The Mess Hall

Rants and ramblings on all things edible, wearable, doable, or usable with a focus on Home and Health. Home is fun, easy on the wallet, and “gool” for the greatest game of tag ever (Life). Welcome to my home, the Mess Hall. Get in the Mess!

29 Jan

Café Latte’s Chicken Salsa Chili

Posted in Makin' Food on 29.01.11 by Octopi

My friend J clued me in on this recipe. It’s a bit of a different take on a traditional chili and it is AmaZING with a capital A and a big ZING at the end.  Thanks J!

Café Latte’s Chicken Salsa Chili

Ingredients

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces (I had frozen chicken breasts so I just put them in whole and cut them later after they’d been cooked)
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions (a large onion)
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red chili pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic (I used three cloves)
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh jalapeno chili peppers (I didn’t use the seeds)
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock (I put in three cups because I was started with dry beans)
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder (I used 2 1/2 because 3 seemed like a shit ton)
  • 1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes, undrained and broken up
  • 1 can (29 ounces) tomato puree
  • 2 cans (15 ounces each) dark red kidney beans drained (I had dry beans, soaked them for a number of hours before I dropped them in the crockpot. If you put them in dry, just make sure to add some extra water.
  • 1 can (15 ounces) hominy (hominy is white corn. I could only find 28 ounce cans so I used it all)
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Tortilla chips
  • Cheese

 

Makin It Happen

  • Dump everything into a crockpot except the cilantro and lime juice. I cooked mine on low for six hours.
  • At the end add the fresh cilantro and lime juice.  These two ingredients MAKE the recipe. It is so damn good.  Do NOT skip these ingredients.
  • To serve, crush some tortilla chips on top and add a little shredded cheese on top.  I had chihuahua cheese and that tasted fantastic. 
  • You could skip the chips, add some sour cream, whatever your little heart desires.

 

Tips and Tricks

  • Here are the original cooking directions if you have unfrozen chicken and canned kidney beans.  Pretty quick cook.  I think either way is fine.
  • Warm olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Sauté chicken until cooked. Add onions and reduce heat. Cook for 3 minutes or until onions are tender.
  • Add pepper flakes, garlic, jalapenos, chicken stock, chili powder, tomatoes and tomato puree, kidney beans and hominy. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes

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08 Jan

Meatballs. Lotsa Meatballs.

Posted in Makin' Food on 08.01.11 by Octopi

OK, if you’re making homemade pasta sauce, you may as well go all the way and make some homemade meatballs as well.

It doesn’t take that long to whip them up.  Give it a whirl!  Again, a recipe from food.com.

Homemade Meatballs

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef or ground round
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley (I put more in than this, cuz what else are you gonna do with it?)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

 

Makin it Happen

  • Dump everything in a bowl
  • Get your hands in there and mix/squish everything together. Fun!!
  • Make little round balls, about golf-ball sized
  • Dump into tomato sauce and cook right along with the sauce in the crock pot (I had it in for 6 hours on low).

 

So I forgot to take a picture of the final product, but if you need a refresher on what a meatball is, here you go.

Tasty Goodness!

Tips and Tricks

  • If you make a bunch of meatballs, you can also make meatball sandwiches. They taste particularly good on leftover garlic bread from the original meal!

 

Nutritional content here:

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30 Dec

Crazy Ass Chili

Posted in Garbage Recipes, Makin' Food on 30.12.10 by Octopi

For lack of a better description, this is some Crazy Ass Chili.  It looks complicated but really you just dump all these ingredients into a crock pot and let er go for a good 6 hours on low.  I also like it because, if I make it in the morning, I just dump the last of the coffee in there.  And maybe I take a swig of beer after dumping that in as well.  We made a modified version of this at Snowpants Pub Crawl last year and seemed to be a hit.  Just in time for winter and football/basketball/hockey watching!

Ingredients 

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 3/4 lb beef sirloin, cubed
  • 1 (14 1/2 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can/bottle dark beer
  • 1 cup strong coffee
  • 2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
  • 2-3 cups beef broth
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup dried kidney beans
  • 1 cup dried black beans

 

Optional

  • 2-3 carrots, chopped (or whatever other veggies you want to throw in there)
  • 1/2 cup barley (we’re trying to use up our vast supply of barley)
  • 1 scary dried hot pepper 
  • The meat is optional as well.  If you put additional beans in it you may want to add more liquids.

 Note: this is an image of the chili AFTER it’s been frozen.  Cuz you can freeze it and pull it out at a later date for lunch or dinner or whatever!!  Try it. It’s fun. 

Makin It Happen

  • If you put meat in there, go ahead and brown the meat in a skillet (with the olive oil).  While you are at it you can cook up the onions along-side.
  • Dump all ingredients in.
  • I kind of set the scary hot pepper on top of everything in the pot for the first hour or two.  Then I took it out because I was afraid of turning a nice pot of chili into a fiery vat of burn-your-face-off.
  • Cook on low for 6 hours (it takes a while, particularly if you’re using dried kidney beans.  They need a lot of time and liquid to rehydrate and cook.)

 

Nutritional 411 here.

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16 Dec

Pizza, Pasta, Lotsa Mozzarella….

Posted in Makin' Food on 16.12.10 by Octopi

Pizza, Pasta, Lotsa Mozzarella.  We’ve got the team that’s gonna beat-a you-a. Eh, eh, eh, eh, eh, MOUUAAA!

Elementary school cheerleading. Yeah. The things I remember.

Speaking of pasta, I love me some homemade pasta sauce.  It’s incredibly easy to do as well.  It’s almost not cooking.  You literally just dump everything into the crock pot, leave, come back, and voila! 

I found this recipe on the old recipezaar website (now food.com).  I’ve modified it a bit, mainly because I like enough garlic to kill all vampires within a 25-mile radius.

Homemade Tomato Sauce

Ingredients

  • 2 (28 ounce) cans tomato puree
  • 1 (28 ounce) can peeled plum tomatoes
  • 2 6 (six!) cloves garlic
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 6 cloves (or maybe a tsp of ground cloves?)
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (I use only one, depends on how sweet you like your sauce)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup grated cheese (parmesan or some other Italian-happy cheese)

 

Makin it Happen

  • Squish up the canned tomatoes.  If you’ve got some tomatoes in the fridge that have seen better days, dump those in the crockpot as well.  Squish them with your hands cuz it’s fun and cheap therapy if you pretend the tomato is the head of some person that’s driving you batty.

 

  • Dump all the other ingredients in
  • Give er a good stir
  • In the words immortalized by the Showtime Rotisserie infomercials: Set it and Forget it!  For six hours on low heat in the crock pot.

 

 Tasty goodness! 

Tips and Tricks

I’m a big fan of making a big ol’ batch of sauce and freezing some to use later, either as sauce or to use in homemade lasagna.

Nutritional content here.

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