I found this recipe on FaceBook, but I have no idea who Bill is.  I can tell you two things; it will replace ALL other chili recipes and I will be making his chili for the rest of my life… with a minor exception – I HATE kidney beans and a true chili for us Texans has no beans so this works for me. Other than that it was minor changes like using a chili grind size of ground beef.

BILL’S BEST CHILI adapted from Cupcakes and Kale Chips

2 pounds chili ground beef
1 pound stew beef, cut into about one inch chunks
1/3 pound bacon, diced in small pieces
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder, or to taste
1 teaspoon dried mustard (optional)
1/2 tablespoon crushed red pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons cumin
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
4.5 ounce can chopped green chilies
28 ounces peeled Plum Tomatoes
12 ounces tomato paste
three (16 oz) cans kidney beans (optional)
2 cups beef broth
2 cups water
GARNISHES: Shredded cheese, sour cream, onions, etc…

  • Heat a large pot over medium heat.
  • Add the meats, pepper, and onion, and cook until the meat is browned and the vegetables are tender.
  • Drain any collected grease and liquid.
  • Add the garlic and cook for another minute or two.
  • Stir in the chili powder, dried mustard, crushed red pepper flakes, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper.
  • Add the chilies, tomatoes, tomato paste, kidney beans, and about two cups of water, and simmer on low for at least 2 hours, or put into a crockpot on low for at least 4 hours. Add additional water, as needed to achieve desired consistency.
  • Serve with desired toppings.





This soup is a true fiesta of flavors.

1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 green yellow pepper, seeded and chopped small
10 ounce can red enchilada sauce
8 ounces cream cheese, cut into small pieces
14 ounces rustic diced tomatoes
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed well
1 small can green chiles, drained well
1 can white shoe peg corn kernels, drained well
2 cups chopped rotisserie chicken
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 green onions, chopped fine
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

  • Heat the avocado oil in a large saucepan, over medium heat.
  • Add the onion and bell pepper pieces and cook for about 5 minutes until the onion is soft and translucent.
  • Add the enchilada sauce and cream cheese pieces, cooking until the cheese has completely melted.
  • Add the diced tomatoes, black beans, corn and stir to incorporate.
  • Add the chopped chicken breast and chicken broth, stirring and cooking for about 10 to 15 minutes just until the soup is heated through. DON’T boil this soup or the cream cheese will curdle.
  • Remove from heat and top with green onions and jack cheese before serving.
  • Garnish with your favorites.  I used cilantro and crisp bacon tonight.


CHICKEN CHILI in eager anticipation of FALL

A few years ago I made up this recipe when I was home without a car and the pantry was all but bare.

3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, frozen
2 cups homemade chicken broth, frozen
1 can cream of potato soup
1 jar dried beef, chopped
1 Williams chili mix package
1 can chopped green chilies
  • Place frozen chicken breasts on the bottom.
  • Pour green chilies over chicken pieces.
  • Top with cream of potato soup.
  • Top with frozen broth.
  • Sprinkle chili seasoning mix on top of chicken broth.
  • Top with beef pieces.
  • Slow cook on high for 2 hours. Reduce to low for 6 hours. Or cook on low 10 hours.


At this time of year, I’m usually stocking up for winter in the wild and snowy north, but not this year. We’ll pretend though because I can’t seem to cook any differently and am longing for cool, crisp fall evenings for soups and stews.  I originally wrote this post years ago, but nothing has changed – I still do things exactly the same.

I start with LARGE bulk packs of meat.  I then break them down by size and meat right down to cutting certain recipes into bite sized pieces.  Then I wrap them in freezer paper because I really hate freezer burn!  And I package them into pre-labeled ziploc bags for the freezer.

I didn’t get a secondary picture, but I then wrap the center of each one with a strip of duct tape.  Yep, you read that right, duct tape.  Just a small strip.  Enough so when they’re stacked in the back of the freezer you can identify the meat.  I buy it in colors – red for beef, green for chicken and blue for pork.  It makes it soooooooo much easier when you’re searching in the freezer for the right meat.
Many times this prep includes rotisserie chickens.  My market at home has buy one, get one free on Tuesdays.  Can you figure out when I did my shopping? By the time I get home and put away the groceries, the rotisserie chickens are cool enough to pick off the bone.  The bowl below is the skin, congealed juices and bones I collected as I stripped 2 birds.
I think Martha (MM) and I met over some post about buying in bulk and we found a common ground – saving money!  Talk to your butcher.  Many times you can save even more than the advertised sale prices.  For example, recently my local market was running a sale on chuck roast.  None of the roasts were as large as I really needed for company so I asked the butcher if they had one the size I wanted and instead she offered up a manager’s daily sale (in the bulk section just a few feet away from the ones I was looking at) where I could buy twice as much for half as much saving me $8 over what I intended to spend and gave me enough for 3 meals.  I made ALL the chuck roast as Pot Roast & Veggies for company and then used the leftovers to make Ortega Chile Bake and Beef Chili.
I then use a large stock pot and cover the “debris” with water.  I set it to simmer on a low temp and let it go for an hour or so.  I don’t add any seasonings since I’ve normally bought mesquite broiled or lemon herb, but adjust according to your tastes.
Then I drain it into my large 8 cup measuring cup and allow it to cool.
I have several of these containers that I bought just for chicken stock in the freezer.  I haven’t bought chicken stock in over 10 years now.  It’s just so easy to make your own.  Even if I start with raw chicken and poach it for a recipe I add seasonings and by the time the chicken is done, there is several cups of broth ready for the freezer.

Today’s flavor was Mesquite broiled so it left us with a spicy red color also.

So what do you do to get ready for winter?  Have I motivated you to stock up?




I worked for quite awhile in the studio today and ran across several unfinished projects that NEED to be finished!  Binding for some reason is my least favorite part of quilting though it should be my most favorite since it is the last step to a completed project.  I’m still trying to figure out where to start!  I’m leaning towards starting with the smaller pieces just because there will be a bigger sense of accomplishment as I whip them out, but am leaning towards the larger ones so I can set them aside into the Christmas pile as completed presents.

In the meanwhile we still needed to eat so I reworked a couple of recipes from my “TO TRY” pile that used ingredients I had on hand.  It’s almost June 1st and I try to clean out both the freezer and pantry every 6 months or so.


2-3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
4 slices crusty french bread, torn into pieces
3 cups crumbled cornbread
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 small Vidalia onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped small
2 large eggs, beaten
Fresh ground sea salt, to taste
fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup butter, sliced thin

  • Put butter slices in freezer while you assemble the casserole.
  • In a large mixing bowl whisk together the broth, eggs and soup.
  • Fold in breads.
  • Fold in celery, onion and chicken pieces.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Transfer to a lightly greased 3 quart slow cooker.
  • Dot with butter slices.
  • Cook on high 1 1/2 hours and then low 2-3 hours on low OR 3-4 hours on high.


1 pound bag baby carrots, washed and dried
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 small Vidalia onion, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
Pinch of ground ginger
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
Parmesan cheese
Snap peas

  • Preheat oven to 400˚.
  • In a large ziplock bag add the carrots, avocado oil, sugar, salt and pepper. Close and toss until carrots are well coated.
  • Spread carrots in a thin layer on a baking sheet.
  • Roast carrots 45 minutes or until tender.
  • Cool carrots.
  • In a large sauce pan melt butter,
  • Add onion and saute’ until tender.
  • Add broth and simmer while carrots roast.
  • Add carrots and puree with an immersion blender.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve with Parmesan crisps and chopped snap peas.



Recipe Yield: 6 servings

1 whole chicken or 3 cups chicken pieces**
1 cup homemade concentrated chicken broth
7 cups hot water
2 teaspoons sea salt
4 stalks celery, sliced thin
4 carrots, peeled and sliced thin
1 large Vidalia onion, chopped small
1 cup quality butter
1 cup scant Wondra flour
1 small jar chopped pimento, optional
Fresh flat parsley for garnish
Garlic Butter croutons

  • If starting from scratch: Place chicken pieces in large pot and cover with water, about 10 cups. Add vegetables and simmer until chicken almost falls off the bone. Strain off enough liquid to make 8 cups of stock. Cut cooled chicken into bite sized pieces and be sure to pick all the little chicken bits off the bones. Set chicken aside.
  • If not starting from scratch:
  • In a stock pot, whisk together the hot water and concentrated broth.
  • Season to taste.
  • Add vegetables and simmer 1 hour.
  • When vegetables are tender, use a slotted spoon to remove the vegetables to a food processor. DO NOT DISCARD.
  • The vegetables are a crucial flavor component. Process vegetables until smooth and then whisk back into the broth.
  • Bring to a very LOW boil.
  • In a small sauce pan melt butter.
  • Whisk in Wondra flour until golden in color making a yummy roux.
  • Gradually add the roux, stirring constantly until well incorporated. Simmer 10-15 minutes until desired thickness.
  • Add the chopped chicken*** and 1 small jar of diced pimento.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Simmer for another 15 minutes.
  • Serve in warmed soup bowls.
  • Garnish each serving with homemade Garlic Butter croutons and chopped parsley.

**I used rotisserie chicken pieces.

***Since my chicken was fresh and hot from Costco, I chopped about 3/4 cup rotisserie chicken per person and put it into the bottom of each bowl instead, then poured the hot thickened bisque over the chunky parts. This way the remaining bisque stores in a jar easier. I also just used the pimento as a garnish with the croutons.

Cooks Notes: Whenever I bring home a Costco rotisserie chicken I use the skin, drippings and bones (where all the flavor is) to make a pot of broth. I then portion it into 1 cup containers for the freezer. This really makes things easier for those quick weeknight meals.




1 cup diced shallot
1/2 cup diced sweet red pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced
15 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 sprigs fresh basil
2 sprigs fresh oregano
4 cups chicken broth
2 chicken breasts
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 ounces uncooked penne pasta
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese – garnish

  • Remove the leaves from the basil and oregano, chopping each.  Reserve half of the basil for garnish.
  • Lay chicken in bottom of the slow cooker.
  • Sprinkle the onions and peppers all around the chicken.
  • Top with the tomatoes, half the basil and all the oregano.
  • Pour chicken broth  over it all.
  • Cook on high for 3 hours.
  • Remove the chicken to a cutting board and shred. Keep warm.
  • Add pasta to crock pot and cook another 35-40 minutes or until pasta is al dente.
  • Stir shredded chicken back in and heat through.
  • Season to taste.
  • Top each serving with fresh basil and some of the Parmesan shredded cheese.






I love Escalante’s Roasted Corn Bisque – Fresh roasted corn, poblanos, bacon, grilled chicken, and onion in a sherry wine bisque and have been working to duplicate it. I think I have FINALLY accomplished it!

Roasted Poblano Chicken and Corn Bisque

2 medium Poblano peppers
1-2 tablespoons avocado oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
4 1/4 cups chicken broth, divided
2 cups peeled, small diced potatoes
2 cups cooked, grilled chopped chicken
2 cups fresh roasted corn on the cob, sliced off
2 cups half and half or light cream
4 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup sour cream
4-6 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
1/4 cup sherry
Salt and pepper, to taste

Shredded Cheddar or Parmesan  cheese
a dollop of Sour cream
Chopped fresh cilantro

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  • Cut Poblanos in half and remove seeds.
  • Place cut side down on a lightly greased baking sheet.
  • Spray Poblanos with non-stick cooking spray and roast for 8-10 minutes or until skins begin to blacken.
  • Remove from oven and cool slightly.
  • In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat.
  • Add onions and garlic and cook for 3-5 minutes or until tender.
  • Dice roasted Poblanos in to small pieces and add them to the pot along with chili powder and cumin, cooking a few minutes longer.
  • Add chicken broth to the pot and bring to a boil.
  • Add potatoes and corn.
  • Simmer about 10 minutes, or until potatoes are just tender.
  • Puree’ about half of the corn and potato mixture.
  • Add puree’ mixture back into pot.
  • Stir in chicken.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the half and half, remaining 1/4 cup broth, the sherry, sour cream  and 4 tablespoons of flour.
  • Whisk the cream mixture into the soup until smooth.
  • Simmer for 5-10 minutes to allow soup to thicken.
  • Stir in the crumbled bacon and cilantro.
  • Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Serve with optional toppings, if desired.



This same recipe works well with a chuck roast!


3 tablespoons avocado oil
3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
2 pounds cubed beef stew meat
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 large onion, diced
3-4 good sized cloves garlic, minced
12 ounces root beer
3½ cups beef broth
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons Whiskey Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon paprika
8 new potatoes, quartered
4 carrots, sliced
1 small stalk celery or fennel for added flavor, sliced
1/3 cup Wondra flour
Finely chopped fresh Parsely – garnish

  • In a large ziploc bag sift together the flour, salt, pepper and paprika.
  • Toss beef in flour mixture until well coated. Save flour!
  • Over medium-high heat, Heat oil in large Dutch oven.
  • In a single layer brown meat on all sides, working in batches if necessary.
  • Remove to medium bowl and toss with peanut butter until well coated. Set aside.
  • Add onion and celery (fennel) to Dutch oven and reduce heat to low, cooking until softened, about 3-4 minutes.
  • Add garlic and cook for about 1 minute more.
  • Pour in root beer, beef broth, tomato paste, Worcestershire, paprika, ½ teaspoon each of salt and pepper.
  • Simmer for 1½ to 2 hours until meat is tender.
  • Stir in potatoes and carrots, simmering until vegetables are tender and meat is falling apart, 45 minutes or so.
  • Remove 1 cup of liquid from pot and slowly whisk in leftover dredging flour.
  • Slowly stir flour mixture back into pot and bring to a SLOW boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes until thickened.
  • Adjust seasonings as needed.
  • Garnish with fresh parsley.

NOTE: To make this in the crock pot, brown beef. Add beef and all other ingredients, except flour to crock pot. Cook on low for 10-12 hours, or on high for 4-6. Remove 1 cup of liquid and slowly add flour. Slowly stir four mixture back into crock pot. Cook on high for 15-20 minutes, or until thickened.


1 1/2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/2 cup Quick Grits
3/4 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup butter
2 1/2 tablespoons milk
2 medium eggs, beaten

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Coat individual ramekins with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Combine water, and salt in large sauce pan bringing it to a SLOW boil.
  • Stir in grits gradually.
  • Reduce heat to low.
  • Cover and cook 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Add most of the cheese and butter, stirring until melted and well blended.
  • Add milk, eggs, peppers, mixing well.
  • Pour into prepared ramekins.
  • Top with remaining cheese.
  • Bake 45 minutes or until set and golden brown.
  • Garnish with a little grated cheddar cheese.
  • Let stand 10 minutes before serving.




The weather took a serious turn towards fall early last year.  But, I was ready!  One of my favorite things about fall is fun food for tailgating or just watching football at home.  This soup recipe is no exception.
Whether you serve it in a bread bowl (which is my favorite way) or just in a bowl, the flavor is smokey, deep and intense – perfect for warming you from the inside out. AND it is super easy in the crock pot!

1 pound navy beans, soaked overnight
1 large onion, chopped
6 cups water
1 KNORR vegetable gel tub
1 large onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
3 ribs celery, sliced
3 carrots, sliced
1 can petite diced tomatoes (I use Chipotle & jalapeno flavored)
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste (I use 1 t. Himalayan pink salt and 1/4 t. white pepper)
1 ham steak, chopped (about 2 cups)
1/2 pound bacon, crisp and bacon
grated cheese

  • Spray slow cooker with PAM.
  • Drains beans of soaking water and add to slow cooker along with onions, garlic, celery, tomatoes and carrots.
  • Whisk together the water, KNORR gel tub, thyme, salt and pepper until well blended. Add to the slow cooker.
  • Cook on low 4-6 hours.
  • Add ham pieces.
  • Cook another 2-3 hours.
  • Garnish with cheese and bacon before serving.
  • Enjoy!


The weather has been super gray so I decided to make some soup! Turned out to be some of the best soup ever!  I’m making this one again! One of the best parts is that when you’re ready to eat you can doctor it up to your individual liking, just like a real cheeseburger.


1 pound organic ground round
1 small sweet onion, chopped small
1 shallot, chopped small
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons butter
3 cups beef broth
2 tablespoons Whiskey Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoon Ancho chili powder
Salt and pepper, to taste
8 ounces Velveeta, cut into small chunks
3 small potatoes, diced
Pickles, Mustard, Ketchup, shredded cheese for garnish

  • In stockpot add beef and sprinkle with Chili powder. Brown beef, drain well of fat.
  • Add butter to pan and saute’ onion, shallot and garlic.
  • Add broth, Worcestershire sauce and beef crumbles.
  • Season with salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer for 1 hour.
  • Add Velveeta and blend well.
  • Add potato pieces and simmer 30 minutes more or until potatoes are tender.
  • Preseason to taste.
  • Top with your favorite burger toppings and enjoy.

I found a secret ingredient too.  It has become my new go to seasoning. LOVE this stuff!


3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, frozen
2 cups homemade chicken broth, frozen
1 can cream of potato soup
1 jar dried beef, chopped
1 Williams chili mix package
1 can chopped green chilies
  • Place frozen chicken breasts on the bottom.
  • Pour green chilies over chicken pieces.
  • Top with cream of potato soup.
  • Top with frozen broth.
  • Sprinkle chili seasoning mix on top of chicken broth.
  • Top with beef pieces.
  • Slow cook on high for 2 hours. Reduce to low for 6 hours. Or cook on low 10 hours.
As the slow cooker heats up, the broth will melt absorbing the chili seasoning mix which will then be absorbed by the potato soup and by the end of the day you have a huge bowl of wonderful yummy goodness perfect for a crisp fall evening. Serve with cheddar cheese biscuits.