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

The Vampire Dancer Saga Parts 1, 2, 3 and 4 are all Audiobooks now available at  Audible.com and iTunes (click the word Audible or iTunes to open link to store).

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2019 Cooking Ends: 2020 Cooking Begins

Samsung 870I created a Cookbook folder on my computer back in 2009. Since then, I have added my recipe creations and saved recipes for inspiration.

I am almost done working on my Cookbook. Hopefully, I will have it ready by January 2020.

I originally planned to publish my cookbook back in 2016. But, along came the thoughts and ideas for the Vampire Dancer Saga series, after seeing 3 bats in my house.

I LOVE planning my meals in advance!Samsung 871

That way, there is no excuse to order Pizza Hut, when the fridge or pantry is empty.

I try to plan my meals 1 to 2 weeks in advance, to allow “smart” shopping versus “impulse” shopping.

This week was Epic Tuna and later on, Pork Chops on Croissant Rolls. I love Salad as my side dish for dinner.

Samsung 866I am also prepping the Catfish Nuggets for tomorrow. For breakfast, during work days, I love eating Cottage Cheese with Diced Peaches.

I used to love eating a Bacon, Egg & Cheese sandwich for breakfast. Or a Spam, Egg & Cheese sandwich, or a Sausage, Egg & Cheese sandwich. I am cutting out a lot of bread to lose weight. But I will take a break on my diet to make a Biscuit, Sausage, Country Gravy, Hash Brown, Egg and Cheese Quiche for Christmas.

Ground LambMy Christmas main dish will be a Surf & Turf Spazghetti with Truffle Alfredo Sauce, Italian Sausage, Pepperoni, Anchovies, Shrimp Scampi and Cream of Shrimp Condensed Soup. I even have Shrimp Bouillon cubes to boil the spaghetti pasta in. This will be epic!

For a lighter meal next week, I have a can of Baked Beans and I can chop and fry Polish Sausage to cook with it. A “Grown Up” version of Pork & Beans.

My lunch break during work days is only one hour. So I love to cook in advance and eat leftovers during the week. And then freeze the rest, when I get sick of eating it.

Samsung 862I like to make Black-eyed Peas & Cornbread for New Year’s Eve, or a pot of Chili. I plan on making Middle Eastern Chili On December 30th or 31st. The Ground Lamb is so expensive, but since it is a holiday, I will splurge.

If I know that I am planning a meal in advance, I also buy things on sale. I plan on making Meatloaf, and I have some of the ingredients now that can be used for other meals, in a pinch. For example: diced tomatoes. can be used in Spaghetti, Chili or Meatloaf. So I try to buy them on sale and stock up.

I ran out of Mirepoix, so I have to wait to make the Macaroni & Cheese with Cream of Mushroom Soup. Boo!

Samsung 864Along with the Surf & Turf Spazghetti, that is way too much pasta. But I still kept it in the picture with the Catfish Nuggets for my Happy Vance Day on December 21st. TODAY!

 

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

The Vampire Dancer Saga Parts 1, 2, 3 and 4 are all Audiobooks now available at  Audible.com and iTunes (click the word Audible or iTunes to open link to store).

PAPERBACK BOOKS BY SHALIMAR ALI:

SHALIMAR ALI BOOKS AT AMAZON

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The Vampire Dancer Saga Part 4 @ Amazon Kindle (June 13, 2016)

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The Vampire Dancer Saga Part 3 by Shalimar Ali (Apr 13, 2014)

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Slap Ya Momma Chili Recipe

024I mentioned how much my Mom loved my chili in my April 22, 2013 blog:

https://learnbellydancewithshalimarali.com/2013/04/22/farewell-leana-sunset-april-22-2007-la-la-latoya/
But I will say this again, and again, that I was honored that she loved my chili!  She requested that I cook chili for one of her last birthday celebrations.  That was such as big deal for me.  Even though I flunked gravy, greens and chitlins, at least I could cook something that she was proud of.

WP_000244This chili is so GOOD!  It brings to mind, that expression, so good it makes you want to slap ya momma.  Not that I will ever, never do that (slap my mom), but this chili is that good.

I made this chili yesterday and shared it with my cousin Tony, his wife and my Aunt Ernestine.  Auntie called me up to say it was really good.  What a compliment!

Had this for dinner last night and it was so hard to eat only one bowl.  I CHANGE up my chili recipe from time to time.  Sometimes I WP_000243 - Copyadd the Chiplote Peppers in Adobe Sauce (if I happen to have some), but sometimes I don’t.  I used the Williams Chiplote and Original seasoning packages yesterday.  So when I use the Chiplote Peppers in Adobe Sauce, I use the Williams Original and/or Texas, but not the Chiplote Peppers so that flavor does not overpower.

THE POWER OF FRESH ONIONS, GARLIC, GREEN PEPPER & GREEN ONIONS WILL COMPEL YOU!  To eat lots of flavor!  Can’t stress this enough, but USE THE REAL STUFF.  I had someone tell me that their family NEVER cooked WP_000246 - Copywith real onions, garlic, etc..  Instead, they only used powered onion or powered garlic.  So they were so surprised when they tasted my chili and in fact, insulted it because their mom only cooked with powered onion and garlic.  No offense taken.  I use powered onions or minced garlic when I want to QUICK COOK.  Like in the morning when I cook breakfast I use minced garlic, instead of chopping fresh garlic.  But when I SLOW COOK, I always use the REAL STUFF.  You can’t beat the flavor

Give this recipe an audition and please let me know how it turns out.  WARNING:  Very Spicy, thick and delicious!!!

CHILI

INGREDIENTS:
026Ground Beef, frozen is okay, 2 lbs
Sausage (or extra 1 lb of Ground Beef), frozen roll is okay (Bob’s Zesty Hot, recommended), 16 oz.
Diced Ham (Farmland, recommended), 8 oz
Beef Broth, 14.5 oz.
Merlot or Pinot Noir (Sutter Home, recommended), 6.32 oz
Beef Bouillon, 1 cube
Petite Diced Tomatoes, 1 can 14.5 oz
Diced Tomatoes, 2 cans each 14.5 oz
Kidney Beans, 2 cans each 15 oz
Chili Beans, 2 can each 15 oz
Crushed Tomatoes, 28 oz.
Red Onion, 1 lg, diced
Green Onion, 6 stalks, chopped
Green Pepper, diced
Jalapeno Pepper, diced
Garlic, diced, 7 cloves
Chili Seasoning okay to mix the original with Chipolte (Williams, recommended), 2 packages that are 1 ounce each
Liquid Smoke (Wright’s, recommended), ½ teaspoon
Worcester Sauce, 1 Tablespoon
Chiplote Peppers in Adobe Sauce (San Marcos, recommended), ½ can or about 5.5 oz OPTIONAL

025INSTRUCTIONS:
NIGHT BEFORE or at least 8 hours, OPTIONAL
Cook frozen Ground Beef, Sausage and Diced Ham in 3 Quart Crockpot with Beef Broth and Beef Bouillon cube, cook on low for 8 hours (this can be done the night before). OR, if your meat is already unthawed you can brown the Ground Beef and Sausage in a skillet the same day you make the Chili. In either case, drain and add to a 6-7 Quart Crockpot
SAME DAY AS CHILI
Drain Beans and rinse
Put Beans and all other ingredients into 6 quart Crockpot with the Crushed Tomatoes as the last ingredient poured over everything else.
Cook on low for 8 hours

Serve with Sharp Shredded Cheese, Sour Cream and Saltine Crackers

The Vampire Dancer Saga 1 & 2 is available in paperback, Nook & Kindle at Barnes & Noble & Amazon.com:

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Happy Birthday Mom! January 27, 1938–April 22, 2007

WP_000246 - CopyMy mom was the best mom in the world!  I’ll never forget Mom’s birthday a few years ago.  She requested that I make Chili for her birthday.  Now, whenever I make Chili, I feel so honored that my mom requested that I cook it for her birthday., one of the last few that we shared!

Today I am cooking Turkey, Dressing, Cheesy Broccoli & Asparagus, 2 Pies, Scalloped Potatoes with Swiss Cheese, Gravy and a loaf of bread in honor of Mom’s birthday and Brenna’s Mom’s birthday, both January girls!  These recipes will be in my upcoming cookbook!

My mom’s name in the book is LEANA, which means:
L = LOVING
E = ENCOURAGING
A = AWESOME
N = NUTURING
A = ATTENTION

WP_000092My mom loved all 7 of her kids!  She encouraged us to do our best.  I would not have became a dancer, if she did not have us dance the Twist at a young age.  She was Awesome and Inspiring!  She nurtured all 7 kids and had to endure a child that had a stroke, 2 that had cancer, car accidents, military stints, etc.  She gave all 7 kids so much personal attention, we all felt like an only child that did not suffer attention.

Happy birthday Mom!