Like I mentioned in my last post, we had some friends over to watch the
Beyonce concert Super Bowl on Sunday night. Chili and baked potatoes are the perfect winter comfort foods, and are pretty low-maintenance when you’re feeding a crowd that includes hungry, burly, football-watching men. 🙂
I love trying new recipes, but I’m always skeptical of trying new things when I have to bring something somewhere, or feed company. Case in point: I made a brownie fruit pizza for my friend Melissa’s baby shower on Sunday, and it was an epic fail, presentation-wise. A brownie crust topped with a cream-cheese frosting and fresh berries – seems pretty foolproof, right? Well, it tasted great, but I think it sat on top of a hot stove for a few minutes before it was served, which caused it to melt. 😦 Look how nice it looked before I brought it to the hall!
Oh well – we still munched on it afterwards, and although it was a gooey mess, it was still delicious!
Anyway, all that said, chili in a Crock Pot is pretty hard to screw up, but I wanted to stick with a pretty basic recipe. However, I have heard (and read) several times that a certain unexpected ingredient adds a great kick to chili – chocolate! I was excited when I found this recipe and picked up everything I needed from the short list of ingredients at the grocery store.
I started the chili on Sunday morning by browning two pounds of ground beef (from Jepson’s Fresh Meats, of course!) with two chopped onions and four cloves of garlic, diced into small pieces.
. . . an 18-ounce can of mixed beans . . .
. . . four additional minced garlic cloves and some spices: three tablespoons of chili powder, a tablespoon of cumin, a teaspoon each of salt and pepper.
And the two ingredients that made the chili stand out – a teaspoon of hot pepper sauce . . .
Give the ingredients a good stir, set the temperature to low and let it simmer away for seven to eight hours!
I have to admit – I’m not a huge chili fan. I already told you about how much I hate tomatoes, and let’s face it – tomatoes are a main component of chili! But this recipe was pretty delicious, and I enjoyed it topped over a hot baked potato. 🙂 The rest of our guests seemed to like it too – I was counting on having leftovers for lunch, but it disappeared! Not that I’m complaining – I think the biggest compliment to any chef is having empty plates and serving dishes!
Alex’s bowl – a blurry picture, since he grabbed the bowl right away to gobble it down!
On to the baked potatoes: no real recipe here, just a bunch of baked potatoes scrubbed and poked, drizzled with olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt and baked at 400 F for about an hour and a half, or until done. I made a whole bunch and baked them in recyclable aluminum trays covered with tin foil for easy cleanup. Serve the potatoes alongside chili with tons of toppings on the side . . .
Sour cream, jalapeno peppers, green onion, bacon bits, broccoli, cheese and salsa . . .
And check out these adorable chocolate-covered strawberries my sweet friend Audrey made! Not a chili topping, but a delicious dessert! 🙂 We also munched on bacon-wrapped water chestnuts, buffalo chicken wing dip, meatballs and nachos. It was a feast, I tell ya, and the perfect Super Bowl (or any!) Sunday meal. I’m still full!