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I love cookin’, and I love hostin’.  Today, I got to do both since we had friends over to watch the Texans play off game.  It was a good time of food and fellowship.

Our menu:

Appetizers: chips and salsa, crackers with your choice of hummus or cream cheese topped with raspberry chipotle sauce, roasted almonds and stufffed jalapenos

Soup of the day: potato leek

Main Course: Chili served over your choice of white rice or fritos and shredded cheddar cheese

Dessert: poor man’s turtles, and vanilla ice cream served in hollowed apples and topped with caramel.

Our friends brought the soup and the stuffed jalapenos which were great additions to the meal!  The appetizers are pretty self explanatory.  So, I will be sharing my chili recipe with you today.  I will also include a quick how-to on the poor man’s turtles and the hollowed apples.

First up…the chili.  I’ve been making chili for years.  The recipe has evolved a little from my mom’s recipe to my own.  Once when looking for inspiration, I googled Paula Deen’s chili recipe, and it turned out our recipes were very similar.  In fact, the only difference is that she includes corn.  So, I was pretty proud of myself for coming up with a recipe that was so close to someone so known for her cooking.  Now, in my best Paula Deen impression, and it’s a really good one since you can’t hear me ;), “Mmmm…y’all, it’s so good.”   Thanks for humoring me.  

Chili Recipe


1 lb. of ground chuck- ground chuck is 80/20 on fat content which is why I like it.  You can buy leaner meat if you prefer.

1 green bell pepper

1 white onion

2 cloves of garlic

1 can diced tomatoes

1 can rotel–I use mild

2 cans ranch style beans

2 TBSP of chili powder

1 TBSP of cumin


Brown the ground meat over medium high heat.  While the meat is browning, chop up the onion, pepper and garlic.  Once meat is browned, scoot it over to one side of the pan and saute the vegetables in the fat.

Drain fat

Add diced tomatoes and the next four ingredients.  Stir well to mix up all of the ingredients.  Bring chili to a bubble over medium high heat.  Once bubbling, reduce heat to medium low and cover to simmer.  Let simmer for about 30 minutes.

Serves 8

How to make Poor Man’s Turtles:

Now, just in case you haven’t heard of poor man’s turtles, you shouldn’t be deprived any longer.  They are so easy to make, very addicting and always a crowd pleaser.  You will need a bag of mini pretzels (the knotted kind, not the sticks), a bag of rolos and a bag of pecan halves.  Preheat oven to 250 degrees.  Lay out pretzels on baking sheet that has been greased.  Top pretzels with a rolo.  Place in oven for 3 minutes. After you take them out of the oven, immediately press pecan halves into rolo.  The rolo will not look melted, but it is, and it will spread out and cover the pretzel.  Place in refrigerator to chill.  Once they are chilled, they are ready to eat.

How to hollow out an apple:

~ wash apples ( you will need one apple per person)

~cut top off of apple

~ use a spoon or melon baller to scoop out apple leaving about a 1/4 to 1/2 inch of apple to serve as a bowl.

~If you are not serving right away, sprinkle with a little lemon to keep from browning and place apple top back on.  Keep in refrigerator until you are ready to scoop ice cream.

~when you are ready for dessert, fill each apple bowl with vanilla ice cream and top with caramel

Enjoy!  It’s fun to eat the apple bowl once your ice cream is all gone.

If you try any of these recipes, I’d love to hear about it!

Until next time,


I’m linking to these fun parties:

Link & Greet @ Momma Cooks

Just Something I Whipped Up @ The Girl Creative

Meet Me Monday @ Your Talking to Much

Take it on Tuesday @ Romance on a Dime