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Rusty Bucket Chili

14 Apr

Why will this weather not get warm!!! Over it.  The one thing cold weather is good for is chili. I’m always in search of a good chili but find that usually they’re an unfavorful mix of watery tomato broth and unseasoned ground beef. Ick.

Rusty Bucket, however, has fabulous chili.  Although there’s other stuff on their menu I’d love to try, I have a chance to eat it so infrequently that I always have to get a cup of chili and their double-nickel salad when I’m there.  Unfortunately, there’s not one where we’re currently living in Ohio, nor was there one in Knoxville, so extensive internet searching led me to this recipe.  Although we’ve tweaked it some, it’s getting closer and I’ll post an updates of “permanent” changes we make.  If you have any suggestions, let me know!

Copycat Rusty Bucket Chili {peasandcues}

Rusty Bucket Chili  – we usually 1/2 this recipe, but I’ve left it as original quantities in case you want to freeze it!
Makes 8 Servings  
  • 4 pounds chili grind ground beef
  • 2 large white onions, diced
  • 4 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano leaves
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 3 (15 ounce) cans tomatoes – diced in juice
  • 4 beef bouillon cubes
  • 2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce we usually start with less as you can always add more to your own bowl to taste
  • 3 (15 ounce) cans dark red kidney beans, drained
  • 1 cup water
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
In a large pot, cook the ground beef over medium heat until evenly browned. Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes. Add spices and mix until well blended.  Add flour, mix until flour is absorbed.  Then add vinegar, tomatoes with juice, and bouillon cubes. Mix well and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes covered, stirring
Add hot sauce, drained kidney beans, and water.  Simmer for another 45 minutes covered, stirring as needed.  Thin with more water if desired at end of cooking.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with shredded cheddar, corn chips and a dollop of sour cream, if desired.
Recipe found here

Pasta e Fagioli

21 Mar

Time to get this soup recipe up before the soup weather is totally gone!  I love good homemade soup, but I find soup to typically be one of those things that wildly varies from very good to very bad.  I also don’t yet have the experience to really play around with ratios on my own when coming up with a scratch soup, but with this pasta fagioli recipe I know have one less soup I need to find a recipe for!  Excellent.

Pasta e Fagioli

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 3 ounces pancetta or bacon, chopped fine
  • 1 medium onion, chopped fine
  • 1 celery rib, chopped fine
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3 anchovy fillets, minced to paste (I omitted so I upped the salt a little bit.)
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes with liquid
  • 1 piece Parmesan cheese rind, about 5 inches by 2 inches
  • 2 (15½-ounce) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed (I used one cannellini and one black for no particular reason!)
  • 3½ cups homemade or low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2½ cups water
  • salt
  • 8 ounces small pasta (I used ditalini.)
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • ground black pepper
  • 2 ounces (1 cup) grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking, about 2 minutes. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, until it’s beginning to brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the onion and celery; cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes and anchovies; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, scraping up any browned bits from bottom of the pan. Add the cheese rind and beans; bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer to blend the flavors, 10 minutes.

Add chicken broth, water and 1 teaspoon salt.  Increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until tender, about 10 minutes (refer to package instructions to better estimate pasta cooking time).

Discard the cheese rind. Off the heat, stir in 3 tablespoons of the parsley; adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.

Drizzle each individual serving with olive oil and sprinkle with a portion of the remaining parsley and more Parmesan cheese.

Recipe found at: The Way The Cookie Crumbles; originally from Cooks Illustrated

Fire Roasted Tomato Soup

2 Mar

I don’t like tomatoes, but I’ve developed a strange love for tomato bisque type soups.  Strange girl, but apparently cream does make everything taste better. ;) Honestly, I couldn’t decide what my opinion was on the fire roasted tomato flavor.  I think I still prefer it non-fire roasted, but I had no trouble finishing while watching House Hunters International in some random countryside!

Fire Roasted Tomato Soup

Serves 2

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 (28 ounce) can fire roasted crushed tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • fresh cracked black pepper and kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • chopped fresh basil

In a large saucepan, heat olive oil and butter over medium heat. Once butter has melted, add onions and garlic, cook until onion is softened about 5 minutes. Pour in wine and allow to cook for 1 minute. Add in crushed tomatoes, vegetable broth and granulated sugar. Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low.

Stir in 2 tablespoons of soup into half and half to temper it. Slowly stir tempered half and half into soup and allow to simmer for 30 minutes.

At this point, if you would like a smoother soup, use your immersion blender and process until smooth. Or blend in batches in a regular blender.

Sprinkle with fresh basil and serve hot.

Recipe source: Life’s Ambrosia

Cincinnati Chili

22 Feb

I grew up in Cleveland, but we still had “access” to Cincinnati Chili via Skyline.  When I was younger, I didn’t care for the chili and would get buttered spaghetti when we went although I really did like that, their greek salad, and the oyster crackers. ;)  Later, I evolved enough to order a 3-way (spaghetti, chili, and a big lucious mound of cheese), but I still ask for the chili on the side, because it is a very strong flavor, so I like it in smaller quantities then what they give you.

However, I decided I wanted to try a homemade version, and this ended up very well and fairly authentic tasting.  One thing that I would recommend is to make sure you use regular paprika and not smoked.  I didn’t think it would have a huge impact (it was all we had on hand), but I realize I’m just not the world’s biggest smoked paprika fan!

Cincinnati Chili

  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 4 cups water
  • 12 oz tomato paste
  • 1 ¾ tsp onion powder
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp mild paprika
  • ½ tsp hot or Hungarian paprika
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp all-spice
  • ¾ tsp celery seed
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp crushed red pepper
  • ½ tsp ground clove
  • 1 oz unsweetened chocolate
  • Pasta
  • Cheddar Cheese
Brown ground beef in olive oil, then add water, spices and tomato paste. Simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally and replacing water as needed. Add chocolate and continue simmering for 1 hour, stirring occasionally and replacing water as needed.
Serve over pasta and top with cheese, beans, and/or onions depending on your preferences!

Recipe found at: and a cookie for dessert

Minestrone Soup

21 Jan

I’m not sure where my mom originally got this recipe, but it’s such an easy soup to throw together when the cold weather strikes (especially with the canned soup shortcut)!  YUM!

**Update – My mom said it came from the back of a Campbell’s Bean and Bacon Soup can in 1978.  How does she remember years like that???

My only two tips to add: if you’re freezing the soup, don’t add the pasta to the portion you’re going to freeze.  I find pasta tends to break down in soups that are frozen then reheated.  Also, if you double this, I think the bacon becomes a little overpowering, because you’re using two bean and bacon soups, so I will probably just make this in single batches until I figure out an alternative. ;)

Minestrone Soup

  • 3 slices finely chopped bacon
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tsp basil dried or 1 tab fresh basil
  • 1 can beef broth
  • 1 can bean and bacon soup
  • 1 1/2 cans water
  • 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup ditalini or any small tube macaroni
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup cabbage cut in long thin shreds
  • 1 cup cubed zucchini

In large saucepan, brown the bacon.  When almost browned to your desired stage of bacon “doneness”, add the onion, celery, and garlic.  Saute until tender.  Add basil, soup, broth, water, tomatoes, pasta and salt.  Bring to boil and then cover.  Reduce heat to simmer for 15 minutes.  Add cabbage and zucchini, and simmer for an additional 10 minutes.  Stir occasionally.

Makes 8 cups

Pasta e Fagoli

3 Mar
Taking an attractive picture of most soups is challenging, and this surely fits into the unattractive soup picture category.  However, this really was quite good, and I definitely will be keeping the recipe.  The fresh herbs are crucial to this soup in my opinion; it would be kind of bland without it, so I wouldn’t substiute them out for dried or omit them. Also, a drizzle of good quality olive oil at the end added a really wonderful flavor.
Pasta e Fagoli
Giada De Laurentiis Food Network
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 large sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 3 ounces pancetta, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 5 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 (14.5-ounce) cans red kidney beans, drained and rinsed (I used one can cannelini and one can red kidney.)
  • 3/4 cup elbow macaroni
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch red pepper flakes, optional
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Wrap the thyme, rosemary, and bay leaf in a piece of cheesecloth and secure closed with kitchen twine.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and butter in a heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, pancetta, and garlic and saute until the onion is tender, about 3 minutes. Add the broth, beans, and sachet of herbs. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat, then decrease the heat to medium and simmer until the vegetables are very tender, about 10 minutes. Discard the sachet. Puree 1 cup of the bean mixture in a blender (or use an immersion blender) until smooth*. Before putting the puree back into the soup, add the macaroni and boil with the lid on until it is tender but still firm to the bite, about 8 minutes. Return the puree to the remaining soup in the saucepan and stir well. Season the soup with ground black pepper and red pepper flakes.

Ladle the soup into bowls. Sprinkle with some Parmesan and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil just before serving.

*When blending hot liquids: Remove liquid from the heat and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes. Transfer liquid to a blender or food processor and fill it no more than halfway. If using a blender, release one corner of the lid. This prevents the vacuum effect that creates heat explosions. Place a towel over the top of the machine, pulse a few times then process on high speed until smooth.

White Bean Chicken Chili

13 Feb

This couldn’t have been any easier to put together, and Corrie loved it.  :)  I also really enjoyed it but might play with the ratios a bit next time (i.e. more cheese!).  Nevertheless, this was very good, and given how easy it is; it’s definitely a keeper!

White Bean Chicken Chili

Once again found at Pink Parsley (this is getting a little embarrassing ;))

  • 4 cans white beans, drained and rinsed (I used two cans of white and one can of black for a little more variety.)
  • 3 boneless, skinless trimmed chicken breasts
  • 8 ounces Pepper Jack cheese, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 2 cups salsa (I used the fresh kind from the deli so I think that contributed a little to the broth being a little thinner.)

Add the beans, cheese, and salsa in a crockpot. Nestle the chicken breasts into the mixture, and cook on low 6-8 hours. Remove chicken breasts, shred with a fork, and return to crockpot.  Stir to combine, and serve with desired garnishes.


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