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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Ring in the New Year with a Spicy Meatloaf!

Italian Sausage Beef Meatloaf20200101_173252

Making Meatloaf gives you so many opportunities to experiment with different flavors. I started out cooking Meatloaf in an oven. But once I began using a Slow Cooker, I have not used the oven since. Meatloaf is so versatile that you can play with using Ground Beef, Italian Sausage, Ground Pork, Ground Turkey or add Chorizo for a Mexican-inspired Meatloaf. Instead of Ketchup, I normally use Condensed Tomato Soup for the topping. This time, I wanted something different, so I am using Tomato Basil Soup instead.

INGREDIENTS:

  1. Italian Sausage Mild, recommended: Great Value, 19 oz.20191231_022249
  2. Ground Beef, recommended: Great Value, 2 lbs.
  3. Meatloaf Seasoning, recommended McCormick, Two 1.5 oz. packets
  4. Cubed Stuffing Herb seasoned, recommended: Pepperidge Farm, 12 oz., divided (or use Salad Croutons)
  5. Diced Tomatoes with Basil, Garlic & Oregano, recommended: Del Monte, 14.5 oz.
  6. Diced Tomatoes Petite with Jalapeno and Habanero, recommended: Del Monte, 14.5 oz.
  7. Tomato Basil Soup, recommended: Progresso. 19 oz.
  8. Mixed Vegetables with Carrots, Green Beans, Corn & Peas, frozen, recommended: Great Value, 12 oz.
  9. Mirepoix with diced Yellow Onion, Carrot and Celery, 8 oz.20191231_131028
  10. Garlic, diced, 10-11 cloves, divided ¾ and ¼
  11. Sweet Potatoes, frozen, diced, recommended: Great Value, 10 oz.
  12. Eggs, 3 Jumbo
  13. Balsamic Vinegar, 2 teaspoons
  14. Liquid Smoke, 1 capful
  15. Worcestershire Sauce, 1 teaspoon
  16. Soy Sauce, 1 teaspoon
  17. Optional: Disposal plastic gloves
  18. Optional: Reynold’s Slow Cooker Liners or Reynold’s Aluminum Foil for the cooking vessel

INSTRUCTIONS:20191231_150135

  1. Beat 3 eggs in a mixing bowl, and set aside
  2. Combine the Ground Beef with Italian Sausage in a (different) large mixing bowl.
  3. To the meat mixture, add in gradually, the Diced Tomatoes, Mirepoix, Mixed Vegetables, Stuffing Cubes, Meatloaf Seasoning, Balsamic Vinegar, ¼ Garlic and Eggs. This is a good time to use disposable gloves for mixing.
  4. If using a Slow Cooker, line the bottom of it with half of the Stuffing Cubes, Sweet Potatoes, ¾ Garlic, Liquid Smoke, Worcestershire Sauce and Soy Sauce. If using a pre-heated 350 degree oven, mix this with the meat mixture.20191231_151251
  5. Slow Cooker on High for 4 to 6 Hours or Low for 8 to 10 Hours, or Bake in 350 Pre-Heated oven for 1 hour.
  6. Top with Tomato Basil Soup during last 30 minutes of cooking time.

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2020!

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 2 by Shalimar Ali (Dec 11, 2012)

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The Vampire Dancer Saga by Shalimar Ali, Shalimarali and N/A (Jul 25, 2012)

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