Spicy Chili

I’ve been waiting all summer to try out this recipe.  It’s not that I don’t like the summer, but I love all the delicious food that reminds me of Fall….like Spicy Chili!  This chili is spicy, hence the name, but it won’t burn you tongue off and have you running to the water faucet.  Feel free to add more (like my Dad does) or less cayenne or chili powder depending on your preference.  I really like this recipe because you can get a lot of bang for your buck.  The ingredients are not expensive and if you are feeding a large crowd it will feed about 12 with room for leftovers.  Or in my case my family of 6 six had leftovers for an entire weekend…and no we did not get tired of eating chili, lol.

Thanks to one of my NCJ Peeps, James G., for suggesting I post this.  I aim to please!

Yield: Serves about 12


2 pounds ground beef chuck
1 pound spicy turkey Italian sausage
3 (15 oz) cans chili beans, drained
1 (15 oz) can chili beans in spicy sauce
2 (28 oz) cans diced tomatoes with juice
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
1 large white onion, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 green jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced
2 tbsp bacon bits
4 cubes beef bouillon
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp dried oregano
2 tbsp ground cumin
2 tsp hot pepper sauce
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp white sugar


Brown ground beef and turkey italian sausage in a large stock pot over medium-high heat.  Cook until just brown.  Pour out excess fat and return pot to stove and reduce heat to low.  Add the chili beans, spicy chili beans, diced tomatoes and tomato paste.  Stir until fully combined.

Add the onion, celery, green and red bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, bacon bits and bouillon.   Season with chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, oregano, cumin, hot pepper sauce, basil, salt, pepper, cayenne, paprika, and sugar.  Stir to blend, then cover and simmer for at least 2 hours , stirring occasionally.  If you have the time I suggest simmering for at least 4 hours, the longer the better.

Taste and adjust flavor with salt, pepper and/or Tabasco sauce.  Remove from heat and serve.  If you plan to refrigerate to serve the next day, allow the chili to cool to room temperature before placing in the refrigerator.  Garnish with oyster crackers, cheese, sour cream and scallions if desired.


Recipe adapted from All Recipes


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Beef Bourguignon

Three years ago I took a cooking class here in Chicago at The Chopping Block.  It was all about Julia Childs and her recipes and I was so psyched because I had just read the book “Julia & Julia”.  Reading that book, seeing the movie and attending this class is any foodie’s dream…seriously it was almost too much!  I made it to the class and we learned four different recipes but the one that stuck with me the most was the beef bourguignon.  Maybe it was the delicious smell of the cognac and red wine simmering or the simple but comforting taste of the stew.  Whatever it was I fell in love with this dish and it is now my go to meal when feeding a large family or friends.  I like to make cornbread to serve along with this.  You can also serve the stew over potatoes, rice or egg noodles…or simply by itself in a bowl like I do.


Yield: 4-6 servings

Active time: 35 minutes

Start to finish:  2 hours, 35 minutes



  • 1/4 pound bacon, cut into 1/2 inch slices
  • 2 pounds boneless beef chuck, cut into 2 inch pieces
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Flour for dredging
  • 1 pound pearl onions, peeled
  • 1 pound mushrooms, quartered
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 4 parsley stems
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 bottle Burgundy or Côtes du Rhône wine
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup parsley, rough chopped


  1. Heat a heavy soup pot over medium heat and add the bacon.
  2. Cook until crispy and remove with a slotted spoon. Set aside on a plate and try not to eat all of it while making the stew.
  3. Increase the heat to high and season the beef with salt and pepper to taste. Toss the seasoned beef in flour just to coat.
  4. If the pan seems a bit dry add some grapeseed oil. Sear the beef in batches until caramelized on each side.  Set aside.
  5. Add the pearl onions and mushrooms and cook until caramelized, about 6-7 minutes.
  6. Add the garlic and tomato paste and cook an additional minute.
  7. Deglaze the pan with the brandy, scraping the bottom to loosen any browned bits and reduce by half.
  8. Tie the parsley, thyme and bay leaves on to the celery stalk creating a bouquet garni and add this to the pot.
  9. Add the seared beef, wine and stock to the pot. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and cook until the beef is tender, about 2 hours. Half hour before the beef stew is done, add the carrots and cook until tender.
  10. Remove the bouquet garni, season the stew with salt and pepper to taste and stir in the parsley and reserved bacon.


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Beef Medallions with White Wine Mustard Sauce

Here’s another culinary school classic.  Now that the semester is over I can appreciate all of the yummy dishes my instructor taught me.  This was what he called dinner in less than 15 minutes and it’s true, this can be made very quickly.  It would go great with angel hair pasta and grated Parmesan cheese.

The recipe calls for green peppercorns but I wasn’t unable to find them so I used a combination of white, black, green and red peppercorns and it tasted just as good.  Also when cutting the medallions they should be cut about 1/4 inch thick so you can cut into them easily with a fork when done.



  • 1 beef tenderloin, cut into 1/4 inch medallions
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp green peppercorns, crushed (you may need more)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 oz white wine
  • 2 oz cognac or brandy
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 8 oz heavy cream
  • TT Salt and Pepper


  1. Flatten the medallions with the palm of your hand.  Press both sides of each medallion into the crushed peppercorns.  Season lightly with kosher salt.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat.  Add the medallions and saute until browned, approximately 2 minutes.  Turn the medallions and saute on the other side until browned.
  3. Remove the medallions from the pan and keep warm.  Add the wine & cognac to the pan that the medallions were cooked in and scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the pan.  Simmer until a few tablespoons remain.
  4. Add the Dijon mustard and cream and simmer until the sauce is not runny and coats the back of a spoon.
  5. Add salt & pepper to taste.
  6. Serve the medallions dressed with the sauce.


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