As I have stated in previous posts, my husband is picky…He hates veggies, and he hates anything with tomatoes. So I am always looking for ways to doctor up my dishes to make them “Dan-friendly”.
Well, we are low on groceries and need to go on grocery run badly….Yesterday, I was looking in the pantry and trying to figure out what I had the ingredients on hand to make for dinner. Ground beef? Check. Hot Italian sausage? Check. Beans? Triple check. Tomatoes? Check….Chili it is! He can deal for one day, right?
I played around with the ingredients in my head, and tried to figure out a way to make this dish palatable for my chili-hating hubby. When he came home, he commented that something smelled good. I had to break it to him that I was making one of his least favorite dishes, but that I hoped he would like it, anyway. When dinnertime finally came around, not only did he eat it, he went back for seconds and ate 2 full bowls! He said the ONLY other time that has happened with chili was back in 1988 in Springfield, Illinois at a local mom and pop restaurant his friend’s parents owned. He told me I should memorize whatever the heck I did, and that it was fantastic. So I figured since I got such rave reviews, I would share my concoction with you all.
- 2 pounds ground beef chuck
- 1 pound bulk Hot Italian sausage
- 1 can pinto beans
- 1 can black beans
- 1 (15 ounce) can red kidney beans
- 1 (28 ounce) cans diced tomatoes with juice
- 1 cup instant mashed potato flakes (for thickening and texture)
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 2 green chile peppers, seeded and chopped
- 6 slices of cooked, crumbled bacon
- 4 cubes beef bouillon
- 1 12 oz can of beer
- 1/4 cup chili powder
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce (I like Louisiana Crystal sauce!)
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 (10.5 ounce) bag corn chips such as Fritos
- 1 (8 ounce) package shredded Cheddar cheese
- Heat a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Crumble the ground chuck and sausage into the hot pan, and cook until evenly browned. Drain off excess grease.
- Pour in all of the beans, diced tomatoes. Add the onion, celery, green and red bell peppers, chile peppers, crumbled bacon,bouillon, and beer. Season with chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, oregano, cumin, hot pepper sauce, basil, salt, pepper, cayenne, paprika, and sugar. Stir to blend, then cover and simmer over low heat for at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
- After 2 hours, taste, and adjust salt, pepper, and chili powder if necessary. The longer the chili simmers, the better it will taste. Add mashed potato flakes and stir. Remove from heat and serve, or refrigerate, and serve the next day.
- To serve, ladle into bowls, and top with corn chips and shredded Cheddar cheese.
**This can also be cooked in a slow cooker with wonderful results. Just make sure to brown the ground chuck and sausage first!**
My husband doesn’t like chili….Or spaghetti….Or anything with a red sauce, for that matter! It makes it rather difficult to satisfy cravings for either. Mine is probably the only household in Virginia that doesn’t have spaghetti and meatballs on their normal dinner rotation. And in the fall and winter months, a nice, spicy chili is out of the question.
I was searching for a happy medium that would satisfy my pasta and chili hankerings without starving my poor, picky hubby and my very particular 10 year old. I am an Ohio native, born in Cleveland, and I lived in the greater Cleveland area till I was 12 and moved here to Virginia. So I am pretty surprised that I had never heard of Cincinnati Chili until about a year ago, while searching for an alternative to spaghetti and meatballs that everyone would enjoy.
I found this recipe online, and I was intrigued by the list of ingredients. It is VERY different, and I just had to try it. The meat sauce has such a unique flavor profile! I have never had anything quite like it. It has your typical meat sauce ingredients, as well as cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and even CHOCOLATE! I will say, it is quite time consuming to make. But the smell that fills the house while the sauce is simmering away makes it well worth the wait.
Cincinnati Chili was first made by a Greek immigrant in Cincinnati, Ohio. A very famous regional restaurant, Skyline, made this dish famous. There are many ways to serve this dish. Some of the more traditional ways include:
two-way: spaghetti and chili
three-way: spaghetti, chili, and shredded cheese
four-way: spaghetti, chili, shredded cheese, and either diced onions or beans
five-way: spaghetti, chili, shredded cheese, diced onions, and beans
cheese coney: hot dog topped with chili, shredded cheese, diced onions, and mustard
chili cheese fries: French fries topped with chili and shredded cheese
Since I don’t eat onions, I prefer to eat mine 3-way, with just spaghetti, the chili, and shredded cheddar cheese on top!
This is a very tasty and unique dish that is definitely sure to satisfy. Try it sometime, and let me know what you think! It seems a bit daunting to prepare when reading the instructions, but rest assured, it is fairly simple to make. Here is the most authentic recipe, which also happens to be my favorite! And yes, I have tried several variations!
- 2 pounds lean ground beef
- 1 quart water, or amount to cover
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoons vinegar
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 (1 ounce) square unsweetened chocolate
- 1/4 cup chili powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 5 whole cloves
- 5 whole allspice berries
- 1 bay leaf
- Place the ground beef in a large pan, cover with about 1 quart of cold water, and bring to a boil, stirring and breaking up the beef with a fork to a fine texture. Slowly boil until the meat is thoroughly cooked, about 30 minutes, then remove from heat and refrigerate in the pan overnight.
- The next day, skim the solid fat from the top of the pan, and discard the fat. Place the beef mixture over medium heat, and stir in the onions, tomato sauce, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, chocolate, chili powder, salt, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, cloves, allspice berries, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 hours. Add water if necessary to prevent the chili from burning.
Note: You don’t HAVE to let it sit overnight, but doing so does allow you to skim some of the fat, which lowers the fat content. It also allows the flavors to blend to perfection. I have eaten it without refrigerating overnight, too, and it was still very yummy!
I just won a week’s worth of bacon via Facebook from the nice folks at the Bar-S company! I am SO excited about my prize, because for one, come on…Who doesn’t LOVE bacon?! Bacon just makes everything better! I have been sitting here pondering how I would use my prize once it arrives! On the absolute tippy-top of my list is my baked potato soup. I am not usually much of a soup person. I much prefer stews and goulashes, and things with more substance that give you that “sticks to your ribs” feeling. (Although, I do have to admit, I am a sucker for the baked potato soup served at O’Charley’s!)
I have spent time perfecting what I believe to be one of the yummiest, most sinful comfort foods, in my humble opionion. Baked potato soup just has all of the elements I look for when I am craving something rich and savory. And not to hoot my own horn, but mine is damn good! Probably the best I have had anywhere!
Here is my recipe. As always, tweak to suit your personal tastes. This version is a heart attack in a pot. I am not going to lie. It is NOT for the health-conscious! But it is sooooooo good. I only make it a few times a year, but it is a dish I always look forward to.
Brandy’s Baked Potato Soup
- 2 potatoes (or more, depending on desired texture)
- 1 stick butter. Yes, I said a whole stick, and yes, I said real butter. It makes a difference!
- 2 cups chopped white onion( I use onion powder)
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 4 cups chicken stock (I use Swanson’s for best flavor.)
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 1/2 cups instant mashed potato flakes…or more
- 1 tablespoon salt (Sea salt is best!)
- 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 cup water
- 1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 8 ounces bacon – cooked and crumbled. Or more!
- 2 green onions, chopped (totally optional.)
- dash of hot sauce, if desired. I like Louisiana Crystal Sauce!
- And I always use 1 teaspoon Emeril’s Original Essence!
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Bake potatoes for 1 hour, or until done. Set aside to cool.
- Melt 1/3 of the butter in a 3 quart saucepan over medium heat. Saute onions until tender and golden brown. Stir in flour, and cook 5 minutes to make a roux. Pour in chicken stock and water. Add cornstarch and mashed potato flakes. Season with salt, pepper, white pepper,basil and thyme. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Dice the potatoes into 1/2 inch cubes, and stir into soup, along with the heavy cream. Add your cheeses, reserving a small amount of cheddar for garnishing.Add remaining butter.Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until thick.(I usually let it simmer for an hour, and I tweak the seasonings to taste during this time.) Add most of the crumbled bacon into the soup and mix well. Spoon into bowls, and garnish with shredded cheese, bacon and chopped green onion, if desired.
Slow Cooker Chicken And Dumplings (Easy!)
Here is a recipe for the easiest chicken and dumplings you will ever make! And the best part is, you can make it in a slow cooker, so it basically cooks itself after minimal prep-work. Great for those with small kids, those who have crazy work schedules, or those who simply do not know how to cook. I recently gave this recipe to my Grandma, and she said it was great! You can actually play with the recipe quite easily, adding things to suit your own personal tastes. I will add some suggestions we like after the basic recipe.
- Place the chicken, butter, soup,carrots,thyme, and onion in a slow cooker, and fill with enough water to cover.
- Cover, and cook for 5 to 6 hours on High. About 30 minutes before serving, add the frozen peas and stir. Then place the torn biscuit dough in the slow cooker. Cook until the dough is no longer raw in the center.
That’s it! Pretty simple, huh? I usually add more seasoning to taste. One I like is Emeril’s Original Essence. I use this in all kinds of dishes. My hubby also likes me to “kick it up a notch” by adding just a small amount of red pepper flakes. White wine is also good in this recipe! You can also add any other veggies you may like. Please note that for canned or frozen veggies especially, you want to add them in the last hour of cooking.