Learning to prepare competition beef chili was a fun cooking experience. A couple years back my friend Sue asked me to enter a chili cook off with her. My experience with beef chili growing up consisted of that pre-packed envelope of chili spices that you added to ground beef. Growning up in a very Mexican environment, I always saw chili as a more American dish and something that I really came to love when I moved to Texas. I will never forget when I tasted my first frito chili pie at Deady Jr. High in Houston, Texas. Wow! I was hooked! The debate is still out on where the frito chili pie first originated, bit I am just happy to have discovered it no matter who invented it. There are many rules and regulations when it comes to preparing competition chili. Most often a typical Texas Red style chili recipe is prepared with no fillers. When I say fillers, I mean no beans, macaroni or other type of fillers. It’s most often straight beef with dry spices, beef broth or bouillon. For today’s recipe I tried to stay true to the “cook-off” style chili to test out the flavors as compared to the homestyle chili I usually prepared with fresh onions, garlic and diced tomatoes. I did use some tomato product, green chiles and beans at the end since we would be enjoying this chili at home. I was happy with the results and would definitely prepare it this way again. Although we did not place for our tasty version of competition chili, I did bring home a trophy for 1st place in the salsa competion! Lol! That’s a whole other blog post…#confessionsofachilehead
1 1/2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
2 pounds ground chuck or chuck roast, sliced small
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
First Dump 6 ounces tomato paste 8 ounces tomato sauce 1/2 tablespoon tamarind paste 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce 1 teaspoon hickory flavored liquid smoke 1 packet Goya beef bouillon granules (enough for 2 cups of water) 2 1/2 cups water
Second Dump 2 tablespoon dark chili powder 2 tablespoons light chili powder 1 tablespoon dry mustard 1 tablespoon garlic powder 1 tablespoon onion powder 1 tablespoon cumin 1 tablespoon smoked paprika 1/2 ounce Mexican chocolate 1 1/2 teaspoons ground oregano 1 teaspoon pepper 1 teaspoon coriander 1/2 teaspoon ground jalapeño 1 teaspoon Goya beef bouillon powder 2 cups water 1/4 cup masa harina mixed with 1/3 cup water 1 large Anaheim or poblano pepper, remove seeds and stems and dice finely. *if you like, you could roast the pepper before adding, but I did not 15 oz. can pinto beans, drained 15 oz. can dark red kidney beans, drained
Third Dump Check for chili spices, maybe add in another 1/2 tablespoon of each…cumin…check for salt
This is as simple as it gets!
1. In a large dutch oven style pot, preheat the oil to medium high heat until just before smoking. Add the beef and season with 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper and 1 teaspoon granulated garlic. Stir fry until meat is nicely seared and somewhat charred in some spots. I start light with the seasonings because you will season as you go.
2. Once the meat is nice and seared, add all of the ingredients listed for the First Dump. I know it makes me laugh everytime I read that, but it makes sense in the world of chili cook off competitions. Stir well to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and taste for salt. Cover and cook for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring as needed. You really want the raw flavors of of the tomato products to cook out and deepen the flavors.
3. When ready, add all of the ingredients listed for the Second Dump. Repeat by stirring well to combine, bringing up to a simmer, tasting for salt. In a small bowl, whisk the masa harina with 1/2 cup of water and stir into the chili until well incorporated. Add in the green chile and drained beans. Continue cooking for another 35 to 40 minutes, stirring as needed.
4. Now once you reach the Third Dump, this is where you can make the recipe your own by adjusting the spice levels to your taste. I usually end up adding a little more of each spice, minus the salt and a couple dashes of hot sauce. Simmer for another 25 to 30 minutes. Yields up to 8 servings.
Thought I would start this blog post with a few things that I don’t cook often. Don’t you dislike when you finally splurge on your favorite restaurant and are not only gasping at the prices, then only to be disappointed by that starter salad that taste like it came straight out of a plastic bag?? I believe that many of us ovelook the fact on how simple it is to prepare some great tasting salads at home without caving to that salad bar at the super center. I am going to share a few of my recent salads and maybe dig up some oldies, but goodies from my archives, lol!
Black Beans and Rice Salad~ August 8, 2014
2 cups steamed rice 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed 1 cup corn
3 green onions, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 jalapeño, diced
1 red fresno pepper, diced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon crushed oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine all of the ingredients, taste for salt. Cover and chill for 1 hour. Stir before serving. Best when left to marinate overnight. Yields 6 servings.
Grilled Mushrooms over a Zesty Quinoa Salad! Cooking quinoa is something new I just tried a few months back. It’s all the rage right now for a healthier alternative as a side dish. I had only prepared it as a warm side dish a couple of times, but for this quinoa recipe, I decided to treat it like a pasta salad. Spring is here, even though I still see snow outside, lol!! My mind is set on spring and summer cooking with grilled recipes and chilled salads, tall drinks! I am ready!
I have really tried to make the effort to prepare a few meatless meals a week. This meal is great for meatless Monday and is also Lent friendly. I am happy to say, that my husband Richard does not miss the meat like I thought he would. I will say though, that he has become quite the food critic, ha, ha, ha!! I still cannot get over how he loves the spicy food now, just like me. Makes cooking our meals alot easier for me these days….confessions of a diehard chilihead…loving every moment!
Grilled Mushrooms over Zesty Qiunoa Salad
For Quinoa Salad
2 cups cooked quinoa
1/3 cup diced red onions 1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced 2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced 1 red fresno pepper, finely diced 1 jalapeño, finely diced 2 stalks of celery, just top halves with the leaves, chopped fine 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped 1/4 cup red wine vinegar Juice of half a lemon juice 1/4 cup olive oil 1 teaspoon crushed oregano Salt and pepper to taste
For Grilled Mushrooms 1/4 cup red wine vinegar 1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for grilling 2 tablespoons of hot sauce 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika 1/2 teaspoon pepper Salt to taste 8 to 10 ounces baby bellas, sliced in half *wooden skewers is optional, they are not always easy to skewer because they are delicate.
1. Cook the quinoa according to package directions. I like to cook mine in chicken broth instead of just water. I add a drizzle of olive oil as well. Set the quinoa aside while you prep the other ingredients.
2. In a large bowl, combine the quinoa with all of the vegetables. Whisk the vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, oregano, salt and pepper. Pour over salad, stir well to combine, cover and set aside. Stir before serving and taste for salt.
3. In a large bowl, combine the ingredients to make the marinade for mushrooms. Toss in the mushrooms and stir gently to coat evenly. Preheat stove top grill pan to medium heat for 5 to 6 minutes. Drizzle with olive oil. You can use 8 inch wooden skewers and skewer 3 to 4 mushrooms. Or you could just grill the mushrooms directly if that is easier for you. Grill for a few minutes per side or until they start to soften and caramelize slightly. Serve over quinoa salad. Yields 4 servings.
Tips~I served mine with warm flour tortillas, avocado slices and pickled red jalapeño slices. They were some of the tastiest meatless tacos I have had.
Jicama Corn Salad
1 1/2 cups jicama 1 large carrot 1 small red bell 1/2 red onion *Julienne all of the above vegetables 1 1/2 cups corn I serrano or jalapeño pepper, minced 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped Juice of 1 lemon 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 teaspoon chile limon powder 1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper Salt to taste
Combine all of the ingredients, taste for salt. Cover and let sit for 30 minutes before serving or cover and chill until ready to serve. Stir before serving. Yields 6 servings.
Tips~ I used 3 ears of fresh corn. Remove kernals and transfer onto plate. Season lightly with salt, pepper, lemon juice and olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap and steam in the microwave for 3 minutes. Cool completely before adding to salad.
Tomato, Red Onion, Cilantro and Serrano Slaw
1 medium red onion, julienned
2 to 3 large, firm roma tomatoes, seeded and julienned
2 serrano peppers, sliced into thin rings
1/3 cup cilantro, finely chopped
Juice of 4 to 5 key limes or 2 regular limes
3 tabblespoons olive oil
1/2 tablespoon Mexican oregano, crushed
Fresh cracked pepper to taste
Salt to taste
Combine all ingredients, taste for salt, cover and let sit for 30 minutes before servings. Yields 4 to 6 servings.
Grilled Vegetable and Black Bean Salad with Cilantro Dressing
For the Cilantro Dressing: 2 cups Greek yogurt (nonfat plain) or light sour cream Juice of 1 lime 1 jalapeño or serrano pepper (seeds removed) 1 clove garlic, minced 1 teaspoon toasted cumin seeds 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped Salt to taste
For the Salad: 1 large ear of corn, cleaned 1 medium zucchini 1 red bell pepper 1 poblano pepper 1 small red onion 1 tablespoon lemon pepper seasoning ½ teaspoon salt 1½ tablespoons olive oil 1½ cups black beans, rinsed and drained 6 ounces corn tortilla chips, slightly crushed 1 avocado, diced 1 head of romaine lettuce, washed and torn into pieces
1. Combine all of the ingredients to make the dressing into the blender. Blend on high until smooth, taste for salt. Keep chilled until ready to use. Chop all the veggies, except for corn and red onion, into 1-inch pieces. Slice the onion into thin strips and lay the corn whole onto the hot grill. In a large bowl, toss the vegetables with lemon pepper seasoning, salt and 1½ tablespoons of olive oil.
2. Preheat a large indoor grill pan to medium/high heat for 5 to 6 minutes. Line the pan with “easy release” foil paper. This will make cleanup a lot easier, believe me. Spread all of the vegetables out onto hot grill. Grill for a few minutes on each side, turning as needed.
3. Remove veggies from grill and let cool slightly. With a sharp knife, cut the kernels off from the cob. Divide the romaine onto 4 large salad plates, add grilled vegetables, corn, black beans, avocado, crushed chips, and dressing. Toss lightly to combine, serve right away. Yields 4 large salads or 6 smaller salads. For a complete meal, add some grilled chicken or shrimp!
Notes: The vegetables can most certainly be grilled on an outdoor grill as well. If you have a hard time getting the dressing to blend, you could drizzle in a little water.
Chickpea and Cucumber Salad
2 cups chickpeas 2 roma tomatoes, seeded and sliced into thin strips 1 cup chayote or jicama, julienned 1/2 cup red onion, julienned 3 baby cucumbers, sliced 1 jalapeño, diced or sliced 1 red fresno, diced or sliced
For Dressing 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar Zest and juice of 1 lemon 1 tablespoon dijon mustard 1/2 tablespooon dried Italian herb mix 2 cloves of garlic, grated alt and pepper to taste 1/4 cup olive oil
1. Toss all of the ingredients for salad in a bowl or serving dish. If using canned chickpeas, drain and rinse well before using.
2. In a separate bowl whisk all of the ingredients for dressing in the order listed. Taste for salt and pepper. Add to salad 20 minutes before serving, toss to combine. Yields up to 6 servings.
Tips~ I removed the pulp from tomato to avoid salad from being watered down, but I think I should have removed seeds from cucumbers as well…lol! Next time.
4 cups jicama, sliced into thin strips 3 Roma tomatoes, seeded and sliced into thin strips 2 jalapeños, seeded, sliced into thin strips
1 small white onion, sliced into thin strips
¼ cup chopped cilantro
Juice of 3 keylimes or 1 large lime
1/2 tablespoon chlie limon powder
* if not available add 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil
Combine all of the ingredients listed 30 minutes before serving. Stir well to combine, taste for salt. Yields up to 4 servings.
Frutas Frescas Con Chile y Limon~Freh Fruit Cups with Chile Limon!
A Refreshing Cauliflower Tabouli Salad is adapted from the lastest issue of Food Network magazine. Love tabouli, love cauliflower!
1 head of cauliflower, grated 6 green onions, sliced thin 2 cloves garlic, minced
2 red cherry peppers, seeded and diced finely
3 firm roma tomatoes, seeded and diced finely
1 small bunch of parsley, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons ried Greek basil or 2 teaspoons of fresh mint
Juice of 2 lemons
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
Salt to taste
Combine all of the ingredients listed. Stir well to combine, cover and chill for a few hours before serving. The flavors will get better the longer in marinates. Great as is or serve with flat bread or pita chips. Yields up to 8 servings.
Corn, Black Bean and Chayote Succotash. I was never crazy about lima beans when my mom would serve up a side of succotash. So I decided to change it up a little, adding some of my favorites, like black beans, chayote squash and tomatillos! Great warm or at room temperature.
2 ears of corn olive oil 1/2 white onion, diced 3 cloves garlic, minced 1 jalapeño or serrano, mnced 2 chile de abol, optional 1 poblano, diced 1 cup red or orange bell pepper, diced (I had a mix of both) 1 chayote, diced 2 stalks celery, diced 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds 1/2 teaspoon mexican oregano Salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste 4 tomatillos, diced 1 cup black beans, drained an rinsed 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar 1/2 cup chicken broth
1. Remove corn kernals from the cob and set aside.
2. Preheat 2 tablespoons of olive oil to medium heat for a few minutes. Add the onions, garlic, chiles, bell pepper, chayote, celery, cumin seeds and oregano. Season with salt and pepper and saute for 6 to 8 minutes.
3. Add all of the remaining ingredients. Stir well to combine. Reduce heat and continue cooking until most of the liquid has evaporated. Taste for salt and pepper. Yields up to 8 servings. Great warm or at room temperature.
Caprese Salad~Tomato Basil Mozzarella. The fresh herbs are in full bloom and I am loving all the fresh basil! June 20, 2014
8 thick tomato slices Balsamic vinegar Olive oil Kosher salt
fresh cracked pepper
6 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced into 8
1/3 cup fresh basil, sliced into ribbons
Chile pepper flakes
Layer the salad in the order listed. Season to taste. I like to top the salad with a little more balsamic and olive oil to finish. Yields 4 servings
Caprese Salad, a quick and tasty salad that can be served as an appetizer or light meal with some crostini bread. A trick I learned a while back is when dressing your salads directly, drizzle on the vinegar first before the olive oil. If you drizzle the olive oil first, it may not take to the vinegar as well.
Fresh Herb Tomato Cucumber Pasta Salad . The fresh herbs in my garden are in full bloom and I can’t get enough of them. Fresh basil, oregano, parsley and cilantro are all added to this zesty pasta salad. It’s great on it’s own or as a side for your favorite grilled recipes like chicken or shrimp. Light and full of flavor! June 30, 2014
5 cups cooked pasta 1 large cucumber, peeled and sliced 2 roma tomatoes, sliced into strips * I like to seed both my tomatoes and cucumber when preparing salads 2 tablespoons fresh basil 2 tablespoons fresh parsley 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro 1/2 tablespoon fresh oregano *finely chop all of your fresh herbs 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar Zest of 1 lemon Juice of 1/2 lemon 6 tablespoons olive oil 1 tablespoon dijon mustard Fresh cracked pepper, to taste Kosher salt, to taste
Combine all of the ingredients, stir well to combine. Cover and chill for 30 minutes before serving. Stir well before serving. Yields 6 servings.
Along with the rice and olives, the nice people over at Iberia sent me one pound of dry pinto beans. Whenever I invite my friend Jamie over for dinner, he always has one special request for me to prepare. Drunken Beans! LOl! Frijoles a la Charra or Frijoles Borrachos is what they were called in our house. My Mom would prepare these with carne asada or pollo asado. They were a must! For many years, I would use canned beans in my recipes, even though my Mom always cooked beans from scratch. Finally a few years back I took the plunge and have been cooking my own beans. It’s just one of those rights of passage we lovingly learn.
3 strips thick cut bacon or 6 strips of regular bacon, diced
1/3 cup red onion, diced 1 to 2 serranos or jalapeños, sliced into thin rings 1 Fresno pepper, left whole (optional) 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 large roma tomato, diced handful of chopped cilantro 4 cups cooked pinto beans, drained and rinsed 1 cup Shiner beer(Texas), or nay light or lager beer 1 1/2 cups chicken broth Juice of 1 lime 1/2 teaspoon cumin Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Cook the bacon on medium/low heat until crispy and all fat has rendered out. Add the onions, chile peppers and garlic and cook for 3 minutes.
2. Add all of the remaining ingredients in the order listed. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook for 20 minutes. Taste for salt. Garnish with cilantro and lime. Yields up to 6 servings.
Tips~ To cook the pound of dry beans, rinse well and soak overnight covered with water. Drain, add to large pot cover with more water, 2 inches above the beans. Add half a bulb of garlic, bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook for about 2 hours or until beans become tender. Add more hot water as water level drops, season with salt once beans are almost done. Makes about 7 1/2 to 8 cups of cooked beans.
A version of Charro Beans using black beans and poblano peppers
Barbeque Beans with Smoked Brisket
Olive oil 1/2 cup onion, diced 3 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeño or serrano, minced
1 red bell, diced
4 cups cooked pinto beans
1 1/2 cups ketchup
1/4 cup dijon mustard
3 tablespoons molasses
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 to 4 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons hot sauce
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt to taste
1 1/2 cups cooked smoked brisket, diced
1. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil to medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, chile peppers and bell pepper. Season lightly with salt and pepper and cook for 6 to 8 minutes.
2. Add all of the remaining ingredients in the order listed. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook for 30 to 35 minutes or until thick. Taste for salt as they cook down. Yield up to 8 servings.
Embracing my Mexican heritage and sharing all the wonderful flavors, colors and foods I grew up with. Join me on this journey as I also learn new foods and cooking techniques. Dedicated to my parents Ramiro and Blanca.