Recipe

Recipe: Crockpot Italian Chili for Cold Days and Nights

This recipe I came up with by mistake. I was planning on making plain old vegetarian chili, but after I got back from the store I realized I was missing the main ingredient: Chili powder. How did I not have chili powder? Have you seen my spice drawer??

spice drawer

Anyway, I did not want to go back out in the cold—it’s too cold in Austin right now. I know. I know. Us Southerners can’t take the cold. That’s why we live here!

So, I decided to take the recipe I had and use the seasoning I had on hand, which were mainly Italian spices and it turned out really well.

So, here you go: Crockpot Italian Chili for Cold Days and Nights

Crockpot Italian ChiliCrockpot Italian Chili for Cold Days and Nights

  • 1/2 onion diced
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 large can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can red kidney beans
  • 1 packet of Grill Mates tomato, garlic and basil marinade (or make your own seasoning with  a mix of basil, oregano and garlic powder)
  • Salt to taste

Pasta (optional): Choose a pasta, such as angel hair, and cook according to directions just before serving chili.

Optional toppings:

  • Grated cheese
  • Sour cream

Throw in all ingredients in a crockpot, except toppings, and mix well. Leave in for 3 hours to do its thing. Serve in bowl over pasta and serve with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt and grated cheese (if using). Serve with crackers, cornbread or your bread of choice.

Notes: You can saute the onions in garlic before adding if you want, but I found the onions turned out well without this extra step.

I ate the chili with and without the pasta and loved it both ways, so it just depends on whether you want it to feel like a spaghetti sauce or more of an nontraditional chili.

This recipe is sure to warm your spirits on a cold day and the smell in your home as go you about your chores is wonderful. Enjoy!

Elsie Larson’s Vanilla Whiskey Holiday Cocktail

By Antonio F Delgado

Every month, the Austin Food Bloggers Alliance sends out a challenge to its members. This month, AFBA called us to create a cocktail. This was a challenge that the Spooners could take on!

Tiffany sent me an email with Elsie Larson’s Vanilla Bean Whiskey Cocktail. I am a huge fan of Elsie and her husband, Jeremy. Elsie and her sister do a great job posting photos, recipes and crafts, while her husband crafts musical gems in Sucre, his solo project, Jeremy Larson; and strings behind Switchfoot and MuteMath. One day, I will gift myself a Full-On-Jeremy-Larson-Takeover. And I digress to fan-dom.

After looking over the recipe, I realized that I have two ways of making cocktails.

  1. Like A College Student – Using traditional mixers. ie. Coke, Tonic, Soda
  2. Like A Refined Gentleman – Drinking my whiskey neat.

I do enjoy heading out to a bar with a great mixologist and having them make me their house special. However, I hadn’t taken this practice home with me until now.

Note 1: Elsie’s cocktail calls for vanilla-infused whiskey. We did not take the mere 24-48 hours to infuse our whiskey due to deadline, but we do recommend it.

Note 2: For some reason, Dr. McGillicuddy’s Raw Vanilla is unavailable in Austin. After several trips to Specs, we learned that only Specs on Airport Boulevard has Dekuyper Vanilla available. In addition, I had a rep at my neighborhood liquor store mention vanilla extract as a suitable replacement. Don’t do it. It makes your drink look murky and unappealing.

A Beautiful Mess’ Vanilla Whiskey Cocktail

The Spooners made 2 alterations to this cocktail due to our lack of time and some ingenuity.

  • 2 ounces whiskey
  • 1/2 an ounce  vanilla liqueur
  • 2 dashes aromatic cocktail bitters
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh orange juice
  • star anise
  • small dash of fresh vanilla bean

We found that fresh orange juice compliments the star anise beautifully.

Directions: Gather all of the ingredients into a shake. Cover Shaker. Shake vigorously. Serve with a new star anise, not the broken one from the shaker. Enjoy with friends and show them that you are classy.

Note 3: Due to the fact that Antonio and his roommates at the Baylor House are bachelors, none of the glassware matches in these photos.

Note 4: Jack Daniel’s did not sponsor this post, but if they would like to make a donation to OhSpooning, we will gladly accept. We Spooners aren’t too cheap to beg.

Here’s a link to the original post and recipe: http://www.abeautifulmess.com/2013/12/vanilla-bean-whiskey-cocktail.html