Game Day Go-To: Chili

Oh it’s that time of year where nothing beats a nice bowl of chili while enjoying the game. I probably say that about every game day food I write about, but I can’t deny it when we’re talking chili. Years ago, my husband worked with someone from Texas and he was horrified to discover we put beans (*gasp) in our chili. What followed was a fascinating conversation the “rules” of what makes a good bowl of chili where he was from in Texas. He and his wife always served the beans in the side so they could be added to the bowl to each person’s preference. So honestly, not only do I think of them every time I make chili, I feel that they are looking down disapprovingly at us!

I always start by browning a pound or so of lean ground beef (I try to get 90% when I can). As the beef is browning in a Dutch oven, I add about a cup each of diced onion and peppers. At the very least, I use green bell pepper, but I do love spicing it up a notch if I have some leftover poblanos in the fridge.

Once the beef is browned, I add two 14oz cans of diced tomatoes and one can of kidney beans. But the absolute key to a good chili in my humble opinion are the spices. I honestly just keep a stash by my side and add until it has the perfect flavor. I typically use ground pepper, a bit of salt, chili powder, smoked paprika, garlic powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, and a touch of cinnamon. The cinnamon gives all the spices the perfect touch of sweetness.

I keep simmering for about twenty minutes at a time, tasting, then adjusting the spices if I have to. As my grandma always said, once you put the spices in, you can’t get them out!

We like serving it up topped with shredded cheddar cheese and diced green onions. My only regret here is that I didn’t think to make a batch of cornbread to serve on the side, so tortilla chips had to do the trick.

What’s been on your game day menu? Whatever it is, may you enjoy it in good health and surrounded by those you love!

Eat well my friends!

Game Day Go-To: Quesadillas

We’re getting back to our game day football routine (with a bonus side of MLB baseball playoffs). Plus we’re pretty confident that we’re enjoying the last warm weather of our season to get out and get grilling. So I took advantage of both those happy coincidences to make some sheet pan quesadillas.

Before kickoff, I seasoned some steak with a blend of fajita spices and grilled it until medium (you want to undercook it a bit because it will be going into the oven to finish up). I also threw some sliced peppers and onions in a foil pan with some butter and grilled them along side.

When everything was finished on the grill, I sprayed a cookie sheet with olive oil spray and laid four large flour tortillas so they were hanging over the side of the pan. Then I placed one tortilla in the center so the whole cookie sheet is covered up.

I sliced the beef and arranged in a layer over the tortillas. Then I added the grilled peppers and onions and topped everything with grated pepper jack cheese (or cheddar if you want to tone down the spice). I folded the overlapping tortillas over and topped with one more tortilla to make sure the filling was covered. I brushed the top with olive oil, covered with foil, then topped with another cookie sheet. I baked it for about 15 minutes in a 425 degree oven. Then I removed the top cookie sheet and put it back in the oven for another 10 minutes or until the top was golden brown. I sliced it into rectangles and served with salsa, guacamole (not pictured because I forgot to put it out right away), and sour cream.

What I love about this is that you can adapt it to include any meat and veggie combo that you want. The possibilities are endless!