Cornbread Chili Casserole and Caramel Apple Crisp

Afternoon everyone, I know it’s been forever since I’ve posted anything. It’s been a crazy recovery since September. I certainly do have a backlog of posts I need to share with you all, and what better one to start with than the cornbread chili casserole and caramel apple crisp!!

Y’all know I’m always on the prowl for food inspiration, even when I have a pretty good idea how something can go, I still like to see if someone else has done it with success. I’m weird that way πŸ˜‰ Let me just preface this in saying, my Mom makes THE best chili and cornbread in all the 50 states. She learned from the best, who had learned from the best and so on πŸ™‚ I’m not the least bit biased hehe!! Well, I got it into my head that those two needed to be put together in a big ol’ pan just because. Now putting these two together is not anything new, just do a google search and you’ll find oodles of recipes that put together chili and cornbread. Why is mine worthy to blog about? Perhaps it’s not, but the family thought it was pretty amazing and left only two servings in the pan afterwards(even G–Man ate some, huge shocker). But hopefully on those chilly fall/wintery nights when your family is sick of having another pan of soup you’ll consider making this version and win them over πŸ™‚

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This is by far the easiest meal I’ve made yet, bakes up in 20 minutes and can be made as spicy as you like…or not! πŸ˜‰

Cornbread Chili Casserole

For the Chili:

2 pounds ground beef

1 large onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 cans black beans, one drained

2 Tblsp chili powder

1 Tblsp Spanish paprika

1/2 tsp cumin

1/4 tsp oregano(or more if you like)

salt and pepper to taste

pinch of red pepper flakes

2 cup shredded cheese(Mexican blend is nice)

For the Cornbread

1 cup flour

1 cup yellow cornmeal

1 Tblsp + 1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

2 Tblsp sugar

1 cup milk

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 egg

 

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a dutch oven pan, brown ground beef with onions and garlic. Drain fat if needed. Add in black beans, chili powder, paprika, cumin, salt, pepper, and oregano. Let simmer for 10 minutes to allow the flavors to come together. If mixture seems a tad loose(almost soupy) sprinkle in a little instant potatoes. It won’t alter the flavor and will thicken the mixture up perfectly! Spoon into a lasagna pan, spread out evenly and top with shredded cheese.

In a medium size mixing bowl whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt and sugar. Add in milk, vegetable oil and egg. Whisk briskly until completely combined. Pour over cheese layer, smoothing out to the edges and corner with the back of a spoon or spatula. Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown and somewhat bubbling around the edges. Serve with sour cream if desired.

Yields 8-10 servings

 

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My Dad grew up having desserts almost every night, and while I wasn’t raised that way I do indulge him occasionally. Seeing that it’s apple season I went looking for a quick and easy dessert and thankfully I found one! Chow (dot com) has a very tasty apple crisp recipe with an oatmeal streusel topping. I just took it a step further and added a caramel drizzle over the top.Β  I didn’t have 2 1/2 pounds of granny smith apples, I had about three of them and several gala apples. It worked out nice in the end and is now one of G–Man’s favorite desserts! SCORE!! I’ll share the original recipe below since the website is acting all wonky on my computer. Not sure if it’s my system or the website. But I’ll post my changes/additions afterwards.

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Easy Apple Crisp

(Original recipe from Chow.com)

2 1/2 pounds medium Granny Smith and Golden Delicious apples (about 5 or 6), peeled, cored, and sliced 1/4 inch thick

2 to 3 tablespoons granulated sugar

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon fine salt

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup uncooked rolled oats

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (1/2 stick), cut into small pieces, plus more for coating the dish

INSTRUCTIONS

Heat the oven to 350Β°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Lightly coat an 8-by-8-inch baking dish with butter.

Combine the apples, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and 1/8 teaspoon of the salt in a large bowl and toss to coat. Place the apple mixture in the prepared baking dish and set aside.

Using the same bowl as for mixing the apples, mix together the brown sugar, oats, flour, and remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt until evenly combined. With your fingertips, blend in the butter pieces until small clumps form and the butter is well incorporated, about 2 minutes.

Sprinkle the topping evenly over the apples and bake until the streusel is crispy and the apples are tender, about 50 to 60 minutes. Let cool on a rack at least 30 minutes before serving.

 

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***NOK’S Touch***

Instead of thinly slicing the apples, chop the apples into bite size pieces. I left the salt out of the sugar and cinnamon mixture on purpose because I use salted butter when I bake. If you use unsalted butter by all means add in the salt. I even cut back on the cinnamon by 1/4 tsp because we use an imported cinnamon which is very strong. A little goes a long way!

I added the Breyer’s caramel ice cream sauce(comes in a soft black squeeze pouch, we use this one specifically because there is no high fructose corn syrup in it) after I pulled the crisp out of the oven. No need to poke holes or drag a knife through it, just let it cool with the caramel sauce on top till it’s warm and serve with vanilla ice cream. Simple!

This dessert was definitely a hit and a keeper! There wasn’t any left, I’m not surprised πŸ˜€ If you like, you could certainly add golden raisins or dried unsweetened cranberries to the apples(or both). Instead of apples, try this with peaches for a peach crisp (which is another favorite of my Dad’s)!

 

Hope you all have a blessed weekend!!

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Homemade Strawberry Muffins

Well, I had the best of intentions in getting this post out on Thursday but life took over πŸ™‚ After doing school with G–Man we spent the rest of the afternoon doing fall crafts: 3D pumpkins, creating fally spiders (as he called them), and even created a peek–a–boo picture called Who’s Inside? We didn’t just do that, we had our own little “picnic” in the bonus room too! He was such a sweetie, brought me some lemonade, turkey sausage patties that he warmed up in the microwave and a strawberry muffin I had made that morning. That last part wasn’t low carb but he was sweet to share it with me πŸ™‚ To end our afternoon he finger combed my hair, which reaches down to my waist now, while we talked and I checked my online messages. I wish every day could be as nice as that πŸ™‚ It most certainly won’t be forgotten any time soon that’s for sure!

After I got him off to bed tonight and set about doing the dishes I thought hard about whether or not I should take the time tonight to write this post. With pruny fingers, I sit here thinking about what all needs to be done in the morning, for the weekend, what I will need to get this weekend for the Missions Conference…yet I don’t want to be stingy and not share this amazing recipe with you πŸ™‚ True I’ve been up since 4am and running on fumes, but I promise you this recipe is worth it in the end! I had to try them out on the guys to see if it might be something I could take as a snack for the Conference visitors. I think I hit the nail on the head!

As my Dad was leaving this morning to go to an important meeting, I urged him to take a muffin with him. We went through our usual teasing. I promised him that he would like it, he assured me it would make him puke lol I love him! A few minutes after he had left I get a text from him saying it was very good! S–U–C–C–E–S–S! It’s the way we spell SUCCESS!! No doubt 100 times better than the muffins that were available at his meeting πŸ˜€ But of course, homemade is always better, derp!

Well, since the recipe makes a dozen I’m happy to say there is only one left. My child alone ate four muffins and is wanting more, I’m definitely making more this weekend to take for the Conference snack room (and to leave here for G–Man). I was pleased with their texture, light, fluffy, full of strawberry goodness! Since I originally intended for this to be a Throw Back Thursday post I had a bit of muffin history all ready to share. Don’t worry, we’ll get to the recipe soon πŸ™‚

Muffin itself comes from the word moufflet, an ancient French word that called for bread, moufflet this means soft, muffin is because a softer texture than bread in general.

The word muffin itself was introduced in the early 18th century and became known muffin recipe in the mid-18th century. actually there is always confusion between muffins and crumpets (cake unsweetened) either in the recipe or name. Muffin usually means one of the products derived from bread and distinct from the more toward crumpest pancakes.

Muffin itself became popular during the 19th century when the muffins begin to serve at teatime. In ordinary English muffin is made from yeast dough. Muffins are usually enjoyed in the winter along with a cup of hot tea, muffins are also usually equipped with butter and eaten with jam. In the era of Victoria, muffins, cakes sold by the seller in the streets over the food tray and placed it above their heads, they are also used to ring the bell at the hands of prospective customers to call them.

Meanwhile in North America, a muffin is very different, the material is essentially the baking powder, and muffins are usually made in deep patty (muffin) tins. Even if there is no wheat flour, cornmeal and bran (bran or husk) can be a substitute. Unlike the American serving the muffins for breakfast or as part of the dinner, in the UK which is famous for the tradition of serving afternoon tea muffins for tea. Even the muffins in England known as the “tea cakes”. In English muffin own name unknown origin but there are likely to come from Germany muffe low word which means cake. The word is published in England in 1703 and Hannah Glasse in 1747 wrote a muffin recipe in the recipe book. — Sooper Articles dot com

Who knew that muffins had such an interesting background? We like to think that food such as muffins are a 20th century invention but that just isn’t the case. Dating back to the 1700’s, it figures they would have yeast in them…not even going there. Sugar was precious, honey was used a lot in place of sugar and no doubt in the early 1700’s that’s exactly what they used, especially the poorer folks. My favorite thing to do with muffin recipes is to turn them into mini loaves. For one, it’s less work in greasing and flouring a pan and I prefer freezing loaves instead of muffins, they seem to thaw out better in the end.Β 

I’m not sure if the recipe I used is a vintage or retro, not that that matters. However, I used a vintage filter on my photos to give you that feel of this being a vintage recipe. Have I made you wait long enough?! Are you dying to know how to make these little fruity gems?! Ok, ok here you go…enjoy!!

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Berry–Smash Muffins (Strawberry Muffins)

1 2/3 cups fresh strawberries
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups Gold Medal all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Heat oven to 425 F.
Put a paper baking cup in each of 12 regular-size muffin cups, or grease just the bottoms of 12 muffin cups.
Slightly smash strawberries in large bowl, using fork.
Stir in sugar, oil and eggs until mixed.
Stir in other ingredients just until moistened.
Spoon batter into muffin cups.
Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until light golden brown or toothpick poked in center comes out clean.
Cool 5 minutes.
Loosen sides of muffins from pan if needed, and take them out of the pan. Makes 12 muffins.
Tip: If you do not have fresh strawberries, you can use frozen strawberries that you have thawed and drained.
I used frozen strawberries, thawed and drained of course. Mashed them up a bit with a fork and followed the rest of the recipe exactly!
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After cooling for a bit in the pan, they popped right out with ease.
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Let them cool on the wrack for a bit longer before serving.
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And yes, they are delicious with a little butter spread on them! I’ve made a few strawberry muffin recipes in the past and this has been the easiest and tastiest one yet! Ingredients list is fairly short, simple and most likely you’ll have everything already in your pantry and fridge/freezer. I wasn’t too sure about the cinnamon at first but was pleasantly surprised that it didn’t overpower the strawberry flavor. You can also try with different fruits: peaches, blueberries, pumpkins, bananas or apples.
Happy Eating!

Goodbye September…

Hard to believe that this is the last day of September. It has certainly been a full month, so thankful for everyone who has helped in spreading PCOS Awareness this month, for joining me speaking out and making sure pictures and articles get passed around. Just because this awareness month is ending doesn’t mean the work is done. We live with this on a daily basis and every day we can help make a difference in another woman’s life by spreading the word. At least once a week from here on out I will be posting on Health Check Tuesday/Teal Tuesday continuing this good fight against Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. Please join me on Tuesdays, post your pictures, testimonies, questions, or links to more information about PCOS. If you don’t have a local support group, like me, let’s come together on here once a week and create our own support group. Encouraging one another to not give up, to not lose hope or sight of our dreams and goals. Let’s all welcome October with renewed vigor and positive outlook as the year winds down to a close.

Last week proved to be terrible for me, not motivated to do really anything for the blog or for fall. That’s just how things go some times. But this week I’m pulling out some of our favorite flavors of fall, trying out new recipes that I have found recently, and finish up my fall bulletin board. Most of it is handmade decor, free printable items that I was able to get in black and white and color it myself. My son has enjoyed it so far and is helping him to work harder in school πŸ™‚ I don’t plan to change it up for a while, I might add some turkeys later on but for now it’s good the way it is.

In a couple of weeks I’m going to be baking up a lot of goodies for a Missions Conference that I’m attending. Right now I’m making my final decisions on what to take (leaning more toward some pumpkin scones to add to the snack table and making a simple chocolate sheet cake with homemade frosting on top as a dessert). Everything I plan to make will definitely make its way to this blog along with recipe reviews and even trying out some “new” vintage recipes to ring in the autumn season! So get ready for another fun and full month!!

Happy fall and have a blessed day!

Apple Invasion

This week Dad brought home four very full plastic bags of homegrown apples that he got from a coworker. Once I doled them out into other bags during inspection we wound up having seven bags of apples. In other words, we’ve had a very busy two days. Slow cooking more apple butter for 16 hours, and the rest of the apples will become apple sauce a bit later. Below is our apple invasion from the first wave of attack πŸ˜‰

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Using an apple peeler, it worked ok but eventually we had to break out the vegetable peeler and pairing knives.

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The second wave of apples, even the scarecrow wasn’t safe πŸ™‚

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It’s been a fun couple of days but I’m going to be so happy when I don’t have to look at another apple for a while.

Related Articles with Apple Recipes:

http://davsart.wordpress.com/2013/08/19/apple-hand-pies/

http://thebyrdhouseblog.wordpress.com/2013/08/12/reflection-post-apple-recipes/

http://www.lovefromtheoven.com/2011/11/01/apple-recipe-round-up-bites-from-other-blogs/

http://paleocafeblog.wordpress.com/2013/08/21/recipe-roasted-beet-soup-with-apple-fennel-by-paleo-cafe/

http://mycrossfitpaleojourney.wordpress.com/2012/07/05/crockpot-honey-apple-pork-loin/

http://applerubber.wordpress.com/2011/08/31/apple-recipes-incredapple-salad/

http://blog.ziplist.com/easy-as-apple-pie-20-apple-recipes/

http://katarina017.wordpress.com/2013/04/04/roast-chicken-with-sweet-potatoes-and-apples-recipe-myrecipes-com/