Sunday, October 30, 2011

Italian Chili

I came across this idea on the food network and I jumped on board!  A chili full of veggies, white beans and sausage.  Oh Yeah!  We ate our chili with garlic bread, but it would also go well with a short cut pasta or a salad. 


2 lbs Italian Sausage                        5.96
1 medium onion                                 .30
2 celery stalks                                    .20
2 large carrots                                    .20
2 green peppers                                  .96
2 cans diced tomatoes                      1.80
          with basil garlic and oregano
2 cans cannellini beans                     1.96
1 large can tomato puree                  1.24
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp ground black pepper       


Brown the Italian sausage in a pan over medium heat.  Drain off any fat or grease.
Meanwhile chop the onion, celery and green peppers.  Peel and grate the carrots.  Place all the veggies on a large soup pot or a 4 qt crock pot.
Add the browned and drained Italian sausage.  Open the cans of diced tomatoes and add to the pot.  Open and drain the cannellini beans.

Open the can of pureed or crushed tomatoes.  Add to the pot.  Sprinkle in 2 tbsp Italian seasoning, 2 tsp garlic powder and 2 tsp black pepper.  Stir well.  The mixture will be very thick like a stew.
If cooking on the stove heat over low heat stirring occasionally for 1-2 hours.  If cooking in a crock pot heat over low heat for 6 hours.  The vegetables will give off lots of liquid and the chili will loosen up as it cooks. 
When ready to serve top with Mozzarella, Parmesan and fresh parsley.
Place the remaining chili in freezer safe quart containers.  When ready to use please thaw in the fridge for two days and heat on the stove. 

I was able to make four meals for $3.16 each.  My husband liked this chili better than my classic chili.  I think it was the garlic bread on the side that won him over!  We dipped ours in the chili...delicious!

Christie aka Keeza

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Taco Pies

I set about to make some empanadas but quickly realized that my version would be very different from the original.  We ate Juanita's empanadas in Colombia and they were incredible.  I am intimidated by masrepa and aji so I used a few short cuts.  I made my fake empanadas in premade pie crusts and topped them with salsa.  One day I will be brave and venture into true empanadas, but for today this is my version called Taco Pies.  This will cut down on the hate mail significantly because I am not misrepresenting my pies as empanadas.  =)


2 lbs lean ground beef                    6.08
1 1/2 pkg taco seasoning                     .80
1 medium onion chopped                 .40
2 Roma tomatoes chopped                .45
1 green pepper  chopped                   .48
1 bunch cilantro                                  .75
8 oz cheddar cheese shredded       2.33
2 boxes refrigerated pie crust      5.00


In a large pan brown the ground beef and drain.  Stir in the chopped onion, green pepper and tomato.  Add 1/2 cup water and the 1 1/2 pkgs of taco seasoning.  Heat and stir over medium heat until well incorporated and veggies start to get tender.

Turn off heat.  Chop one large handful of cilantro leaves (about 1 cup).  Shred the cheese.  Add the cheese and cilantro to the meat mixture and stir well.  Let cool to room temperature.
Open your pie crusts and unroll one crust on the counter. 
Slice the crust down the middle to create two moon shaped pieces.
Place two heaping spoonfuls (about 1 cup) on the top half of each moon shaped pie crust. 
Dip your finger in cold water and lightly run your finger around the edges of each moon shaped crust.  Then pull the bottom of the crust up over the filling and match the edges to the top half.
Take a fork and press the seams together to seal
Place the completed taco pies on a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet in the freezer.
Freeze for one hour so the pies don't stick together.  Gently peel off parchment paper and put pies into a large freezer ziplock bag.
When ready to bake place one taco pie per person on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden brown.  You can bake these directly from frozen.  It may increase the baking time by 10 minutes, but just keep peeking until they are nice and golden.
We like to serve ours with salsa and sour cream.  This is how they look on the inside.
I'm sorry the quality of the photo is so bad.  Next time we eat them I will retake this photo and replace it.  I need a little practice on my food styling! 

We were able to make 8 taco pies for $2.04 per pie.  If you have any leftover meat mixture that doesn't fit in the pie crusts you can eat it with chips or tortillas.  Delicious!

I hope you enjoy!
Christie aka Keeza

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Chicken Sausage and Potatoes

Well this recipe is one I made up following the success of my Sausage and Peppers recipe.  My husband just raved about Sausage and Peppers and it was so easy to make.  So I brainstormed and came up with this beauty!  If you are looking for a recipe without a creamy soup base but still has a lot of flavor then this is one for you! 


2 pkg precooked chicken sausage        7.48
1 onion                                                         .30
1 lb small potatoes                                  3.00
2 yellow squash                                          .66
1 red pepper                                                 .33
1 pkg of ranch dip mix                             1.50
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp blk pepper


Wash and place potatoes in a medium sauce pan.  I was excited to try this bag of tri-color fingerling potatoes.   Cover with water.  Bring to a boil.  Boil for 20 minutes or until fork tender.  Drain and let cool.

Meanwhile peel and slice the yellow squash.  Slice the onion.  Seed and chop the red pepper into large chunks.  Place these veggies in a medium mixing bowl. 

Slice the chicken sausage into bit size pieces.  Set aside. 

Once potatoes have cooled add them to the bowl of veggies.  Pour olive oil on top.  Sprinkle with the package of ranch dip and pepper.  Stir gently with a spoon or mix with your hands. 

Place 1/3 of the ranch and olive oil coated veggies into 3 8x8" pans.  Place 1/3 of the chicken sausage on top. 

Cover with foil and label. 

Freeze until needed.  When preparing to eat this meal please defrost a pan in the fridge for two days.  Then bake covered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  You can remove the foil and bake for 5 more minutes at 400 degrees if you'd like the sausage and potatoes to brown a little bit.

The purple potatoes really freaked my husband out!  He took one to work in his leftovers and asked everyone in the shop what in the world that purple thing was.  =)  I tried to tell him it was a potato, but I don't think he was listening.  I was able to make three pans of chicken sausage with potatoes for $4.42. 

I hope you enjoy this one as much as we did!
Christie aka Keeza