Black Bean and Corn Chili

I didn't have the chance to see whether Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow this year or not, but based off the recent warm weather I was positive winter was over. I should have known that having our temperatures reach almost 60°F was too good to be true. Only a few days later Mother Nature decided to drop a few extra inches of snow on us, just to keep us on our toes. 

Since I'm one of those people who likes to see things on the sunny side, I prefer to think she did it so we had a few more weeks to gorge ourselves on comfort food. I've spent most of the winter chowing down on never ending pots of soup, with a few batches of black bean and corn chili chili thrown in for good measure. While I'm looking forward to having fresh vegetables again, I will certainly use any excuse possible to make another batch of something warm and comforting.

Chili is one of those meals I rely on when I know I'll be rushing around all day long because it's an easy meal to toss in the crock-pot before I leave in the morning. Added bonus: It freezes well so I always keep some on hand for those nights I don't feel like cooking. I may write about food for a living, but even I have nights when I'd rather spend the night on the couch with a good book, a warm blanket, and a meal I didn't have to stand in the kitchen cooking.

If that sounds like you, then make up a batch ASAP, but don't forget to pair it with some delicious Buttermilk Corn Bread. You really can't have chili without it, can you?

Black Bean and Corn Chili | Not Starving Yet

Black Bean and Corn Chili


makes 6 - 8 servings

 

Ingredients

 


1lb ground beef
½ yellow onion, diced
2 Tablespoons taco seasoning
3 (15oz) cans black beans
1 (14.5oz) can petite diced tomatoes with green chilis
1 (12oz) package frozen black bean and corn blend (see notes)
1 Tablespoon chili powder

Directions

 

  • In a skillet, over medium-high heat, add ground beef and yellow onion. Cook until the meat is browned and the onions are slightly translucent. Turn the heat off and drain the excess grease from the pan. Season beef with taco seasoning, then transfer to a crock-pot.
  • Add black beans, diced tomatoes with green chilis, frozen black bean and corn blend, and chili powder. Stir well to combine, then cook for 6 - 8 hours on low heat.

Notes


The frozen black bean and corn blend that I use for this recipe goes by many names. The brand I buy calls it Santa Fe Blend, although I've seen it called Baja Blend as well. What you're looking for, regardless of the name, is a bag of frozen corn, black beans, onions, red and green peppers, with no additional seasonings added.

If you have leftovers you can let  the chili cool completely, portion it out into small microwave safe containers, then freeze it for up to 4 months. I like to keep a few servings on hand for nights I don't feel like cooking, but still want a home cooked meal.

 

Traditional Irish Champ (Mashed Potatoes with Scallions and Cheese)

I've had a bit of trouble getting motivated the past few months, so I decided it was time to take a brief break from writing and spend more time in the kitchen. That's always been my solution when words don't come to me easily. I spent the summer testing out new canning recipes, then took a brief vacation to Ireland where I was able to travel the country by train and try some new-to-me dishes.

There is nothing like a vacation to provide a bit of inspiration, but two days in to our trip I realized something: Despite the fact that I live in what I refer to as the frozen North, the temperature difference between Ireland and Southern Wisconsin is pretty substantial, even in the summertime. The days were cold and rainy, much like our typical fall weather back home, so I spent my vacation gorging myself on soup, fresh baked bread, and other dishes that are wonderful at warming you from the inside out.

Once I returned home the temperatures had gone through the roof, so I tucked all of my ideas away, thinking to pull them out once our weather back home cooled off. The trouble with that is our weather has been incredibly mild this year, it was 60°F only a week ago. This hasn't really put me in the mood for comfort food yet, but things are slowly changing. We finally had our first substantial snow of the year, so I knew the time had finally arrived to dust off the new recipes I'd been working on, starting with this delicious Irish Champ. 

Traditional Irish Champ | Not Starving Yet

Traditional Irish Champ

makes 6 - 8 servings


Ingredients

3lbs russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ cup whole milk
6 scallions, thinly sliced
¼ cup Kerrygold Irish butter, salted
1 - 2 ounces sweet cheddar cheese, shredded (see notes)
white pepper, to taste

Directions

  • Place cubed potatoes in a saucepan, add sea salt, and cover with 1 - 2 inches of cold water. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium. Allow the potatoes to simmer in an uncovered pan for 20 - 30 minutes or until they are fork tender. Larger potatoes will need to be boiled longer, so I prefer to check mine around the 20 minute mark and continue cooking as necessary.
  • In a small saucepan add whole milk and sliced scallions, then cook until the milk is warm. Do not boil.
  • Combine cooked potatoes, butter, warmed milk, and scallions in a large bowl, then mash until they've reached your desired consistency (I prefer to leave mine a little chunky.) Add the shredded cheddar and white pepper. Mix well, then serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until later. Enjoy!

Notes

You can use any type of cheddar you'd like in this recipe, although I'm partial to Kerrygold's Skellig. It adds just a hint of sweetness and gives the potatoes a rich, melt-in-your-mouth flavor. 

If you need to feed a large group of people this is a great dish add to your menu. It can be made a day or two in advance and reheated in the oven when you're ready to serve it. After you've made the potatoes place them in an oven safe baking dish and cover with plastic wrap. To reheat: Remove the plastic wrap, place the dish in a cold oven, turn the heat up to 350°F, and bake for 30 - 45 minutes or until the potatoes are no longer cold in the center.

 

Dixon Deer Stew from The Walking Dead - The Official Cookbook and Survival Guide by Lauren Wilson

Dear Hunters,

Today I have something special for you, straight out of Lauren Wilson's new book: The Walking Dead - the Official Cookbook and Survival Guide. The deer you bagged may not be eight foot tall or weigh 12,000lbs, but you'll still need a good recipe to warm you up after a day in the woods, even if it wasn't thirty below. Dixon's Deer Stew may as well have strutted right out of your dreams, it's everything you didn't know you were waiting for.

If hunting isn't your thing, don't pass this recipe by, you can still try this stew out with one quick and easy subsititution. This is what I'll be doing since someone in my family had the audacity to get married on opening day of deer season this year. (Seriously, who plans a wedding for opening day of deer season? This is the second time someone in this branch of the family has done that. I'm starting to think we need to stage an intervention.) The wedding may have saved me from sitting in the woods all day with nothing but a bottle of dandelion wine to keep me warm, but it also means that deer meat is in short supply around here unless I hit up my baby brother. If you're in the same boat, no worries, you can easily substitute beef stew meat. Added bonus: You'll have a very delicious stew without having to freeze your buns off sitting in the woods waiting for Da Turdy Point Buck so you can cook yourself a meal.

If you didn't get any of the references I've made in today's post it's quite possible you weren't alive in 1992, so go watch the video I've linked to above and see what you missed out on by not being around in the early 90s . It's 5 minutes of your life you'll never get back, but how can you say no to a deer huntin rappin tale? 

I knew you couldn't, just like I know you can't resist trying this stew.

  Recipe excerpted from The Walking Dead - The Official Cookbook and Survival Guide, © 2017 by Lauren Wilson. Photography   © 2017 by Yunhee Kim. Reproduced by permission of Insight Editions. All rights reserved. DISCLOSURE: A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher, as always all opinions are my own.

Recipe excerpted from The Walking Dead - The Official Cookbook and Survival Guide, © 2017 by Lauren Wilson. Photography © 2017 by Yunhee Kim. Reproduced by permission of Insight Editions. All rights reserved. DISCLOSURE: A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher, as always all opinions are my own.

We all know that Daryl Dixon is a natural tracker and hunter. He’d also be the first to tell you that a deer is far more than just tenderloin and chops. To make the most of the whole animal, you are going to have to use up those tougher cuts from the shoulder and rear. These cuts are perfect for stewing because of all the connective tissue that breaks down over long cooking and causes the meat to become fork-tender.

If you can’t get your hands on venison, you can substitute stewing beef—at least until you get your hunting skills up to snuff (see “Hunting Basics” on page 24) or make it to your local butcher. This recipe features simple vegetables the group could have grown in their prison garden: onions, carrots, potatoes, and peas. In nonapocalyptic settings, feel free to add more “exotic” ingredients like button mushrooms or parsnips.

Dixon's Deer Stew
 

YIELDS: 4 SERVINGS

 

PREP TIME: 10 MINUTES
COOK TIME: 2 HOURS

Ingredients
 


3 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
3 pounds venison stew meat (from the front shoulder or rear end: chuck roast, top round, bottom round), cubed
Salt and pepper
2 sweet onions, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1¼ cups red wine for deglazing, or water
4½ cups beef broth, divided
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf, if available
3 carrots, peeled and sliced into ½-inch rounds
2 large potatoes, diced
½ cup barley
½ cup peas, garden fresh or frozen
 

Directions
 

 

  • Preheat a large heavy pot (like a Dutch oven, if available) with 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat.

  • Pat the meat dry and season generously with salt and pepper, to taste.

  • Cover the bottom of the pot with a single layer of meat—do not overcrowd it or it will not sear properly. Leave the meat undisturbed for 3 to 5 minutes, until it has nicely browned.

  • Repeat for all sides, remove from the pot, and set aside.

  • Repeat the process for the remaining meat, adding another tablespoon of oil if needed. You will see a brown mess at the bottom of the pan—this is a good sign. If it begins to burn, turn down the heat.

  • Turn the heat down to medium. Add another tablespoon of oil, if needed, along with the onions, and stir until softened, about 5 minutes.

  • Add the garlic and stir until fragrant.

  • Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.

  • Add the tomato paste and stir constantly for another minute.

  • Turn the heat to high and add the red wine, working up all the browned bits at the bottom of the pot with your spoon.

  • Return the meat to the pot, and cover with 4 cups of broth. Add the thyme and bay leaf.

  • Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down, cover, and simmer for 1 hour.

  • Stir in the carrots and potatoes. Simmer covered for another 30 minutes.

  • Add the barley to the pot, along with ½ cup of broth. Simmer covered for another 30 minutes.

  • Check the doneness of both the meat and the barley. The stew is done when everything is tender. Stir in the peas, cover, and let sit for 5 minutes.

  • Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
     

Disclosure

 


This book was sent to me for review by Insight Editions as always, all opinions are my own.

Recipe excerpted from The Walking Dead - The Official Cookbook and Survival Guide, © 2017 by Lauren Wilson. Photography © 2017 by Yunhee Kim. Reproduced by permission of Insight Editions. All rights reserved. 

Autumn Harvest Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette #Sponsored by @BrightFarms + GIVEAWAY

Today we're excited to be partnering with BrightFarms as part of their #ChooseLocal campaign. I have been compensated for this post, but as always, all opinions are my own.

 DISCLOSURE: Today we're excited to be partnering with BrightFarms as part of their #ChooseLocal campaign.  I have been compensated for this post, but as always, all opinions are my own.

DISCLOSURE: Today we're excited to be partnering with BrightFarms as part of their #ChooseLocal campaign.  I have been compensated for this post, but as always, all opinions are my own.

I'm not quite sure how, or even when it happened, but somewhere along the way food became confusing. What was originally meant to be simple and nourishing has become a complicated mess of buzz words and fads that frequently leaves me scratching my head, wondering what ridiculous suggestion will come next.

In a world that constantly bombards us with "facts" about our health, it can be tough to weed through the information and figure out what is real. Yesterday eggs were bad, now they're good. We need to go gluten-free, dairy-free, or meat-free to be healthy. Eating more vegetables is never a bad idea, but what about the toxic pesticides? Organic is the only way to go, but with the rising cost of food who can afford it? Oh, don't forget, french fries will give you cancer. 

As if that wasn’t enough to make choosing a health lifestyle difficult, there are actually thousands of companies out there selling miracle "cures" to everything that ails you. There is even a vape pen that's meant to be used as an anti-snacking aide.  

Let's take a moment to chew on that one...

Feeding your family healthy meals shouldn't be so confusing. That is why you'll find the vast majority of our posts are dedicated to simple recipes using the best, often local, ingredients that you can afford. The recipes and posts on our site are styled in a way that encourages people of all skill levels to cook healthy meals.

Rather than get caught up in all of the marketing hype, our stance has always been to eat simple, seasonal foods as often as we can because food that hasn't travelled thousands of miles to reach your door always tastes better. The most important thing is to use the freshest ingredients possible, whether you shop at the local grocery store, grow your own food, or purchase it from a local farm or farmers' market.

Today we're excited to be partnering with BrightFarms, a local producer of salad greens, to shine a light on some of our favorite local products. Keep reading for a simple salad recipe made from fresh, local ingredients and while you're at it make sure to enter our giveaway for a $25 grocery gift card so you can purchase everything you need to make your own Autumn Harvest Salad.

 DISCLOSURE: Today we're excited to be partnering with BrightFarms as part of their #ChooseLocal campaign.  I have been compensated for this post, but as always, all opinions are my own.

DISCLOSURE: Today we're excited to be partnering with BrightFarms as part of their #ChooseLocal campaign.  I have been compensated for this post, but as always, all opinions are my own.

Autumn Harvest Salad
 

with Apple Cider Vinaigrette



 

Ingredients


for the salad

BrightFarms Local Baby Greens Blend
SweeTango apple, thinly sliced
Shallot, thinly sliced
Pecan halves (see notes)
Applewood smoked bacon, cooked and crumbled (see notes)

for the vinaigrette

3 Tablespoons light flavored oil (see notes)
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon apple cider
½ teaspoon whole grain mustard with honey (see notes)
¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Directions
 

 

  • Prepare the vinaigrette: in a small glass bottle or mason jar combine oil, apple cider vinegar, apple cider, pumpkin pie spice, whole grain mustard with honey, sea salt, and pepper. Shake until well combined. Refrigerate any leftovers.
  • In a skillet cook bacon until crispy, remove from pan, then set aside to cool.
  • Combine local baby greens, apple, shallot, pecan halves, and crumbled bacon then toss with vinaigrette. Serve immediately, preferably with a huge hunk of crusty baguette slathered with salted butter.

 

Notes


The type of oil you choose for this recipe is very important. A more-strongly flavored oil will drowned out the flavors, which is why I recommend skipping the extra virgin olive oil. Instead try using a light-flavored olive oil, canola oil, or another neutral-flavored oil of your choice.

One important thing to note is that honey mustard and whole grain mustard with honey are not the same things. My preferred mustard comes Doux South, but feel free to substitute with one of your choosing. And, if you happen to be near Madison, WI come visit the only museum in the world dedicated to mustard: The National Mustard Museum in Middleton, WI.

Schermer pecans can be purchased directly from their website, but you'll often seen them offered as part of a fundraiser. Mine came from the Missouri chapter of the Children of the American Revolution (thanks mom!)

I spend a lot of time traveling, so it shouldn't surprise you when I say that my go-to bacon changes depending on where I'm at. While in Wisconsin it's a delicious applewood smoked variety from Patrick Cudahy, located in Cudahy, WI. When I'm down South with my family my allegiance switches to Burger's Smokehouse from California, MO. I've been in love with their old-fashioned Applewood smoked bacon for years, but it isn't always easy to find where I live. They're both solid choices that originate in the mid-west, so if you see them in your local supermarket make sure to give them a try.
 

Giveaway

 

TERMS: This giveaway is sponsored by BrightFarms and will run through October 31st 2017 at 12PM EST. It is open to US readers only, void where prohibited by law. You must be at least 18 years of age to enter, no purchase necessary. The number of eligible entries received will determine the odds of winning. Retail value of prize: $25.  Winner will be selected randomly and be notified by email. If no response is received within 72 hours the prize will be forfeit and a new winner will be chosen. Winners: your contact information will be given to Abel Communications PR Firm so they can ship the prize to you, you can expect delivery in 4 - 6 weeks.

Disclosure


Today we're excited to be partnering with BrightFarms as part of their #ChooseLocal campaign.  I have been compensated for this post, but as always, all opinions are my own.