Elegant Edibles Catering
Happy Fall, y’all! While our recent warm streak may deny the fact, my calendar does, indeed, say we have entered a new season. While I really love warm summer weather, like many of you, I am ready for the beautiful color and scent of fall. The change of seasons always seems miraculous to me. You go to sleep on a late summer night and by morning, magically, it seems, wake up to the cool, crisp air of autumn.
With the change of seasons comes a change in our pallets…we are now craving warmer comfort foods. Rather than cool salads and barbequed goodies, steaming hot comfort foods are on our minds and our menus. Now is the time when my trusty cookbooks fall open to casseroles, soups and stews. I don’t mind turning on the oven now that it is cooler (that way I can put off turning on the furnace a while longer!). Our summer schedules have calmed to a much quieter beat and we find ourselves with a little more time to enjoy a home cooked dinner. It’s time cover the picnic table and get back around the dinner table!
Now that I am getting into my “indoor cooking mode”, the first thing I need to do is look through my pantry cupboards. I have been using up my stock of “spares” over the summer, and now need to refill the empty shelves…flour and sugar (for cookies, of course), canned beans and diced tomatoes (for chili), rice, dried pasta and jarred sauce (to use as a base for quick casseroles)… You get the picture! Also, it is always a good idea to check for expiration dates on anything that has remained all summer. While most pantry items have very long shelf lives, if you are anything like me, time flies, and I can’t always remember how long I’ve had that box of bread crumbs or can of broth…
In addition to “weeding out” and refilling my cupboards, fall is a good time to defrost my freezer and clean my refrigerator. While most newer freezers boast “self-defrosting” features, I still like to empty it out, clean out all the loose crumbs that accumulate at the bottom and wipe down the shelves. Similarly, my fridge seems to collect dibs and dabs of this and that when we are busy, so it is always good to occasionally pull everything out, again, check expirations dates and toss unlabled left-overs (this is one reason I like to use clear containers for left-overs…if you can’t see what is in a container, chances are it will get pushed to the back of the fridge and be long forgotten!). Using bleach water to wipe down the shelves, walls and doors will kill any lingering mildew and bacteria that might be hiding in the crevices.
Falling leaves and thick sweaters, football games and tailgate parties…these are just a couple of the great things fall has to offer us! Now is a great time to get back in the kitchen and whip up some warm comfort food to match the warm feelings in our lives!
Slow Cooked Beefy Sweet Potato Chili
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled & cubed
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 2 celery ribs, chopped
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 green pepper, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 C chicken broth
- 1 (14 ½ oz) can diced tomatoes
- 1 (16 oz) can kidney beans
- 2 T tomato paste
- 2 T cumin
- 2 T chili powder
- ½ t each, salt and pepper
- ¼ t cayenne pepper
Brown ground beef with celery, onion, pepper and garlic until beef is no longer pink and veggies are tender; drain. Put meat mixture into slow cooker pot, add sweet potatoes and all remaining ingredients.
Cook on low all day (8-9 hours).
To read more of Vicki McGraw’s commentaries on good cooking, fine recipes and perfect party treats, visit www.jamestowngazette.com and click on Join Me in the Kitchen’s own page. The Jamestown Gazette is proud to present our county’s most creative and original writers for your enjoyment and enlightenment.