Thursday, December 17, 2009


I'm not a huge chili fan, but sometimes you're just in a "hearty soup" mood and chili is cheap, easy, and no fuss. So, I searched a couple of my favorite sites and found two that sounded good, but couldn't decide between the two. So, I combined the two recipes and ended up with a truly delicious and easy chili tonight. The cocoa powder looks a little weird, but I wanted something dark and smoky to take off the vinegary edge of the ketchup and tomato juice. You'd be surprised what a difference that little bit of cocoa makes. The chili went from alright to great after the addition, so don't leave it out. But it is a taste issue... add the red vinegar and cocoa a little at a time, until you get the taste you want. This soup is easy to make, makes a really big pot, and paired with some cornbread and delicious honey butter, you've got the perfect meal.

2 medium onions, diced
1 green pepper, diced
2 to 2.5 lbs. ground beef
3 cans beans (I used a combination of pinto and red kidney)
46 oz. V8 Juice (I recommend the spicy blend, but you can also use plain tomato juice)
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 cup ketchup (I like the flavor ketchup imparts to chili, however the taste is slightly strong. If you're not a huge ketchup fan, consider substituting half of the ketchup with plain tomato sauce.)
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup water
3/4 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 Tbsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. cayenne
2 teaspoons cumin
1 1/2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 to 1.5 Tbsp. Cocoa powder (don't use Nesquik here... )
splash of red vinegar

1. Brown the hamburger, onion, and pepper in a large skillet. Drain the fat.

2. In a small bowl, combine the 1/2 cup water with the garlic salt, pepper, chili powder, cayenne pepper, cumin, and brown sugar.

3. In a large pot, combine the tomato juice or V8, beans, tomato sauce, and ketchup. Stir in hamburger mixture and seasoning/water mixture. Add a splash of red vinegar and cocoa powder. Mix well and add bay leaves.

4. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer over medium to low heat, stirring occasionally. In the alternative, at step 3, dump everything into a crockpot instead and cook on low.

5. Serve with green onions, cheese, and sour cream.

Peanut Butter Blossoms- the Hershey Kiss Cookie!

One of my all time favorites- partly because I love to try all kinds of kisses on these. There are so many fun kinds now! My favorites are the Hot Cocoa Creme ones or the PB ones on these cookies.

We tried a Valentine variation where we used chocolate hearts instead of kisses and they were just as cute... and just as tasty!

1/2 c. shortening
1/2 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 t. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 t. baking soda
1 egg
2 T milk
1 t. vanilla
1 3/4 c. flour
Hershey kisses

Preheat oven to 350. In large bowl, beat shortening and peanut butter. Add the 1/2 c. sugar, brown sugar, baking powder and baking soda. Beat until combined. Beat in egg, milk and vanilla. Add the flour.

Shape dough into 1 inch balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake for 10-12 minutes. Immediately press in a hershey kiss once out of the oven.

Deluxe Lemon Bars

These are different than the ones Emily posted. They are good, and quite a bit easier than Emily's. Not quite as good as Emily's but really yummy, nonetheless.

2 c. flour
1/2 c. sifted powdered sugar
1 c. buter
4 beaten eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1-2 t. grated lemon peel
1/3 c. lemon juice
1/4 c. flour
1/2 t. baking powder
powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350. Stir together the 2 cups flour and the 1/2 c. powdered sugar. Cut in the butter until mixture clings together. Press dough into the bottom of 9x13 pan. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until edges turn light brown.

In mixing bowl, beat together eggs, sugar and lemon juice. Mix in the 1/4 c. flour and baking powder and lemon peel. Pour over baked crust. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.

Sift powdered sugar over the top and cut into bars or triangles.

Cover and store in the refrigerator.

Russian Teacakes

These are yummy! Mom used to make them and they were good. I haven't made them in a long time because I forget to buy nuts...but they're good and a classic.

1 c. soft butter
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 t. vanilla
2 1/4 c. flour
1/4 t. salt
3.4 c. finely chopped nuts

Mix butter, sugar and vanilla until creamy. Blend flour and salt. Add to butter mixture. Mix in nuts.

Chill for 1-2 hours.

Heat oven to 400. Roll into 1 inch balls.

Bake 10-12 minutes.

Roll in powdered sugar, while still warm.

Reese's Chewy Chocolate Cookies

I believe this is the recipe on the back of Reese's peanut butter chips...but oh well. It's soooooo good!

2 c. flour
3/4 c. Hershey' Cocoa
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 1/4 c. butter
2 c. sugar
2 eggs
2 t. vanilla
1 2/3 c. Reese's Peanut Butter chips

Mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.

In separate bowl, beat the butter and sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla. Combine with flour mixture. Mix in the chips and spoon onto ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake at 350 for 8-9 minutes.

Coffee Shop Oatmeal Cookies

These are by far, the best oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipe I've ever found. Soooo good. And they make a LOT.

2 c. brown sugar
1 c. sugar
2 c. butter
4 eggs
2 t. vanilla
4 c. four
4 c. oats
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. salt
2 t. baking soda
4 t. baking powder
2 c. raisins (I never add these)
2 c. chocolate chips
2 c. nuts (I don't add these either cause Joe is a stinker and doesn't like nuts)

Cream together the sugars and butter. Then add the eggs and vanilla.

In a separate bowl mix together the flour, oats, cinnamon, salt, soda and powder. Add to the sugar and butter mixture. Once combined, add in the raisins, chocolate chips and nuts and spoon onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Yum!

Bake at 350 for 8-12 minutes.