Cranberry & Lemon Squares

I love cranberries! I remember years ago my Mom and I took a trip to Nantucket during harvest season and saw the bogs and ate everything cranberry. We even grabbed a few from the bog and ate them.  Not only are they delicious they’re good for you!

For Thanksgiving (in addition to the Caprese Platter,  Potato Bites and Kalamata olive crostini) I brought this as a dessert. Wow-what a taste!! Slightly tart from the cranberry and lemon, slightly sweet from the sugar-but just right all around. I added a bit more cranberries and lemon zest than the original recipe from

I didn’t take a photo of the dish. It was late on Thanksgiving and it looked so good that I totally forgot all about the photo. But let me explain: they’re nice squares with crust on the bottom, a layer of cranberries and then crust dotted on top.

Cranberry & Lemon Squares

Ingredients for the crust:

  • 3 cups AP flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • zest of one lemon
  • 8 ozs (2 stick) very cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp-1/4 cup very cold water

Ingredients for the filling:

  • 1 12-14 oz package frozen cranberries
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 tbsp corn starch
  • juice and zest of one lemon


Preheat oven to 375.  Line a 9×13 baking dish with parchment paper (i put little pieces of tape on all 4 sides to keep it in place-but don’t forget to remove them before you put it in the oven!!) leaving a bit of an overhang to grab and remove the contents out of the pan after baking.

In the bowl of a food processor add the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and lemon zest. Pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until dough is crumbled into small pieces.

Move the dough into the bowl of a stand mixer and mix in the egg and vanilla extract. Add water 1 tbsp at a time until dough comes together.

Press half of the dough into the bottom of the baking dish.   Keep the remainder handy to use for the topping.

In a medium bowl combine the sugar and cornstarch then add the cranberries and lemon juice and stir to coat cranberries evenly. Port the contents of the bowl evenly over the crust in the baking dish and sprinkle with the zest.

Crumble the remaining dough over the top of the cranberries.

Bake for 30-35 minutes until the top and sides are brown.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely (I put the baking dish outside on a cooling rack as it was chilly and it cooled quickly). Once cooled lift the entire contents out of the dish using the parchment paper ends, cut into squares and serve.


Caprese Salad Platter

One of my great loves is fresh mozzarella cheese. I have a store by me that makes it by hand every morning and, if I stop in on the way to work, when I buy it it’s still warm. Yummy!!!

To me that delicious cheese, really sweet ripe tomatoes, balsamic glaze, olive oil and basil make one of the most perfect combinations known to woman (and man too!).  These small one-bite sizes are perfect for appetizers for parties etc… and because the balsamic glaze is thick it doesn’t drip like the plan balsamic vinegar.

This platter is such a snap to put together. I often bring it to other places and just assemble it there. Cut up the cheese and tomatoes as instructed below, put olive oil in one small container (or ziplock baggie) and do the same with the balsamic glaze. Tote along some basil and toothpicks and a small platter and off you go. Easy peasy.  I brought this to my Mom’s for Thanksgiving along with the Loaded Potato Bites and Kalamata Olive and Tomato Crostini.

Caprese Salad

  • 1 ball of fresh salted mozzarella-about 1 lb
  • 1 pint of grape tomatoes
  • a few basil leaves, cut into small shreds
  • 2-3 tbsp very high-quality olive oil
  • 2-3 tbsp very high-quality balsamic glaze
  • toothpicks

Take the  mozzarella ball and cut off the rounded sides so that you are left with a square or rectangle that will easily be cut into cubes (eat the rounded pieces that you cut off:).  Cut the remaining cube of cheese into small 1/2×1/2 inch cubes.

Cut each tomato in half the short way.

With a toothpick spear a piece of the tomato then the mozzarella. Repeat with remaining cheese and tomatoes and place them on the platter.   Sprinkle with the basil and then the olive oil and balsamic glaze.

Tips: if you are prepping the cheese and tomatoes at home you can put the cubed cheese in an airtight container for a day or 2.  For the tomatoes keep the pint container, rinse it out, and when you have the tomatoes halved put them back into the pint container. Place a folded paper towel in a small plastic container in which the pint container can fit into. This will keep the tomatoes from getting soggy and if juices come out the paper towel will absorb them. I don’t suggest keeping the pre-cut tomatoes around too long-a few hours at the most.

Baked Potato Soup-slow cooker

The really chilly weather is here and I’ve been looking for a great potato soup recipe. I came across Pink Parsley’s recipe and adjusted it a bit to lessen the calories and also more to my taste. I used light cream and light cheese. It came out so well and even better-it’s lighter! Below is my version. This soup is FABULOUS!!! It’s really easy to make and you can adjust the toppings to whatever you’d like. Make it SOON!! You’ll be happy you did!

Baked Potato Soup

  • 1 large onion, chopped small
  • 2 tbsp bacon grease (I keep some in the fridge. If you don’t cook the bacon for the toppings and keep 2 tbsp in the pan)
  • 5 small-medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tbsp AP flour
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 lbs Russet potatoes (about 4), peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 8oz light sharp cheddar cheese, grated, (do not use pre-grated)
  • 3oz light colby jack cheese, grated, (do not use pre-grated)
  • 1/2 cup of light cream
  • 1/2 cup of light sour cream
  • 2 tsp kosher salt, divided
  • 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, divided


  • light sharp cheddar cheese, grated (do  not use pre-grated)
  • sliced scallions
  • crispy bacon pieces
  • light sour cream

Place 2 tbsp bacon grease in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until browned.  Then add the garlic, thyme, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper.  Cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes until everything becomes fragrant. Then stir in the flour, stir it constantly for a minute or so until the flour is no longer white. Then stir in one cup of the chicken broth, scraping up the bits on the bottom of the pan, until the mixture has thickened. Then pour it into the slow cooker.

To the slow cooker add the remaining 3 cups chicken broth, all of the potatoes, 3/4 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper. Cover and cook on low for 5 hours.

After 5 hours test a piece of potato to make sure it’s cooked through. If not cook it for a bit longer, until they’re to desired texture.  When the potatoes are done cooking place 3 cups (without liquid) into a bowl, add the light cream, and mash until smooth. Add them back into the slow cooker, stir in the sour cream and cheddar cheese. Cook for another 10 minutes or until the cheese is melty and has come together.  You can cook the bacon for the topping during the last 10 minutes.

Serve hot topped with sour cream, grated cheese, scallions and bacon bits or anything else you’d like on top.

Other topping ideas: crispy pancetta, a squirt of Dijon mustard, chives, creme fraiche–whatever you like!

Loaded Potato Bites

This is another dish that I brought to my Mom’s for Thanksgiving (with the Kalamata Olive and Sun-Dried Tomato Crostini). This can be served as an app or an accompanyment to the main dish. Since we did a buffet-style I set these out for dinner like a make-your-own with the potato cakes on one plate and bacon pieces, shredded cheese, sour cream and chopped scallions for people to top their own. The cakes were very easy to make and they were delicious. I made them at home on Thanksgiving morning then let them cool on paper towels and then brought them to my Mom’s and reheated in a baking dish in the oven.  I didn’t have time to fancy up the plate as people had already started eating, but you get the idea below with the plate of cakes and toppings around it in the background. The cakes came out to be about 2 inches wide and 1/2 inch thick.  The recipe made about 25 give or take a few.

Loaded Potato Bites

Potato Cakes

  • Instant Mashed Potatos-1 packet.
  • Any ingredients needed on the packet to make the potatoes
  • 2/3  cup Colby Jack cheese, grated. Do NOT use pre-grated.
  • 1.5 cup Panko Breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tbsp chives, chopped very small


  • 3 scallion bunches, chopped small, for topping
  • 6 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled, for topping
  • 1 small container of Fat Free Sour Cream, for topping
  • 3/4 cup colby-jack cheese, grated. Do NOT use pre-grated.

In a large bowl mix all ingredients for the Potato Cakes above (including the ingredients for the potato packet) until well incorporated.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat, spray with cooking spray, take about a walnut-sized bit of the potato mixture, roll it into a ball and flatten it evenly. Place in pan. Repeat until there are a few in the pan-but you’ll have room to flip them over. Cook on both sides, place on paper towels to cool OR on a plate in the oven to keep warm at a low temperature. Repeat until all of the cakes are cooked.

Serve them warm either topped or not and let your guests top them as they like.


Kalamata Olive and Sun-Dried Tomato Crostini

So Thanksgiving has come and gone. For this year my Mom (who always hosts it and does a great job) thought it would be fun to do more of a buffet with everyone bringing a few dishes in addition to a turkey and reguar side dishes. It worked out so well. I brought a few apps and a dessert. Everything came out great!!

These were SO easy to make and everyone loved them. The olives and  tomatoes spread over a thin layer of the cheeses were just enough. I opted to use a package of small toasts but you could easily use thin slices of french bread too, just dry it out in the oven for a while first.  Since I was making other dishes using the toasts saved me a lot of  time and they were the perfect 2 bite size.

Kalamata Olive and Sun-Dried Tomato Crostini

  • One package of toasts
  • 5oz Feta Cheese
  • 5oz Light Cream Cheese
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 5oz Kalamata Olives, pitted, chopped
  • 5oz Sun-Dried Tomtoes, chopped

In a bowl combine the feta and cream cheese.

Place garlic, olives and tomatoes in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the desired consistancy is reached.

Right before serving spread a thin layer of the cheese on a toast and spoon a bit of the olive/tomato mixture on top.  Repeat with as many as you want to serve.

Helpful hints:  have the cheese spread at room temp-it’s much easier to spread that way. Make up only as many as will be eaten in a short time as over time the cheese does make the bread a little soft.

I made both the cheese mix and olive mix the day before and kept it in the fridge overnight.

Chicken Enchiladas-a lighter version

I’ve made many chicken enchilada recipies over the years. I found this one on the Cook’s Illustrated website and decided to give it a try. The flavor was great. The recipe stated that it made 12 enchiladas but I ended up with only 10. I’ve adapted it to my own taste.

Make sure that the cooked chicken is finely shredded, or the edges of large pieces will tear through the tortillas. Serve these enchiladas with lime wedges, low-fat sour cream, sliced avocado, shredded lettuce, and hot sauce.

Chicken Enchiladas-a lighter version


  • 1 medium onion, chopped fine
  • 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • Salt
  • 5 medium garlic cloves minced or pressed through a garlic press
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 cans (8 ounces each) tomato sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 large breasts), trimmed of excess fat
  • Ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces 50 percent light cheddar cheese, shredded (2 cups)
  • 1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilis
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro plus extra for garnish
  • 10 (6-inch) soft corn tortillas
  • Vegetable cooking spray
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges (for serving)
  • light sour cream (for serving)
  • avocado (for serving)


  1. 1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine the onion, oil, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large saucepan. Cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the onions have softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic, chili powder, cumin, and sugar, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomato sauce and water, bring to a simmer, and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
  2. 2. Nestle the chicken into the sauce. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the chicken is no longer pink in the center, and the thickest part registers 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate; set aside to cool. Strain the sauce through a medium-mesh strainer into a medium bowl, pressing on the onions to extract as much liquid as possible. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. 3. Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred into bite-sized pieces. Toss together the shredded chicken, 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce, 1 cup of the cheddar, the jalapeños, and cilantro, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. 4. Stack the tortillas on a microwave-safe plate, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave on high until warm and pliable, 40 to 60 seconds. Spread the warm tortillas out over a clean work surface. Place 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture evenly down the center of each tortilla. Tightly roll each tortilla around the filling and lay them seam-side down in a 13 by 9-inch baking dish.
  5. 5. Lightly spray the tops of the enchiladas with vegetable oil spray. Pour 1 cup of the remaining sauce over the enchiladas to coat them thoroughly. Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup cheddar down the center of the enchiladas. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake until the enchiladas are heated through, 20 to 25 minutes.
  6. 6. Remove the foil and continue to bake until the cheese browns, about 5 minutes longer. Serve, passing the remaining 1 cup sauce and the lime wedges separately.

Chicken Bites with Tangy Honey Mustard Sauce

What yummy little bites!! The coating on these bites are a combination of buttery Ritz Crackers, walnuts and panko so they’re tasty and crispy. The honey mustard sauce is tangy, sweet and has a touch of heat. All around they’re delicious. They’re really easy to make and came together in about 30 minutes-start to finish.

Chicken Bites with Tangy Honey Mustard Sauce

For the marinade:

  • a few tbps soy sauce (for marinade)
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed (for marinade)
  • 1/2 nip bottle scotch (for marinade)

For the chicken:

  • 3 chicken breasts (just over 1lb.) cut into 2-bite size pieces
  • 1/2 sleeve Ritz Crackers, crushed into tiny pieces
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, put through food processor to a fine grain
  • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup flour

For the honey mustard dipping sauce:

  • 6 tbsp light mayonnaise
  • 4 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 4 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • cayenne pepper-to taste
  • chipotle powder-to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

In a ziplock bag large enough to hold all chicken and marinade add all marinade ingredients and let it sit while you prepare the breading and honey mustard sauce.

Place crushed Ritz Crackers (a potato masher or food processor works well), walnuts and panko into a bowl. Place eggs in a 2nd bowl. Place flour in a 3rd bowl. Line them up in assembly line fashion: flour, eggs, breadcrumbs.

For the sauce: combine all ingredients in a small bowl and stir to combine. Throw it in the fridge to cool until the chicken is finished baking. (Note: the measurements above are to taste-if you like more honey-add more, if you like less mustard-add less.)

Roll chicken pieces through flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs and arrange on a cookie sheet. Bake in the oven for about 15-18 minutes (depending on how thick the pieces are) until done, flipping once during baking.

Serve with the dipping sauce. They’d also be great with Thai Sweet Chili Sauce, BBQ sauce or some ranch dressing with hot sauce.

Slightly adapted from Mary Ellen’s recipe.


Thanks for hosting the swap Sarah!

Lasagna Carnivale

What a fun name!! This lasagna uses a basic marinara sauce and small meatballs instead of a meat sauce. Those along with fresh mozzarella and grated parmesan-it’s a winner. Also it came out pretty light compared to most other lasagnas. Usually when there’s no ricotta a bechamel sauce is used-this one doesn’t have that-perhaps that’s why. It was delicious.

I have always had a love/hate thing with lasagna. Since I’ve never been able to digest-either mentally or digestively- (what I call) ‘tub ricotta’ I was always disappointed to see, more often than not, that a lasagna had 60% tub ricotta and 40% other ingredients. Yuck.  Imagine my absolute glee when I went to Rome and found a cute restaurant serving lasagna-sans ricotta-which, apparently, is the way it’s made there.  Oh happy day!!! That was my first visit in 2008 and during 2 visits since then I’ve never ever seen ricotta put into lasagna. That’s not to say I’ve visited every home and restaurant in the great country, just an observation of the ones I have.  In fact, in Castelvetrano in Sicily, at my husband’s aunt’s families house, we ate it served warm and fresh right out of the pot on toasted bread for breakfast. YUM!! Since then I’ve become addicted to the fresh stuff and other versions-smoked ricotta, ricotta salata etc… So, in my opinion, people are nuts for buying a 3lb tub of mediocre mass-produced not-fresh stuff rather than heading to their local store and ponying up a bit more $ for the great fresh stuff. It makes such a monumental difference. (It’s on my ‘to do’ list to make it myself as well but I haven’t gotten that far yet.) But since there’s no ricotta in this recipe it doesn’t matter in the slightest. I just felt like explaining all of this 🙂

So here you have it:

Lasagna Carnivale

Why this recipe works:

A combination of fresh whole-milk mozzarella and Parmesan or Pecorino Romano kept our Lasagna de Carnevale recipe moist but not watery. For more even layering, we made mini meatballs, which we baked on a baking sheet in a hot oven, and then added straight to the sauce. To simplify our Lasagna de Carnevale’s sauce without sacrificing consistency, we simmered canned crushed tomatoes to our desired consistency. Finally, we used our cheese layer as the final topping to keep the lasagna from drying out as it cooked

Do not substitute no-boil noodles for the traditional noodles here; they will not work in this dish. The size of the noodles varies by brand; if the noodles are short (such as DeCecco) you will layer them crosswise in the dish, but if they are long (such as Barilla and Ronzoni) you will layer them lengthwise in the dish. Regardless of which brand of noodle you are using, there should be 3 noodles per layer.


  • 1 pound 85 percent lean ground beef
  • 6 ounces Parmesan cheese or Pecorino Romano cheese, freshly grated (3 cups). Don’t use pre-grated.
  • 1/2 cup plain dried bread crumbs
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh basil or parsley leaves
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1/2 onion, chopped small.
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 12 dried lasagna noodles(see note)
  • 1 pound fresh whole-milk mozzarella cheese, shredded (4 cups). Do not use pre-shredded.


  1. 1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 450 degrees. Spray a large rimmed baking sheet with vegetable oil spray. Mix the beef, 1 cup of the cheese, bread crumbs, eggs, 5 tablespoons of the basil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper together in a large bowl using your hands until uniform.
  2. 2. Pinch off grape-size pieces of the mixture, roll them into small meatballs, and arrange on the prepared baking sheet. Bake the meatballs until just cooked through and lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the meatballs to a paper towel–lined platter and set aside. Reduce the oven to 400 degrees.
  3. 3. Meanwhile, heat the oil, onion and garlic in a medium saucepan over medium heat until the garlic starts to sizzle, about 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, 10 to 15 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the remaining 3 tablespoons basil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the meatballs and cover to keep warm.
  4. 4. Bring 4 quarts water to a boil in a large pot. Stir in 1 tablespoon salt and noodles and cook, stirring often, until al dente. Drain and rinse the noodles under cold water. Spread the noodles out in a single layer over clean kitchen towels. (Do not use paper towels; they will stick to the noodles.)
  5. 5. Spray a 13 by 9-inch baking dish with vegetable oil spray. Smear 3 tablespoons of the tomato sauce (without any meatballs) over the bottom of the pan. Layer 3 noodles into the pan; the noodles can touch but not overlap. Spread about 11/2 cups of the tomato sauce with meatballs evenly over the noodles. Sprinkle evenly with 1 cup of the mozzarella and 1/2 cup of the Parmesan.
  6. 6. Repeat the layering of noodles, tomato sauce with meatballs, and cheeses twice more. For the final layer, cover the noodles with the remaining 1 cup mozzarella and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan.
  7. 7. Bake until the filling is bubbling and the cheese is spotty brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Let the lasagna cool for 10 minutes before serving.
  8. TO MAKE AHEADThe lasagna can be assembled through step 5, then covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Remove the plastic wrap and cover the lasagna tightly with aluminum foil that has been sprayed with vegetable oil spray (or use nonstick foil). Bake the lasagna covered for 10 minutes, then remove the foil and continue to bake as directed in step 6.Here’s the meatballs in the sauce.

    Slightly adapted from Cook’s Illustrated.

Tuscan Cannellini Bean Soup-slow cooker

Well, 10 days after hurricane Sandy a snowy nor’easter showed up. I was SO glad that I had prepped some of the ingredients for this soup days before and then put it in the slow cooker in the morning before I left for work. Having a delicious soup waiting for me after work on a dark snowy night was great.

I like this recipe for many reasons. 1) it’s from Cook’s Illustrated so you know it will work  2) there aren’t really many ingredients  3) you can prep some of the ingredients days before  and then throw it together in 5 minutes  4) it was really really tasty!!!

Note: if you’re using dried beans you’ll have to soak them overnight.

Tuscan Cannellini Bean Soup


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 6 ounces pancetta, minced
  • 3 medium onions, minced
  • 8 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 8 teaspoons)
  • Salt
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 pound dried cannellini beans (2 1/4 cups), picked over, rinsed, soaked overnight, and drained
  • 1 Parmesan cheese rind
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • Ground black pepper
  • Grated Parmesan cheese (for serving)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil (for serving)


  1. 1. Heat the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering but not smoking. Add the pancetta and cook until golden, about 10 minutes. Stir in the onions, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook until the onions are softened and lightly browned, 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. 2. Transfer the pancetta and onion mixture to the slow cooker insert and stir in the water, broth, beans, Parmesan rind (if using), bay leaves, and pepper flakes until evenly combined. Cover and cook on low until the beans are tender, 10 to 12 hours. (Alternatively, cover and cook on high for 8 to 9 hours.)
  3. 3. Add the rosemary sprig, cover, and continue to cook until lightly fragrant, about 15 minutes longer. Remove and discard the bay leaves, rosemary, and Parmesan rind (if using). Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste, and serve, sprinkling individual portions with the Parmesan and olive oil (if desired).

So the shortcut: cook up the onion and pancetta a few days beforehand (up to 3), put in an airtight container and put it in the fridge until you’re ready to  make the soup.

MMMM parmesan rind.

Chili in the slow cooker

If you can’t already tell i LOVE LOVE LOVE my new slow-cooker.

I’ve made so many chili recpies over the years but wanted to try a new one and I came across Jimmy Fallon’s chili recipe on Martha Stewart’s website. It was for the slow cooker and sounded pretty good. This is my adaptation. It came out great!! My slow cooker is a 5 quart and this was almost to the top rim so any smaller size cooker will not be good to use.  The recpie called for 12 ozs of amber beer so I bought a pint bottle of one of my favorites as you can see below but you could use any amber beer. The benefit of buying a pint bottle-you get to drink the remaining beer that doesn’t go in the  chili.



Chili in the Slow Cooker


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3.5 lbs ground beef-the leaner the better
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium yellow onion chopped small
  • 1 large shallot chopped small
  • 5 cloves of garlic, finely minced or put through a press
  • 1/2 serrano chile, seeded and finely diced
  • 1/8-1/4 cup chili powder depending on taste preference
  • 2 tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 28oz cans San Marzano tomatoes-if whole chop them up or use diced, with juices
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 12 ozs amber beer, I used Fullers London Pride
  • 1 15oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 8 oz can corn, drained
  • tortilla chips for serving
  • Grated Cheddar Cheese (grate your own) for serving
  • Sour cream for serving
  • Cilantro-fresh chopped for serving
  • 2 cups white rice, prepared as per package directions, to serve underneath chili (my husband’s idea)


  1. In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches if necessary add beef, season with salt and pepper,  and  cook until no longer pink. Transfer beef ot a colander to drain fat. Repeat until all of the beef is cooked.
  2. Reduce heat to medium and add remaining tbsp oilve oil to skillet and add the onions, garlic and serrano, season with salt and cook until translucent.
  3. Add the beef and onion mixture to the slow cooker and stir to combine. Then add the spices and stir to combine. Then add the tomatoes, cilantro and beer. Cover and cook on high, stirring occasionally, for 5 hours.
  4. Add the beans and corn, stir to combine, and cook another 30 minutes. Serve in bowl with desired toppings and/or rice.

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