Super Bowl Chili

Super Bowl chili recipe

Next Sunday, February 4th, is the Super Bowl! This year will be Super Bowl LII, held in the US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Whether you are a football fan, or just tuning in for the half time show and all the great commercials, one thing guaranteed to make Super Bowl Sunday better is some amazing Super Bowl chili!

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We have a tradition in our house every year of getting together with friends on Super Bowl Sunday, and this recipe, commonly referred to by all the kids as “Super Bowl Chili”, is always the much anticipated highlight. It is an adaptation of the recipe originally found in The Silver Palate Cookbook, and it makes enough to keep a hungry group fed (with leftovers)! Here is how to make it:

SUPER BOWL CHILI RECIPE

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 lb. yellow onions (approx.), coarsely chopped
  • 1 lb. sweet Italian sausage meat, taken out of casings
  • 4 lb. ground beef
  • 1 Tbsp. black pepper
  • 1 12 oz. can tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. minced fresh garlic
  • 1 1/2 oz. cumin
  • 2 oz. chili powder
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. basil
  • 2 Tbsp. dried oregano
  • 3 lb. canned Italian plum tomatoes, drained (about 2 1/2 -3 cans each 2lb. before draining)
  • 1/4 cup Burgundy wine
  • 1/8 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill  (**I think the dill gives this chili it’s great flavor, so I sometimes add a bit more)
  • 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
  • 2 cans (16 oz. each) dark red kidney beans, drained
  • 2 cans (5 1/2 oz. each) pitted black olives, drained

** For garnishing at serving time you will also want to have sour cream, chopped white onion, grated cheddar cheese, and Tabasco for those who like extra heat.




DIRECTIONS:

  1. Heat oil in a very large soup kettle. Add the onions and cook over low heat for about 10 minutes, or until they are tender and translucent.
  2. Crumble your meats into the kettle and cook them at medium-high heat, stirring often, until they are well browned. Spoon off as much fat as possible.
  3. Over low heat stir in black pepper, tomato paste, garlic, cumin, chili powder, mustard, salt, basil, and oregano.
  4. Add the drained tomatoes, wine, lemon juice, dill, parsley, and drained kidney beans.  Stir well and simmer, uncovered, for another 15 minutes.
  5. Taste to see how the flavors are and make any adjustments. Add olives and simmer for another five minutes to heat through.

football party ideas
For more ideas to make your Super Bowl Sunday special, be sure to hop over to our Football Party Ideas page!

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Christmas Cookies in a Jar

How to make Christmas cookies in a jar

Christmas Cookies in a jar make a great gift for teachers, coaches, or anyone who deserves a little Christmas cheer!

It’s that time of year again, time to start thinking about holiday gifts for the special people in our lives. In our home, my girls have always wanted to contribute to holiday giving, so that means coming up with easy craft ideas for Christmas gifts. These Christmas cookies in a jar are a wonderful solution. They are pretty, easy to make, and taste great! I got this recipe years ago from a friend, but I think it originated in Family Fun magazine. Here is how to make these festive holiday cookies in a jar:

christmas-lights-dividerHere is what you need for each jar of cookies:

  • 1 quart glass wide mouthed jar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup chocolate covered candy (such as holiday M&Ms)
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup cocoa-crisped rice cereal
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • Ribbon and decorative tag

To Make the Cookies in a Jar:

  1. Add the ingredients to the jar in the order listed above, packing down each layer with the back of a spoon as you go.
  2. Screw on the jar’s lid, using a pretty ribbon to attach a decorative tag with the important baking directions (see below).

Here is what the baking directions say:

Happy Holidays!

To make your holiday cookies, cream together 1/2 cup of butter or margarine, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1 egg in a large bowl. Add the contents of the jar and stir until well blended. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Makes 4 dozen cookies.

**If the cookies were going to a teacher, we also attached a picture of the girls to make it a little more special.

directions for making Christmas cookies in a jar

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 For some more great Christmas cookie party ideas, be sure to take a look at the Christmas party themes on our website, Creative Party Themes!

Letters to Santa

letters to Santa

It’s about that time of year when the little ones (and often the not so little ones) in our lives start thinking about Christmas, whether they’ve been naughty or nice this year, and what they dream Santa might bring them. We took a look around and found so many great ways for today’s Christmas wishers to make contact with Santa Claus, either online or through traditional letters to Santa. Here are some of the best things we found:

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Online:

NORAD Tracks Santa — NORAD is the abbreviation for the North American Aerospace Defense Command and they have been officially tracking Santa since 1955. Truly! Since my kids were little this has been our go-to website on Christmas Eve to see exactly where in the world Santa is (and more importantly if they need to be rushing to bed!) Now they have an updated website with games, movies, and music, plus an official Christmas countdown, so you can visit anytime for some pre-holiday fun. This site kicks off on December 1st.

Email Santa.com — This is a fun site where kids can email Santa and get a reply back. We especially like it because they do not need to submit their last name, email address, or any other personal information. This website also has lots of Christmas games, stories, jokes and other fun holiday activities. Another similar option with some different graphics and activities you might take a look at is A Letter 4 Santa.com.

Hand Written:

The US Postal Service Letters From Santa Program —  Click on the link to see the full description of how this program works, but basically your child writes a letter to the North Pole (with an important step for parents before mailing it). Then you send it off and it will come back (very officially) in the mailbox with a North Pole postmark.

There are lots and lots of different printable templates for you to download and have your kiddos use when writing letters to Santa. One great resource we found is on Playdough to Plato. They offer three different coordinating templates for kids of different ages and writing abilities, plus some Santa letterhead for you.

free printable letters to Santa





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Great Cocktails for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving drink ideas

Well, the leaves are falling and the weather is turning nippy. It must be getting close to Thanksgiving! Is it your turn to host the big dinner this year! Here are some options for great cocktails for Thanksgiving (or anytime, really!) Cheers!

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1. The Pumpkin Pie–tini

Yes, we’re bringing tis one back and putting it at the top of the list because it’s so dang delicious!

Here’s how to make it:

  • 1 oz. milk
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin puree
  • 1 ½ oz. Vanilla vodka
  • 1 ½ oz. crème de cacao

Using a small amount of honey, rim martini glass with graham cracker crumbs.

Shake milk and pumpkin puree over ice to combine. Pour in remaining ingredients and shake well. Strain into the martini glass.

 

2. Cranberry Hamiltons

These are a party favorite around the holidays in our house. Perfect for Thanksgiving or Christmastime!

  • A shot of tequila
  • Half a shot of Rose’s lime juice
  • Three shots of cranberry juice
  •  A slice of lime.

Serve over ice.

 


 

3. Apple Pie Spiced Cider (with or without alcohol)

Mmm…apple pie. We adapted this cozy warm drink from a Martha Stewart recipe.

1 1/4 quarts apple cider

  • 3 tablespoons firmly packed light-brown sugar
  • 7 whole cinnamon sticks, (6 sticks for garnish)
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Ground cloves
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • Salt
  • 1/2 cup Calvados, or other brandy (optional)

Mix together all of the ingredients in a saucepan and simmer over medium-low heat. Remove from heat and add the brandy if you want it in there. Pour into a large pitcher, straining out the solids. Serve the drinks in mugs garnished with cinnamon sticks.

4. Hard Cider Sangria

  • 1 cup quartered and thinly sliced unpeeled green, yellow and red apples
  • 1 navel orange—quartered and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 cup apple juice, chilled
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup apple brandy
  • One 22-ounce bottle hard apple cider, chilled
  • Ice

In a pitcher, combine the apples with the orange, apple juice, lemon juice and brandy. Just before serving, add the hard cider. Serve in tall glasses over ice.   (from foodandwine.com)


5. Mulled Wine

Another warm cocktail favorite for all the winter holidays. This one will also make your house smell fantastic!

  • 1 1/2 cups Port wine
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/2 cup Cointreau or Gran Marnier
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • zest of 2 oranges, cut in strips
  • 10 cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 bottles dry red wine

Combine all the ingredients except the 2 bottles of red wine in a heavy large pot with a lid. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook uncovered until reduced to 2 cups, 12-15 minutes. Add red wine and warm over low heat with the lid on the pot. Do not boil.  Strain your drink into glasses or mugs.  Garnish with fresh orange slices.

 

6. Pumpkin Ale served with a cinnamon-sugar rim

This is my (non-cocktail loving) husband’s favorite fall drink. Better than that, it’s super easy! You can find pumpkin ale all over at this time of year. Some good ones include Blue Moon Harvest Moon Ale, Pumpking, Samuel Adams Harvest Moon Pumpkin Ale, and Buffalo Bill’s Pumpkin Ale.

To serve, keep your beer steins in the freezer for a while to get them cold. Pour a mixture of sugar and cinnamon on a small plate. Twist the mouth of your beer stein in the cinnamon mixture to get a nice sugary rim. Enjoy!

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