By Betha Merit
Hot food may refer to temperature, like a warm bowl of chicken soup or an aromatic cup of hot chocolate. What’s more fun is to combine that hot with spicy heat, for a warmth from your mouth to your toes experience. Chili style is a very personal taste and creative specialty. No beans, yes beans, and 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 alarm options. Personally, I’ve never met a chili I didn’t like. Nostalgia makes me remember chilly fall nights and my mom’s chili (with beans) served with saltines.
Jalapeño cheese cornbread and Mexican Caesar salad keep the heat going. Add a Margarita as the perfect cooling beverage pairing. Whether concocted with your favorite tequila with hand squeezed lime juice and agave syrup over ice, or using pre-mixed Margarita in a bottle, ready to pour over crushed ice. It’s all good.
Becky’s Chili Beans
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 2 small onions, finely chopped
- 1 chopped bell pepper (optional)
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 5 Tablespoons chili powder
- 2 Tablespoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon cayenne (or to taste)
- salt/pepper to taste
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 1 (24 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 (24 oz.) can diced tomatoes with juice
- 1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
- 1 (15 oz.) can drained, rinsed kidney beans
- 1 (15 oz.) can drained, rinsed pinto beans
In a large pot heat olive oil over medium heat, adding onions, optional bell pepper and garlic. Sauté about 5 minutes. Add chili powder, cumin, cayenne, salt and pepper, stirring for 2 more minutes. Add the beef, brown and stir to break up meat into crumbles. Add all tomatoes and sauce, and beans. Bring to a boil, reduce to low heat, and cook for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
Mexican Caesar Salad
- 1 head romaine lettuce, torn into bite sized pieces
- 1/2 cup cooked corn kernels
- 1/2 cup black beans (canned), rinsed and drained
- 1/2 avocado, peeled and cubed
- 1/8 teaspoon dried chili flakes (optional)
- 2 handful tortilla chips, crumbled
- 1/2 cup grated cotija cheese
- lime wedges, to serve
- 1/2 cup Caesar dressing
- juice of one small lime
- 2 teaspoons cilantro, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
Combine all ingredients for dressing into a shaker bottle or jar. Shake well and set aside. In a large bowl combine romaine and remaining ingredients, reserving limes and crushed tortilla chips for serving. Dressing may be tossed into the salad or set out for self serving along with the tortilla chips.
Easy Jalapeño Cornbread
- 1 (8 1/2 ounce) box Jiffy cornbread mix
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup melted butter
- 1/3 cup milk
- 3 Tablespoons jar or can jalapeños, diced and drained well
- 1/2 to 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
Combine cornbread mix, egg and butter in a mixing bowl.
Stir in remaining ingredients and mix well.
Place mixture in greased muffin tin or 8” by 8” greased pan.
Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes of until cornbread is golden brown.