chili

NATIONAL CHILI DAY

National Chili Day on the fourth Thursday in February honors one of America’s favorite winter dishes–chili. It’s also known as chili con carne (chili with meat). February 27, 2020.

Chili is most commonly made up of tomatoes, beans, chili peppers, meat, garlic, onions, and cumin.  However, cooks offer up so many variations to the basic chili recipe. And, with so many varieties, chili cook-off competitions love to feature chili as a favored entry.  

Crock-Pot SCCPVP600-S Smart-Pot 6-Quart Slow Cooker, Brushed Stainless Steel

by Crock-Pot
Nothing beats coming home after a long day to hot, ready to eat chili.
Nothing beats coming home after a long day to hot, ready to eat chili. Crock-Pot SCCPVP600-S Smart-Pot 6-Quart Slow Cooker, Brushed Stainless Steel

by Crock-Pot

American frontier settlers used a “chili” recipe of dried beef, suet, dried chili peppers and salt. All this was pounded together and formed into bricks and dried. They could then boil the bricks in pots on the trails. 

At the Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893, the San Antonio Chili Stand helped people from all over the United States appreciate the taste of chili.  Because San Antonio was a significant tourist destination, it helped Texas-style chili con carne spread throughout the South and West.  In 1977, House Concurrent Resolution Number 18 of the 65th Texas Legislature designated chili con carne as the official dish of the U.S. state of Texas.

Before World War II, hundreds of small, family-run chili parlors (also known as chili joints) popped up throughout the state of Texas as well as other places in the United States. Each new chili parlor usually claimed some kind of secret recipe. 

Lodge 6 Quart Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven. Classic Red Enamel Dutch Oven (Island Spice Red)

by Lodge
Lodge 6 Quart Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven. Classic Red Enamel Dutch Oven (Island Spice Red)

by Lodge


Ways to enjoy chili

There are many ways that people enjoy the great taste of chili, some of which include:

  • Add chili to hot dogs to create chili dogs.
  • Top burgers with chili and enjoy a chili burgers.
  • Combine chili and cheese with fries and make chili cheese fries.
  • Make the ultimate baked potato by stuffing it with chili.
  • “Frito pie” is chili with spaghetti noodles.
  • Transform mac and cheese into chili mac.
  • Mix rice and chili for another flavor favorite.

HOW TO OBSERVE #NationalChiliDay

There are so many ways to enjoy chili. Just about everyone has their own recipe, too.

Jen’s Easy Chili
White Chicken Chili

Use #NationalChiliDay to post on social media.

Take it for lunch! Sistema Microwave Collection Soup Mug 22.1 oz, Red

by Sistema
Take it for lunch! Sistema Microwave Collection Soup Mug 22.1 oz, Red by Sistema

NATIONAL CHILI DAY HISTORY

Rich Kelly of Hard Times Cafe in Arlington, VA founded National Chili Day. The day has been celebrated with cook-offs, pot lucks, feeds and bottomless bowls since at least 2006. 

Shop Amazon - Gift Cards for Weddings
Shop Amazon – Gift Cards for Weddings

Jen’s Loaded Nachos

I These started out as a great alternative to traditional recipes of tacos, enchiladas, Doritos casserole. They make a great meal, snack, or game day favorite too.I wash mine in the dishwasher and reuse at parties, on special occasions and if it breaks it was disposable to begin with.

Ingredients

2 lbs minced beef or chuck
1 medium yellow onion diced
1/2 medium bell pepper chopped
2 Roma tomatoes diced
Sour cream (we like Daisy in squeezeable application)
Chucky salsa (we like taco bell mild)
1 – 16oz fiesta blend shredded cheese
Guacamole if desired
1 lg bag Tostitos Scoops (you can use any kind of totilla chip you prefer these just make handy cups)
2 pkg McCormick Taco seaoningChopped jalapeno, black olives, melted cheese sauce, are optional.
You can make to many variations to list, including chicken, steak, salsa verde, lime, and anything else you can dream up.  I make mine like our family taco night.Farberware 22001 Buena Cocina Deep Nonstick Frying Pan / Fry Pan / Skillet with Lid and Helper Handle - 12 Inch, Black  by Farberware  Farberware 22001 Buena Cocina Deep Nonstick Frying Pan / Fry Pan / Skillet with Lid and Helper Handle – 12 Inch, Black.    by Farberware

Directions

  • In medium pan, brown ground meat.
  • Drain excess fat
  • Add 1/2 cup water and taco seasoning stirring well to coat meat.
  • Continue over medium heat until water has evaporated.
  • Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  • Chop or dice vegetables as needed. I found a few great shortcuts if there is no one around to help.  You can get shredded iceberg lettuce like the restaurants use in the produce section at your local Walmart. If I don’t have the time the also have pico de gallo instead of dicing onions and tomatoes yourself. They add cilantro and typically Serano peppers. 
  • Spread chips or cups on big tray. 
  • Evenly sprinkle with cooked, seasoned meat, vegetables, cheese and toppings as desired. 
  • Feeding a diverse crew?  Set everything up and let them add their choices as they like them.  This concept also works well for parties and game days too.


Try with a virgin or real margarita and maybe Tres Leche cake for dessert.

Make Warm Memories

On January 7th you can remember the warm, cuddle ups from yesterday. Today you can add even more of those warm memories.  January is National Soup Month, National Slow Cooker Month, and National Sunday Supper Month.

You can enjoy soups, stews and many other great dishes by doing some meal prep and slow cooker days. Nothing is better at the end of a long day in the cold than coming home to comfort foods like Beef Stew, Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup, Everyday Beef Stew, Beef Pepper steak, Minestrone, White Chicken Chili, and even regular Chili. Did I mention lots of these are good for game days as well.

Best of all you can do the prep ahead of time and put it in your Crockpot. Imagine a warm hearty comfort food hot and ready to eat after a long day.

Reynolds Metals Slow Cooker Liners 13"X21" - 3 Pack (12 Liners Total)

by Reynolds Wrap
Reynolds Metals Slow Cooker Liners 13″X21″ – 3 Pack (12 Liners Total)

by Reynolds Wrap


Freezer meals and a crockpot should be among some of your best friends. Any of these family-friendly meals will definitely make National Sunday Supper something to look forward to. These are some of the favorites at our house….

Shepherd’s Pie
Greek Turkey Burgers
Greek Turkey Burgers
Mom’s Pork Roast Dinner


Starting a new semester?  Save big on the textbooks you need.
Starting a new semester?  Save big on the textbooks you need.

NATIONAL KETO DAY

On January 5th kick off your New Year’s resolution with The Keto Diet. The easiest change, and best thing you can do for you and your family.

Okay we’ve all made those resolutions about diet an exercise, now what? I know there are a lot of choices out there. Me I’m staying with what works the best and easiest for me. I lost over 150 lbs after back surgery. My Dr loves this diet now, as I have not only lost weight it keeps my diabetes under control. My husband also a diabetic for years has shown the clinical proof to his Dr as well.

Introducing Prime Pantry - Everyday Essentials Delivered to You
Introducing Prime Pantry – Everyday Essentials Delivered to You

While we are usually, more low carb than strict Keto but so many of the products and recipes work for both. According to the blood work it keeps our overall cholesterol down, bad cholesterol even more and good cholesterol goes up. Blood sugar numbers drop significantly and stay down. In my case it has reversed my type 2 diabetes. Not forgetting the weight loss. One quick note there is a big difference between types if diabetics so please be aware of what type you are, and consult you dr. What works for type 2 could produce bad situations for type 1.

DIRTY, LAZY, KETO: Getting Started: How I Lost 140 Pounds Paperback – September 4, 2018

by Stephanie Laska  (Author), William Laska (Editor)
DIRTY, LAZY, KETO: Getting Started: How I Lost 140 Pounds Paperback – September 4, 2018

by Stephanie Laska  (Author), William Laska (Editor)
Kodiak Cakes On The Go Cups -Variety Pack 12 Different Cups - Try Them All - Plus Unique Magnet

by Kodiak Cakes
Kodiak Cakes On The Go Cups -Variety Pack 12 Different Cups – Try Them All – Plus Unique Magnet

by Kodiak Cakes


So here’s the good news.  You can have things like chicken, steak, eggs and cheeses, some types of vegetables,  even dairy and things like Dark chocolate.  The bad news is just say “no”, to most breads, pasta, sugar, cake and cookies.  There is a small selection of convenience foods out there.  Here in the south one of the biggest complaints is no macaroni and cheese.

With recipes like Garlic Butter Steak bites, and tons more, chances are they won’t be missed as much as you thought. Even Lasagna can be converted to low carb and Keto Friendly. Veggies like cauliflower, zucchini, broccoli, spinach, take over for potatoes and pasta. Be sure to check My Recipes Page often for new culinary creations.

As we do a none strict version we have learned to change out certain ingredients to make them more friendly. Buy Yukon gold or red potatoes instead of Idaho russets, whole wheat pasta for spaghetti, and with store like Amazon Fresh Groceries we are no longer limited to only what’s on your local shelves.

My best secret is join some groups who share their tips and recipes. Choose the version of Keto that works best for you. Your family will join the bandwagon without major tribulations. Most children only notice the absence of sugary sodas and snacks. Best of all these changes will set them on a path to a much healthier, happier life. Try one of our family favorites and start changing your health. Check out some of the great foods now stocked at Walmart.  Zoodles, Whisps, Veggie Tots by Green Giant, Sweet Potato Fries, Kodiak Frozen Waffles and Pancakes, Crepini Egg Thins Cauliflower, Caulipower Frozen Pizza.

I suggest these groups on social media. Some of my favorites on Facebook: Keto for Beginners, Keto for Women Only, Keto Recipes for beginners, and lots more just search for them on your favorite platform.

Find these and other great meals on my Recipe page. They are not all Keto diet but if you just have to cheat or treat yourself you can find a great one here too.

Mushroom Swiss Chicken
Mushroom Swiss Chicken
Garlic Butter Steak bites
Garlic Butter Steak Bites
Deviled Eggs
Deviled Eggs
Jen's Easy Chili
Jen’s Easy Chili

Information provided by National Day Calendar. Check out this and other great holidays throughout the year.

Two of the most significant perks seen with the keto diet are weight loss and healthy blood sugar support. In fact, studies have shown improved glycemic control for those with type 2 diabetes while adhering to a ketogenic diet.

Other health benefits of a keto diet may include healthy cholesterol and blood pressure support. It may also be beneficial for those with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

National Day Calendar
Benefits

Two of the most significant perks seen with the keto diet are weight loss and healthy blood sugar support. In fact, studies have shown improved glycemic control for those with type 2 diabetes while adhering to a ketogenic diet.

Keto Plan

How does the diet work? By eliminating carbohydrates, your body will use up its store of glycogen first. Then it will move into ketosis and begin burning fat.

Primarily, a keto diet consists of healthy fats, like eggs, avocado, olive oil, and sustainably-raised meat. Nuts, seeds, dairy, and low-carbohydrate vegetables such as asparagus, broccoli, and green peppers are also easy to incorporate. Coconut oil, grass-fed butter, and ghee add fat and flavor to a keto diet. Occasionally, small servings of berries are added to the menu.

Eliminate these foods if you are considering a keto diet:

  • sweets, sugar, sodas, baked goods
  • grains, whole grains, and starches
  • fruits, starchy vegetables
  • hydrogenated oils, vegetable oil
  • diet foods, including low sugar, sugar-free, low-fat foods

Fall into Happiness

September is here! I love fall, & not just because pumpkin-spice everything is back on menu’s. (I’m a Cinnamon dolce latte girl.) After the high temperatures of summer in Florida I look forward to cooler breezes blowing through the northwest Florida climate. While our fall runs a much shorter period of time here there are several really good reasons to look ahead.

Take a family camping trip.
Easy fast tent set up
Coleman Cabin Tent with Instant Setup | Cabin Tent for Camping Sets Up in 60 Seconds

by Coleman

Cooler temperatures here means less likely to get a hurricane. That said I know the tropics have just started their fireworks for places along any coastline. While our hearts and minds go out to family, friends, and even strangers as we watch Dorian, we are breathing a small sigh of relief it’s not coming here. I’m a native Florida girl do I have grown up with it just like Californian’s grew up with earthquakes, and others grew up with tornados. Between you and me i’ll take my hurricanes over the others. (We at least get about a weeks warning to get out if it’s going to be really bad.)
Hurricanes – What You Need to Know

Actloe  Actloe Women Cowl Neck Plaid Long Sleeve Pullover Tops Casual Tunic Sweatshirt
Actloe Women Cowl Neck Plaid Long Sleeve Pullover Tops Casual Tunic Sweatshirt

If you never learn anything about how this works, that’s okay. Cool weather means high pressure systems. They repel hurricanes, for the most part. While there can be late season surprises we only need to be hyper vigilant through November. The cooler temps let me unpack my favorite sweaters and even wear a pair of jeans outside without melting. I get to show off my cute boots, make out my birthday wish list, and make cozy comfort food like my easy chili that everyone loves.

Jens easy chili recipe
Jen’s Easy Chili Recipe

With the holiday season not far away I’ve started thinking about the joys of the season, the gifting, I love doing and the way things seem to sparkle under the moon with frost on the ground.

With the hustle if everyday life going full speed ahead I like to remind myself of the simple things that brighten someones day. Seeing others smile pleases me. Especially when I get no credit for it. The season of Thanksgiving is coming but, I like to spread some joy when it’s not expected. A kind word, a cup of hot tea, a child’s excitement, or just the neighbor helping neighbor we see in communities impacted by foul weather. Each of us have the power to make each day a wonderful experience to remember. So jump in the pile of leaves with the kids, dress up for Halloween, volunteer, and brighten the day.

Jen’s Easy Chili

This is fall or winter comfort food everyone looks forward to. If you don’t know this yet I worked in retail for almost 20 years. It makes it challenging to serve a home-cooked meal for dinner. Especially when there are dietary observances in play. I perfected this with the help of my best friend my Crockpot. You can do it on the stove in about an hour if you have to. Letting everything blend over that longer period in the Crockpot, gives it a deeper taste. Again it is really good right off the stove too.

The Ingredients

2 –  lbs ground chuck or beef
2 – 15 oz cans black beans no salt added, drained ( in this instance I buy Great Value or Walmart brand.  There are also less carbs than in other brands)
2 cans Diced Green Chili’s
4 – 14.25oz cans Diced Tomatoes no salt added (great value brand had the least cabs)
2 – 1.25oz pkgs Chili seasoning (pick your favorite brand and heat.  We use mild, either McCormick or Great value)
1 medium onion diced
1/2 medium green pepper diced


Directions

  1. Brown meat, drain if needed.  Leave a little for the onions and green pepper.  Continue cooking till onions become translucent. (I do this night before if using my Crockpot.)
  2. Add green chilis and seasoning mixes with 1/4 cup water.
  3. Once evenly mixed add tomatoes and beans.
  4. Simmer covered on low 20 minutes for stove top, or 4 hours on low in Crockpot.
  5. Serve warm and enjoy. 
  6. We like to top ours with fresh green onion, shredded sharp cheddar, and a spoonful of dour cream.


Nothing beats coming in after a long day to a warm, satisfying, meal.  It’s even better when the temperature drops or rainy evenings. Also goes great with game day and Superbowl!


White Chicken Chili

We had this at a popular restaurant several years ago. It was new and different and we loved it! As it turns out it was rotated off the menu so I came home and started my own copy cat recipe. On a quick trip to a store for something I found a McCormick seasoning for it. I followed their recipe and after many experiments came up with my own simple, restaurant tasting version. Hope you enjoy it as much as we do. This is fabulous any time of year. Especially Fall/Winter.

white-chicken-chili

McCormick makes a spice blend for it.

Jens’ White Chicken Chili

1 pkg boneless, skinless, Chicken Breast or Thighs about 2 – 3 lbs.

2 Cans Great Northern or Navy Beans do not drain

1 can Diced Green Chili’s

2 pkg McCormick White Chicken Chili Seasoning

2 cups heavy cream

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella Cheese + extra for garnish

4 Tablespoons chopped Green Onion (if desired).

Update: 1 – 8oz box cream cheese

1/2 – 8 oz block grated pepper jack cheese

This makes it super creamy. We also added 2 cans cannelli beans. It turned out so good we’re making it an option to the regular recipe.

In large dutch oven style pan, cook chicken until golden on both sides over medium heat. Remove from pan. Cut or shred chicken to bite size pieces approx 1/2 in. Return Chicken to pan. Add diced Green Chili’s and beans with liquid. Mix 2 season pkg with 2 cups heavy cream. Add Cream cheese and grated pepper Jack cheese. Add to pan. Simmer on medium low 10 minutes. Stir occasionally. add 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese. Once cheese melts serve piping hot, garnish with chopped green onions and extra cheese if desired. Keeps well in freezer I recommend a double batch. (One to eat today, one for an easy frozen meal later.)

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