Notes From Our Nest

A blog about life, love and learning

Chili and Peppermint Brownies

My house smells…weird. I’m making chili and baking ahead for next weekend’s holiday party. Peppermint, chocolate, and chili is not the best combination, but it does smell homey. The peppermint brownies are now done and in the freezer. (Recipe for peppermint brownies: add 1 tsp peppermint extract to Ghiradelli brownie mix. And to Hershey’s fudge frosting)

I don’t follow a recipe for chili. I just kind of dump everything and anything I have on hand into the pot. I learned this technique from my mom. She’s the master of recipe invention/substitution. It’s a great way to clean out your refrigerator and freezer and pantry.

Mix & Match Chili:
Canned tomatoes (any kind you have on hand: roasted, San Marzano, Rotel, stewed, diced, etc.)
Beans, any kind (or not…I’ve even used baked beans and it was delicious)
Any type of protein: ground beef, leftover taco meat, grilled chicken cut into pieces, pulled pork, meatless taco
Any salsa you have on hand (today it’s pineapple!)
chili/taco seasoning (didn’t have much so I used cumin)
tomato paste (left it out today, just simmered a bit longer to reduce the sauce)
some water

(not really my chili...I'm too lazy to upload a pic today)

You get the idea! I basically use up anything we have in our freezer or refrigerator. It almost always turns out delicious. I think that the key to a good chili is to balance the spiciness with something sweet. I’ve added brown sugar, BBQ sauce, pureed carrots, and pumpkin to my chili at one time or another.

I’m serving chili to my hardworking hubby (he’s doing electrical in our utility room remodel today) with pepper jack corn muffins. Yep, just throw some of your favorite cheese into the cornbread mix.

Happy Snowy Chili Day!

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