Recipes, Uncategorized

Christmas Carols and Two Chilis

We just got back from a weekend trip which allowed us some quality family driving time. I didn’t mind much because it gave us 6 hours (each way) of  uninterrupted radio Christmas music.

Is it me, or are there more sad songs this year? Sure, there’s Christmas Shoes.(Last year, it was touching, but this year, it’s just annoying.  I’m sorry, but why can’t the sales person just buy the shoes for the kid?)

Then there’s All I Really Want for Christmas, which is about a kid who wants to be adopted. And there’s The Heart of Christmas, which was inspired by a true story about a family who wanted their son to experience one more Christmas before he died. They’re killing me!  Now I have to have tissue handy when I’m listening to the radio. What ever happened to Holly Jolly Christmas?

The trip also brought out some healthy competition between my husband and me. The challenge was to see who could come up with the correct artist we heard singing. I beat him with the Perry Como’s Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.  I had an advantage here. I can still remember watching the Andy Williams and Perry Como Christmas specials on TV as a kid (a very young kid).

We had a draw on The Christmas Song (aka Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire Song). For some reason I thought it was Johnny Mathis and my husband claimed Harry Belafonte. Harry Belafonte? Paleeze!

We were both wrong – it was Nat King Cole. Of course! I can’t believe I blew that one!

These songs brought back some really great memories. I can clearly remember hearing these crooners playing on my grandpa’s stereo which took up almost one entire wall in my grandparent’s house. Bing, The Ray Conniff Singers, Dean Martin…man, I’m old.

My kids heard Gene Autry singing Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer and said he was singing it wrong. If they only knew…

Tell me your favorite Christmas song and have a yourself a merry little Christmas!

I promised two chili recipes and here they are. They can both be cooked in the slow cooker for two-three hours or in the dutch oven on top of the stove. Both of these chili recipes can be used to make Frito Pie.

Ground Chuck Chili


1 ½ pounds of ground chuck

1 small onion, diced

½ cup green bell pepper, diced

1 can of diced fire roasted tomatoes

1 can of red kidney beans

1 teaspoon of cumin

1 teaspoon of chili powder

1 package of chili seasoning

1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes

1 cup of beef broth (give or take depending on amount of liquid desired)

Salt and pepper to taste

Brown the ground chuck with the onion and green pepper. Add the cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, package of chili seasoning, and ¼ cup of the beef broth. Simmer for about five minutes. Add the remaining broth and other ingredients. Transfer the chili to a slow cooker and cook for two to three hours on low or continue to simmer in a dutch oven on top of the stove for 30-40 minutes. Serve  with grated cheese on top.

Super Simple Chicken Chili

2 cups of rotisserie chicken, diced

1 small onion, diced

½ cup green bell pepper, diced

1 can of diced fire roasted tomatoes

1 can of red kidney beans

1 can of navy beans

1 can of corn (optional)

1 teaspoon of cumin

1 teaspoon of chili powder

1 package of chicken chili seasoning

1 cup of chicken broth (give or take depending on amount of liquid desired)

Salt and pepper to taste

Sauté the onion and green bell pepper in a little butter until soft. Add all ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on high for two-three hours.  Check after an hour, and if bubbling, turn it down to low.

Lessons Learned, Recipes

Pet Peeves and Frito Pie

One of my pet peeves is when someone decides to be at the same exact store at the exact moment when I decide to go to the store looking like a mess (no makeup, crazy hair, stain on jacket, etc. ). And to make matters worse, on the way out I run into another person I know. It’s as if person #1 called to inform person #2 of my unfortunate condition and called her to come see for herself.

Another of my pet peeves is when someone sabotages my plan to get in shape.

I’ve finally committed to eating better (this has nothing to do with wanting to live longer, I just want to fit into my pants again) and I am actually sticking to a diet and doing really well, when my very evil son talks me into making Oreo and cream cheese balls covered in white chocolate. Being the weakling I am, I oblige.

I’ve got a whole list of pet peeves, but these are the ones that peeved me today.


I guess it’s possble that I could be thankful that I have a job, which allows me to afford the trip to the store (where I encounter that friend) and…

I’m pretty sure my twelve-year-old son won’t always think it’s fun to spend time with me in the kitchen.

And I can always start that diet tomorrow. I really could, but…

in addition to the Oreo and cream cheese balls covered in white chocolate, he wants frito pie. I do make a good frito pie.

Oreo and Cream Cheese Balls

Use your food processor to finely chop an entire bag of Oreos. Mix the crumbs with a softened large block of cream cheese. Mix together with your hands. (Then lick hands.) Shape into 1/2 – 1 inch balls.  Place in the freezer to harden.

Melt one bag of white chocolate chips in a sauce pan while constantly stirring. Dip the Oreo balls in the chocolate and place on wax paper. Freeze for a least 3o minutes. (And in case you’re wondering…yes, there were several inappropriate comments made by my husband and kids as they enjoyed this treat.)

Note: white chocolate bark is easier to work with than chips, and the end result is prettier. (Jennifer, thanks for giving Jake the idea. If your recipe is different, please share it!)

Frito Pie

Make your best chili. Line the bottom of an oven-safe dish with fritos (I use about 1/2 of the bag and a large dutch oven). Pour the warm chili over the fritos. Top with 1 cup of shredded cheese. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the pie is bubbling. Serve with some fritos on top.

Note: if your chili is made with water, use beef stock instead. This will kick any recipe up a notch. (I’ll include a couple of chili recipes in a future post.)