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Hearty Chili Pizza

If the colorful leaves, sudden pile of down blankets on your bed, and pumpkin spice lattes haven’t tipped you off yet…it’s fall!  You know what happens in fall?  Football.  You know what else is happening in fall? This hearty beef chili pizza.   And let me tell you, they go together SO well.

Hearty Chili Pizza

The possibilities with this pizza are as endless as your imagination — if you love spicy, load up on the jalapenos.  If you want to mix it up, throw some banana peppers on top.  Sour cream, green onions, whatever you like on your chili applies.

Ingredients

For the chili:

1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
1/2 small-medium yellow onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 pound lean ground beef
1 teaspoon chili powder plus 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground oregano
1 teaspoon seasoning salt (I like Penzey’s 4S)
15 slices refrigerated jalapenos, chopped (or to taste)
28 ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, strained and roughly chopped/smashed
16 ounces dark red kidney beans, drained
6 ounces tomato paste
Black pepper to taste

For the pizza:

13.8 ounce Classic Pillsbury pizza crust (or your favorite pre-made crust or homemade dough)
8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
Banana peppers

For topping (optional):

Fritos, crushed
Green onions, sliced
Sour Cream

1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add onion and garlic and saute until soft and fragrant, about 3 minutes.  Add beef, 1 teaspoon chili powder, cumin, and oregano and cook until browned, about 10 minutes.  Strain off the grease.

Hearty Chili Pizza

2. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

3. Mix in the jalapenos, tomatoes, tomato paste, 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, seasoning salt, and kidney beans.  Stir until combined and then cover, letting simmer on low heat for at least 30 minutes (stir occasionally).  Remove the lid and let simmer for another 10 minutes to cook off some of the juice.  Then, remove from heat and let sit while you prepare the crust.

Hearty Chili Pizza

4. Spray your pan with non-stick spray.  Spread out your pizza dough to your desired thickness.  Here you can follow your pizza dough directions — it may have you pre-bake the dough for 8 minutes and then add toppings, baking afterward for another 10 minutes.   If you’d like a softer pizza, you can skip the pre-baking — it’s up to you!  Either way you go, top your crust with chili, cheddar cheese, and banana peppers.  Place in the middle rack of your oven and bake according to package directions — I baked mine between 15 and 18 minutes.

Hearty Chili Pizza

5. Remove from oven, slice, and top with your favorites!  I loved the crunch from the Fritos, the bright flavor of green onion, and the cool creaminess of sour cream.

Hearty Chili PizzaNotes:

  • I had about 1 cup of leftover chili — which my husband will gladly devour.  You could also make a slightly bigger crust — mine was about 12 x 13.
  • You could also use turkey instead of beef for the chili.
  • You might be wondering why I used a can of whole tomatoes rather than diced.  I heard once that “they” reserve better tomatoes for the cans of whole tomatoes, so I like to buy these and chop/smash them myself — I usually just use a kitchen scissors and cut them up right over the pan.  If you’d rather use 28 ounces of diced tomatoes, go for it.
  • If you have a favorite (thick) chili recipe, go ahead and use that instead of the one above.
  • Or, if you just so happen to have leftover chili, use the rest up to make this pizza!
  • Other topping ideas: chopped yellow onion, some more shredded cheddar, jalapenos, soda crackers…noodles!
  • It would be fun to make some of these for a football party and have a chili pizza bar!

Hearty Chili Pizza

Happy fall! Happy football! Happy chili pizza!

xo Jaime


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Top o’ the Morning to You!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  Time for an embarrassing story.  A friend of mine who shall remain nameless and I had a tradition back in college.  Yes, college.  We would call our friends on St. Patrick’s Day using #67 (you know, so our number was private) and when they answered, we’d shout in our best Irish accent “Top o’ the morning to you!  They’re always after me Lucky Charms!” and then one of us would laugh, which would inevitably give us away, and we’d hang up.  I told you it was embarrassing…

Although I am not Irish (and am a little envious of those who are, ahem, Rae!) I still wanted to compile some delicious looking Irish-inspired goodies for you.  And St. Patty’s day clearly will always have a special place in my heart.

1. Double Chocolate Irish Cream Cake Roll

I had to start with dessert — it’s the best part of the meal!  And this Irish cream cake roll looks impressive.  Can’t go wrong when ‘double chocolate’ is in the title, either.

2. Bailey’s Irish Cream Brownies

Baileys Irish Cream Brownies | ButtercreamBlondie.com

My mom isn’t really a drinker.  At all.  But we know we can usually get her to have a Bailey’s Irish Cream because, well, they are creamy goodness!  When I found these Bailey’s Irish cream brownies, I had to post!  In honor of my momma.

3. Reuben Style Potato Skins

Reuben Potato Skins Recipe

I love me a Reuben.  Traditional, turkey, as long as it’s got kraut and thousand island, I’m there.  These Reuben style potato skins really kick up the creativity and cover the main requirements.  I’ve never made remoulade, as this recipe calls for, but here is a recipe that looks pretty simple!  And if you’d rather not make it, I say just squirt on some thousand island and mow down.

4.  Chocolate Pudding with Baileys

Chocolate Pudding with Baileys-12

Ok we’re back to the dessert. And the Baileys.  This chocolate pudding with Baileys looks like a simply decadent and delicious way to celebrate St. Patrick’s.  So whip some up and indulge a little!

5. Guinness Beef Stew

Guinness Beef Stew

No St. Patrick’s Day is complete without Guinness and beef stew, right?  So, why not put them together!  This hearty Guinness beef stew looks perfect to fend off the winter weather that is still hanging on.

I hope you enjoy a fun and happy holiday!  May the  luck of the Irish be with you, whether you’re Irish or not!

xo Jaime


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Breakfast in Bed: 2 Savory Valentine’s Day Recipes

Did you enjoy our sweet treats? We promised you some savory breakfasts for those of you who might not like too much sugar in the morning.  So here they are!  These make easy, delicious Valentine’s Day breakfasts-in-bed and are easily adjusted for your tastes.

EggieSammieBreakfast

1. Eggie Sammie

These have a long history in the Ganci family and they have been known by many names – the Egg McBun, the Carrie Sandwich, the breakfast sandwich. Most recently, however, they have taken on the affectionate and simple, Eggie Sammie. You probably have a similar recipe that you make yourself. Here is just another version for you and your lovie to try this Valentine’s Day!

Ingedients

2 large eggs
2 Morningstar Maple Flavored Sausage patties
2 slices of cheese
Salt & Pepper to taste
2 pieces of bread, toasted
Frank’s Hot Sauce

EggieSammieBreakfast2

Instructions

1. Spray a medium skillet with non-stick spray and heat on medium-high heat. Place sausage patties in and heat through, flipping occasionally. About 8-10 minutes.

2. Spray a separate skillet with non-stick spray and heat on medium-high heat. When the skillet is hot enough that a few drops of water will sizzle break one egg into pan, breaking yoke with the edge of a spatula. Let cook until the bottom starts to firm up. Flip the egg and cook until the other side is finished. Set aside and repeat with second egg.

3. Place one piece of cheese on warm, toasted bread, cover with egg immediately so that the cheese starts to melt. Top with sausage patty. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serves: 2

2. Chicken-Sausage Egg Crescent Rolls

Chicken-Sausage Egg Crescents

We’ve been really into chicken sausages in our household lately — they’re a great alternative to beef sausage and in my opinion, pack just as much flavor!  I adapted these croissants from a recipe I found at Fort Mill SC Living — I subbed out the bacon and sweet onion for chicken sausage and bell peppers, but feel free to combine any of your favorite egg-scramble elements!  Think peppers, onions, bacon, mushrooms, ham, etc!

Ingredients

1 (8-ounce) can Pillsbury refrigerated crescent rolls
3 mini chicken sausage links, chopped (I used Organic Smart Chicken Breakfast Sausage links)
1/4 cup diced bell pepper (I used mini red, orange and yellow)
4 eggs
Splash of milk
Salt and pepper to taste
4 slices sharp cheddar cheese, halved to make 8 pieces (I used Sargento’s Ultra Thin)
Black pepper 

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Heat nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add chicken sausage and saute about 6-7 minutes or until it starts to brown.  Add the diced peppers, and saute an additional 3-4 minutes.  You want the peppers to cook a bit, but not get mushy.
  3. Once sausage and peppers are cooked, turn heat down to low.
  4. Crack eggs into a bowl, add a splash of milk and black pepper and beat with a whisk. Add to skillet with sausage and peppers, and cook eggs just until set. Remove from heat. Add salt and additional pepper as desired. Do not wash out the bowl you whisked the eggs in — you can use the small amount that remains in the bowl as an egg wash later on.Chicken-Sausage Egg Crescents
  5. Unroll crescent dough and separate into triangles. Top the wide end of each triangle with a halved slice of cheese and the egg-sausage-pepper mixture. Roll up loosely and place on an ungreased baking sheet.
  6. Brush tops with any leftover egg-milk mixture from the bowl you whisked the eggs in and sprinkle with black pepper.
  7. Bake 16 to 18 minutes, until golden brown.

This makes 8 crescent rolls — and 2 felt like a perfect serving size for us.  We enjoyed these dipped in Frank’s Red Hot Sauce or ketchup.  To reheat, just set the oven to 350 degrees, and pop these in for about 8 minutes on a cookie sheet.

Again, happy day from Jaime & Rae, wishing you joy and love and lots of delicious food!

Love,
Rae & Jaime


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Christmas Cookies – 10 Things

DSCN2334 copy Five years ago, right after I turned 25, I had spent enough Decembers away from home to realize that if I wanted things to “feel” like Christmas that I would need to cultivate them myself. Growing up I didn’t grasp how far a little Christmas music and a few decorations went in creating the cozy atmosphere and fun anticipation of the season.

So that year, to help create a little Christmas, I decided to bake a few batches of cookies to give out to friends and co-workers. Since then it has become somewhat of a tradition. I just finished baking and distributing cookies this past weekend so here now, for your enjoyment, are 10 Things that I have learned – either this year or from over the years of baking boat-loads of Christmas cookies.

1. Try new things. As daunting a task as it is to try new cookie recipes when efficiency and time are of the essence, trying new cookies is one of my favorite parts of the annual cookie bake. I’ve never made the same set of cookies two years in a row. This year I selected a few old favorites (see #2) and a few new cookies. Here are links to the recipes:

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Almond Sugar Cookies
Blackberry Sage Thumbprints
Peppermint Pattie Brownies
Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sea Salt
Red Velvet Fudge
Peanut Butter Blossoms with Chocolate Stars

2. Have a few rock stars. As fun as it is to try new things, it is really important to include a few low-maintenance recipes – cookies that you have baked before and know will turn out and be a crowd-pleaser (See: Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sea Salt). Included in this category may also be a “plan b” cookie. If one of your recipes turns out to be a complete and utter mess/failure (like my Red Velvet Fudge did) you can pull out the plan b cookie to save the day (See: Peanut Butter Blossoms with Chocolate Stars).

3. Double, triple, quadruple check your cornstarch measurements if you are baking with cornstarch. It is the most important ingredient in preventing this from happening. Yes, I had to re-make the Almond Sugar Cookies. Ugh.

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4. You can’t please everyone. Not everyone will like everything you put in your cookies. Make the cookies anyway. And let people manage their own tastes. Bake with mint and nuts and weird things like sage and sea salt. It will make your cookies interesting at the very least.

5. Stir preserves before adding them to thumbprint cookies. No one told me to do this. Good thing I was making two batches of these.

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6. Don’t feel like you should make only “Christmas” cookies. Even if your cookies aren’t shaped like Christmas trees or angels people will still think of your cookies as “Christmas cookies.” Its all in the presentation so don’t be afraid to pull out some non-traditional cookies along with the classics. Just wrap them up in a decorative cellophane bag or put them on a holiday plate and you are golden.

7. Mix up your flavors. We all know the holidays provide plenty of sugary things. It can be refreshing to find something that breaks through that sweetness. This year I did that with a “savory” cookie – the Blackberry Sage Thumbprints. The sage and blackberry were great together without being too sweet and the dough, which included yellow cornmeal, provided a good, not-too-sweet base. The sea salt and pretzels in the Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookie also helped.

8. Don’t poke your brownies too much. When you are trying to see if your brownies have set, jiggle the pan. If the batter moves the brownies are not set and it should stay in the oven. Only after the batter doesn’t move anymore when you jiggle it should you try the toothpick test. Otherwise they’ll slope in the middle.

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9. Plan ahead. If you’re going to try to bake 5 kinds of cookies in a day because you’re crazy like me, make sure to plan well ahead. I have three thing I do: 1) Read the WHOLE recipe ALL THE WAY THROUGH – there is nothing as painful as realizing you missed a key ingredient, or have the wrong pan, or that the dough needs to chill for 3 hours while you are baking; 2) Make a grocery list by adding up all ingredients from all cookies into one giant list, and 3) Sketch out a rough timeline. This might sound really Type A but if you have dough that needs to chill or rest or have multiple layers to work with, having a rough plan can really help.

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10. Perfection is boring. Love all the little mistakes. Relish all the things you learn. And remember no one will see anything but delicious cookies made with love from you.

Happy baking and Merry Christmas to you, dear readers!

Rae