Category: Food

Chicken Tacos with Pineapple Glaze and Pickled Carrot Slaw

This year our Spring Break travels took Jesse and I to Arizona for the first time.  We spent five glorious 80 and 90 degree days by the pool, hiking in Usery Regional Park, and sampling some of greater Phoenix’s best food finds.

One of our tastiest meals came from The Mission, a restaurant in downtown Scottsdale that specializes in modern Latin cuisine.  While their entree options expand during the dinner hour, we enjoyed two delicious selections from their lunch taco menu.  Jesse chose pineapple glazed pork shoulder while I opted for beer battered fish topped with pickled coleslaw.

I was so in love with the flavors at the Mission that I had to tackle my own version of their tacos when we returned to blustery Michigan.  I happened to have leftover Slow Cooker Salsa Verde Chicken (courtesy of Gimme Some Oven) in my freezer that served as the base of my tacos, but pork could easily be substituted and will most likely make an appearance at our house soon.  Hope you enjoy this version until you have the chance to enjoy The Mission for yourself!

 

Chicken Tacos with Pineapple Glaze and Pickled Carrot Slaw
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: Latin
Serves: 8 tacos
Ingredients
  • 3 cups cooked and shredded chicken (approximately 4 chicken breasts)
  • 8 soft taco shells
  • 1 small bag carrot slaw mix
  • 1 thinly sliced jalapeno pepper
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar
  • ¾ water
  • 1 TB granulated sugar
  • ½ pineapple with juice or 1 can pineapple chunks
  • 3 TB Dijon mustard
  • 2 TB Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 TB cornstarch
  • juice of ½ a lemon
  • 2½ TB brown sugar
  • 1 handful of cilantro torn into pieces
Instructions
  1. In a small saucepan, bring ¼ cup of the water, the rice vinegar and granulated sugar to a boil. Once the sugar is dissolved, stir in the sliced jalapeno pepper and carrot slaw mix and remove from heat. Allow the slaw to cool and pickle while you prepare the chicken. Stir occasionally so that the pickling liquid is equally absorbed.
  2. Poach and shred the chicken (or follow Gimme Some Oven's recipe for Slow Cooker Salsa Verde Chicken if you're prepping ahead - highly recommended!)
  3. In the poaching pan or using a pan that will accommodate the now shredded chicken, prepare the glaze by whisking together the Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, pineapple juice, lemon juice, and brown sugar.
  4. Dissolve the cornstarch in ¼ cup of water and whisk into the glaze mixture. If you're glaze is too thick, slowly add in the last ¼ cup of water until your desired consistency is reached (the back of a wooden spoon should maintain a smooth layer of glaze coating when you lift it from the pot).
  5. Stir in the shredded chicken and toss so that the glaze is evenly distributed. Heat on medium low for 5 minutes so that the glaze thickens a bit and adheres well to the chicken.
  6. Warm your taco shells in the microwave or oven according to package directions.
  7. Add a good scoop of chicken to each taco shell, top with the pineapple chunks, carrot slaw and cilantro.

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed peppers is a dish that I tweak each and every time I make it, but after last night’s addition of quinoa I may have found the ultimate winner.  It was super simple and tasted even better as tonight’s leftovers.  These peppers are also special because they 12540556_10107736213976994_1793732967332977404_nincorporate influences from my mom, mom-in-law, and myself.  Give them a try and I think you’ll be equally impressed!

A couple variations to consider:

  • For a tasty vegetarian version, omit the ground beef all together and double the amount of quinoa.
  • For a more moderate take on the original version of rice and beef stuffed peppers, cook a box of quinoa and brown rice mix that can be found in your grocer’s rice/couscous aisle instead of straight quinoa.
  • For a more filling option, double the amount of quinoa to three cups, and use the extra 1 1/2 cups as a bed for your finished peppers to rest on.

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
 
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This recipe is a quick and easy take on our family favorite
Author:
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 bell peppers
  • ½ lb. ground beef
  • 1½ cups cooked quinoa
  • 1½ cups jarred salsa
  • ⅓ cup mozzarella cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Brown the ground beef in a small skillet and drain any excess grease.
  3. Meanwhile, cook quinoa according to package directions.
  4. Wash both peppers, remove the stems and seeds and cut each in half lengthwise so that you have four halves total.
  5. Add salsa to the ground beef and simmer on low until quinoa finishes cooking.
  6. Stir quinoa into the beef/salsa mixture.
  7. Lay each pepper half in a 9x9 glass dish and add the beef/quinoa/salsa stuffing to each.
  8. Cook for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.
  9. Raise the oven temperature to 400 degrees and add a sprinkling of mozzarella cheese to each pepper.
  10. Bake peppers for another 5 minutes or until the cheese melts and browns slightly.

 


Sweet and Savory Strawberry Bruschetta Bites

SS Bruschetta Bites

Proceed with caution my friends, this little square can be your best friend or worst enemy.  Entertaining friends or need to make a quick potluck dessert?  You’ll be the hero of the night.  However, if you make this recipe when you’re home all by yourself I cannot prevent you from eating the entire batch of bites by yourself; which*ahem* may have happened one evening in the not too distant past at my house.  Enjoy and remember you’ve been warned.

Sweet and Savory Strawberry Bruschetta Bites
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 30-35 bites
Ingredients
  • 8 oz room temperature, reduced fat cream cheese
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 box of Triscuit crackers
  • 1 quart of strawberries
Instructions
  1. Plop the softened cream cheese and brown sugar into a bowl and cream together with either a hand mixer or the whisk attachment of your stand mixer.
  2. Rinse and hull the strawberries before cutting each berry into 3 or 4 slices.
  3. Spread a dollop of the sweetened cream cheese on each Triscuit cracker and top with a strawberry slice.
  4. Short on time? Serve the Triscuits, cream cheese dip and sliced strawberries in separate bowls and let you guests build their own Strawberry Bruschetta Bites.

 

Burgers with Tortilla Soup Dippers

Anyone else love Max and Erma’s Chicken Tortilla soup?  It was a favorite of ours, but unfortunately our location closed a few years ago, leaving us high and dry when craving their Tortilla Burger.  Last night I decided to recreate it (as best I could in 30 minutes) and I am happy to say that I am pleased with the results.  Plus it earned the hubby seal of approval, so it was a definite win.

I purposely made a smallish batch because we only needed enough to dip our burgers, but since there were just three of us for dinner last night I had enough left over to enjoy a bowl of soup with my Watermelon & Tomato Salad today for lunch.  If I were going to serve the tortilla soup on it’s own for 4 – 6 people I would most likely double this recipe.  Hope you enjoy!

P.S. To the salad I added mint instead of dill and used white balsamic vinegar this time, yum!

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Burgers with Tortilla Soup Dippers
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Serves: 4 - 6
Ingredients
  • 4 - 6 burger patties & buns
  • 1 yellow, red or orange bell pepper
  • 4 - 6 onion slices
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 can of Healthy Request Cream of Chicken Soup
  • 2 cans of chicken (5 oz each)
  • ½ tsp of kosher salt
  • ½ tsp of red pepper flakes (optional)
  • ¼ cup picante sauce
  • ⅛ cup salsa verde
  • ½ cup of chicken broth
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Instructions
  1. While your grill is preheating, add the cream of chicken soup, canned chicken, salt, red pepper flakes, picante sauce, salsa verde and chicken broth to a medium sauce pan. Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  2. Once the soup boils, reduce heat to low (stirring occasionally) and simmer (covered) while you grill the burgers and prepare your sides.
  3. Cut the bell pepper into 4 - 6 chunks and the onion into 4 - 6 slices (depending on the number of burgers you're serving.)
  4. Coat the cut up pepper and sliced onion with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  5. Once your grill is preheated, add your burgers, bell pepper and onion, flipping after about 5 minutes.
  6. Remove your burgers, onions and bell pepper from the grill and toast the interior of the burger buns for a minute or so.
  7. Stack each bun with a burger, bell pepper chunk and onion slice.
  8. Remove the soup from the heat and stir in your shredded cheese until it melts. Scoop the soup into small side bowls and present on the plate next to the burger.
  9. Dress your burgers with mustard, mayo, relish, etc. and enjoy!

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Watermelon & Campari Tomato Salad with Feta Cheese

Watermelon SaladSummer is in full swing and that means it’s farmer’s market season!  This salad was created with fresh finds from our local market and our backyard garden. The best part though?  It came about spontaneously and it’s super simple to make.  I devoured it for lunch, but it would also make a great dinner side dish for your next backyard BBQ.  Enjoy!

Watermelon and Tomato Salad
 
This refreshing summertime salad is perfect for a light lunch or as a main dish accompaniment for your next backyard grill out
Author:
Recipe type: Salad
Serves: 4 - 6
Ingredients
  • 1 seedless watermelon
  • 1 package (6 - 7) Campari tomatoes
  • 1 handful fresh basil
  • 1 handful fresh dill
  • ½ cup feta cheese
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 TB Dijon mustard
  • Salt & pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Remove the rind from the watermelon, cut it into bite-sized chunks and toss into a mixing bowl.
  2. Slice each Campari tomato into 3 - 4 slices and toss into the same mixing bowl.
  3. Roll the basil leaves together and chiffonade them into thin strips, add to the watermelon and tomato mixture.
  4. Chop the dill finely and also toss into the mixing bowl.
  5. In a separate small bowl add the oil, vinegar, Dijon mustard, and a dash of salt and pepper. Whisk the dressing until it's emulsified. Add more salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss gently.
  7. Top the salad with the feta and serve! (Note, if you toss the feta with the dressing it tends to break apart and almost disappear. I find it better retains it's presence if you add it at the end.)

 

Sweet of the Week: Apple Sunday

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA For some reason I had apples on the brain this weekend.  So, I decided to embrace my craving, commemorate my second Sweet of the Week installment and make two dishes.  I am pleased to say that I executed both apple based recipes in a remarkably short amount of time–mostly because of my #1 food rule: if the creation of a single ingredient deters me from making a recipe then I buy the ready-made version.  This week’s example: ready-made pie crust.  Shhh…no one will know.

Recipe #1: Applesauce (courtesy of the Pioneer Woman)

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Check out the link above for the Pioneer Woman’s apple sauce recipe, it turned out delicious and served as a yummy accompaniment to grilled pork loin on Sunday night.  (I opted for apple cider rather than apple juice for my liquid ingredient choice and it was perfect).

Recipe #2: Smitten Mitten Apple Pie

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIngredients: brown sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, flour, apples, lemon juice and a ready-made pie crust

 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPrep your apples by first coring/cutting them into eight chunks and then slicing each chunk into 3-4 smaller slices.

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Mix your apples, lemon juice, cinnamon, flour, nutmeg and brown sugar together.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAUnroll your pie crust and add your apples, leaving a 2 inch border.

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Fold your pie crust over your filling and back for 35 to 40 minutes (until crust is golden).  Cool, slice and serve warm with vanilla ice cream :)

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Sweet of the Week: Apple Pie
 
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Author:
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 1 ready-made, rolled pie crust (refrigerator section of your grocery store)
  • 2 large apples of different varieties or 3 medium apples (I usually use a jonagold and a jazz)
  • juice from ½ a lemon
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup all purpose flour
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 TB butter (cut into 4 pieces)
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Remove one rolled pie crust from the box and allow it to come to room temperature while you prep the filling (leave it in the bag until you are ready to unroll it).
  3. Peel both apples.
  4. Use a combination apple corer/slicer to cut your peeled apples into eight chunks.
  5. Cut each chunk into 3-4 smaller slices.
  6. Add all slices to a mixing bowl along with the lemon juice, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir to combine.
  7. Unroll your pie crust onto a cookie sheet.
  8. Pour your filling into the center of the crust, creating a mound and leaving a 2 inch border around the entire pie.
  9. Fold the border over the filling and nestle your butter pieces into your apple filling.

 

 

(Pizza) Baked Spaghetti

I love, love, love pasta.  Any shape, any size and any sauce.  In particular I love the components of lasagna and its layers of flavor.  Since true lasagna (which does not include Barilla’s nOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAo cook noodles according to my hubby) is not an easy endeavor to pull off on a weeknight: cue the baked spaghetti!

This recipe is one of my winter staples since it is both fast and husband-approved.  Although, in the interest of full disclosure I should point out that a crucial ingredient is missing from this version of the recipe – pepperoni.  Normally pepperoni would be the final ingredient, added to the cheesy top layer, but alas I forgot to add it to my shopping list which means I forgot to add it to my shopping cart.  So in truth this is the 90% husband approved version.

Here is our staring line-up in order of appearance…ground beef, red bell pepper, spaghetti, jarred tomato sauce, roasted red pepper flakes, cottage cheese, egg, and pepper jack cheese.

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Plus!  My secret-weapon, spaghetti sauce ingredient…drum roll please…

Worcestershire sauce!

Trust this gem with only your closest friends.

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Start by bringing your pasta water to a boil while you brown your ground beef and soften your red bell pepper in a non-stick skillet.  When your water is boiling add your spaghetti and cook according to package directions.

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Drain your pasta and pour it into a pie plate that has been greased with cooking spray.  Spread out your pasta so that it fits up the sides of the pie plate.  Also drain the fat from your browned meat and softened bell pepper.

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Add the jarred sauce, Worcestershire sauce and drained meat mixture back into the skillet and simmer for a few minutes.

Meanwhile, mix your cottage cheese and egg in a small bowl before spreading it over top of your pasta.

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Add your simmered sauce mixture to your pie and top with the pepper jack cheese.  (Next would come the pepperoni if you opt for the pizza version of baked spaghetti).

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Bake for 20 – 25 minutes at 350 degrees until the cheese browns as it would on a pizza.

(Pizza) Baked Spaghetti
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 4 oz spaghetti noodles
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped into ¼ inch pieces
  • 1 jar spaghetti sauce (14 - 16 oz)
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 cup cottage cheese (small curd)
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup pepper jack cheese
  • 1 TB Worcestershire sauce
  • Pepperoni (optional)
Instructions
  1. Bring pasta water to a boil, add pasta and cook according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, brown ground beef and red bell pepper in a non-stick skillet.
  3. Drain fat from the ground beef and return to skillet.
  4. Add jarred spaghetti sauce, red pepper flakes and Worcestershire sauce to the meat mixture. Simmer for a few minutes.
  5. Drain pasta and add it to a pie plate that has been greased with cooking spray. Spread pasta so that it covers the bottom and sides of the pie plate.
  6. Mix cottage cheese and egg together in a small bowl. Spread evenly over pasta layer.
  7. Add spaghetti sauce mixture to the pie plate.
  8. Top with pepper jack cheese and pepperoni.
  9. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes.
  10. Rest for 5 minutes, slice and enjoy!

Tuesday Night White Chicken Chili

Everyone has a busiest day of the week or most tired night of the week.  For me, it’s Tuesday.  Monday comes right after the weekend, Wednesday has a certain sense of accomplishment as the halfway point, Thursday is almost Friday and Friday night technically starts the weekend, right?

Needless to say, no matter what your busiest night or most tired night of the week may be, this is the chili for you.  The added bonus of this recipe is that it can also be assembled solely using staples from your pantry and refrigerator.

Some of you may have also read my recipe for Smitten Mitten Chili.  I mentioned that I had entered a white chicken variety in previous chili cook-off contests and this is that fabled concoction.  Smitten Mitten Chili is definitely worth the effort but the recipe below is still my favorite…and not just because it’s super fast.

This recipe is also close to my heart because it came by way of my mom.  Her version has 1 can of chicken, 1 large rather than small jar of great northern beans and only 1/2 a jar of salsa.  Jesse and I are more meat than bean lovers and love spicy food so our modified version is found below, but both are delicious.

Side Note: If you are a fellow Michigander and live in the vicinity of a restaurant called Adobe, substitute a large container (or 1/2 container if you aren’t as fond of spicy food as us) of their hot sauce for the Pace Picante sauce mentioned in the recipe, you won’t be sorry!

 Ingredients: great northern beans, Pace picante salsa, cumin, canned chicken breast, chicken broth and colby/pepper jack shredded cheese.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

  Mix everything except the cheese into a large stock pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring frequently.

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Whisk in the cheese and simmer for another 5 minutes, whisking frequently.

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Garnish with sour cream, avocado or tortilla chips and enjoy!

White Chicken Chili
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: American
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 2 cans of chicken breast (12.5 oz each)
  • 1 small jar of great northern beans
  • 15 - 18 oz jar of Pace Picante or Adobe salsa
  • 24 oz chicken broth
  • 1 TB cumin
  • 2 cups colby/pepper jack cheese
  • Garnish Options: tortilla chips, sour cream and avocado
Instructions
  1. Add chicken, beans, salsa, broth and cumin to large stock pot.
  2. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Whisk in cheese.
  4. Simmer another 5 minutes, whisking frequently.

 

Sweet of the Week: Jesse’s Favorite Cookie

Exciting day!  Today is the first installment of my “Sweet of the Week” series.  As the name suggests, my intent is to post a new recipe each week that showcases a yummy sweet treat that I have baked.  However, this plan may get derailed by the fact that my hubby is in love with this week’s recipe.

Let me explain…

Shortly after we moved into our new house I bought a bag of Heath Bar Toffee Chips that were on sale and looked tempting.  Honestly, they sat in the cupboard for a good two months before I discovered them one Saturday afternoon (I’ll blame it on craziness of home renovation – more on this later).  Soon after I decided to go searching for recipe online that incorporated this promisingly sweet ingredient.

J & WAfter much searching I stumbled across the recipe for what has become, “Jesse’s Favorite Cookie.”  And when I say favorite I don’t mean that he prefers them, I mean if I make nearly anything else I am suddenly not living with one puppy dog who can put on a sad face, but two puppy dogs with incredibly sad faces.  Needless to say…I hope that I will successfully bring you a new sweet each week but if I don’t please know that it’s due to “Jesse’s Favorite Cookie” edging out any competition.

Follow this link to “The Dough Will Rise Again” and discover their delectable treat.  I usually halve the original recipe since the full batch makes a ton for just the two of us.  Halving it is easy to accomplish since there are two eggs and two sticks of butter in the original recipe.

Check it out, you won’t regret it.  (I intended to take pictures of my most recent batch that was baked on Saturday but they are M.I.A. already!)

Side Note: My Sweet of the Week series is also partially inspired by an idea from The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan.  One of Pollan’s food rules is that you can eat as much junk food as you want…as long as you make it from scratch yourself.  My goal is to not buy any grocery store, ready-to-eat sweets and see if we snack less.  Fingers-crossed!  These cookies are definitely worth the time and effort!

 

 

Award Winning? Smitten Chili

 

It’s game time!  No, I don’t mean the NFL Playoffs, but come to think of it….go 49ers!  It’s chili cook-off season and after seeing the decked-out golden ladle trophy my colleagues created to acknowledge the winner I decided to bring my A-game to this year’s high school throw down.

Our cook-off is an OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAannual tradition that has helped fund school projects and student scholarships.  This year our proceeds are going to a cause close to all of our hearts–supporting our principal and his family while he begins his battle with leukemia.  I know our chili entries will make him proud!

This year my A-game is a modified version of a chili recipe originally published by America’s Test Kitchen.  Using their recipe as a model I made a few minor tweaks that will hopefully lead me to victory tomorrow at high noon in the high school cafeteria.  (Two confessions at this point.  One, I prefer chicken chili and two, I’ve entered the same chicken chili recipe two years in a row to no avail so I’m benching the poultry and starting the beef).

Smitten Chili required a serious time commitment this Sunday afternoon and resulted in some delayed essay grading that will be waiting for me when this post is published–but the golden ladle is on the line, sleep sacrifices must be made!

Check out the recipe below to see my best effort toward winning the golden ladle trophy tomorrow.

Step 1 ingredients: 4 dried ancho pasilla  chiles, 6 California dried chiles, 6 TB cornmeal, 3 tsp dried oregano, 4 tsp cumin, 4 tsp cocoa powder and 1 cup of chicken stock.

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First, I broke the ancho pasilla chiles into 1 inch pieces (discarding the seeds and stems) and toasted them in a non-stick skillet until they softened and became fragrant (when they were ready to come out of the pan their consistency was similar to reconstituted sundried tomatoes).

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Next I put the toasted ancho chiles into my food processor along with the California dried chiles (sans stems and seeds), cornmeal, oregano, cumin and coco powder.  I processed these ingredients until everything was a smooth powder-like consistency (60 – 90 seconds).

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After the spices and chiles were combined, I slowly poured 1 cup of chicken stock into the processor while pulsing the mixture.  This created a tasty spice base that will hopefully give my chili an edge tomorrow!

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Step 2 ingredients: 2 large(ish) sweet onions and 2 jalapeno peppers

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA After putting the chile paste into a separate bowl, I roughly chopped up my onions and jalapeno peppers.  I put the chopped onions into the food processor and pulsed 5 to 6 times.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANext I added the jalapenos to the processor and pulsed both veggies 4 or 5 more times.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Then it was time to get cooking!  I added 1 TB of olive oil to my porcelain-coated cast iron pot followed by the onion and jalapeno mixture.  (Handy tip:  when cooking veggies don’t heat the oil prior to dropping in the veggies.  If you add the oil and veggies to a cold pan the flavor of whatever you’re cooking will be better preserved once you turn on the heat).  I cooked the veggies until they softened and were no longer watery – about 6 minutes.

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Step 3 ingredients: 6 garlic cloves (yes, I buy the pre-chopped stuff, it’s so much easier… 1/2 tsp equals 1 clove of garlic), 2 cans (14.5 oz each) of diced tomatoes and 1 TB molasses.

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It was time to add the garlic!  And cook it for about a minute (stir it consistently so that the garlic doesn’t burn).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAfter my garlic minute was up I added the tomatoes, molasses and chile paste to my veggie mixture.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI stirred everything together and allowed it to simmer for 2 – 3 minutes.

Step 4 ingredients: 1 jar of (drained) pinto beans and 3 more cups of chicken broth

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANext it was time to stir in the beans and 3 more cups of chicken broth.  I brought everything to a boil (stir frequently to avoid your chile paste or beans from sticking to the bottom of your pot).  After bringing the pot to a boil I reduced it to a simmer (still stirring frequently) while I completed step 5 below:

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Step 5 ingredients: 3 – 4 lbs. of flank steak cut into 1/2 inch pieces, 1 (12 oz.) bottle of beer and 1 tsp of Wildtree Java Rub

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANext a 1/2 TB of olive oil went into a non-stick skillet on medium-high heat.  I added 1/2 of the meat and 1/2 tsp of the java rub.  Once the meat browned I transferred it to my slow cooker and completed the steps again with the other 1/2 of the meat and java rub.  I also added the beer to my slow cooker (mostly because it wouldn’t fit into the other pot!)

I should probably take a moment to clarify my choice of Shiner brand Black Lager.  My father-in-law and brother-in-law are the beer connoisseurs of the family and I had a few bottles left over from their most recent trip to GR.  Shiner Black Lager is rich and dark and seemed appropriate for a beefy chili…however the only other variety of beer in my fridge was a can of Leinenkugel’s Summer Shanty, so the choice was kind of made for me.  Happily the flavor is amazing!

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Lastly and carefully I added the ingredients that had been simmering on the stove to my slow cooker.  I cooked it on low for 5 hours before allowing it to cool completely.  The chile is going to rest up overnight in the fridge before reheating in my slow cooker for the big cook-off tomorrow!  Wish me luck!

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