Recipe: Crockpot Chili

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Chili is one of those foods that is a point of contention for a lot of people. Everyone has their own opinion on what it should be (beans, no beans, red, white, etc.), but for me, this recipe encompasses everything I want chili to be (adapted from this). It’s hearty from meat and beans, it has plenty of tomato flavor, and the spice level is low enough that anyone can enjoy it. Personally, I prefer my chili as spicy as I can handle, which makes this recipe great because it takes additional hot sauce extremely well. I tried three different hot sauces in the different bowls I tried and all of them were good.

I changed from the original recipe slightly, based on what I had on hand. The other thing I like about this recipe is that there is no store-bought chili packet involved, because if you have a reasonable spice collection, there’s no need for it! When you see all the ingredients together, it looks like a lot, but they really all blend together after sitting in the Crockpot. Also worth noting, this makes A LOT. I managed to (over) feed 4 people for dinner and still have two lunch servings the next day, so be prepared that your Crockpot will probably be full, at least, mine was. If you’re looking to feed a crowd easily for very cheap and virtually no effort, this is a great option.

– olive oil

– ground turkey (or beef, or whatever ground meat you like)

– 1 onion, chopped

– minced garlic

– 30 oz dark red kidney beans (2 cans)

– 15 oz light red kidney beans (1 can)

– 30 oz tomato sauce (2 cans)

– 28 oz diced tomatoes (2 cans)

– 4 oz chopped green chilies (1 small can)

– 1 cup beef broth (half a can)

– 2 tbsp chili powder

– 1 tbsp ground cumin

– 1 tsp salt

– 1 tsp sugar

– 1/2 tsp black pepper

– OPTIONAL FOR TOPPINGS: shredded cheese, green onion, oyster crackers, saltines, sour cream, tortilla chips, etc.)

1. Pour olive oil in large pan on medium-high heat. Add chopped onion, ground turkey/beef, and minced garlic and cook until the meat is fully cooked and browned and onions are soft.

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2. Drain some of the fat from the pan and pour the contents into a large slow cooker.

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3. Drain and rise the beans. Add the rest of the ingredients, stirring periodically as ingredients are added.

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4. Cover and cook for 4-6 on high or 6-8 on low.

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5. Serve and enjoy!

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Recipe: Dirty Rice

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This is a dish I’ve had made by my fiance’s mother for years (if you’ve been following, the Drunken Developer isn’t just my boyfriend anymore — he proposed! :D). It’s great and always pleases a crowd. And although I didn’t do a perfect job with my first try, overall the recipe is fairly straightforward. My mistake was not allowing it to cook long it enough and although it still tasted good, it was too soup-y, and it should really be a casserole. I did it for 45 minutes, but I really think it may need to go for closer to 60. We had this with a side of broccoli and green beans and a pork loin, and it made a great little dinner that was quite easy to throw together.

1 stick of butter

1 cup of rice (uncooked)

2 oz of water

1 can french onion soup

1 can beef consomme

1. Preheat oven to 350. Place a stick of butter in a casserole dish in the oven until it is fully melted.

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2. Pour the rice into the melted butter and allow to cook for 3 to 5 minutes.

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3. Add the rest of the ingredients to the rice and butter.

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4. Cover and bake for 45 to 60 minutes (I think closer to 60 would be better).

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5. Serve and enjoy!

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Restaurant: Goosefeathers (Savannah, Georgia)

When I go on a trip, I love trying out new places to eat. But sometimes, there are places you have to return to with each trip. I travelled with one of my best friends to Savannah, Georgia earlier this year and we were blown away by the food there. We literally didn’t have a bad meal while we were there. A few weeks ago, we decided to go back and we knew that no matter what there was one place we had to go back to: Goosefeathers.

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It’s the kind of place that is perfect after a night in Savannah. Although when you first arrive the line will look intimidatingly long, don’t be wary; they do not exaggerate when they call themselves an express cafe. They get people in and out as quickly as possible and yet they don’t sacrifice on the freshness or quality of the food.

We even went so far as to get the same food the second time we went there. My friend got one of their specialty croissant sandwhiches, the Eggetarian (Two poached eggs with cheddar, pesto, tomato and hollandaise on croissant), which looked amazing, and I got a dish they call the Bird’s Nest. It’s two delicately poached eggs set on top of a bed of grits, cheese, and salsa. I will admit that this lovely dish falls under the category of foods that I can absolutely not recreate at home satisfactorily, despite how I’ve tried. Hey, any excuse to go back to Savannah is fine by me.

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I mean look at this, seriously.

Recipe: Mexican Pizza

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I had heard recently that one of the most popular items at Taco Bell was the Mexican Pizza. I found this completely shocking, given that in all of the times I had been there, I had never seen anyone even think about ordering it. Curiosity got the best of me and I found that I needed to try it. Once I tasted it, I understood how it could be so universally loved. Luckily. like many other types of Taco Bell food (I promise one day to do a homemade Crunchwrap tutorial) it’s not too hard to make for yourself at home — and eating it homemade makes you feel at least a little better about yourself.

I adapted it a bit from the classic Taco Bell version based on what I had around the house. which proves that this is a really good recipe as far as versatility.

Tortillas

Refried beans

Onions

Jalapenos

Mexican cheese

Salsa (if you don’t have salsa, like me, you can sub in pasta sauce with some added spices to make it more “Mexican”}

1. Preheat the oven to 350.

2. Spread a layer of refried beans on top of one tortilla. At this stage, you could also add already cooked ground beef or chicken.

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3. Stack a second tortilla on top of the first and cover with salsa/pasta sauce.

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4. Sprinkle a bit of Mexican cheese on top.

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5. Cut up your preferred veggie toppings. I used jalapenos and onions, but tomatoes would have also been good.

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6. Sprinkle veggies on top. Don’t add too many, as it will get too floppy to eat.

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7. Bake for a few minutes, until the cheese is melted and veggies have softened.

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8. Serve and enjoy!

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Restaurant: Dua Vietnamese Noodle Soup

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It’s no secret I like pho, a lot. We make it at home and I love doing that (it’s quick, cheap, and easy too). But sometimes you just crave the real deal. After growing up in North Atlanta, I got used to the proximity of Buford Highway and the plethora of delicious authentic cultural food that came with it. Now that I’m downtown, I’ve been displeased to find out that it’s harder to find some types of cuisine, such as Vietnamese. The real secret of Atlanta food is being willing to travel, because if you are, pretty much anything is on the table. However, if you want to stay close to home things can be harder to find.

In my insatiable need for pho, I managed to find Dua, which is definitely close enough to be worth it. They have two locations, one which has a sit down area and one which is strictly for on-the-go orders. This need to handle volume seemed like a very good sign. The sit down restaurant gives off a comfy, hole-in-the-wall vibe, at least in the front part. The kind of vibe that makes you feel like you’re getting the real deal.

The pho was very very good, and the portions were quite generous. If you are not prepared with a large appetite, it may not be worth it to go for the pho. I got the regular size bowl and didn’t finish it (I also made it much too spicy, totally my fault). Refills are not free, which is a little disappointing for irresponsible people like me who overdo it on the sriracha. It’s also worth noting that they have fairly limited hours, but if you’re nearby during lunchtime, it is definitely worth a visit.

Recipe: Caprese Salad

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Now this is definitely one of those things that I can really only barely call a recipe because it is just easy and simple. But I figured that it was worth sharing because it really makes an easy, healthy lunch for folks on the go like myself. Just be prepared that if you bring this in for lunch your coworkers will be very jealous (at least mine were).

Cherry tomatoes

Mozzarella balls

Basil leaves

Olive oil or Italian dressing

1. Cut cherry tomatoes and mozzarella balls in half or quarters. Although it’s the same amount, this makes it feel like it will stretch so much more, and it’s also a lot easier to eat.

2. Add basil leaves to bowl with tomatoes and mozzarella.

3. Add olive oil and salt or your favorite oil-based Italian dressing

4. Combine and ideally refrigerate over night.

5. Serve and enjoy!

Restaurant: Delia’s Chicken Sausage Stand

Delia’s just opened up a new location on my side of town that I pass fairly frequently. It has a unique look from the outside and what I could see from reviews promised that it would be delicious. One day, I got curious and pulled into the parking lot at the last minute.

I was greeted with a super friendly staff and some regulars (any place that has regulars has to be good right?) and I tried to decide what to order. The difficulty with Delia’s is, although it seems like the kind of place that would be a one-trick pony, like a food truck, they actually have a very diverse menu. I at least decided to stick to breakfast, and was told to try ‘da Bomb, but I wasn’t sure I could handle the Krispy Kremes. I settled on the Lil Cluckers with a side of grits and took them home. They totally did not disappoint.

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Although I went there for the chicken, I have to say that in my completely pro-grits-biased opinion, the grits stole the show for me. Of course, the chicken patties were completely awesome, but those grits! The thing that really won me over is that although I love grits, I often avoid cheesy ones because they are so often poorly done, i.e. grits with a slice of cheese on top. However, these really integrated the cheesiness and were really great.

The location near me does us all the courtesy of being open all night on Friday and Saturday, but the quantity and type of food really puts it into the breakfast/light lunch category for me. Certainly this is too much to be called a snack, but would probably not be enough for dinner.