Greek Chili for a Chilly Night

Chili and Pineapple Coconut Rum Cake 085I used to Belly Dance in Greek and Middle Eastern restaurants back in the 80s. My favorite “taste” of Greek food included Gyros (with Feta and Lamb), Kabobs (with Sumac), Tzatziki (with Cucumbers), Hummus (from Garbanzo Beans AKA Chickpeas) and Spanakopita (with Spinach). So why not mix those flavors with my favorite dish: Chili?

My original chili was Beef Chili. My family loved it! It was thick, meaty and spicy! Using a slow cooker, instead of a stock pot, allowed all of the ingredients time to meld together. Next came CMcCormick Fiery Tastyhicken Chili made with Butter Beans, White Kidney Beans, Ground Turkey, Italian Sausage and chopped Polish Sausage.

To save calories, but keep the bold and spicy flavors intact, my next chili creation used Ground Turkey, Italian Sausage, Turkey Polish Sausage and Pork Chorizo. In fact, I liked it better than my “Slap Ya Momma” Beef Chili. None of the flavor was missing. And in fact, it was even spicier by using Diced Tomatoes with Jalapeno and Habanero peppers and the McCormick Tasty Fiery Seasoning Mix of Sriracha, Lime and Garlic!

The chili seasoning can make or break your chili. It makes all of the difference in the world. Back when I first started making chili, I would buy the cheapest chili seasoning. You know the one that is Chili and Pineapple Coconut Rum Cake 003the store brand or 50 cents or less. Then I discovered Williams Chili Seasoning. And I will admit: they are the best. They are the reason why my Chili brings so many compliments.

I have to admit that McCormick Seasonings are stepping up their game. They released the “Tasty” blends, that bump up the flavor using Sriracha, Lime, Garlic, Lemon Zest, Basil, Oregano, etc. I love using the Lemon Zest to season my Tuna and Catfish Nuggets. And when you mix Williams and McCormick together, get ready for a spicy flavor bomb!

Chili and Pineapple Coconut Rum Cake 042I had 3 hours of sleep and my Dishwasher is broken. Which means, I am mixing the meats in the skillet, instead of washing a bowl by hand. I have the slow cooker set for 4 hours, just enough time for a catnap before my Chili dinner on a chilly (19 degree) day!

INGREDIENTS:

  1. Ground Lamb, recommended: Marketside Superior Farms, 2 lb.
  2. Pork Chorizo, recommended: Cacique, 10 ozChili and Pineapple Coconut Rum Cake 040.
  3. Italian Sausage Mild, recommended: Great Value, 1 lb
  4. Spinach, frozen chopped, recommended Great Value, 12 oz
  5. Garbanzo Beans, Chick Peas, recommended: Bush’s Best, two 15.5 oz. cans
  6. Kidney Beans, Dark Red, recommended: Great Value, 15.5 oz.
  7. Diced Tomatoes with Jalapeno and Habanero, recommended: Del Monte, two 14.5 oz. cans
  8. Diced Tomatoes with Zesty Chili Style, recommended: Del Monte, 14.5 oz.Chili and Pineapple Coconut Rum Cake 046
  9. Jalapeno Peppers, diced, recommended: Great Value, 4 oz.
  10. Chili Seasoning, Tex-Mex style, recommended: Williams, 1 oz.
  11. Chili Seasoning, Original style, recommended: Williams, 1 oz.
  12. Fiery Tasty Seasoning Mix with Sriracha, Lime and Garlic, recommended: McCormick, 1 oz.
  13. Mirepoix with diced Yellow Onion, Carrot and Celery, 8 oz.
  14. Garlic, smashed, 10-11 cloves
  15. Sumac, recommended: Zamouri Spices, ½ teaspoonChili and Pineapple Coconut Rum Cake 052
  16. Cabernet Sauvignon, recommended: Yosemite Road, 1 cup
  17. Balsamic Vinegar, 2-3 teaspoons
  18. Liquid to thin it out, such as Cola, Chicken Broth, Water or Ice Cubes (as needed, depending on how thick or thin you prefer your chili to be), ½ to 1 can.
  19. Plastic Gloves, disposal will do
  20. Slow Cooker Liners, recommended: Reynolds

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Gloves oChili and Pineapple Coconut Rum Cake 083n and ready to cut off the Garlic heads. Add them to the slow cooker liner and smash them with a small bowl.
  2. Mix ground Lamb, Italian Sausage and Pork Chorizo in the skillet and then brown in skillet for about 20 to 25 minutes. Add half of the Wine and Mirepoix. Cook on low for 5 minutes and then drain. I use an empty bean or diced tomato can for the grease.
  3. Drain and rinse beans. I top the beans with a dash of Sumac!
  4. Top the smashed Garlic with the remaining Mirepoix and Spinach. Then add the Tex-Mex Chili seasoning, Wine and Balsamic Vinegar. Chili and Pineapple Coconut Rum Cake 049
  5. Add the Meats and then the Fiery Tasty Seasoning packet.
  6. Add the drained beans and then the Original Chili seasoning
  7. Add the 3 cans of Diced Tomatoes.
  8. Thin out with Liquids, if you want thinner Chili. I used a half can of Cola for a “sweet” touch.
  9. Add the Jalapeno Peppers and Sumac during the last 30 minutes of cook time.
  10. Cook on high 4 hours or low 8 hours, stir halfway through.

Chili and Pineapple Coconut Rum Cake 086I like to top mine with Feta & Cheddar Cheese, Diced Cucumbers, Lime Juice and a dollop of Daisy Sour Cream.

 

Check out the sample and get your copy here:  Audible.com The Vampire Dancer Saga Part 4 Audiobook

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Happy Vance Day! Tuna & Catfish Delights.

Tuna5My big brother’s birthday is on December 21st.

Sunrise: December 21st! Gone, but not forgotten and still very much loved!

The last meal he cooked for us was Catfish Nuggets and Macaroni & Cheese. He liked to use a can of Cream of Mushroom Soup on the Mac & Cheese, so I will honor his flavor.

I hope to cook my Catfish Nuggets with Mac & Cheese this weekend, either Friday or Saturday. In the meanwhile, I have Tuna to eat for my main meal this week. Not Starkist Tunajust any tuna sandwich, but an “Epic” tuna sandwich, dedicated to Tito Jackson. I was watching one of the Jackson 5’s TV specials and Tito mentioned a Tuna & Tomato sandwich. I am finally getting around to making one.

Epic Tuna & Tomato Grilled Swiss Cheese on Rye Bread!

INGREDIENTS:

  1. Tuna, Yellowfin Solid Wild-Caught, with Lemon Dill and Extra Virgin Olive Oil, recommended: Starkist Selects, two 4.5 oz. cans
  2. Tuna, Solid White Albacore, Gourmet Prime Filet Wild-Caught, recommended: Bumblebee, 5 oz.
  3. Tartar Sauce, recommended: Kraft, 3 to 4 teaspoons
  4. Tuna4Relish, Sweet Pickle, recommended: Vlasic, 2 to 3 teaspoons
  5. Cream Cheese, Garden Vegetable, recommended: Philadelphia, 2 to 3 teaspoons
  6. Cream Cheese, Smoked Salmon, recommended: Philadelphia, 1 to 2 teaspoons
  7. Tasty Zesty Basil, Thyme & Lemon Zest Seasoning, recommended: McCormick, 1 teaspoon
  8. Celery Seed, recommended: Tone’s, 1/8 teaspoon
  9. Rye Bread, New York Style, recommended: Great Value, 2 slices per sandwich
  10. McCormick Lemon SeasoningSwiss Cheese, Aged, recommended: Sargento, 2 slices per sandwich
  11. Eggs, Boiled, 2
  12. Tomato, Beefsteak, 1 large
  13. Mirepoix (Yellow Onion, Celery, Carrot), 2 tablespoons
  14. Butter, 1-2 pat, per sandwich

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Boil Eggs, 30 minutes before, or the day of cook
  2. Combine Tuna with Cream Cheese, Tartar Sauce and Relish, to your desired consistency
  3. Add chopped Eggs, Tasty Seasoning, Mirepoix and Celery Seed
  4. Tuna1Add butter to skillet then toast the Rye Bread, and add Swiss cheese slices on top
  5. Remove and add Tuna to both sides with a Tomato Slice in the middle of the sandwich

Easy Catfish Nuggets

Ingredients:

  1. Catfish Nuggets, 1 lb.
  2. Fish Fry, Seasoned, recommended: Louisiana, 5-10 oz.
  3. Smoked SalmonTasty Zesty Basil, Thyme & Lemon Zest Seasoning, recommended: McCormick, 2 teaspoons
  4. Cooking Oil, enough to cover the fish

Instructions:

  1. Marinate the Catfish with the Tasty Seasoning 30 minutes before or the day of cook. Then dredge in the Fish Fry 20 minutes before cook time.
  2. Heat the cooking oil for about 9 to 14 minutes, testing with toothpick to see if bubble when ready.
  3. Fry the fish, until brown and I usually move to a 300 degree oven, while I am using the same oil for fries.

Mac & Cheese for VanceTuna2

Ingredients:

  1. Elbow Macaroni, Large, 16 oz.
  2. Buttermilk, ½ pint
  3. Cheddar Cheese, Sharp, 2 lb.
  4. Panko Bread Crumbs,
  5. Swiss Cheese Shredded, 8 oz.
  6. Chicken Bouillon Cubes, 2
  7. Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup, recommended: Campbell’s, 10.5 oz.
  8. Butter, ½ stickGarden Vegetable

Instructions:

  1. Boil Chicken Bouillon cubes in water.
  2. Add Macaroni to boiling water and cook until below tender
  3. Shred Cheese in Food Processor (or use Velveeta cheese, 16 oz.), I have a block of cheese I need to get rid of
  4. Drain Macaroni and add Cream of Mushroom Soup, ¼ stick of melted butter, Buttermilk and ¾ of the Sharp Cheddar Cheese into the baking pan
  5. Melt butter and combine Panko Crumbs with ¼ of the Sharp Cheddar Cheese to the top of the Macaroni and bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees, covered with foil. Add Swiss cheese and bake an additional 11 minutes, uncovered.

Tuna3

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