Tag Archives: Hamburger

Chili Beans

This was one of Marlys’s favorite recipes; she made it as a Halloween dinner just about every year. It is very rich in meat and flavor. There are plenty of options for adjusting the heat of the chili, from the amount of cayenne or hot sauce to add, to whether you add fresh peppers. I will discuss what I did below the recipe.
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Chili Beans

(Betty Smith, 1968)
(Altered by Marlys Crary)

  • 2 lb. hamburger, ¾ – 1 lb. sausage – combined
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 Tablespoons chili powder (or more)
  • 3 (16 oz) cans kidney beans
  • 3 (8 oz) cans tomato sauce
  • 16 oz. diced tomatoes
  • 24 oz. water
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 heaping teaspoon cumen
  • cayenne, to taste
  • hot sauce (Tabasco), to taste
  • 4 Tablespoons cornstarch or masa harina (optional)

Optional

  • 3 fresh jalapeno peppers, seeded, de-veined, finely chopped
  • 1 fresh poblano pepper, seeded, de-veined, finely chopped

Brown meats. Add onion and garlic (and optional fresh peppers). Add chili powder, beans, tomato sauce, tomatoes, 24 oz. water, salt, pepper, cumen, cayenne and Tabasco. Bring to a boil and simmer at least 1 hour before serving. Longer is better, and leftover better. May thicken with cornstarch mixed with an equal amount of water or masa harina .

When I recently made this recipe, I put in the jalapeno peppers but not the poblano pepper. I used about 1 1/2 teaspoons of cayenne, and 3 Tablespoons of hot sauce. (My hot sauce is Cholula brand). This was more than enough heat for me, and I put a dollop of sour cream on the top of my serving to help me control the heat. I think the cayenne heat was what I was feeling because it was like an after-taste effect in the back of my throat. I have not had a problem with that amount of jalapeno pepper in a large amount of soup or chili.

For thickening, I used the masa harina option.

There seems to be a pattern in the recipe for the number 3; 3# meat, 3 cloves garlic, 3 Tablespoons chili powder 3 cans of kidney beans and 3 small cans of tomato sauce. It was this latter item that caught my eye- I buy a total of 24 oz. of tomato sauce, but in a 16 oz. plus an 8 oz. cans.

Viva la Difference Zucchini Casserole

We have had this recipe a long time, and it is one to which we go back quite often. It is good, and has all the ingredients for a meal. And it only takes about an hour from start to serving.
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As you can see from the credit line, it was originally published by the San Diego power utility way back in 1975. I am beginning to think that some food ideas do happen at specific times; it seems like some of the older recipes did use the Minute Rice more than we see now days.

Viva la Difference Zucchini Casserole

(San Diego Gas and Electric, 1975)

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cup instant rice
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed oregano
  • 1 1/2 lbs. zucchini, cut into 1/4″ rounds
  • 2 cups small curd cottage cheese
  • 10 oz. can cream of celery or cream of chicken soup
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13 x 2″ casserole, or two 8 x 8 x 2″ casseroles.

Saute together until browned the beef and onion. Remove from heat and add rice, garlic salt, and oregano.

Prepare and have ready each separately so they can be layered, the zucchini, cottage cheese, soup and cheddar cheese.

In the greased casserole, layer the ingredients as follows:

  • Place half the zucchini mixture in bottom
  • Cover with beef mixture
  • Spoon over the cottage cheese
  • Place the remaining zucchini over the top evenly
  • Spread the soup over all
  • Sprinkle with the cheese

Bake, uncovered, 35 to 40 minutes or until bubbling hot.


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I chose to use the to 8 x 8 casseroles so that I could freeze one to have later.

I was surprised that although it seemed like a lot of zucchini after I had sliced it all, I seemed to be short zucchini for making two layers. I think the hint I have is that you don’t want to work to fit the zucchini tightly like a mosaic. Since the pieces are different sizes, it is hard to judge how much is half of the total.
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While the recipe calls for either cream of celery or cream of chicken soup, that might be a modification that Marlys made for me; I think you could use cream of mushroom soup. I have trouble digesting mushrooms, and so Marlys has modified a lot of recipes to eliminate the mushrooms in favor of something more neutral.

Papa McBryde Chili

Marlys loved to make her Chili Beans. I looked at that recipe, and felt it was a bit much for the first time, especially when she also had Papa McBryde’s Chili recipe. I found this recipe to be simple, easy to make, and it is scalable to half size without much work.

Papa McBryde was Marlys’s paternal grandfather.
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Papa McBryde Chili

  • 2 lb. hamburger, coarse ground
  • 2 package chili mix envelopes
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 32 oz. diced tomatoes (canned)
  • 16 oz. tomato sauce
  • 32 oz. pinto beans (optional)

Brown hamburger and onion. Add rest of ingredients. Simmer at least an hour.

In researching this recipe, it becomes apparent that it is scalable. The recipe calls for 2 cans of diced tomatoes, 2 packages of Chili mix powder, etc. – about two of everything except the onion and bell pepper, and those can easily be cut in half.

I used red bell pepper to try to add some visual appeal to the chili. Perhaps next time, I would use half red and half green; I think the visual component would be enhanced with a bit of green showing through.

There are a multitude of different chili powder mixes in the stores now; I chose to use the McCormick Original figuring this was probably historically the one that was available way back when. I was surprised to find that there was not much heat in the final chili product using the “original”; I would like things with just a bit more spice, and would look at the “hot” chili powder mixes next time. I am not ready to add fresh jalapenos to the recipe although that seems like an interesting option.

Although the recipe isn’t explicit about stirring the pot while it is simmering, my intuition says that anytime we simmer for an hour or more, we should stir the pot about every 10 minutes to ensure nothing has sunk to the bottom and is burning. Marlys taught me to do that when we were simmering the Mexican Soup.

While the pinto beans are shown as an option, I did include the beans in the batch of chili I made.
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And as usual, we find inflation changing the weight of the canned goods, and I found it hard to get the exact measure of hamburger. My hamburger came in packages that were more like 1 1/4 pounds, and the tomatoes were 14.5 ounces per can, and the pinto beans were 15 ounces per can. So we don’t exactly duplicate the recipe, but we do the best we can without being foolish.

Meat Loaf

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Meat Loaf is a classic way to serve meat, whether it is for a sandwich or for an entree. This simple recipe gives you a lot of choices as to how big your loaf will be, allowing you to freeze some of the meat loaf for another day. While the pictures show the meat loaf as a sandwich or a warm entree, I love to pick at cold meat loaf without making it into anything except a snack.

Meat Loaf

This recipe can be cooked as a single loaf, or as multiple smaller loafs. We have
successfully cooked it as 3 smaller loafs in 2 ½ x 3 ¾ x 7 ½ inch loaf pans
and as 3 logs in a 9 x 13’ baking pan..
For a single larger loaf, use a standard bread pan.

  • 1 lb. Hamburger or so; packages seem to be 1.25 lbs now days. We use (85/15)
  • ½ lb sausage- not flavored; just good old country sausage (Ground Pork)
  • 1 pkg Onion Soup mix (see Lipton’s)
  • 1 can tomato sauce (8 oz. size)
  • ½ cup Quaker Oats (quick 1-minute type) make it a generous ½ cup
  • 1 egg.
  • Salt and Pepper;

Mix everything together, make it into log(s) and put into pan(s) that have been sprayed.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour.

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As I said, the recipe is fairly simple; there are only a few ingredients and there are only a couple issues you need to consider. The first is whether you get your hands dirty doing the mixing, or whether like Marlys, you dump everything into a gallon freezer baggie and mix it there. The second decision is how many logs of meat loaf you want to make.
In this case, I am making three smaller loafs; I will freeze two by just putting them in gallon freezer bags.
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Marlys didn’t know how much salt and pepper to use! As a Nerd who needs explicit directions, that was a problem. I have made Meat Loaf several times now, and think a pinch of each is enough. You don’t want to get it too salty, and people can add salt when they eat it if they feel it needs more salt.
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Meat Loaf is like any meat; once you remove it from the heat, it needs a few minutes to solidify its juices. If you cut it too soon after removing it from the oven, it will tend to crumble. For the logs that I have frozen, I like to slice them while they are still quite cold, and then reheat the slices if I am having Meat Loaf as an entry. And while I show the Meat Loaf with a baked potato, you could also serve it with mashed potatoes made from potato buds.

Don’t ignore this tasty meat, and enjoy it both as a simple sandwich, and as an entree.