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Sure Sign of Fall

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By Kimara - Posted on 02 September 2008

Know how I know falls a comin’? No, our leaves haven’t begun to change colors yet. And, no, it’s not because the kids are going back to school. (Mine have long since graduated, and the grandbabies are homeschooled.) And it’s not even because the days are getting cooler. As a matter of fact, this past week we’ve had some of the warmest days of this summer. I know that fall is around the corner because I’ve been given my first request for chili!

The family gathers at our house for dinner every Sunday. Tim’s daughter called to say her and her boyfriend could not make it this week. When my son-in-law got the news, he stopped just short of doing a victory dance. When the excitement died down, his response was, “Can we have chili?” Now, it’s not that he doesn’t like them. He likes them just fine. It’s just that the only meat Tim’s daughter will eat is chicken. After years of making dinners she would not eat, I started making chicken most Sundays. Although this does cut into my recipes, there still are tons of ways to make chicken appetizing, and I save beef meals for the Sundays they can’t make it. So, naturally, with her not coming, everyone else expects beef.

Like most people, my menus change with the seasons. Although I consider myself a decent cook, I’m in my element in the fall. Soups and stews are my forte! Although everyone has their favorites, chili seems to be a hit with just about everyone! Over the years I have played with many different chili recipes…ranging from a very fruity chili, my personal favorite, to a white chili, using chicken and turkey. But several years ago, I stumbled upon a chili that was an instance success. It is a bit of a bugger to prepare. The recipe itself calls for 7 pounds of meat and feeds 20! I’ve never tried to cut the recipe in half, but I do quadruple it every year for Tim’s office Christmas party! It takes 1 1/2 to 2 hours to prepare, and can cook overnight. It also calls for some ingredients that may not be stock items in your pantry. But having said all that, the chili is so good I’m willing to bet you’ll find it was worth the trouble. It is especially respected by males, and has a bite, but not a kick…if that makes sense. Anyway, if you have the time, and you want to make something that is sure to become a favorite, give it a try! BTW, you certainly can cut the recipe in half, but in this household it would be blasphemous, because everyone takes some home and it freezes well. As a matter of fact, Tim’s daughter’s boyfriend is on his way over as I’m writing, to pick up a tup for himself! No reason for him to be deprived!

JUDICIAL MISCONDUCT CHILI– Serves 20

Ingredients:

3 pounds lean ground beef

3 pounds lean round or flank steak, cubed

1 pound spicy sausage, chopped fine

3 purple onions, large, chopped small

3 Walla Walla Sweet Onions, or other sweet onions used for garnish (optional)

6 garlic cloves, finely minced

2 cans green chilies, chopped

2 green peppers, chopped small

2 red peppers, chopped small

6 celery ribs, minced

1/4 cup parsley, minced

2 tablespoons chili powder

2 tablespoons cumin, ground

2 tablespoons paprika

2 tablespoons oregano, dried

4 red peppers, dried or 2 tablespoons crushed

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon coriander, crushed or ground

2 tablespoons Maggi Seasoning

1/4 cup Tiger Sauce

16 ounces Beef broth

2 cans tomato sauce (15 ounces each)

1 can tomato paste (12 ounces)

1 cup Italian plum tomatoes, whole, diced

2 tablespoon Masa Harina or flour

1 beer

Monterey Jack cheese, shredded, for garnish

Directions:

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large, heavy skillet. Add garlic, onions, bell peppers, and celery. Cook until the onions are clear. Remove and reserve.

Add 1 tablespoon oil to skillet and sauté meat, cooking until browned. Drain fat. Place reserved vegetables and meats in chili pot. Add all remaining vegetables, spices and liquids (except the beer and Masa Harina). Bring temperature up to a simmer.

Cook covered on very low heat approximately 5 hours*. Adjust the consistency after 3 hours. If too thin, uncover and reduce by turning up heat slightly. If it is still not the desired consistency, add masa harina or flour to thicken, beer to thin, as needed. Taste and adjust for spices carefully (the flavor will develop as the chili cooks). It should be hot enough to be memorable, but not so hot it takes the skin off the roof of your mouth. It is better to sneak up on hot. You can’t take it out. If it cries out to be hotter, add just enough Louisiana hot sauce.

Serve topped with chopped Walla Walla sweet onions and shredded Monterey Jack cheese.

I often make my chili the night before and let it simmer overnight in my electric roaster. Also, Maggi Seasoning comes in a bottle, as does Tiger Sauce, and can be found in most large grocery stores.

In our house, chili is a sure sign of fall. What one dish do you make that triggers the start of fall? Please share your recipe!     

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The quality of a person’s life is the sum total of the character, good or not so good, of the people whom he has inspired and motivated, directly and indirectly, with his living standard and lifestyle. - Marla Ahlgrimm

Your Apple Goodie sounds soooo good, Candy. It's a very interesting twist on our apple crisp. We will definetly be making some soon. Potato Soup is one of Tim's favorites and not a standard soup of mine. The first time I made it for him I did my traditional, "cook a soup all day for best flavor" thing and found out cheese really doesn't like that! It tasted fine but had a very grainy texture! Plan to give your potato soup a try soon!

A note about the weather...it was 86 here today, but is suppose to be 68 tomorrow. I love Michigan's quick temp changes! The 10 day forecast is in the 60s and low 70s. Sounds about perfect to me!

Mmmm, chili! Our temps have been in the 70s and lower for 2 wks. It's fantastic! Right now it's 1:45 and it's only 68. Yeah fall-my favorite time of year!

Our go-to meal for fall is potato soup. When I make potato soup for the first time, you know it's fall (I'm making it tomorrow night!) I think I posted the recipe another time when you asked for our family favorites. It's very easy and so good with some warm beer bread! Last week I made taco soup just b/c we didn't have the stuff on hand for potato soup. My husband goes, "Ahhh, soup. It's getting colder. But why not potato?" HA!

As for apple crisp...YUM! I make what's called apple goodie and it's basically an apple crisp with double the streusal and Brachs Caramels cut in half and baked in with the apples. So good. Here's the recipe for that:

Apple Goodie

4 cups sliced apples (I use a mix of green and red)
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
10 Brach's caramels, each cut in half

Mix above together and place into greased 9x13

1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup oatmeal
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Mix 2nd set of ingredients together and crumble over apple mixture. Bake for 25-35 mins at 350. Serve warm with vanilla, caramel or cinnamon flavored ice cream.

Sorry the kids are sick, Sarah. It must have been such a disappointment for him not to be able to go today. Hope he makes it in tomorrow. WOW what a change from last year. When we first "meet" you last year, he was having a heck of a time seperating! It's amazing what time can do! BTW looking at your recipe you didn't say what kind of soup you used. Probably any of the creamed soups would work.

Apple crisp...very yummy. It takes a great deal of effort not to make it year round but it makes it that much more desireable when fall rolls around!

I had never heard of tiger sauce before I found this recipe. It comes in a bottle about the size of soy sauce. It's a type of hot sauce but with other flavors and not as hot. My normal grocery store doesn't carry it, but our larger grocery, Meiers, does. You may also be able to get it at an Asian market. It is good and worth the look.

Today is my younger son's first day of school (older DS went back last week). And I'm sitting here working on my computer and drinking apple cider. Yum! Now that is a sure sign of fall! (And that maple in my side yard that has ALREADY started turning color.)

Sarah, sorry about the sick kiddos! My older DS is also in 1st grade and he loves it. And younger DS in preschool walked off this morning to join circle and didn't even say good-bye to me. (He's in the same class as last year though and very comfortable.)

I'm not sure I have a "fall" meal. Chili is always yummy, but something I don't make too often since the kids don't like it. Mine is pretty simple. Might have to try yours just for something new. What exactly is "tiger sauce" though? I've never heard of it. We have been having lots of grilled meats and vegetables this summer, so I'm going to have to start thinking about stews, crock-pot, casseroles, etc. Unfortunately, husband won't eat casseroles. Weird. So I have to make casseroles that don't appear to be casseroles, LOL. I am still in summer harvest mode though, and am going to be spending tonight making up salsa with the tomatoes from the garden, and canning it if the tomatoes yield enough.

YUMMMM - chili and corn bread!!! My Favorite fall meal or Veggie Beef Stew with Dumplings.

But the surest sign of fall... Apple Crisp.

I'm normally just itching for fall stuff but have not totally hit it yet this year... probably because it is 90 today. Ugg. It is supposed to start cooling down in a couple more days and then maybe I will be ready. For now, I still haven't tired of grilled meat and fresh veggies.

Sarah - hope the kiddos are better soon. Glad to hear your DS is ready for school this year.

BTW Your chili sounds incredible. I love chili, so does DH. The kids aren't a fan. It seems like a whole lot of work, though. But maybe I'll venture to make it for one of football Saturdays! Okay, now I'm done ;) Told you I was slap happy this morning.

Yikes! I forgot the recipe again!

Tuna Casserole

Ingredients:
2 cans (10 3/4 oz. each) Campbell's Condensed Cream
2 cups frozen peas
2 cans (10 oz. each) tuna, drained
4 cups hot cooked medium egg noodles
2 tbsp. dry bread crumbs
1 tbsp. butter, melted

Directions:
Stir soup, milk, peas, tuna and noodles in 3-qt. casserole.
Bake at 400°F. 30 min. or until tuna mixture is hot and bubbling. Stir tuna mixture.
Stir bread crumbs and butter in small bowl. Sprinkle over tuna mixture. Bake 5 min. or until bread crumbs are browned.

First day of school for my big 1st grader and he's sick! Actually all three of them are sick. I've been up most of the night so focusing is a rather a challenge! But I'm very excited because DS is very excited to go back to school, so different than last year! He actually cried last night when I told him he wouldn't be able to go today. What a relief!

Enough of that! About the blog ;) The first thing I thought of was oatmeal. I had oatmeal everyday school day of my life. Even when I was in college I had a bowl every morning. Never ate it in the summer, though. My mom insisted on a good hot breakfast before I went to school but in the summer I was allowed to eat boxed, cold cereal.

Since I don't think I need to include a recipe for oatmeal, the next thing I thought about was Tuna Casserole. I make a cold tuna salad in the summer, but when fall rolls around I make hot tuna casserole. I just use a basic Campbell's soup recipe, think I got it off a can once, but here it is. Not fancy, just satisfying and everyone likes it.