Corn Chip Chili Recipe… Really?

cornchipchilirecipe-reallyIs this a filling recipe, or just “filler” for a magazine?  Don’t get me wrong.  The chili and chips look good, but when I read the recipe the first thing that came to mind was, “Well Duh!”

I guess I expected to have a list of ingredients for some good chili.  I’m glad they at least told us to “open the chips and add” because some less experienced cooks might have thrown the bags in without opening them.

Buy some chili, chips and heat & mix, viola!  If you can’t follow these directions, please wait until Taco Bell offers the “Corn Chip Chili” Taco Bowl.  For your next hearty dinner, just stop by Taco Bell and order a couple for your family.

Now I can throw away this clipping.  I had to save it to ask friends if there was a little something lacking in this recipe.

About a year ago, the apartment complex where I am living had a Chili Cook-Off for the residents.  I had never tried to cook chili from scratch (actually liking Wendy’s version… until I became aware that it was giving me regular indigestion) but made my first attempt.  From the initial outcome I decided not to enter the contest and just brought some really, really hot sauce.

Since then, I have tried several times to come up with my own chili concoction, and after several miserable failures, I have come close enough to be pleased.

I have tried ground beef several times, and even put some chocolate in one version.  Chocolate?  If you watch Chef Rick Bayless “Mexico. One Plate at a Time,” fixing mole(s), you realize that chocolate is a valid possibility.  I have put in Smoked Pakrika, green chilies, etc.

In my slow cooker…


Here are the basic ingredients:

  • Pinto beans (1 can)
  • Kidney beans (1 can)
  • Diced tomatoes (1 can)
  • Diced onion (a medium sized onion)
  • Sliced jalapeno peppers (half a cup)
  • Chicken stock (1 can – beef stock might be better)
  • Salt & pepper (freshly ground)
  • Jalapeno, Cayenne, Paprika, Chipotle peppers (ground or whole)
  • Cumin (ground or whole)

The difference makers:

  • Smoked paprika (1/4 cup +)
  • Dried Spanish Chorizo (not the fresh)
  • Stew beef (is a package 1-2 lbs.)
  • Mild country sausage (1 lbs. – 1 or 2 links skins removed)
  • Sweetner (Agave nectar, Equal, etc.)

I think you could add green, red, yellow bell peppers for extra color and flavor.

Top with chopped Vidalia onion, sour cream, grated cheese (your choice) and open the bag of chips (the “bag for $2″ version).

I think what made this passable for me was the dried Chorizo & smoked Paprika, with enough sweetner.

chorizo-chiliUnfortunately, this photo reminds me of the bathroom scene from “Desperado”;-)

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As winter storm snarls traffic, transportation chief promotes new book

Rather than pointing out that Tony Tata is on a personal book tour in Chicago, on a day when many North Carolinians are struggling with the effects of a “surprise” snow storm, maybe we should be asking the questions as to how WRAL Weather personalities so poorly prepared the public for this storm…

and then, as Greg Fishel and others would probably point out, it was one of those weather events that depending upon timing and the shifting of 50 or so miles on one side of the I95 Corridor, or not, could have caused it to mostly be a “non-event” in the Triangle / Fayetteville Area, or to have had the effects it did.

WRAL Weather didn’t prepare the public adequately, only pointing out the severity last night.  But, then that’s what we are dealing with “weather,” and something that cannot be predicted accurately all the time.  Sometimes you just get it wrong.

But, there have been many accidents and even a fatality.  Where is Tata?

Well, he has been in a video conference with his staff.  What would be the benefit of him postponing his book tour to fly back to NC?  What could he actually do for today’s problems?  Not much, if anything.  Now, if we have another “snow event” tomorrow or later this week and he is still out of the State, then I might have a problem.

If you want to come down on someone really hard regarding putting people in danger, why don’t you ask the question of why the State vs Carolina Basketball Game is still on for tonight? How many people’s lives will be in danger?  What if there is an accident to/from the Game?

Get Over It!

Segregationist governor’s name to be removed from ECU dorm

Charles B. Aycock was the Governor of North Carolina at the turn of the last Century.  He was a Democrat, and followed Republican Governor Daniel Lindsay Russell.  Russell was a distant relative of mine.  He and his wife are buried in a little, neglected cemetery between Swansboro and Belgrade, NC.  I say neglected, not because someone mows the lawn periodically, but because since my first visit years ago, the ornate iron fencing surrounding the small cemetery has mostly disappeared.  I guess “grave robbers” are stealing the wrought iron to sell.

During the election campaign for Daniel Russell, he was often caricatured in the News & Observer as a hideous creature, sometimes even portrayed with claws, instead of hands.  Russell wasn’t what might be considered a handsome man.  He was tall, and “large boned,” and he did have almost “bugged” eyes, so creating an unpleasant image wasn’t that difficult.  The News & Observer of that time was obviously racist, and pretty unashamedly so… so Charles B. Aycock would not have been an enemy of the publication.

In 1972, when I first attended college at UNC-Chapel Hill, I was housed in Aycock Men’s Dorm.  I was on the 3rd floor and my first roommate was Keith Smith, a UNC Senior.  I only attended UNC-Chapel Hill for two years, before I had to go elsewhere.  Not their fault, but mine… being a Fall partier, that in my last weeks, became a Spring partier, and an “almost every night of the week” drinker.

During the warmer times of the year, when we had our windows open, my third roommate, who’s name I do not recall (but he was a young, accomplished tennis player with Arthur Ashe composite rackets), and who loved to put strings of profanity together, would call out of the window, “Lewis… Lewis… Lewis,”  (getting louder with each call) and finally from across the quad, a male voice from Lewis Dorm would respond, “What”.   And, to which my roommate, and later myself would reply, “Eat Shit!”  Funny what entertains one in college.

Writing this also reminds me that we rarely had our 3rd floor window closed, and that was because during warmer days, we needed the breeze, and during colder times, our uncontrollable radiator put out more than enough heat (too much) to have the window closed.  *I do recall a few days, with snow on the ground that we finally closed the window.

Aycock Dorm was eventually combined with the next door, women’s dorm (I don’t recall that name.) physically, with the small space between the two buildings being built in & bricked.  *I also recall that years after attending classes, but before the buildings being connected, I parked my car and walked into the dorm.  i started upstairs, and made it all the way to the 3rd floor doors before realizing that the dorm had been converted to a women’s facility.  The cute little door message board was the dead giveaway of the change.

On those times when I travel between Fayetteville and Greenville, I am reminded of Governor Aycock as I near his birthplace, which is a State preserved/run Park.  Wonder if eventually someone will think to try and stop State funding for the Aycock Birthplace.

In reading about Daniel L. Russell and Charles B. Aycock, even though one was a Republican and the other a Democrat, they both were friendly and respected one another.  I seem to recall that they amicably rode a train together, and when Russell left the Governor’s Mansion, he left the place in good condition, and well stocked for food… not as Russell’s predecessor had, leaving the Mansion with a bare pantry and strewn on the lower floor with empty liquor bottles.

Turkish Glass

7918179770_579b9727e6_zI found two of these glass tumblers at an antiques store in New Bern, NC.  They were the first two things my eyes focused on as I entered the door.  I went to them immediately and took the two of them up to the checkout counter, and then spent about another hour looking through the rest of the store.  I recall that the clerk took off about a $1 per glass, and they weren’t expensive.  Very pretty gold rim.  They are slightly smaller than the Libby Catawba glasses I have (of which all but about two have been broken in my dishwasher).  51VVR1CKTWL

Han Kuk Mi Sushi Rice

RBSushiRiceI first bought this at a Korean Market, and lately at another Oriental Grocery.  This rice cooks really quickly and I like its sticky  texture when it is cooked.  You can refrigerate the cooked rice, but it becomes mealy tasting unless you reheat it and then it is okay.

To 1 cup of rice, you add 1.25 cups of water, bring to a boil, and then low heat to finish, which is less than 10 minutes (it seems).

I don’t use this with Sushi, but it is good with Country Ham, or as a base for my curried or hot salsa-ed chicken dishes.

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Roasted Garlic

Roasted-Garlic-Olive-OilAlthough I’ve roasted garlic at home, it is normally much easier to buy it at the Whole Foods along with an assortment of olives.

I add several cloves of roasted garlic to my homemade hummus and blend it up with lime juice, turmeric, whole cumin seeds, olive oil and salt & pepper.  *I might add fresh basil or Italian parsley if I want the hummus to have a green hue.

Fresh basil, roasted garlic, anchovies, some olive oil & salt & pepper in my small processor makes a delicious topping for a steak.

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Gingered Pork Chops

ginger-jarThis is not from a recipe and was prompted because I had bought a small jar of minced ginger.  I bought a package of bone-in pork chops, and put three in a large frying pan, with some olive oil.  I then placed a dollop of minced ginger on each chop and spread it out.  I sprinkled some garlic powder on each chop, and then salt & pepper.  I finally came back with some lime juice over each chop.  I used a little Equal for sweetening.  Sometimes, I might add a little Agave Nectar for sweetness.  I didn’t turn the chops over and cooked them for several minutes on a medium-low heat.  There was enough juice so they did not dry out during the cooking process.

I was very pleased with the outcome.


I had some asparagus spears in the refrigerator, so I pulled them out and steamed them, added a little salt & butter, and had them with re-heated ginger pork chops.  The flavors worked well together.

Some years ago, I found a steamer insert for my Revere Ware pot.  I use it for asparagus, broccoli and carrots.  As mentioned elsewhere, the lids for my Guy Fieri cookware fit my old Revere Ware pots & pans, and this steamer insert fits the GF pot also.


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