We are so excited to share with you our chili recipe which today took first place for 'Traditional Chili' at Brunswick Forest Fitness & Wellness Center's '3rd Annual Chili & Mac n' Cheese Cook-Off'. We are especially excited that the chili was judged by several professional chefs & owner from our local area restaurants including Executive Chef Scott Euvrard from The Forest at Cape Fear National, Sous Chef Jon Michael Rehm from UNCW, Chef Garrett Swain from The Joyce Irish Pub, and Tom Mills, owner of Little Pond Catering. Thank you so much for voting for our chili.
2 to 2.5 lbs 80% lean chuck ground beef
2 lbs Neese’s hot sausage
2 large sweet onions, chopped
1 red bell peppers, seeds & ribs removed, diced
1 yellow or orange bell pepper, seeds & ribs removed, diced
In a large dutch oven brown the meat, using a slotted spoon remove the meat & set aside. Discard all except 2 Tablespoons of remaining liquid in dutch oven to sauté the vegetables.
Add bell peppers & onions to the dutch oven & cook about 10 minutes until onions start to turn golden. Add garlic, chili mix, mild green chiles, salt, pepper, cumin, harissa paste, and smoked paprika, combine well then cook another minute. Add the Rotel tomatoes.
Return meat mixture back to the dutch oven and mix well.
Add Hunt’s tomato sauce. Mix well and cook for 1 minute. Add all the beans with their liquid. Bring to a boil, then cover with lid partially open & reduce heat to low, stirring regularly for 2 hours.
Remove cover and continue to cook on low 30 minutes or longer until chili thickens to your liking. (We love thick chili!)
Ladle into bowls. Serve hot with your favorite garnishes: Sour Cream, green onions, shredded cheddar cheese, guacamole and our Rustic Cornbread-Gluten Free. Enjoy!
Notes: To say that Jack & Gary love spicy food is an understatement. If it were up to them, we would be eating this chili every other night! The blend of beef, sausage, beans, & spices makes this a delicious hearty chili for any night of the week and oh so simple to make. Our recipe is for a crowd so if you’re just feeding a few, cut the recipe in half. Any leftover chili can be frozen for 3-4 months at zero degrees in the freezer. Serve with your favorite toppings. For those who like extreme heat like our husbands, add your favorite hot sauce, chili peppers or Sriracha.
Our chili recipe originated from Teresa’s daughter Tracy, a long time ago. Over the years we have adapted it to what it is today. Thank you Tracy. ❤️
Don't know what to do with those leftover veggies? Why not turn them into a delicious side or appetizer that is sure to please kids & adults! We often have leftover broccoli or zucchini as it's our husband's favorite vegetables. We were inspired to make these patties as a result of all the leftover breadcrumbs & egg while making breaded chicken cutlets. Our Mom taught us to not waste so she would mix these leftover ingredients together and form patties to fry with the chicken cutlets. As kids we loved them more than the chicken cutlets! 😋
12-ounces chopped broccoli florets, cooked
1¼ cup Italian style breadcrumbs (we used Progresso, not gluten-free)
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
3/4 shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/8 tsp salt (omit if salt sensitive)
dash of pepper to taste
Cooking Spray to coat baking sheet
1 3½” lid (we used the lid from a 16-ounce Argo cornstarch container. Any size lid of your preference will work but the Argo lid was the perfect width & thickness of our patties)
In a large bowl combine beaten eggs, Pecorino Romano cheese, cheddar cheese, oregano, cooked chopped broccoli, onions, garlic, salt & pepper, mixing well. Add the breadcrumbs mix together with a fork then mix by hand as you would making meatballs or meatloaf. Must be a thick, pasty texture.
Preheat oven to 400ºF and spray baking pan with cooking spray.
Place the plastic wrap over the lid, overhanging 3-inches in all directions. Fill with mixture slightly mounded, press down with your fingers, flip the patties over onto the prepared baking sheet and repeat with remaining mixture.
Bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes or until bottom is golden brown.
Flip patties and continue baking another 7-10 minutes.
Remove from oven let stand for 10 minutes. Serve warm or room temperature.
Can be dipped into your favorite dipping sauce i.e. ranch dressing, blue cheese, or tzatziki sauce.
Note: This is a great way to make use of any leftover vegetables and makes a great grab-n-go snack.
Empanadas are little hand-held pies that can be served as an appetizer, lunch or dessert depending on the size and filling. Traditional empanadas are shaped like half moons. We were inspired by the upcoming celebration of Valentine’s Day so we shaped ours into hearts that you can enjoy with your special someone. ❤
These empanadas smelled so good while they were baking, for a moment we thought we were walking down a street in Argentina! We could hardly wait to eat them. They are filled with a delicious combination of meat, vegetable & cheese.
Servings: 6-8 (depending on the size of your cookie cutter. We used a 5″ x 4″ heart-shaped)
Sauté onion & garlic in EVOO on medium-low until soft & lightly golden, 5-10 minutes. Add oregano & cumin. Stir another minute.
Turn heat up to medium and add spinach, cook, stirring until spinach is wilted & soft, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat & let cool. Season with salt & pepper.
Put bulk sausage in skillet, Cook and brown while breaking up into smaller pieces until done.
Remove from heat and spoon sausage meat onto paper towels removing as much fat/grease as possible. Do not clean skillet at this time, keep sausage fat in skillet.
Add flour to the skillet and whisk the milk gradually until mixture is smooth.
Add butter and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until mixture comes to a boil and is thickened.
Remove from heat and whisk in the eggs. Return to heat and cook, stirring until mixture comes to another boil and thickens, the sauce will be a paste consistency.
Remove from heat and stir in the cheeses. Season with salt & pepper to taste.
Chop the cooled spinach, onion & garlic mixture. Add into the cheese sauce along with well-drained sausage.
Roll out the empanada dough to 1/8″ thickness. Cut 2 hearts with a 5″ x 4″ heart-shaped cookie cutter. Brush the edges of 1 heart lightly with egg wash.
Place 2 Tablespoons of filling in center of the heart, cover with another heart-shaped cutout. Press edges together firmly all around with thumb or forefinger forming a sort of scalloped edge. Brush with egg wash then bake about 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Best served warm.
Heavenly is the only way to describe this fabulous, hearty corn & crab chowder. My good friend, Nancy Baker, cooked this today for our bridge club gathering. Everyone loved it and Nancy was kind enough to share her recipe with me for our blog. Thank you, Nancy! ❤
1 Tablespoon EVOO
2 Tablespoons butter
2 potatoes, peeled & diced (red potatoes hold their shape best for this)
2 cups shrimp/lobster seafood broth (homemade) or chicken broth (vegetable broth can be substituted)
1-quart whole milk (2% or unsweetened almond milk can be used in place of whole milk)
3 cups corn kernels, drained well or frozen can be used
8 oz. lump crab meat, uncooked
gluten-free crackers (oyster crackers if gluten-free not needed)
sliced scallions for garnish
hot pepper sauce (optional)
Chop vegetables and set aside.
Add EVOO & butter into a large deep pot over medium heat.
Add the vegetables & bay leaf.
Add salt, pepper & Old Bay® Seasoning.
Sauté vegetables 5 -7 minutes, then sprinkle in flour a little at a time. For a thicker chowder add more flour. Cook mixture for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
Stir in cold broth until the mixture stops thickening.
Stir in milk a little at a time & combine. You may not use the whole quart and that’s ok.
Bring soup to a boil, add corn & crab meat. Lower heat to simmer for 5 minutes.
Remove bay leaf.
Taste. Add additional salt, pepper or Old Bay if needed. Let sit covered about 30 minutes or longer to meld all the flavors.
Ladle into soup bowls and top with gluten-free crackers, hot sauce & sliced scallions.
If serving buffet style, keep chowder warm in a crockpot on the warmest setting.
Notes: To make homemade shrimp or lobster broth use any cooked or raw shells from shrimp or the cooked shells from lobsters. These can be frozen until you have a bag full to make a wonderful seafood broth. Fill a pot with the shells and just enough water to cover them for about an hour. Bring to a boil & immediately lower to a low simmer, uncovered. When done, discard the shells and let the broth cool off. Pour into 1 cup food storage bags and freeze until needed. Never throw away your shells again!