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Posts tagged ‘chili’

labeled chili

I know a big bowl of chili seems like an odd choice when it’s 200° outside, but there are two events happening this week that are chili worthy: Labor Day is today and football season officially starts.

Now, I know there are plenty of people out there who have already been watching football games and wondering how your team is stacking up for the season. But I haven’t. I’m one of those people who doesn’t believe in the preseason. To me, the preseason doesn’t count. It’s just practice. It’s not going to get you to the playoffs or the Superbowl so it doesn’t mean anything. Yes, it’s good to have practice games so you know where your strengths and weaknesses are, but it doesn’t count toward the bigger picture. This week however, this is the week that matters. This is the week when the wins and losses actually mean something. This is the week where we know where we’re headed for the rest of the season and who we really have to watch out for.

3 chilis

Since it’s opening weekend and chili and football go together like parties and beer, I thought I’d share a new recipe. The fact that it’s also Labor Day makes it even more harmonious. See, Labor Day and chili also just happen to go together like parties and beer. I know that burgers and hot dogs are the popular choice for Labor Day festivities, but did you know that chili is also one of the most consumed recipes this holiday weekend? It’s true! The fact that Hatch chiles just happen to be in season for a few more weeks, makes this recipe primed for the making.

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What makes this chili so great for guests (or even just you and your family) is how rich and versatile it is. The richness comes from the three different kinds of chocolate. The cocoa powder and chocolate bits give it a very nice chocolate flavor, but the stout is what makes it rich and thick. While I wouldn’t recommend changing out any of the chocolate, the one thing you can change out are the chiles. See, Hatch chiles comes in mild, medium and hot.  So, if you’re like me and not a big fan of spice, I’d use the mild chiles. But if you’re a spice fanatic, use the hot Hatches instead.

But no matter how you choose to make this chili, or what holiday you’re making it for, I guarantee your guests will be begging for more.

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Triple Chocolate Hatch Chili (adapted from Saveur Magazine)


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1-1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1/2 pound sausage, casings removed
  • 1 (6 oz.) can of tomato paste
  • 1 (28 oz.) can of whole san marzano tomatoes
  • 10 oz. fresh mini san marzano tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 roasted mild hatch chiles, minced
  • 1 tablespoon mild hatch chile powder
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 (12 oz.) bottle chocolate stout
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 (9 oz.) packages of Melissa’s steamed kidney beans
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and garlic and cook until tender.
  2. Add the ground beef and sausage and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink.
  3. Stir in the tomato paste, all the tomatoes, the chiles, chile powder, cocoa powder, oregano, cumin, cinnamon, stout and brown sugar until combined.
  4. Reduce the heat to low and let simmer for at least 1 hour or up to 3. About 10 minutes before you’re ready to serve, stir in the chocolate chips and kidney beans. Serve with shredded cheddar cheese and chopped fresh cilantro.

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Superbowl’s in a couple weeks and if you’re anything like me, you’re either having a party or attending one. The Superbowl is far and away my favorite holiday. I know it isn’t really a holiday, but with all the parties, food and drinking it sure seems like one, and I love it! Hubs and I are such big fans in fact, that we’ve been hosting a Superbowl party for years. But a party means you have to provide food for your guests.

While dips, veggies and chips are quite popular, I also always like to have something a little heartier to serve my guests. While most people make a shredded beef of some sort or hot dogs and hamburgers, I always make a big pot or two of chili.

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I love a good bowl of chili. It’s delicious, seriously hearty, and it’s hot, which is great for the beginning of February, because it’s usually pretty chilly outside. But over the years I’ve discovered that a simple bowl of chili isn’t enough. People like toppings. So, I’ve started to include a chili bar full of topping options like cheese, onions and bread. Why bread? Well, I don’t know about you, but there’s nothing I love more than dipping a big piece of crusty bread into my chili while eating it.

Sure, you could buy a loaf of french or sourdough, but why not make one instead? Scared? Don’t be. This isn’t the kind of bread that needs yeast or kneading or even time to rise. It takes just over an hour to make and it has a whole bottle of beer in it making it the perfect choice for Superbowl. And if there are people at your party who don’t like chili (or dipping), this bread is delicious all on its own with a little butter.

bread and chili

Grilled Onion Beer Bread


  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cups flour, sifted
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon smoked sea salt
  • 1 (12 ounce) bottle of beer
  • 1/2 cup salted butter, melted


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease a loaf pan and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sliced onions and sauté until soft and golden, about 15 minutes; set aside.
  3. Sift together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Add the beer and the onions and mix until combined. Pour into greased loaf pan.
  4. Pour the melted butter over it and bake for 55 – 60 minutes.
  5. Remove from the pan and let cool for at least 15 minutes on a wire rack. Serve.

I love summer time – the warm air, the sun not setting until 7:30 or 8, our lovely backyard. All these things make it the ideal kitchen, especially if you love to grill, which I do. But since I’m me, I don’t just want to cook hamburgers and hot dogs all summer. I also like grilling steaks, sausages, fish and chicken. The grill not only gives me tons of dinner options, that awesome smokey flavor just can’t be replicated on the stove.

Since I’m such a big fan of the grill, I was excited to see this recipe in Better Homes and Gardens. Yes, this is an entreé tailor-made for the grill, but it’s the simple marinade that makes the pork loin so flavorful. The fact that this recipe is also super easy to prepare, makes this dish a no brainer when it comes to “what’s for dinner”. Even if your kids aren’t big pork fans (like mine) they’ll lap this up because of the lip-smacking marinade. But if you want a guaranteed dinner hit, do as Better Homes suggests and serve it with some guacamole and chips. That way both adults and kids alike will devour this dish faster than you can say summer time grillin’.

Chile-Lime Pork


  • 2 limes
  • 1 pound pork tenderloin
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 cup tequila
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt


  1. Finely zest and juice the limes.
  2. Place the pork in a large resealable bag. Add the zest, juice, cilantro, olive oil, garlic, chili powder, onion powder, tequila and salt. Seal the bag and turn over a few times to coat. Place the bag in a large bowl and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour and up to 4.
  3. Preheat the grill to 400°F, once ready adjust the grill for indirect cooking. Drain the pork and discard the marinade. Oil the grill and place the pork on the grate to cook indirectly. Cover and grill for 25 – 30 minutes or until done. Remove and let the pork stand for 3 minutes.
  4. Slice the meat and serve with guacamole, corn chips and lime wedges.

Up until a few months ago, I had no idea what Cincinnati chili was. I just figured it was another kind of chili that Cincinnati-ites had done something special to to claim as their own; kinda like Texas chili which is chili without any beans. Since I like beans in chili, I guess my chili will never be accepted in Texas, but will be okay in Cincinnati, especially if I add a few ingredients.

What ingredients, you ask? Well it depends on how you like it. That is to say Cincinnati chili isn’t served just one way. Believe it or not there are five ways you can have this specific chili.

One-way: the chili itself

Two-way: Chili over spaghetti

Three-way: Chili over spaghetti, topped with cheddar cheese

Four-way: Chili over spaghetti, topped with cheddar cheese and onions

Five-way: Chili over spaghetti, topped with cheddar cheese, onions and beans

Since I’m a big fan of chili with beans incorporated, and I like cheddar cheese, I guess you could say I enjoy a Five-way. What’s amazing though, is so does my son. But recently he hasn’t been a big fan of spaghetti. I don’t know why, he’s three and his likes and dislikes change daily. So, I thought the best way to get him on the Cincinnati bandwagon was to make one little change – instead of using spaghetti, I’d use wagon wheels.

A is a huge fan of trains, planes and automobiles… pretty much anything that has wheels and a motor. So I thought why not cook up some wagon wheel pasta and place my chili on top? I knew if I did that he’d gobble up dinner. And guess what? I was right.

But wanna know what makes this meal the busy mom’s best friend? It’s the perfect choice if you have leftover chili in the freezer. All you need to do is boil up the wagon wheels, pour the reheated chili over them, sprinkle with cheddar cheese and serve. Boom! Dinner on the table in under 10 minutes.

Wagon Wheel Cincinnati Chili


  •  Chili
  • 8 oz wagon wheel pasta
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional)


  1. Make the chili.
  2. Cook the pasta according to the package directions, drain and separate between four bowls.
  3. Ladle the chili over the pasta, sprinkle with cheese and serve.


It’s been cold and rainy here the last few days and that means one thing.  Comfort food.  There’s nothing better on cold, blustery days than chili.  Well, maybe macaroni and cheese or beef stew.  But I’d have to say, my favorite cold day meal has got to be chili.  It only takes about an hour to make and the smells that fill the kitchen scream winter to me.  I always have a couple extra cans of kidney beans and diced tomatoes in the cupboard just so I can whip up a pot on days like these.

What I love about this recipe is all the different variations you can make.  I always start with my mom’s basic recipe and then I start tweaking.  Sometimes I add more garlic or chili powder, sometimes I add a bottle of beer to give it a more rich flavor.  Sometimes I make it with ground pork.  Then there are other times I use ground turkey.  It just depends on what kind of mood I’m in. 

Add the juice from the tomatoes, the tomatoes and all the spices.

There is one thing that never changes however, I always, always make a double batch.  That way I have plenty of leftovers.  While it’s usually nice and warm here in Los Angeles, when it does turn cold, those blustery days tend to stick around awhile.  And although the chili’s always yummy right out of the pot, it’s even better a day or two later.

So today I’m gonna give you my mom’s basic chili recipe.  But as always, feel free to spice it up any way you like.  And remember, you might want to make a double batch.

Chili  (serves 4)

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, diced
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 1 lb of ground hamburger
  • 1 6 oz can of tomato paste
  • 1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp of chili powder
  • 2 tsp of ground cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1-2 tsp of Kosher salt to taste

Heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the garlic and onions and saute until soft. 

Add and brown the hamburger. 

Stir in the tomato paste.  Stir in the juice from the can of tomatoes.  Stir in the diced tomatoes. 

Stir in the chili powder, cumin, oregano, basil, and salt, and bring to a boil. 

Simmer over a low flame for an hour.  Serve piping hot with shredded cheddar cheese and some warm french bread.