-8 hours.

Skillet Cornbread:

  • Finely ground pure cornmeal, yellow or white (about 2 cups)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tspns baking powder
  • 1/2 cup of oil

While making batter, add a well greased, cast iron skillet to the oven to heat it up.

  1. Beat egg, then add bakingsoda, baking powder and mix.
  2. Add buttermilk, oil and salt.
  3. Add cornmeal slowly to make a medium thick batter.
  4. Remove cast iron skillet from oven, and add batter to cast iron skillet and bake at 450 for about 15-20 minutes. Watch closely.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Amish Ham, Green Beans, and New Potatoes

A couple of weeks ago, while I was at work, I picked up an old Amish cookbook. I like looking at various cookbooks so I can try and find recipes that maybe we haven't used before. While I did find several that I think we would like to try, the simplicity and combination of flavors of this one struck a chord with me.

I've had this combination before, of course. I believe many have. However, I don't believe I have ever cooked them all together as one dish. Apparently, this was a staple (and still is) in Amish country. Normally, this is cooked in a Dutch oven. And I do have a cast iron Dutch oven that I use on occasion for other dishes.

However, I am choosing to use my crock pot for this dish.

For anyone interested in browsing through Pennsylvania Dutch Cooking, you can go to this link. Here is an excerpt from the intro.

"The Pennsylvania Dutch are a hard working people and as they say, “Them that works hard, eats hearty.” The blending of recipes from their many home lands and the ingredients available in their new land produced tasty dishes that have been handed down from mother to daughter for generations. Their cooking was truly a folk art requiring much intuitive knowledge, for recipes contained measurements such as “flour to stiffen,” “butter the size of a walnut,” and “large as an apple.” Many of the recipes have been made more exact and standardized providing us with a regional cookery we can all enjoy."

This is not where I got the recipe; however I can not imagine what recipe I found to vary too much since it is pretty simple with the same ingredients.


  • 3 lb bone-in ham, uncooked
  • 1 lb whole green beans, trimmed
  • 5-6 new potatoes, cut into quarters (or whole, as I used them)
  • salt and pepper to taste

1. In a large crock pot, cover the ham with water. Cook on high for about 4 hours. Add extra water if needed.

2. Add green beans to the pot. Remove the ham and add the potatoes. Cut the meat into bite sized pieces. Add the meat back to the pot and cook another hour on high.

3. Turn heat down to low to simmer until ready to serve.

**note** for those who may choose to utilize this recipe in the crock pot while you are away for the day and are crunched for time when you get home, adding the potatoes with the ham from the beginning will certainly yield well done potatoes with no wait. Adding canned green beans about 15-20 minutes before serving rather than raw, uncooked ones will also make the wait time less for when you arrive home with hungry mouths waiting to be fed.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Black Bean Soup and Corn Bread

We often cook black beans in the Fall and winter. I have used several different recipes, and even believe I have another one here on the blog somewhere.

Black beans, like most legumes, are beneficial in many ways. They have tons of fiber. In particular, soluble fiber which is specifically the type of fiber that has been found very helpful in lowering blood cholesterol levels. They also have a lot of anti-inflammatory properties as well as antioxidants which make them heart healthy!

They're rich in protein, flavanoids, folate and Vitamin B6. They're good for you and help you feel full as well!

So, this is our yummy dinner tonight, along with some gluten-free conrbread from the gluten-free cookbook!

Omit the sour cream, or use GF sour cream, and you can make this gluten free entirely!

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans black beans
  • 1 (14 ounce) can gluten free chicken broth, low sodium
  • 1 cup deli ham, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • shredded cheddar and sour cream to taste
  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in the onion, carrot,garlic, and cook a few minutes until tender. Mix in 1 can black beans and chicken broth.
  2. Puree remaining can of beans. Add to pot. Bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Mix in ham, cumin, salt, and pepper. Simmer 20 minutes. Garnish with Cheddar cheese and sour cream to serve.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Marinated Eye of Round, Glazed Brussels Sprouts,and Baked Potato

Tonight was one of those nights where I wasn't really thinking much about what I was going to do for dinner. I had nothing at all planned. However, hubby has been somewhat deprived lately, being how I have only sporadically been cooking an actual meal during the evenings. Summer is so busy and full of running! We tend to eat out, which I hate because it hits the pocket book hard as well as the gut. Or, we basically fend for ourselves, which means sandwiches with processed lunch meat and processed soups. I don't like getting into that mold every night, because overall I would like us to have some kind of control over our meals by using fresh/frozen foods rather than relying on the convenience of processed foods, which contain so much more sodium, preservatives and other junk that I am trying my best to limit for us.

So, I pulled out a few recipes and inspected them to do a quick inventory of what I had on hand. Before I did anything, tho, I scrubbed a couple of potatoes and threw them in the oven at 425 degrees so they could be cooking while I got the other stuff together.

I dug through the freezer, knowing we had a few other meats in there besides the chicken that we mostly eat. I found a package of some eye of round. The defrost was relatively quick, and I found a great marinade to use which ended up tasting very delicious. I only marinated for about 30 minutes, too, so it works in a pinch if you need to throw something together fast and don't have 8+ hours to marinade.

I decided before anything else that we would be having brussels sprouts. I knew we had a bag of frozen brussels, and determined that, altho they are not my favorite, we would use them because they are exceedingly healthy and it's not something we can really eat when the kids are around. However, I did indeed find a recipe that may actually work in enticing the kiddos to try these miniature cabbage-like vegetables. And while the recipe did turn out very well, I am not actually convinced that the kids will bite.

You may be skeptical of the ingredients for the brussels glaze. I was. It turned out great, so give it a try.

For those of you with cholesterol problems, brussels sprouts are your friend! They contain over 15% of the RDA of fiber. I also heard the other day that brussels sprouts contain more Vitamin C than an orange! Isn't that crazy? I never would have thought that. Of course, they also contain a slew of other vitamins that are important to our health as well. Just a few more things Brussels sprouts can aid in are inflammation and digestion. They help protect against cardiovascular problems as well as many cancers. They contain many antioxidants. Immunity health, eye health, bone and blood cell health - all can be aided by eating brussels sprouts on a regular basis.

So, dinner tonight was:

Marinated Eye of Round Steak
Glazed Brussels Sprouts
Baked Potato

Marinated Eye of Round
(4 servings)

  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoons Dijon-style prepared mustard
  • 1/4 onion, sliced
  • 1/2 clove garlic, minced
Whisk all ingredients in a glass bowl and let steak marinade for at least 30 minutes. When ready to cook, place about 1/3 of the marinade in a skillet and heat. Add meat and cook about 4-6 minutes on one side. Turn and cook on other side for about 3 minutes. Remove and place on a plate.

Glazed Brussels Sprouts
(6 servings)

  • 1 cup water
  • 2 (10 ounce) packages frozen Brussels sprouts
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 8 ounces walnuts
  • 3 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  1. In a saucepan, bring the water to a boil and add the Brussels sprouts. Return to boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer 5 to 7 minutes, until sprouts are tender. Drain.(if you have a steamer, steaming is better to conserve the most nutrients)
  2. In a microwave safe bowl, mix the butter, brown sugar, allspice, nutmeg, and salt. Cover, and cook on High 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the butter is melted and the walnuts are warm.
  3. Pour over the cooked Brussels sprouts, add the walnuts and toss
  4. Serving after step 3 is optional. However, I like to put mine in a shallow dish and broil the brussels for about 4 minutes or so, so they have a nice roasted look and flavor to them.
Stay tuned on whether I can get my kids to eat this!!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Homemade Chicken Pot Pie

I have to tell you this: I hate pot pie.

As a kid at school when it was served, it seemed disgusting to me. As I have noted in previous posts, I hate peas. I absolutely abhor them to the point where even smelling them will make me throw up if I can not get away from the stench. That's the truth, and so the fact that peas were a common sight in any pot pie I ever saw immediately gave it a negative point in my book.

It wasn't just that, tho. You know those little single serving ones you get at the grocery? Yeah. They seemed even more yucky to me, even as I grew older. It wasn't just the peas. It just.....looked.....disgusting. Maybe it was the fact that those pot pies have dark meat in them, I don't know.

Anyway, pot pies were just one of those things on my 'never eat' list.

In January, my father became ill and subsequently had to go into the hospital. Along with this came food from various angels who considered dinner for my mother and I when we could not think beyond the immediate second with which we were dealing. One of those angels - my mother's sister (and NOT the one actually called "Angel", altho she brought us food as well) - brought us a homemade pot pie one evening along with some fixings.

My thought on pot pie changed in that circumstance. First, it was homemade. Second, when famished and you have a fully cooked meal in front of you, something becomes much more appealing when before it had little appeal at all. Thus, I ate my aunt's pot pie and.....really loved it! It didn't taste or look like the frozen monstrosities I had seen, and learned to loathe, from my past.

I had gone back to my home and gotten somewhat settled after my father's return to HIS home and started to think about that pot pie. I'll bet I can make one. And I can tweak it to include the veggies I like. My aunt's had peas in it, but I had simply eaten around them. But I could leave peas out altogether!!

I searched for recipes and considered several. Below is the one I settled on. I tweaked it some on the second time I made it, and even on the first time I left out the peas and corn. You, however, do not need to do so. It turned out really good, too! I made my own crust, and I will include the recipe for that as well, but two 9 inch refrigerated pie crusts will do just as nicely if you are not inclined to crust making (like me).

The good news is this is an easily freezable dish!

Buttermilk Pie Crust

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup vegetable shortening
  • 3 tablespoons cold butter
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk, or as needed
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil

  1. Whisk the flour and salt together in a bowl. With a pastry cutter, cut the shortening and butter into the flour until the chunks are the size of small peas. Stir in buttermilk and vegetable oil with a fork until the dough is moistened and beginning to gather together. Form the dough into a compact shape.
  2. Divide the dough in half, and shape each half into a ball. Roll out each pie crust between 2 sheets of parchment paper.
Chicken Pot Pie
(makes one pie)


  • 1 cup diced peeled potatoes
  • 3/4 cup sliced carrots
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1-1/2 cups chicken broth, sodium free
  • 1/2 cup evaporated fat free milk
  • 2 cups cubed cooked chicken
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • 2 refrigerated pie crusts, 9 inch
  1. Place potatoes and carrots in a large saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 8-10 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain and set aside. In a large skillet, saute onion in butter until tender. Stir in the flour, salt, thyme and pepper until blended. Gradually stir in broth and milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Add the chicken, peas, corn, potatoes and carrots; remove from the heat.
  2. Line two 9-in. pie plates with bottom pastry; trim even with edge of plate. Fill pastry shells with chicken mixture. Roll out remaining pastry to fit top of pies. Cut slits or decorative cutouts in pastry. Place over filling; trim, seal and flute edges.
  3. Bake one potpie at 425 degrees F for 35-40 minutes or until crust is lightly browned. Let stand for 15 minutes before cutting. Cover and freeze remaining potpie for up to 3 months.