Friday, October 23, 2009

Avalie's Steak Chili

This recipe is to replace the Chili recipe from last year.  I've been tweaking things, and I like this one better (mostly because it's all in the Crock Pot).  It's also less expensive, and requires fewer fresh ingredients (which aren't always easy to get in the dead of winter).  So here goes.  As always, you can double the batch and freeze some for later.  Reheats beautifully.

Avalie's Steak Chili
1 Qt (4 cups) Freezer Kidney Beans (last post)
1 to 1.5 lb T-bone steak (or whatever's cheap, it can even be stew meat)
1 bell pepper (any color), stem and seeds removed
4 Tbsp. canned green chilis
1 8-oz can tomato paste
1 28-oz can or jar stewed tomatoes, undrained
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder (I like to use dark)

Note: If you're making this immediately after the freezer kidney beans (last post), you can just continue to use the same Crock Pot.  Either double the recipe, or remove 1 quart of beans and some liquid.

Season uncooked steak with salt and pepper.  Cook steak in pan over medium heat.  Cook until brown on both sides, with very little pink (or none) in the middle (about 5 mins each side).  Remove from heat, drain liquid.  Cut into 1 to 1/2-inch cubes, removing extra fat and any bone.

Combine all ingredients in crock pot.  Cover with lid.  Cook on Low for 3-4 hours, or high 2-3 hours.

Freezer Kidney Beans

Imagine the convenience of canned beans, but with flavor!  Give these a try, and you'll probably never go back to cans...and that means a lot of saved money!!

Freezer Kidney Beans
1 lb dry kidney beans
Soaking Water (about 12 cups)

Sort and rinse beans.  Soak beans in water overnight, or for quick-soak method, combine water and beans, bring to a boil, boil for 5 minutes, remove from heat, cover and let sit for 1.5 hours.

Drain beans.  Pour drained beans into Crock Pot.  Add enough water to cover beans completely. 
Add the following ingredients to crock pot:
1/4 cup Kosher Salt (if using table salt, cut in half)
6 Tbsp Butter or Margarine
1/4 cup minced garlic
1 onion, coarsely chopped
1 bay leaf

Stir to combine.  Cook on Low 12-14 hours (I like to start it after dinner and turn it off before breakfast).  Test beans for doneness (soft, not chalky, and very flavorful).  Remove bay leaf and discard.  Turn off heat, let beans cool 30 minutes.  Place cooked beans and cooking liquid in freezer containers, ziploc freezer bags, or canning jars.  We like to freeze in 2 cup measurements (or pint jars), which is close to the 14 or 15 ounce cans you can buy at the store. Close container and freeze.  When ready to use, simply remove from freezer and thaw in refrigerator or microwave.  Great for Chili, or anything else that calls for kidney beans.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Halloween-Style Bean Dip

Halloween is almost here, and you know I'm always looking for ways to use more of our delicious freezer beans!  So here's a easy and fun bean dish that's black and orange, just in time for Halloween! 

Black and Orange Beans
2 cups freezer black beans (see Aug 23,2009 posting)
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded colby jack cheese
Other ingredients for toppings, if desired.

Heat black beans in microwave.  Sprinkle cheese on top, heat until melted.  Serve with tortilla chips, sour cream, and fresh tomatoes, garnish with cilantro, if desired.

Alternate recipe, heat recipe as instructed, top with sour cream, guacamole, tomatoes, and cilantro to create layer dip.  Serve with Tortilla Chips.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Wendy's Lemon Bars

OK, I admit it.  This isn't a freezer recipe, but it is a FABULOUS, inexpensive, quick, easy dessert and since the holiday food season is imminent, I thought I'd post this one.  You probably have most of these ingredients on hand, so it is a great recipe to use when you're in a pinch.  Thanks to my good friend, Wendy J., for sending it to share!!

Wendy's Lemon Bars
3/4 c softened butter or margarine
1 1/2 c flour
1/3 c powdered sugar
Mix with a fork, press into pan and bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

3 eggs
4 Tbsp flour
1 1/2 c white sugar
1/2 c lemon juice
Mix together well, pour over hot crust, bake at 350 for 15-30 minutes, or until lightly brown on top.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar when its done baking.

Note: Wendy uses a 8x11 size pan.  We've made it in a 9x9 and it works fine, just takes a little longer to bake.