Quick Fix Tex-Mex Corn Chip Chili

This may well be Anita’s favorite chili. I have to admit, it’s mighty good. This quick fix Tex-Mex corn chip chili is definitely quick fix. The only way you could make a chili any quicker is if the entire dish came out of a single can. Served over crunchy corn chips, it has all you need in a no-time-to-waste chili. Beans, beef, tomatoes, chiles, and cilantro. Oh and a bit of cheese.
I prefer fire-roasted green chiles any time a recipe calls for green chiles. The roasting adds a nice caramelized flavor and texture. Same goes for canned tomatoes, I prefer fire-roasted.

For a little kick use spicy pinto beans instead, substitute pepper jack cheese, and add in a minced roasted jalapeno.

Quick Fix Tex-Mex Corn Chip Chili
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, undrained
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pinto beans, undrained
  • 1 (10 ounce) can tomatoes with green chilies, undrained
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
  • 3 cups Monterey Jack cheese, plus more for garnish
  • Fritos (I used Chili Cheese Fritos)
Instructions
  1. Crumble the beef into a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat and cook until browned.
  2. Add the onion, garlic, chili powder and cumin and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the undrained beans, tomatoes and chiles. Stir and bring to a simmer, cooking for 15 minutes.
  4. Season and then stir in the cilantro and cheese. Reduce heat to low and stir until the cheese is melted.
  5. Serve over corn chips topped with more cheese and cilantro.

 

Hash Brown Patties on the Char-Broil Big Easy

I used to grill (or bake) my frozen hash brown patties. But now that I have a Big Easy, I can make them even easier than before. Just toss a few little cakes-of-potato-goodness into the cooker and in no time you have crispy golden brown hash browns. Anita likes hers plain so she can top them with ketchup. Me, I like a little cheddar and chopped chives.Hash Brown Patties on the Char-Broil Big EasyBacon. Sour cream. Butter. Green onions. BBQ sauce. Roasted red bell peppers. You name it, anything goes great on hash brown patties cooked hot and quick on the Char-Broil Big Easy.

Love your Big Easy as much I love mine? Check out my Big Easy Add-Ons page and my free Big Easy eCookbook!

Hash Brown Patties on the Char-Broil Big Easy
Author: 
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • Frozen hash brown patties
  • Your favorite toppings (ketchup, shredded cheddar, chopped chives, chopped cooked bacon, etc)
Instructions
  1. Fire up your Big Easy.
  2. Place the frozen hash brown patties into the Big Easy basket. Use a bunk bed basket to cook even more patties on the Big Easy at once.
  3. Lower the basket into the Big Easy and cook for 25 minutes or until golden brown and crunchy. Note that some patties may get done sooner than others, so start checking them after 20 minutes.
  4. Enjoy with your favorite toppings.

Bread Machine Brioche

I woke up one morning and said “That’s it. I am not ignoring my bread machine any longer”. Like a lot of folks, I keep my bread machine at the back of the pantry. Way in the back. Well, no more. I’ve been using it to make fantastic po boy bread dough and since Anita requested French toast, I also made a great loaf of brioche bread. My first time. And yeah, though it’s not like I worked the dough by hand, it still feels homemade and boy, was the French toast out of this world!This bread machine brioche is so soft and eggy inside. The crust is thin but a little crunchy. It holds up well for making French toast.

The key to this bread is determining when to add the butter. You’ll be adding 8 tablespoons (a stick), one tablespoon at a time at 1 minute intervals, during the last kneading cycle. For our bread maker the second (last) kneed cycle ends 35 minutes after starting the machine. That means I add the first tablespoon of butter after 27 minutes. You’ll want to consult your bread machine manual to know when the kneading cycle ends.

Bread Machine Brioche
Author: 
Recipe type: Bread
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 loaf
 
Follow the measurement amounts exactly to get the proper texture.
Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons lukewarm water
  • 2 whole eggs plus 1 egg yolk, lightly whisked
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons bread flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-sized pats, softened
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients except for the softened butter to the bread machine in the order specified by your bread machine maker. I have listed the ingredients in the order for my older model Regal bread maker.
  2. Set your bread machine to 'sweet' or 'regular' if yours doesn't have a 'sweet' setting and begin processing.
  3. minutes before the second kneed cycle is completed start adding the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, 1 minute between adding each one. NOTE: My bread machine book has a chart showing the various cycle times. For mine, making sweet bread, the 2nd kneed begins after 15 minutes and last 20 minuets. So, I began adding the butter 27 minutes (15 minutes + 20 minutes - 8 minutes) after starting the bread.
  4. Let machine finish and then open the top. Let the bread cool 20 minutes before removing to slice.

Slow Cooker Pot Pie

It was a cold and crappy day. I didn’t really feel like cooking much, so I threw all of the ingredients for pot pie into the slow cooker and let it go for 6 hours. Into pie pans, topped with dough, and a few minutes later… bingo! Slow cooker pot pie! Yummy and creamy and with just a little bit of that crunchy crust that I think is pretty much required by law.
There’s nothing fancy about this slow cooker pot pie. It takes minimal time to throw together, and it makes a nice big batch. Great on a cold day. Perfectly good on a warm day.

Slow Cooker Pot Pie
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8-10 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 (23 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 medium potatoes, peeled, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning mix
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 (10 ounce) bag frozen peas and carrots
  • 2 (7 ounce) packages crescent dinner roll dough
Instructions
  1. Place the chicken, soup, milk, potatoes, onion and the seasonings into your slow cooker.
  2. Stir to combine, cover and cook on low for 6 hours, stirring occasionally.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 F (or per the crescent dough package instructions).
  4. Add the peas and carrots. Stir and cook another 10 minutes.
  5. Divide chicken mixture between two pie plates.
  6. Open the dough packages and pinch the seams to form two large rectangular pieces of dough.
  7. Place dough on top of pie plates. Trim edges.
  8. Bake per package instructions until golden brown and crispy.

Review: Dave Anderson’s Famous Dave’s Barbecue Party Cookbook

The first few times I saw Famous Dave Anderson on TV he was competing on BBQ cooking shows. He didn’t always win, but he always made food that looked amazing and just as important, he always came across as genuinely nice. I thought what a welcome change from the sometimes-a-bit-too-much-over-the-top folks you see compete in food contests.

At the time there weren’t any Famous Dave’s restaurants near us. And in fact, I wasn’t particularly sold on the idea of chain BBQ, but when a restaurant finally opened in Indianapolis I went with an open mind and empty stomach. I came away thinking to myself “shame on me for thinking that some corporate chain couldn’t turn out BBQ just as good as our local joints”. And I came away thinking that I’d just had some of the best side dishes I’d ever had from anywhere, be it BBQ or fine dining.

Famous Dave’s Barbecue Party Cookbook is packed with great dishes, perfect for your next outdoor cookout. Don’t expect copycat recipes from the restaurant. Instead, you’ll find a wide range of recipes, from simple dipping sauces (the Cajun mustard is perfect for dipping chicken nuggets or just slather some on a hot dog bun) to a cooling avocado potato salad to Tex-Mex fajitas.

One thing I really, really enjoy about Famous Dave’s Barbecue Party Cookbook is that there’s nothing ‘weird’ in it. I have just about everything I need on-hand to make most of the recipes in the book. And although most of the dishes are ‘normal’, they are all super-flavorful versions of things you may have had before. Like cocktail weenies. Dave’s BBQ Smoky Porkies take them to a new level, adding pickles (yes!), bacon and cheese, served with a fantastic apricot BBQ sauce for dipping. Take that, ‘normal’ cocktail weenies!

Famous Dave’s Barbecue Party Cookbook is packed with tons and tons of recipes and a few great stories and tidbits and advice to boot. It’s well worth the price, and then some. I scored the book high on the ‘Mater Rater.


For more of my reviews of cookbooks available for the Amazon Kindle readers, visit Kindle Thyme.

Whiskey Pepper Ground Beef Jerky on the Nesco Snackmaster Pro

I have been loving making jerky on my Nesco Snackmaster Pro. I’ve been using ground top round for my ground beef jerky, but any lean ground meat will work. This whiskey pepper ground beef jerky has a really great peppery flavor, with a hint of whiskey. For me, the peppery flavor was a big hit. I could eat this jerky all day long (and did).

Whiskey Pepper Ground Beef Jerky on the Nesco Snackmaster ProMake sure you rotate your trays every 2 hours or so. The bottom trays in the Nesco Snackmaster Pro will not dry as quickly as those on top. Rotating the trays will give you nice, even drying and perfect jerky on every level.

Check out my guide to using the Nesco Snackmaster Pro. You will be making fantastic jerky at home in no time at all!

Sweet BBQ Ground Beef Jerky on the Nesco Snackmaster Pro
Author: 
Recipe type: Dehydrator
Cuisine: Jerky
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1/2 pound
 
This recipe is for starting with 1 pound of meat. You'll end up with about 1/2 pound in the end. You can easily double/triple/etc this recipe for large quantities of meat, however 5-6 pounds is about all you can fit onto a Nescao Snackmaster Pro fitted with 12 trays (the unit comes with 5).
Ingredients
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 heaping tablespoon Eastman Outdoors Whiskey Jerky Seasoning, see my note below
  • 1 teaspoon curing salt (Comes with the seasoning. Optional if you're going to refrigerate the finished product)
  • 1/4 cup water
Instructions
  1. NOTE: The package for the Eastman Outdoors jerky seasoning states that it makes up to 5 pounds of jerky. I personally feel that the flavor is too mellow, so I use just about an entire package for 1 pound of jerky. I end up with a little left over seasoning, which I store in a labelled air-tight container. I'll eventually mix it with more seasoning. I think I can get 3 pounds of well-seasoning jerky out of two packages of Eastman Outdoors mix.
  2. Place beef in a resealable bag or container.
  3. In a small bowl whisk together the seasoning, curing salt and water. Pour over the meat and seal. Shake to coat.
  4. Refrigerate the meat for up to 8 hours, shaking or massaging every hour or so to get the marinade distributed and absorbed evenly.
  5. Remove meat from the marinade and add to a jerky gun. Squeeze out onto Nesco trays. Do not overlap meat.
  6. Add the dehydrator top, set to maximum temperature setting and dehydrate for 5 hours, rotating the trays (bottom to top) every 2 hours or so.
  7. To test for doneness remove a piece and let cool slightly. Try to bend the meat. If it gives and starts to tear at the bend it is done. If it bends without tearing return to the dehydrator and let it run another 15 minutes and test again. If the meat is crunchy it is overdone but still good. It's really personal preference as to how you like your jerky. Soft, chewy, crunchy. There's no wrong here.
  8. Let cool before storing in an airtight container.

McIlhenny’s Chili

I love a good beefy chili. Nothing fancy. Great southwestern flavors. Oddly this McIlhenny’s chili is served with rice. I say oddly because that’s not something I would normally do. I was surprised as to how much I liked having rice in my chili.

The chili itself is just as great as you’d want. Tender meat with a broth that you really do want to drink up with a straw. It’s my favorite part of this McIlhenny’s chili.
The original recipe (which I modified only slightly) came from McIlhenny’s, the creators of Tabasco sauce. You know right then and there that it’s going to be fantastic. I have never had the free time when in New Orleans to go over to Avery Island and take a tour of the Tabasco plant. I will next time, though.

McIlhenny's Chili
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 pounds chuck, trimmed of fat, cut into 1" cubes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large white onions, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons Tabasco Pepper Sauce
  • 4-5 cups beef broth, depending on how thick or thin you like your chili
  • 4 ounce can chopped green chilies
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • Your favorite chili toppings
Instructions
  1. Working in batches, heat a tablespoon or so of the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season the meat and brown on all sides. Remove to a plate.
  2. Add the onion to the pot and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often.
  3. Add the garlic. Stir and cook another minute.
  4. Add the chili powder, cumin, salt and hot sauce. Stir and cook for 1 minute.
  5. Add the broth and canned chiles. Bring to a boil.
  6. Add the cooked beef along with any accumulated juices. Reduce heat to a simmer and simmer for 1 1/2 - 2 hours or until the beef is tender.
  7. Serve with cooked rice and desired toppings.

 

Roasted Cauliflower on the Char-Broil Big Easy

As much as I use my Char-Broil Big Easy to cook up fantastic chicken, I also use it just as much for side dishes. This roasted cauliflower came out absolutely delicious. Tender and flavor-packed, with just a hint of smokiness from the bacon. And as with anything I cook on my Big Easy, it was easy to make.

Make sure when you pick out the head of cauliflower at the store that you don’t get a really big one or it won’t fit into the Big Easy. Shoot for one that is about 8″ wide.
roasted-cauliflower-on-the-char-broil-big-easyFor a little kick don’t be afraid to add a few pinches of dried red pepper flake to the chicken broth as you cook the cauliflower. It won’t be overwhelmingly hot, but it’ll give you a slight hint of heat.

You can roast cauliflower in the standard basket that comes with the Big Easy or a bunk bed basket (lined with foil to keep the liquid in), or the Big Easy cooking rack.

Love your Big Easy as much I love mine? Check out my Big Easy Add-Ons page and my free Big Easy eCookbook!

Roasted Cauliflower on the Char-Broil Big Easy
Author: 
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 1 small or medium head cauliflower, leaves removed, stem trimmed
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • Fresh thyme (or dried)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted, divided
  • 4 slices thick-cut smoked bacon, cooked, crumbled
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Place the cauliflower in a pot and add the chicken stock.
  2. Add the thyme and bay leaves.
  3. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 12 minutes.
  4. Drain but reserve some of the cooking liquid.
  5. Fire up your big easy.
  6. Place the cauliflower into a pie pan and place into the cooking rack.
  7. Pour 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid over the cauliflower.
  8. Pour half of the butter over the cauliflower.
  9. Sprinkle with more thyme and a few pinches of salt and pepper.
  10. Place rack into the Big Easy and cook 10-15 minutes or until the cauliflower starts to turn golden in color.
  11. Remove from cooker and drizzle with remaining butter.
  12. Transfer to a serving platter and sprinkle with bacon and more thyme, salt and pepper to taste.