Ancho Chorizo Chili

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Ancho Chorizo Chili
slightly adapted from Simply Scratch

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large sweet onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 pound ground chorizo (I use my homemade version)
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed fire roasted tomatoes (or regular crushed tomatoes)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can tomato puree
  • 1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons ground ancho chili powder or more to taste
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons Mexican oregano
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup of stock or water

Suggested sides/toppings: sliced avocado, pico de gallo, cilantro, green onions, sour cream, cheddar or jack cheese, hot sauce, cornbread, tortilla chips, corn chips

Method

Heat a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat. Once hot, add in a tablespoon of olive oil along with the onion and a pinch of kosher salt. Saute for about 4 minutes or until the onion is just tender. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add in the lean ground beef and chorizo. Use your wooden spatula to break up the meat into small crumbles and cook, stirring occasionally until no longer pink. Drain off all the fat in the bottom of the pan.

Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato puree, beans, ancho chili powder, salt, cumin, Mexican oregano, sugar, and stock. Stir and bring to a gentle bubble, then reduce to low and simmer for 35-40 minutes.

Serve with desired sides/toppings and enjoy!

NOTES

OH MAN. This was amazing. I am not usually a big fan of chili (I know, sacrilege!), but for some reason when I randomly stumbled across Laurie’s post, the words “ancho” and “chorizo” took hold in my brain and wouldn’t leave. Maybe because I’ve been so into my recently tweaked homemade chorizo and I’ve been looking for new ways to use it. Whatever it was, I had to make this immediately – and I did not regret it. I admit being hesitant about adding in a full three tablespoons of ancho chile powder, but I’m glad I trusted her judgment and went for it. CRAZY good.

This made a solid six portions for us. I gave two to a friend and then ate my two servings as shown above. Steve had his first with just Fritos and pico and his second with Fritos and… hot dogs! I say that with a bit of a laugh only because we normally don’t think of chili with beans as being good hot dog chili, but we were both pretty blown away by how well it worked. Not a big hot dog fan myself, but for those of you who love them, I highly recommend.

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Lasagna Hamburger Helper

IMG_0989IMG_1004Lasagna Hamburger Helper
slightly adapted from Jo Cooks

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 medium sweet onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 (28-oz.) can crushed tomatoes
  • 8 oz. dry mafalda pasta (SEE NOTES)
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup (4 oz.) shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

Method

In a large, deep skillet, brown the ground beef over medium-high heat until it is well browned and no longer pink. Drain off any excess fat, if needed.

Add the chopped onion and minced garlic to the skillet and stir. Season with salt, basil, oregano, and crushed red pepper, and cook until the onion gets soft and translucent, about 3 minutes.

Add the crushed tomatoes, pasta, and chicken broth and stir everything together. Bring to a boil then reduce to medium low. Cook for about 15 minutes or until the pasta is cooked through; most of the sauce should be absorbed.

Stir in the cheese and cook for another 30 seconds to a minute until the cheese melts. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately.

NOTES

So freaking good. This was the last of Steve’s helper meal nostalgia tour. At this point, I think I have made every recipe from when we were kids, plus a couple extra. List below.

If you can’t find mafalda pasta nearby (I CANNOT), then buy two boxes of Lasagna Hamburger Helper and just use the noodles from that! That was a brilliant “duh” suggestion from Steve when I couldn’t figure out how I was going to buy the right kind of pasta. Two helper boxes end up being cheaper than buying the specialty noodles online, so it’s a win. Alternatively, you can use any kind of shaped pasta like penne, fusilli, rotini, etc.

Other Homemade Helper Recipes:

Philly Cheesesteak Hamburger Helper

IMG_0654Philly Cheesesteak Hamburger Helper
adapted from Dinner Then Dessert

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 large sweet onion, diced
  • 1 large green bell pepper, diced
  • 8 ounces brown mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 4 cups beef or chicken broth
  • 8 ounces elbow macaroni
  • 4 ounces provolone cheese slices, chopped (or 4 ounces shredded)
  • 2 tablespoons minced parsley, for garnish

Method

Add the ground beef to a large deep skillet over medium high heat. Cook until a brown crust appears before breaking the beef apart. Saute until no longer pink.

Add the onions, bell peppers, and mushrooms. Cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring periodically, until the vegetables are soft and the mushrooms have released their liquid.

Add the broth, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and black pepper to the pan and stir to combine. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then add macaroni. Cover with a tight fitting lid and cook for 5-7 minutes or until noodles are just barely al dente (do not overcook), stirring once to make sure nothing is sticking. Remove cover, reduce heat to medium low and let simmer for another 5 minutes to thicken before serving. Turn off the heat, add in the provolone cheese and stir until melted and well combined. Garnish with minced parsley. Serve.

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NOTES

Just adding to my Helper meal repertoire! I never thought I would have so many homemade versions of the boxed meals Steve and I subsisted on throughout our early life, but here we are. This one might actually be my favorite. Creamy, savory, and the glorious taste of philly cheesesteak in a simple one-pot. Will make again and again.

Other Homemade Helper Recipes:

 

Thai Beef with Basil

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Thai Beef with Basil

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 lb beef sirloin, sliced into thin strips
  • 1 large red bell pepper, sliced into 1 to 2-inch strips
  • 2 large shallots, thinly sliced
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Thai bird’s eye chile, minced
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Golden Mountain seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon palm sugar
  • Leaves from 1 bunch Thai basil

Method

Heat wok over high heat and add the oil. Sear the beef until just browned, remove from the wok, and set aside.

Add the bell pepper, onion, garlic, and chiles to the wok and stir-fry for about 3 minutes.

Toss the beef back in, along with the fish sauce, Golden Mountain seasoning, dark soy sauce, and sugar. Stir-fry for another 2 minutes, until sugar has melted away, then fold in the Thai basil until wilted.

Serve with jasmine rice and prik nam pla (Thai chiles in fish sauce) on the side.

NOTES

Easy, authentic, delicious. This is another one of the dishes Steve and I would frequently order at our beloved Thai place in California. And with this recipe, I am that much closer to perfecting all of our favorites at home.

Skillet Salisbury Steak

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Skillet Salisbury Steak
slightly adapted from The Recipe Critic

Ingredients

Beef Patties:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 2 Tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1 egg
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons butter

Gravy:

  • 8 ounce mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 large sweet onion, sliced
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 Tablespoon ketchup
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 Tablespoon water

Method

In a medium sized mixing bowl add the ground beef, bread crumbs, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, mustard powder, egg, and salt and pepper. Mix with your hands until just combined and shape into 4 oval patties.

Heat the butter in a medium sized skillet over medium high heat. Add the patties and cook until the sides are slightly crisp and cooked throughout. Remove and set aside on a plate.

Add the mushrooms and onion to the pan and cook until tender. Remove to the plate with the patties.

To make the gravy: Add the beef broth, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce to the skillet. In a small bowl add the cornstarch and water creating a slurry. Whisk it into the gravy and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and add the mushrooms, onions, and patties back to the skillet. Allow to simmer until the gravy starts to thicken. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve over mashed potatoes and peas and garnish with fresh parsley if desired.

NOTES

Confession: I have never liked Salisbury steak. I always thought the sauce was too sweet and tangy and gloopy. But when I saw this recipe in my blog feed, I had to admit, Salisbury steak actually looked pretty damn good – and it WAS. I still think the sauce is generally too sweet, so I cut back on the ketchup a touch. I also omitted some of the oil. And I must say, this turned out fantastic. Easy, hearty, savory, and definitely worth repeating.

Beef Tamale Casserole

IMG_9154IMG_9145Beef Tamale Casserole
adapted from Jo Cooks

Ingredients

For Cornbread

  • 1 package Jiffy corn muffin mix
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 14.75 oz cream style corn (1 can)
  • 4-oz can diced green chiles (or chopped Hatch chiles)

For Beef

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 medium sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 1 teaspoon chile powder (I use half ancho, half NM)
  • salt and pepper to taste

For Casserole

  • 1 (10-oz) can enchilada sauce
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded cheese shredded (cheddar, Monterey Jack, or blend)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

Optional Toppings: sour cream, avocado, fresh sliced or pickled jalapenos, salsa, hot sauce

Method

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.

Add the Jiffy mix, egg, and milk to a medium bowl and whisk together. Stir in the creamed corn and the green chiles.  Pour the cornbread mixture into a large ovenproof skillet or a 9×9 inch baking pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the edges are golden and the cornbread is done.

Meanwhile, in another medium skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and cook until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add the onion, garlic, cumin, oregano, chile powder, salt, and pepper and stir. Cook until the onion has softened, another 3 to 5 minutes. Add half of the enchilada sauce to the meat mixture and stir. Set aside.

When the cornbread is done, poke holes all over the top with a fork. Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the top of the cornbread and spread. Top with the ground beef and the shredded cheese. Bake the casserole for another 15 minutes or until the cheese has melted and has started to lightly brown on top.

Let cool for about 5 minutes, then top cilantro and other toppings, as desired.

NOTES

This is the third recipe for “tamale casserole” I have tried and by far our favorite. I don’t know if it’s that it uses ground beef (as opposed to chicken), that the enchilada sauce is 50/50 in the beef and the cornbread instead of 100% poured into the cornbread, or that I cooked it in a cast iron skillet instead of a pan. But the minute we dove into this one, I knew I had finally found the keeper. Awesome dish.

 

Carne Guisada

IMG_3010Carne Guisada
with thanks to My Cocina, My Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds sirloin or chuck steak OR pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 large white onion, chopped
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1 serrano pepper, slightly toasted, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano (regular is fine)
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups beef or chicken broth

Method

Dredge the cubed meat in flour, coating well.

In a heavy, deep-sided skillet or Dutch oven, add the oil and heat over medium heat. Add the meat and brown thoroughly, stirring often.

While the meat is browning, in a small saute pan, toast the cumin seeds and then add them to the molcajete (mortar and pestle). Use the same pan to toast the serrano pepper.

In a molcajete which already has the cumin, add the garlic, and black peppercorns. Grind into a paste. Add 1/2 cup of water and stir (this is to make sure you remove all the paste from the molcajete) and set aside.

Once the meat is browned, add the garlic, comino and peppercorn paste and liquid from molcajete to the pot. Add the onion, tomato, cilantro, serrano, oregano,  paprika, chili powder, and salt and saute for 3 to 4 minutes.

Add broth, bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 1-1/2 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the meat is tender and the mixture has cooked down to a thick sauce.

NOTES

THIS DISH. This dish is a distinct food memory of my younger years. Steve’s sister used to make this from time to time when we were young and dating and we were living with his family. We loved it so so much and WHY OH WHY did I wait so long to make this myself??

This was even better than I imagined it would be. Savory, spicy, and near-addictively good. I made it the first time with chuck steak, the second time with pork shoulder. Both outstanding. Served with rice, tortillas, and avocado for dinner and with rice and a fried egg for lunch the next day. Incredible, all the way around.