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).

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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Learn to Belly Dance Textbook & Certification Program: Dance Lessons & Choreographies For Students, Troupes, Performers… by Shalimar Ali (Aug 17, 2011)Chili and Pineapple Coconut Rum Cake 005

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Surf & Turf Scampi Spaghetti AKA “spaZghetti***”

Surf and Turf Spazghetti 128I was grocery shopping a few years ago and had a small budget of $20.00 to $30.00. So I had to limit the list to “essential” items only and no “impulse” buys. I noticed the Cream of Shrimp soup by Campbell’s and wanted it so bad, but could not afford it.

Years went by and I had a bit more money to buy some impulse items. So I finally got to purchase 2 cans of the Cream of Shrimp Soup. I used it in Shrimp & Lobster Fondue. It was my first time using my Fondue pot, so it was not very successful. If only I had used a traditional pot (on the stove), it would have turned out perfectly.

Surf and Turf Spazghetti 134I decided to save my second can for my Surf & Turf Spazghetti! This is Spaghetti meets Shrimp Scampi, meets Lasagna, meets Pizza – all in one dish! And of course, I am adding that “Puttanesca” Umami flavor bomb!

I normally have more “meat” in my Spazghetti, but to keep it light, I am substituting a pound of Spinach, for a pound of Italian Sausage, that is usually added. This puts everything on the plate, meat, side dish and pasta. Before I begin, I separate by groups to make sure I did not leave anything in the fridge or pantry.

INGREDIENTS:

  1. Surf and Turf Spazghetti 026Spaghetti Half Cut, recommended: Barilla, two 12 oz. boxes
  2. Italian Sausage, 1 lb
  3. Shrimp Scampi (frozen), recommended: SeaPak, 12 oz.
  4. Pepperoni slices, recommended: Great Value, 6 oz., divided
  5. Anchovies in Olive Oil, recommended: Crown Prince, 2 oz.
  6. Cheese Shredded Pizza Blend, recommended: Great Value, two 8 oz. packages
  7. Ricotta Cheese, recommended: Great Value, 15 oz. and Cottage Cheese, recommended: Belfonte, 15 oz.Surf and Turf Spazghetti 118
  8. Diced Tomatoes seasoned with Basil, Garlic & Oregano, recommended: Del Monte, 14.5 oz.
  9. Diced Tomatoes seasoned with Green Peppers & Onions, recommended: Del Monte, 14.5 oz.
  10. Tomatoes Wedges, Tri-Color with Olive Oil & Italian Spices, recommended: Great Value, 10 oz.
  11. Cream of Shrimp Soup, recommended: Campbell’s, 10.5 oz.
  12. Alfredo Sauce with Portobello Mushrooms, recommended Bertolii, 15 oz.
  13. Alfredo Pasta Sauce with Italian Cheese, recommended: Sam’s Choice, 14.5 oz.Surf and Turf Spazghetti 016
  14. Mushrooms Sliced, recommended: Green Giant, 8 oz.
  15. Bouillon Cubes Shrimp Flavor, recommended: Knorr, 2
  16. Seasoning Blend, frozen (Celery, Yellow Onions, Red Bell Peppers, Green Bell Peppers, Parsley Flakes), recommended: Great Value, 10 oz.
  17. Tomato Pesto, recommended: Mezzetta, 2 teaspoons
  18. Olives Italian Salad, recommended: Boscoli Family, 2 tablespoons
  19. Portabella Zesty Mexican Blend, recommended: Giorgio BlendaBella, 2 tablespoons
  20. Spinach, Frozen Chopped Steamable, recommended: Great Value, 12 oz.
  21. Garlic Butter Shrimp Scampi Seasoning Mix, recommended: McCormick, two.87 oz. packetsSurf and Turf Spazghetti 132
  22. Tomato, Garlic & Basil Marinade Mix, recommended: McCormick Grill Mates, .5 oz.
  23. Olive Oil Black Truffle, recommended: Roland, ¼ teaspoon
  24. Truffle Zest, recommended: Sabatino Tartufi, dash
  25. Mushroom Porcini Rub, recommended: Manitou, dash
  26. Panko Breads Crumbs Italian Style, recommended: Great Value, ½ cup
  27. Grated Parmesan, 3 Cheese Blend with Parmesan, Romano & Asiago Cheese, recommended: Kraft, ½ cup
  28. Parmesan Aged Wedge, recommended: Frigo, ½ cup, divided
  29. Garlic, fresh, 10-11 cloves, dividedSurf and Turf Spazghetti 019
  30. Parsley, dry, ½ teaspoon
  31. Eggs, Jumbo, 2
  32. Butter, 4 pats, divided
  33. Optional: Turkey-size Oven Bag, recommended: Reynolds Kitchens (or line with foil for an easy clean up)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Melt 1 Butter pat with Olive Oil and add Truffle Zest and Mushroom Porcini Rub in stock pot for 1-3 minutes on low.
  2. Add Water and 2 Shrimp Bouillon cubes and bring to a boil.Surf and Turf Spazghetti 129
  3. Add Spaghetti and boil for 10 minutes. Next add the frozen Seasoning Blend and cook an additional 5 minutes, then drain. To that pot, add the Alfredo Pasta Sauce with Italian Cheese, 2 Shrimp Scampi Seasoning packets, drained sliced Mushrooms, Tomato Pesto and Cream of Shrimp Soup.
  4. Melt Anchovies in a skillet to cook down, and then brown Italian Sausage on top of the Anchovy oil. Add half of the garlic to the skillet last for a few minutes. Drain and then add the 3 cans of Diced Tomatoes, including the juice, Portabella Blend and the Tomato, Garlic & Basil Marinade Mix.Surf and Turf Spazghetti 022
  5. Beat the Eggs and blend in the Ricotta and Cottage Cheese, Spinach, Olive Italian Salad and 1 ½ Pizza Cheese package.
  6. Melt the last Butter pat and add to it the Panko Bread Crumbs, Grated Cheese Blend and half of the grated Parmesan cheese from wedge.
  7. Line the cooking pan with the Turkey Bag and a layer of Pepperoni and the other half of Garlic.
  8. Next add a layer of Spaghetti.
  9. Then add a layer of Italian Sausage.
  10. Then add a layer of Spinach/Ricotta/Cheese.
  11. Repeat the layers until you have used all of the Spaghetti, Italian Sausage and Spinach.Surf and Turf Spazghetti 119
  12. Layer with Pepperoni, but reserve some for the topping.
  13. Add the remaining half of the Pizza Cheese
  14. Top with the remaining Pepperoni
  15. Combine the Panko Bread with Grated Parmesan Cheese, remaining Butter (melted), Parsley and Shredded Aged Parmesan Wedge for the topping.
  16. Cook for 35 minutes in a 300 degree oven
  17. NOTE: I have to cook this part of it tonight and store in the refrigerator for dinner tomorrow. Reheat the Spazghetti for 15 minutes @ 350, if you do this the day before.
  18. Add the Shrimp Scamp ♪ on top of Spaghetti ♫**and cook for 20 minutes at 350 degrees
  19. Save some of the grated Parmesan cheese wedge to sprinkle on top.Surf and Turf Spazghetti 088

** Did anyone catch the shout out to Dr. FunhouseOn Top of Spaghetti” song? Here are the lyrics, in case you were curious about it, and you can listen here:

https://www.scoutsongs.com/lyrics/ontopofspaghetti.html

On top of Spaghetti,
all covered with cheese,
I lost my poor meatball,
When somebody sneezed.

It rolled off the table,Surf and Turf Spazghetti 127
And on to the floor,
And then my poor meatball,
Rolled out of the door.

It rolled in the garden,
And under a bush,
And then my poor meatball,
Was nothing but mush.

The mush was as tasty
As tasty could be,
And then the next summer, Surf and Turf Spazghetti 112
It grew into a tree.

The tree was all covered,
All covered with moss,
And on it grew meatballs,
And tomato sauce.

So if you eat spaghetti,
All covered with cheese,
Hold on to your meatball,
Whenever you sneeze.

Surf and Turf Spazghetti 041** My Aunt Earnestine, nicknamed my Spaghetti to “Spazghetti” as a compliment. A lot of people use only ground beef in their spaghetti, but when I started using Italian Sausage instead, people noticed the difference.

By the way, the Catfish Nuggets turned out great!  The best I have ever made.  The secret?  Do what Sunny Anderson does and shake it in a paper bag.

Merry Christmas 2019!

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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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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Learn to Belly Dance Textbook & Certification Program: Dance Lessons & Choreographies For Students, Troupes, Performers… by Shalimar Ali (Aug 17, 2011)

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