My office is cold. Very, very cold. It’s 85 degrees in Orlando, but it’s 70 degrees in the office (and I happen to sit under the vent. Yay, me!) To counter the cold, I’ve taken to wearing gloves, a jacket, and a jacketblanket (c). I drive home with the air conditioner off and with great appreciation for the Florida sun. To warm up, I thought a nice of bowl of chili might be in order.
I took a hint from my Granny’s Lasagna recipe and combined beef with Italian sausage. There’s a mix of kidney beans and black beans. I wanted a bit of a kick, so I added Tabasco :).
Chili (with a bit of a kick)
- 1 1/2 tbsps chili powder
- 1 tsp cayenne
- 1/4 tsp white pepper
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 green bell pepper, minced
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp sugar
- 16 oz can kidney beans
- 1/2 cup black beans
- 1 tbsp Tabasco/hot sauce
- 8 oz ground beef
- 4 oz Italian sausage
- 12 oz tomato paste
- 6 oz tomato sauce
- 1 1/4 cup water
- Shredded cheddar cheese, for topping
- Corn, for topping
- Combine chili, cayenne, white pepper, black pepper, 1/4 tsp sea salt, and cumin in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Cook ground beef on stovetop and over medium-high heat until thoroughly cooked. Drain and set aside.
- Cook Italian sausage on stovetop and over medium-high heat until thoroughly cooked. Drain and set aside.
- Sautee green bell pepper, olive oil, minced garlic, sugar, and 1/2 tsp sea salt in a large dutch oven over medium heat until aromatic and soft (about 5 minutes).
- Add ground beef and Italian sausage to bell pepper/garlic mixture. Add the tomato sauce, tomato paste, hot sauce, and water. Add the chili/cayenne/etc mixture from step one and stir. Reduce to a low heat.
- Cook on the lowest heat setting for 20-45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Top with cheddar cheese and corn. Serve hot!
If you’ve seen my other blog (or dug deep enough in this one) then you might have figured out that I’m a geek about many, many things. Well, one such thing is fairytales. I grew up on Disney, so it’s no shocker that I get pretty nostalgic when someone even mentions Beauty and the Beast or Pocahontas.
And then there was Once Upon a Time. The writing leaves a lot to be desired, but it has all my favorite characters and that’s just enough of a reason for me to continue to watch it. If you’re familiar with the show then you know that Granny of “Little Red Riding Hood” fame owns a diner (and that she’s, well, kind of awesome).
So in honor of the grandmother who’s a bit more spice than she is nice, I decided to make her famous lasagna–with a bit of a kick.
- 8 ounces ground beef
- 10 ounces mild Italian sausage
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tbsp red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp chopped yellow onions
- 4.5 ounces lasagna pasta (about 8-10 pasta sheets), cooked
- 23 ounces tomato sauce
- 6 ounces tomato paste
- 1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tbsp basil
- 1 tsp sugar
- 5 cloves garlic
- 2 tbsps olive oil
- 15-17 ounces ricotta cheese
- 2 cups shredded cheese (I used Sargento’s 6 Cheese Italian), divided
- 3-4 slices of pepperjack cheese, shredded
- 1 egg or 1-2 tsps olive oil
- Combine ground beef, Italian sausage, black pepper, red pepper flakes, and yellow onions in a nonstick skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until meat is no longer pink and is cooked throughout. Reduce to medium heat.
- Combine all ingredients listed under sauce in a medium-sized saucepan. Cover with lid and cook over low heat for at least 3-5 minutes.
- Combine garlic and 2 tbsps of oil in a small skillet. Cook on medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until garlic is aromatic. Add to sauce mixture and stir. Let simmer for 1-2 minutes
- Boil lasagna pasta per package instructions (or per preferred level of tenderness). Remove from heat, drain, and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
- Add sauce mixture to meat mixture. Stir and reduce to a simmer (at least 5 minutes).
- Combine ricotta, 1 cup of 6 Cheese Italian (or cheese of choice), and one egg or olive oil in a small bowl.
- If desired, lightly butter a 9×13 inch glass dish (otherwise, spray with nonstick spray or line with foil). Layer bottom of the dish with lasagna pasta.
- Top with layer of cheese mixture and then top with meat. Add another layer of pasta. Add another layer of cheese. Layer on meat.
- Top with remaining cup of 6 Cheese Italian. Shred (i.e. tear) pepperjack cheese on top of 6 Italian cheese.
- Bake on 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until thoroughly cooked throughout. Serve with garlic bread.
Note: For an extra kick, use spicy Italian sausage and up the red pepper flakes by another tablespoon.
Now then, who wants to eat seconds?
I just can’t get enough of bell peppers lately–on pizza, in potatoes, wherever. Usually my go-to bell pepper dish is chicken or beef stir fry, but I wanted to try a little something different this week to bid my summer days adieu. These stuffed bell peppers really hit the spot. They’re warm, filling, and perfect with tortilla strips.
I do love summer comfort food.
Stuffed Bell Peppers
- 5-6 bell peppers of various colors, cut in half
- ½ uncooked cup white rice
- 1 tbsp garlic, chopped
- ½ tbsp olive oil
- 16 ounces ground beef (roughly)
- 3 tbsps salsa
- 8 oz can pasta sauce
- ¾ cup black beans
- 1 cup corn
- Mexican cheese to taste
- Taco seasoning
- Cook rice using rice maker or on stovetop, following package instructions (For stovetop rice, I usually bring 2 cups of water to a boil, add rice, stir, and reduce to medium heat. Cook for 4-5 minutes on medium heat then turn to lower heat and cook until soft, roughly 10 or so minutes).
- Cook ground beef in non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, chopping finely, until meat is thoroughly cooked and no longer pink. Drain.
- Pour meat into another non-stick skillet and combine with taco seasoning and roughly ¼ cup of water (if beef appears dry, add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time.) Reduce to a simmer and cook for roughly 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Cut bell peppers in half, de-seeding and removing the core. Boil for 2-3 minutes. Remove from water and drain. Set aside.
- Sautee garlic in olive oil for about 3-4 minutes over medium-heat. Discard garlic but keep the oil.
- Add ground beef, rice, salsa, black beans, tomato sauce, and corn. Sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper to taste. Cook over medium heat for 5-6 minutes.
- Line glass baking sheet with bell peppers. Scoop out meat/veggie/sauce mixture and stuff peppers.
- Bake for 10 minutes on 350 degrees.
- Cover bell peppers with Mexican cheese and bake for 1-2 additional minutes or until cheese is melted.
- Serve with tortilla strips.