It’s Gettin’ Hot in Hurr

You’d never know it based on yesterday’s gorgeous Colorado (and everywhere else in the country?) weather, but it was freezing earlier this week! Inspired by chilly weather and lots of cooked turkey, I decided to do a crock-pot turkey chili. I was really impressed with how it came out and definitely plan to make it again. Maybe with the second turkey I picked up after seeing how cheap they were… eh. We’ll see, I think we are both getting a little turkey-ed out.

To start, I made a turkey stock using the leftover bones and skin from the turkey I had already roasted. I had kept the carcass in the pan and covered in the fridge for a couple of days so all the fat got cold and was super easy to skim off! So that meant I got to use the drippings from the turkey as well which I assume made a big difference in the flavor.

Yes, I used all of those tools for carving... it is harder than it looks!

Turkey Stock

Ingredients

Leftover turkey carcass

5 stalks celery + ends & leaves

1 whole yellow onion

2 carrots

4 cloves garlic

Directions

Cover all ingredients with cold water, bring to boil and then simmer for 6 hours (or longer to deepen flavor)

I let the stock cool and then put it into bowls to be stored in the freezer. I don’t know what I will use it for, it doesn’t seem quite as versatile as chicken stock, but we’ll see. Maybe a turkey stew or soup?

And now, for the pièce de résistance!

Bahaha!

(Source)

Katie’s Red Turkey Chili

Ingredients

1 cup of aforementioned turkey stock

2 cans diced tomatoes (I used whole and had to cut them up)

1 large green pepper

1 large yellow onion

4 cloves garlic

1 can tomato paste

3 tbsp leftover puréed vegetables and meat from stock – looks like barf, tastes nothing like it.

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. pepper

2 tbsp. chili powder

1 tsp. ground cayenne red pepper

2 tsp. oregano

3 – 4 cups chopped, cooked turkey

2 cups beans (combo of red kidney, black, pinto and garbanzo)

5 cloves

Directions

1. Sauté green pepper, onion and garlic until browned

2. Toss all ingredients into crock pot. Set it and for get it! (On low for about 3-4 hours. On high for about 1 1/2 – 2 hours)

3. Top with sour cream, cheese, crackers, etc.

What I’d do differently next time:

1. Less heat! I’m not a huge wimp when it comes to spicy, but this chili was hot! Nose runnin’ hot… probably use 1/2 tsp red pepper and maybe 1 1/2 Tbsp. chili powder.

 

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Gobble, Gobble: My New Favorite Fowl!

So I’ve mentioned before that I’m currently experiencing a chicken aversion. A bout of salmonella poisoning has left me hating the smell and very thought of America’s favorite poultry. Blech! Frank requested a trip to KFC the other day and I just about lost my biscuits, I had to bolt!

Taking advantage of the budget friendly, after-holiday meat sales has been a lifesaver. We picked up a 13 lb turkey for under $10.

And I didn’t even have to pull an “Extreme Couponing”

Whaaaaat???!!! I had no idea what to do with it, I’ve never even made a turkey before, thanks mostly to the fact that my brother is a fantastic chef and he and his wife always do the holiday cooking! I had plenty of time to plan though, that sucker was still a bit frozen after 4 days in the refrigerator…

Inspiration struck after a couple of Google searches. I think I’ve mentioned before, I’m not much for recipes. I like to get an idea of what could be done and then wing it in the kitchen!

Here is what I did:

I followed the directions on the back of the bird: let it thaw, removed the neck (::gag::, it was still a bit frozen to the inside of the body and it was seriously disgusting hearing it rip!). I missed the giblets (t0 be found later after roasting) which are stuffed in a bag where the neck originated. No harm, no fowl. Ha!!

Then:

1. Rinse bird from neck hole to…other hole.

2. Mash 1/4 stick butter with 2 tsp. each (ish) of paprika, oregano, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder

3. Place butter mix randomly between skin and meat

4. Rub ‘er down with olive oil and sprinkle seasonings all over the skin

5. Roast according to package instructions, mine recommended 325* oven at approximately 20 minutes per pound, or about 4 hours.

I get my kicks where I can

Crispy!

For next time:

Remove turkey at 165* instead of the suggested 180*. A chef friend made this recommendation, but I was in fear of ruining another white meat for myself. The meat was a tad dry. Any insight?

After roasting, I carved (er… I use that term loosely, it is a lot harder than it looks!) the turkey to be used atop salads, in a sandwich and eaten straight out to the bowl. I also held on to the naked carcass to be further employed in another recipe. Keep an eye out in a future post ‘cuz it was the bomb diggity!

With the Best of Intentions

I mentioned New Years resolutions just briefly to Frank this morning, a conversation that was fleeting. We both admitted that we don’t generally get into that, my reason being that I know I will never follow through. However, after a little more consideration, I realized that a list had already been made of goals I have for myself. One of my professors gave us an assignment, a Strategic Plan for the next 10 years of my life. I will spare you the details, but would like to include some of the things I have planned for 2012 that I KNOW will get accomplished!

  • Find a job that will take me through the end of my semester (January 2012)
  • Track our spending and get our finances under control (January 2012)
  • Graduate College! (May 2012)
  • Find and move into our new home (May/June 2012)
  • Continue blogging consistently (3x/week +)
  • Workout and track it (3x/week +)
  • Find new hobbies that do not revolve around technology
  • Try Zumba

That’s all I’ve got for now. Might add more later, but I feel like that is a good, obtainable start.

This evenings Workout: Full Body Workout w/ Dumbbells 

     10 Minute Warm-Up: Literally danced around my livingroom for 10 minutes! I closed the blinds, cranked up Comcast’s Hit                           list and went to town. I’d be lying if I said I don’t do this when Frank is home… but I tend to spare him my most rump-shakin’ moves. Maybe I should give Zumba a try after all!

Followed by this short ab workout

     Abs: 30 reps of each 

Crunches

Side-Bends (each side)

Bench Leg Raises (our coffee table is a nice substitute for a weight bench)

Dinner

Dinner was simple and delicious! Like I’m sure many of you are, I’m trying to get more fruits and veggies worked back into my meals. I still did some candy snacking today, but I’m hoping the extra produce I ate today kind of cancels it out.

I sautéed some green peppers, onions and mushrooms in olive oil. Then I fried an egg and put everything on to a toasted english muffin with a little mustard and a mountain of greens! I also had a sliced banana on the side (I always tend to enjoy bananas more when they are sliced. Weird.) I washed everything down with a glass of chocolate milk. I’ve never been a fan of protein shakes and I heard that chocolate milk can substitute for a shake after a workout. Works for me and it is a lot cheaper than whey powder.

Do you make New Year’s resolutions? Have you ever kept one? 

Chocolate chili?

Over the summer, Frank and I visited several cities; including Tulsa, Indianapolis, Detroit and Cleveland. In 3:4 of those cities, we had a local chili dog! Now, Frank is really more of the sausage person…oh the irony of that sentence. I enjoy a good hot dog every now and again though, so I was along for the ride. The “other” hot dog stories are for another time though or might get rambly.

During our stay in Indianapolis, Frank insisted that we visit his favorite wiener joint, Skyline Chili. The chain originates in Cincinnati and at this place, the chilli is the star of the show! What makes this place unique (besides CHOCOLATE and CINNAMON in the chili) is the vehicle they use to get it in your mouth. You can get the standard dog, fries or pasta! That’s right, Italy’s favorite carb and mine, spaghetti! The chili is also bean-less which is pretty standard when it is put on a sausage.

On this trip, I opted for the dog and Frank got his requisite five.

Mmmm chocolate and cinnamon-y

Frank’s friend Bob always gets the three-way (no really, that’s what it is called on the menu): chili, cheese and spaghetti. I was skeptical, but before I left Indiana I bought a canned-version of Skyline’s chili at a Meijer and tried this method at home. Omygosh!

That is what inspired last night’s dinner. I cooked up a version of the chili from a recipe I found online an altered a little bit. The original recipe that I used can be found here and here is what I did:

Gather LOTS of ingredients

Dust this guy off

Ingredients 

  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 cup chopped onion + 1 cup grated onion
  • 3 cups beef stock + 1 Cup water
  • 2 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce
  • 2 -3 tablespoons chili powder + a little dash extra
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 ounce grated bittersweet chocolate (I used Ghiradelli baking chocolate)
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder + a dash extra
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon + a dash extra (1 tsp didn’t seem like enough and it has a distinct cinnamon flavor)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground red cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3 bay leaves

Directions

1. Combine everything into a crock pot. Set it and forget it! Cook for about 4 hours on high heat.

2. Use chili to top hot dog, sausage, pasta, Fritos, baked potato… etc.

3. Add lots of cheese (I used a cheddar/colby jack mix) and onions.

3. Try to stop yourself from going back for seconds!!

Things I might do differently next time 

1. Brown the meat first and drain off the fat. I used 80/20 ground beef and I didn’t think about all the extra fat until it was done cooking.

2. Use less liquid. Even though Skyline’s Chili is kind of runny, I ended up removing about 1/2 the liquid half way through the cooking time because there was too much.

3. Order a can of Skyline Chili to compare it to. The chili isn’t available here so I’m hoping it can be special ordered! The flavor was similar, but the texture was off. I’d like to have a Pepsi v Coke style challenge to see what else could be altered.

Bottom line: this dinner was Delicious! Even though it wasn’t exactly Skyline, I’d still say it was a hit and I definitely plan to make it again!

I Smell Ham!

I was a little relieved when I found out the Lions game was not being broadcast here in Denver today. I had my work schedule changed and ended up working today, so at least I knew I wasn’t missing out on anything. (Incase you were wondering, they won, Finally!) Wonder how Ndomokong felt sitting on the sidelines thanks to this little Thanksgiving Day tantrum.

Source 

On the way home from work I stopped by the store to pick up some fixins for tonight and tomorrow’s dinners as well as some treats I will likely bake tomorrow. Pictures to come! Walmart was JAM packed!! I generally do not care for Walmart for that very reason, damn their low, low prices.

Oops.

Tonight’s dinner was a little festive and inspired by a Guy Fieri special on the Food Network last night: Baked ham with a Cranberry Curry glaze, served with mashed potatoes and corn.

Since I don’t bother with recipes most of the time, I gathered the likely ingredients and set to work. The ham was pre-cooked so that just went in the oven. Frank was sweet enough to peel and chop potatoes while I was driving home so those were set to boil.

The cranberry glaze was the most complicated (if you can call it that) part of this meal. I had purchased fresh cranberries so I could control the sugar added. I plopped those in a sauce pan with some water, covered them up and let them get to a rolling boil. Stirring occasionally was all it took to end up with a thick sauce. I added a few dashes of curry powder for a little spice. Here is what we ended up with!

Mmmm...Ham-my.

I’m hoping tomorrow is a cooking and baking day! I’m really excited to take a first stab at recreating one of our favorite midwest restaurant’s specialties. I’ll give you a hint, the dish may be common, but this city’s chocolate and cinnamon twist make it unique!