Monday, October 15, 2012

Chili Weather - Welcome Fall

Well it's finally here. Autumn has finally arrived and descended upon the midwest.

found these cuties at Whole Foods
Well at least temperature wise. I'm enjoying the fact that it isn't a scorching furnace outside and can actually enjoy my runs without having to take my shirt off. (Don't get all excited now.)

So 'tis the season to start making warmer foods for dinner. Since it has been a bit chilly lately, 50 degrees and lower, Mike and I thought chili sounded good. This all stemmed from the fact that there is a chili cook off at my office on October 17. I'm entering my mom's hearty chili and hope to win that $20 gift card. I could use some free money.

So Mike and I thought about chili and what type to make. We eventually came down to wanting white chili. White chicken chili to be exact. White chili, for those that do not know, is white beans (navy or northern or both), chicken, broth, jalapenos, onion, and herbs and spices.

We used a Paula Deen recipe for reference. It's her white chicken chili recipe. We just used the same basic ingredients. Didn't follow exactly. Mike likes to make things his own. No problem with me, I prefer tweaking recipes myself. (I'll post about that later).

So we used boneless skinless chicken breasts, two jalapenos, 1 poblano pepper, 1 medium onion, 2 cloves garlic, 3 cans great northern beans, 2 cans navy beans, 1 pkt white chili seasoning, salt, pepper, poultry seasoning, garlic powder, bay leaf, cumin, and some other spices added as we went along and tasted.

When trying to figure out the flavor it took a bit to find that right balance. It tasted good, just didn't have the right flavor to it. We were trying hard to figure out what it was missing. Couldn't quite put our finger on it. Mike at one point said "what about poultry seasoning." Tried that. Ok, better but not quite right. We soon came to a point where the light bulb came on. Mike was more or less like "DUH! CUMIN!" Every chili has to have cumin. So once that was added it was just right. Much like the three bears porridge, except chili.

So we started off by sauteing the onions, peppers, and garlic together before adding in the beans, chicken, and spices. Then it sat on the stove on med/low heat for probably 2 hours until chicken was cooked through and finished.

We served with corn bread muffins, which I guess I was supposed to add jalapenos to, but I didn't because there was a little miscommunication between Mike and I. I missed that somehow. Oh well, all is right in the world. Though I do have to say that after a day or two those boxed muffins start tasting a bit off. Maybe it's just me but they get this chemically flavor. Hmmm---probably just my suspicions of boxed anything right? Right...well, yeah - whatever.

After dinner he began to work on his layout since he had the possibility of hunting the next day if they could get the spot. Turned out he wouldn't be going hunting perse but he did get to go scouting and then would come stay at my place till morning so he could go test for a new job possibility.

Preparing his layout for hunting - added "grass" to it.
 Fun to watch this process.
So once the weekend was over I headed to work Monday morning and took some chili with me, I mean, come on - just can't leave ALL of it there. He's gracious enough to let me have some and share. Such a good man. I thoroughly enjoyed that as lunch that Monday morning.

So when Mike and I aren't together, we obviously text and call each other often. Well, things like this happen.
Yes, we are dorks. We belong together - for obvious reasons right?

So Monday morning and afternoon he was off to the sporting goods store in search of a marsh foot and push pole. (I have had to have him explain these things to me since I have never dealt with hunting before.) Basically he's a gondolier when he's in his layout boat hehe. Of course after going out with the boat and push pole he has decided to purchase a small motor to make life a little easier come hunting time. Well while he was out with his buddy and out scouting the hunting grounds and looking for geese, I found the geese on my lunch walk.

Honk Honk!
He didn't get any geese while out, unless you count the decoys he came home with. Eventually he can go goose hunting. I'm all for it, go have fun and kill the birds and bond with the boys. As long as he takes me shooting now and then I'm happy as a clam with guns and hunting.

So this last weekend we didn't see each other because of his job and being super busy and then Roomie's parents coming in town to boot. Better to just not get involved in that and only see him for maybe a few hours after he has recovered from overtime at work. That and we get a long weekend together this weekend for the pig roast. I'm sure we will have pictures.

So as is typical of me, when I get bored at home I tend to bake. So this time I had found a "donut muffin" recipe. Sounded simple enough and sounded good with the cinnamon sugar topping it promised.

Well I made it, and the first time I made it I followed the directions to the letter. Of course while following the directions I was thinking to myself - this is an awful lot of nutmeg. This can't be right. Then thinking I said to myself "well, the recipe says..." So I put the full amount of nutmeg into the muffin. Well, yeah, that was a bad idea. Can we say spice overload? Ugh, it wasn't terrible but it was a truly too strong nutmeg taste. So I ended up tossing those. Then I decided I would try again. I did and had success by cutting the 3/4 tsp nutmeg down to 1/4 tsp and then adding 1/2 tsp cinnamon to the batter. Much much better flavor.

Sugar overload -
yes I did lick up the extra sugar on the pan

So during this week that I knew I wouldn't see Mike he did text me a picture that made me grin ear to ear. I have seen this decal in sporting goods stores and thought it was cute. I mean, the browning buck and then a doe to create a heart. Too cute. Of course Mike makes a face and says "Ewww mushy stuff!" Ha ha! But this made me smile, he saw it on someones vehicle and sent me a pic. Made my day.


Donut Muffins
Makes 24 Mini muffins or 6 regular sized muffins

For Muffin:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup all-purpose flour

For topping:

1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C), Grease muffin tin of choice.

Mix 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup butter, nutmeg and cinnamon in large bowl. Stir in milk, then mix in baking powder, and flour until just combined. Fill prepared cups 1/2 full.

Bake in oven until tops are lightly golden, 15-20 min.

While muffins are baking, place 1/4 cup melted butter in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix sugar and cinnamon.

Remove muffins from their cups, dip each muffin in melted butter and then roll in cinnamon sugar. Let cool and serve.

So this weekend we have a pig roast and a road trip to St. Louis area. Great outdoors here we come!

Now go out and cook!