Well, it’s official, as of yesterday, Minnesota has had it’s first snow storm.  Welcome winter, I guess.  It’s really fine with me if I’m going to be stranded inside as long as I have warm, comfort food to keep me feeling cozy and satisfied.  Growing up, I don’t have a single memory of my mom using a crock pot and therefore, I don’t have a whole bunch of slow cooker recipes in my repertoire.  But I have been trying to change that lately because it gives me so much more freedom when I get home from work if dinner is already done, smelling wonderful and just waiting for me to serve up.

Easy Slow Cooker Chicken Chili {satisfymysweettooth.com}

This Easy Slow Cooker Chicken Chili made in the crock pot really blew me away.  I couldn’t believe how wonderfully tender and easy to shred the chicken was and the flavor of onions, garlic, green peppers with chili powder and cumin after the chili had been simmering away all day is really something special.

Easy Slow Cooker Chicken Chili {satisfymysweettooth.com}

The intensity of flavor that ingredients acquire after cooking on low heat for a long time is so much greater than if you were to just throw this soup together on the stovetop for example.  This Easy Slow Cooker Chicken Chili could be modified to include any of your favorite ingredients.  Corn and green chiles are top on my list of what I might add next time, although I loved this soup so much, I might not want to change it.  The chili powder and jalapeño give the soup just a subtle low burn of heat and the fresh lime juice added at the end together with the cilantro garnished on top of the chili is just perfection.

Easy Chicken Chili (Crock pot)

Ingredients

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1/2 green pepper, chopped
  • 4 cloves, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and ribs removed, diced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 3 cups chicken broth (I use low-sodium broth)
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 lime
  • lime, cilantro, avocado, sour cream, cheese for garnish

Instructions

  1. Place chicken into crock pot. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Place onion, green pepper, garlic, jalapeño, and tomatoes into crock pot.
  3. Add chicken broth, chili powder and cumin.
  4. Turn crock pot on low heat and cook for 7 1/2 hours.
  5. Add black beans and juice of half of the lime and cook for another 1/2 hour.
  6. Serve with garnishes.
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Easy Slow Cooker Chicken Chili {satisfymysweettooth.com}

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I was a little green yesterday.  With envy, not with a tummy ache don’t worry.  I was talking with a friend who was raving about all of the wonderful produce that her garden has produced this summer and how she has so much she doesn’t know what to do with it.  Boy, that’s a tough problem to have, isn’t it?  I live in a condo in the city with no outdoor space for a garden, but I can’t wait to someday have tomatoes and herbs growing out of my ears!  I think it must be such a wonderful sense of satisfaction and accomplishment to go out to your garden and pick the ingredients for your meals, come inside and wash them and just enjoy the clean, organic splendor of your own produce.  Someday sweet teeth, someday.

As for now, I love to support our local farmers’ markets.  Last week my mom and I bought all of the ingredients for salsa and spent a few hours of fun in the kitchen.  Again, I love that canning gives you the ability to capture the flavors of a season and enjoy them all year long.  Do you ever get attached to your ingredients or final products as you are baking or cooking?  For example, my imagination went wild while I was treating each tomato for the salsa with care.   In my mind, first, my tomatoes got to enjoy a few minutes in the hot tub (blanching them in hot water), then they were submerged in a refreshing pool (ice bath), then I gave their skin a peel (literally peeling the skin off) and massaged the little babies (crushed them with my hands to break them up).  I hope my tomatoes enjoyed their day at my spa and I think I have officially divulged way to much information about myself to you!!!

Canned Salsa

by Mercedes Porter

Keywords: snack side vegetarian vegan vegetables

Ingredients (6-7 quarts or 12 pints)

  • 13 pounds tomatoes
  • 3 large onions, diced
  • 6 green peppers, diced
  • 5 jalepeños, diced
  • 10 garlic cloves, minced
  • juice of 4 limes
  • 2 Tbsp cumin
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 (12 oz.) can tomato paste
  • Special Equipment: canner, jars, lids, rings, candy thermometer

Instructions

Clean jars with hot water and boil lids before processing.

Fill large stock pot with water and heat to a boil. Place tomatoes into water and blanch until skins begin to split. Remove tomatoes and place into ice bath. Peel, core and remove any blemishes from blanched tomatoes, then crush tomatoes by hand into large pot that salsa will be cooked in.

Add all other ingredients to pot with tomatoes and stir. Place candy thermometer into mixture and heat on medium until temperature reaches 180º. Once mixture reaches 180°, simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes. Add tomato paste, stir and cook another 10 minutes.

Turn off heat and pour salsa into prepared quart or pint jars. Seal with boiled lids and rings and process in boiling water for 15 minutes.

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 blanch tomatoes in boiling water until skins split

place blanched tomatoes into ice bath

peel, core and remove blemishes from tomatoes

dice and mince other vegetables

place all ingredients into large pot

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I did not feel good about saying “adios” to Mexico Week without a grand finale.  Remember the Tres Leches cake that I mentioned earlier this week?  If you are not familiar with Tres Leches, please allow me to enlighten you!  “Tres leches” in Spanish means “three milks”.  The way that these three milks apply to our cake is that you start with a somewhat basic white cake and then soak it in a mixture of sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and heavy cream.  You can imagine what happens next.  The cake becomes oh so marvelously moist from the sopping up the milks that it literally feels like it is melting in your mouth when you take a bite.

In Mexico, Tres Leches cake is commonly served at weddings, birthdays and other events.  My best friend Naomi had this cake for her wedding and ever since then I have been meaning to attempt to make it myself.  Naomi will have been married for 5 years in August, so what better time than now to follow through with my commitment!

Tres Leches Cake

by Mercedes Porter

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 8 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla

For the milk mixture

  • 1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla

For the topping

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 Tbsp corn syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Instructions

For the milk mixture

Pour condensed milk into large microwave-safe bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Microwave on low, stirring and replacing plastic wrap every 3-5 minutes, until slightly darkened and thickened, 9-15 minutes.

Remove from microwave and slowly whisk in evaporated milk, cream, and vanilla.

Let cool to room temperature.

For the cake

Position rack in middle of oven. Preheat to 325. Grease and flour a 9X13 baking pan. Whisk flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in bowl. Heat butter and milk in small saucepan over low heat until butter is melted; set aside off heat.

With hand-held mixer on medium speed, beat eggs in large for about 30 seconds, then slowly add sugar until incorporated. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until mixture is thick and glossy, 5-7 minutes. Reduce speed to low and slowly mix in milk-butter mixture and vanilla. Add flour mixture in 3 additions, scraping down bowl as necessary, then mix on medium speed until fully incorporated, about 3o seconds. Using rubber spatula, scrape batter into prepared pan and bake until toothpick inserted into middle comes out clean, 30-35 minutes. Transfer cake to wire rack and let cool 10 minutes.

Using a skewer, poke holes at 1/2 inch intervals in top of cake. Slowly pour milk mixture over cake until completely absorbed. Let sit at room temperature 15 minutes, then refrigerate uncovered for 3 hours or up to 24 hours.

For the topping

Remove cake from refrigerator 30 minutes before serving. With hand-held mixer on medium speed, beat heavy cream, corn syrup, and vanilla to soft peaks, 1-2 minutes. Spread over cake and slice into 3-inch squares. Serve.

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(Recipe adapted from Cook’s Illustrated)

for the milk mixture:  sweetened condensed milk

 sweetened condensed milk after it is darkened and thickened

 finished milk mixture

 for the cake:  dry ingredients

butter/milk mixture

 eggs, thick and glossy

 poke holes 1/2-inch apart into cake

 pour milk mixture over cake

 spread on topping after refrigerating

 so moist and decadent, disfruta!

 

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Easy Slow Cooker Chicken Chili

You know how you return from vacation and although it is good to be home, you can’t help but have a bit of the vacation blues?  If you are like me, it can put you into a little slump wishing you could still be lying on the beach in Mexico, strolling down the Champs Elysees or skiing down the Rockies for example.  That’s why I have decided to declare it “Mexico Week” at Satisfy My Sweet Tooth.  You don’t mind if I extend my vacation through food with you, do you?  We started with enchiladas, so I bet you know what that means!  Time for the sweet stuff!

When I was in Mexico after dinner one night I asked for a hot chocolate.  What I received was not your ordinary hot chocolate.  It was Mexican Mayan chocolate melted by pouring steamed milk over it.  It was creamy, slightly spicy from the cinnamon and utterly comforting.  When I asked our server Emilio about it, he said that this was the traditional way to make hot chocolate in Mexico and that there is one main brand of chocolate that has been produced for over 70 years called Abuelita.   The brand was recently purchased by Nestle but you can still only purchase it in Mexico.  On the menu they called it “Grandma hot chocolate” and I’m guessing that has something to do with the adorable woman on the package enticing you to have a cup.

I have always enjoyed the combination of chocolate and cinnamon.
It just seems to warm me from the inside.  I remembered that I had this recipe for Mexican chocolate shortbread that incorporates this flavor combination and so as a tribute to Grandma Abuelita and Emilio, here it is:  warm, chocolatey, spicy shortbread.  After making these, I can truly say, they may change your life.  No, I am not that delusional to think that a baked good could actually change your life but it’s about the little things.  And if tasting this delectable treat can make you smile and feel comforted, well then that is  life-changing enough for me :).

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Come join the fun at the My Baking Addiction and GoodLife Eats Holiday Recipe Swap sponsored by Scharffen Berger.

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