Stamping the snow off of my boots I came into the convent from the windy cold outdoors. As I shed my coat, I thought “Nothing could be more comforting than the warmth of being indoors right now.” But then I entered the refectory where I was met with something else even more comforting. It was the unmistakable aroma of one of our favorite meals, simmering in the skillet. Cooked with just the right combination of spices and seasonings, few, if any can resist this Southwestern chili especially on a chilly night like this.
As mealtime arrived the Sisters all gathered in the dining room where a glowing fire crackled in the fireplace. Each of us had a bowl of chili with our own favorite choice of toppings. Nothing could have warmed our hearts or satisfied our pallets more. We ate our meal with gladness and gave God thanks for all His many, many blessings to us.
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Make-ahead note: The flavors continue to develop as the chili sits, so go ahead and make it up to 2 days in advance and refrigerate it in a container with a tight-*fitting lid. It can also be frozen for up to 1 month.
Sauté the vegetables, ground beef, and spices, then put the mixture into the Crockpot or covered skillet along with tomatoes and kidney beans. Simmer until it’s thickened and has a nice beefy flavor, and then stir in jalapeños. We like this served with cornbread.
To use dried beans in place of canned, start with 1 cup dried beans, soaked and cooked to yield 3 cups.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onions and bell pepper, season with salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes.
Add the garlic, chili powder, and cumin, stir to coat the vegetables, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the ground beef and measured salt and cook, breaking the meat into small pieces, until the beef is browned, about 7 minutes.
Transfer the mixture to the slow cooker or covered skillet, add the diced tomatoes and their juices, tomato sauce, and beans, and stir to combine. Cover and cook on lowest possible heat until the chili thickens and the flavors meld, adding small amounts of the beer and coffee as needed to keep mixture from sticking. Stir in the jalapeños or green chiles. Taste and season with salt as needed.
Winter has finally hit Cape Cod. With our first snow flurry and single digit temperatures, I felt it was time to create new twists on some old recipes, to warm and delight the cockles of our guests’ hearts: a summer favorite bundled up and served on a puddle of roasted red pepper sauce, giving it just that bit of flair. From the comments I heard, I believe we struck it right with this recipe.
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Hot Chicken Salad Bundles with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
2 cupschickendiced, cooked (3 – 6 oz chicken breasts, poached)
Twenty six of our community young people who belong to our WinterPercussion Ensemble just returned from two intense tech weeks of preparation for the final competition they will be participating in in Dayton, Ohio in April. They have been practicing and working hard towards this starting last fall. When they rehearse, they use up enormous amounts of energy and work up huge appetites.
Two sisters went with them to cook and keep them properly fed. The meals are hearty and nourishing, starting with breakfast which needs to be full of protein. This ham and egg dish is one of their favorites. I like to believe that their excellent performance and high ratings are, in part, due to this most excellent breakfast.
Many people like to also serve this for lunch and or for a light supper with a salad or vegetable accompanying it.
Gently press the drained hash browns between paper towels to dry them as best as possible. In a 9-inch pie plate, toss the hash browns with the melted butter into the plate. Press them into the bottom and up the sides to form a crust. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown and starting to crisp.
Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. When the hash brown crust is ready pour the egg mixture over it and return to the oven.
Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for about 30 minutes until the quiche is light golden brown on top and puffed.
Years ago when I was just a teenager one of my jobs in my father’s restaurants was to type up the daily menus. Some of the menu items have stuck in my mind more than others, as favorites of those who regularly ate there. Welch Rarebit was one of them, (Perhaps because I liked it so much myself). In any case, I sometimes feel sad that it seems to have disappeared from the memory of people my age and is completely unknown to a lot of others. Although usually served over crispy toast I have often used it in other ways as well, so for Thanksgiving I thought I’d like to incorporate it into a vegetable side dish. So I came up with this Welch rarebit Cauliflower.
In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt the butter and whisk in the flour. Cook, whisking constantly for 2 to 3 minutes, being careful not to brown the flour. Whisk in mustard, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper until smooth. Add beer and whisk to combine. Pour in cream and cheese, whisk until well combined and smooth; this will take 4 to 5 minutes. Add hot sauce.
Place a steamed whole head of cauliflower in deep serving dish, pour rarebit over it and top with homemade golden buttery toast crumbs (crumble two slices of white bread – sprinkle lightly with oil and brown in 400 degree Fahrenheit oven about 5-10 minutes), crispy bacon bits, and red pepper flakes.
Garnish with fresh herbs or other vegetables as desired.
For years I thought of making a soufflé as something too difficult to tackle except by the experts, so I put off making them. After finally trying one, I was amazed to discover how simple and straightforward it really is…and how very satisfying! The sight of your creation as it begins to rise before your eyes in the oven and then finally puffs up into all its glory… is reward enough to say nothing of the delight in tasting it.
In case you have been intimidated as I was, this may be the perfect time for you to overcome that fear and tackle one, because these light fluffy wonders are perfect for hot weather meals when you want to serve something other than cold food, and you don’t want anything cooked that’s too heavy. Guests in our retreat house are always thrilled when served a soufflé. They say it makes them feel so special!
It seems we barely get cleaned up from one reception, and it’s time to prepare for another. We have many events happening on a regular basis and they almost always are accompanied by the serving of food or refreshments of one kind or another. At a recent reception we revised an old favorite that met with a great response. We served this hot chicken salad in little cream puffs and they disappeared so quickly we couldn’t keep the trays filled.