Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Fall Food: My Favorite Chili Recipe (and some 7-month photos of my little BIG guy)

The weather has finally cooled down. Hallelujah! Highs in the 70's call for comfort food (in Texas anyway.....or at least at my house). I'm just so glad it's not 100 degrees anymore!

Over the weekend, when I saw that the forecast for Sunday had a low somewhere around 60, I brought out my jackets, followed by my chili pot. I had planned to bring dinner over to some sweet friends who just had their second baby girl, and I thought chili would be the perfect thing. By the way, I always try to remember people when they are having their second, third, etc. baby. Lots of people remember you on the first, but not always the next time around (so I hear), so there's a little tip if you like doing things for others.

This is my favorite chili recipe! The best part is it can be so easily adapted to fit your tastes. Use any kind of meat, add more spice with additional jalapenos or peppers, and if you don't like a hint of sweetness, omit the brown sugar. Obviously, my favorite thing is it calls for red wine, so you know what that means: some for the pot, some for the chef. Duh!

My Favorite Chili

  • 1 pound spicy sausage
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped (I use a yellow onion)
  • 1 large green bell pepper, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced (I use the kind already minced in the jar)
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
  • 2 T chili powder
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • 1 T cumin
  • 3 T tomato paste
  • 1 t dried oregano
  • 1/2 t pepper
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 1/4 cups Merlot or other fruity red wine (Use something you would drink! If you don't have any, you could substitute beef broth).
  • 2 28-ounce cans whole tomatoes, undrained and coarsely chopped (How I do this: Open the cans, take some scissors and just cut through the tomatoes while still in the can. It's rocket science and I bet you couldn't have figured that out without me telling you).
  • 2 15-ounce cans kidney beans, drained
  • Toppings: shredded cheese, sour cream, and jalapenos
  • Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add sausage, beef, onion, bell pepper, garlic and jalapeno. Cook about 8 minutes or until meat is browned, stirring to crumble.
  • Add chili powder, brown sugar, cumin, tomato paste, oregano, pepper, salt, and bay leaves, and cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly.
  • Stir in wine, tomatoes with juice, and kidney beans. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer one hour, stirring occasionally.
  • Uncover and cook for 30 minutes. Discard bay leaves.
  • Serve with your favorite toppings! We use cheese, sour cream, and jalapenos.
My FAVORITE jalapenos ever have to be Crybabies. I could not get enough of them when I was pregnant. If you haven't tried them, you should. They are pickled jalapenos with a tangy, sweet kick. And they are made in Waco, my hometown. There are some good things coming out of the 'Co. Crybabies, and also LaDainian Tomlinson. Ok, so two things. Wait - Pat Green too. So that's three. Ok, Waco is cooler than I thought. To be honest, I would totally go back. Good little town.

After stuffing ourselves with chili this weekend, I decided I had just enough room left in my stomach to fit a big ol' piece of Pumpkin Coffee Cake. That recipe is up next! I'll try to post it tomorrow. Before I go, here's a few photos of Robby. He is officially 7 months old today. Whyyyyyy is it going SO fast? Tear. I see why people have more babies. Because they are only tiny for such a short amount of time. And you have to have more to fill your "cuddle a tiny baby" void. And also because you need more people to help you around the house down the road. I think the Duggar family could share with us about that. Just kidding. But really, is anyone else kind of obsessed with them? I don't want to be but I just can't.stop.watching. It's probably just me.

Can you resist a 7-month old in Halloween pajamas? I sure can't.
Gus and Robby are still BFFs. If only I loved him the way Robby does. Sigh. #baddogproblems

He is rarely still anymore. And he weighs 20 pounds. It's a great exercise program.

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