Showing posts with label football. Show all posts
Showing posts with label football. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Tailgater Chili ala the SEC




Ha. Gotcha. It's football season for colleges and the pros. 

For those of you who don't know, my husband is a consultant for college sports, which includes consulting for the Southeastern Conference (SEC), which might have the best tailgating experience in the country because of their fan zeal and great southern cooking.

I've told people he works for the SEC and many have said they didn't know he was in finance.  LOL.  

College sports?  To-o-o-o-otally different. 

Anyway, like I said, it's football season. Which means it's time to have fun stuff to eat at home while watching the games or to eat at the back of your SUV, car, truck, or RV. 

We received a cookbook from Southern Living, which is the Official Tailgating Book SEC. You know right now I'm into cookbooks, right? Why? Because I'm writing the new A COOKBOOK NOOK MYSTERY series. Lately, I've been asking for all sorts of cookbook ideas. 

In fact, I'm starting a contest in January for cookbook names and recipes you love. The winner will win $100 basket in July, when the series debuts. So put your thinking caps on.

Anyway, chile. I love chile. And this recipe from the SEC version of Southern Living was so great, I had to try it...tweaked, of course. I love to tweak. The SEC version had a number of already prepared things. I went au naturel with the beans and more.

By the way, the more CHEESE (can't lose my love of cheese), the merrier. 

And, my second by the way: the salsa is fabulous!!!

Ala Southern Living
The Official Tailgating Book SEC
Makes 8-10 portions

1 large sweet onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups cooked chicken breasts, cubed *
28 ounces chicken broth (gluten-free  used: *Pacific Natural Foods)
1 can chopped green chiles (7 ounces)
3 cups pre-soaked pinto beans (about 1 cup dried, soaked overnight)
(The Southern Living recipe called for 3 cans (16 ounces) navy beans.
I couldn’t find them and prefer fresh, which are so easy to do.)
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin powder
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon garlic salt or onion powder
(This recipe called for a package white chicken chili seasoning mix. I couldn’t find that so I concocted my own mixture of spices)

Toppings: sour cream, Monterey Jack cheese, Avocado-Mango Salsa

I love a slow cooker. Though this recipe did not call for it, I poured everything but the beans into the slow cooker. I mashed one cup of the beans (in a food processor) to a pulp, then added the beans and pulp into the slow cooker.

I set the cooker on low for 4 hours. Then I turned it up to medium-high for 2 hours.

Serve with toppings.


1 large avocado, cubed
1 cup mango, diced
½ red onion, diced
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
(This recipe called for cilantro. I’m not a fan. But if you are, add 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped)

Stir together and serve immediately.

Ooops! I forgot to get a picture with the sour cream on. We added that at the table. Delish!

* As the cookbook says, the salsa stands alone, served with your favorite chips.

* Also, the cookbook says that you can use rotisserie chicken (already cooked from your store) to make this recipe in a FLASH!  I cooked breasts wrapped in foil at 275 degrees for 1 hour. Perfect and tender.

We devoured this chili. So filling. So satisfying. Enjoy!

This Week's Contest:

All commenters on this post this week will be entered in a
contest to win her (his) choice of  A Cheese Shop Mystery series.
Even the newest TO BRIE OR NOT TO BRIE...if you're willing to wait until February!

PS If you have another Southern Living Cookbook or chile recipe you like, bring it on!!!

Say cheese!

{Remember to check back next Wednesday to see if you're the 
winner or include your email in your response and I will contact you!}


REMINDER: To save this recipe (and any that are posted on MLK, 

 click the Print Friendly button below 

(it looks like this but don't hit this one).  Choose PDF to print. 

* * * * *

The 4th in A Cheese Shop Mystery series: 


comes out in February.

You can pre-order the book HERE. 

You can learn more about me, Avery, by clicking this link.

Chat with me on Facebook and Twitter.

And if you haven't done so, sign up for the mailing list

 so you can learn about upcoming events, releases, and contests!

Also, you probably know my alter ego DARYL WOOD GERBER

has a new series:


which debuts July 2013

Keep up to date on Daryl's website

"Like" Daryl's page on Facebook and "follow" Daryl on Twitter.

She doesn't say all the same things Avery does. Promise.

Say cheese!


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Football Frenzy - Potato Salad


First off, a big congratulations to JULIE HYZY for her acclaimed new release, BUFFALO WEST WING. Chef Ollie is at it again! My copy is waiting by my bedside.

We've had lots of new books coming out these past few months:



Check out the side bars on the blog. Congratulations to all for bringing good reading to our fans!

* * *

Okay, New Year's Day has come and gone, but college football lives on. The championship game is being played at the Fiesta Bowl.

I don't know about you, but I really enjoy a good game, where the players are trying their darnedest to win. And watching a good football game can make me hungry.

But not just for chips and slaw and deli sandwiches. I want a potato salad that sticks to my ribs.

Bit of trivia: Charlotte, the protagonist in A Cheese Shop Mystery
series, went to Ohio State University. (I, myself, went to a west coast college: Stanford. Go Cardinal!) OSU played in the Sugar Bowl this past week and won by a slim margin. Stanford played in the Orange Bowl and won by a big margin.

BUT back to the recipe.

For this potato salad, because I'm always open to trying new things - tastes, textures, etc., I used my basic recipe and added Mozzarella because it's just a fun cheese. It doesn't add a lot of color, but the texture is so much fun.

Trivia for 10: Buffalo mozzarella is made from the milk of water buffalos and not from cows.

Trivia for 20: There is a question as to how water buffalos got to Italy. A story I read on the Internet suggested that Anthony and Cleopatra had something to do with it. Wikipedia (which we all know is 100% reliable, right? LOL) suggested the Goths. But then, under the same history, the author suggests that the Arabs introduced them into Sicily and the Normans brought them north from Sicily during the medieval ages. A final theory suggests that Arabs brought the buffalo from Mesopotamia and European pilgrims and crusaders brought them north.

Note: References to recipes made with buffalo mozzarella surfaced around the 12th century.

Who knows what the truth is? It tastes great.



4 red potatoes

1 hard-boiled egg

½ cup cider vinegar

1 teaspoon dried parsley

½ teaspoon garlic salt

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon relish

2 tablespoons oil

2 oz. fresh mozzarella

1 teaspoon paprika


Bring 6 cups of water to boil in a pot. Slice red potatoes in half, add to water, and boil for approximately 20 minutes, until a fork pierced in potatoes slides out easily. Remove pot from heat and drain.

Pour potatoes into a bowl and pour vinegar over the potatoes. Let the potatoes drink in the vinegar as much as possible. {Some people prefer less vinegar, I love the taste.} After 10 minutes, pour off the vinegar.

For hardboiled egg, set egg into 2 cups of cold water. Bring water to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes and reduce heat to medium high for 10 minutes. Turn off water. Let egg sit for 5 more minutes. Pour off hot water and immerse egg in cold water until needed. [*I usually make a batch of 5 eggs or more. They seem to cook better.]

Peel and dice egg and add to potatoes. Add the salt, garlic, parsley, relish and oil. Stir until coated.

Cube the mozzarella. Add to the cooled potatoes. Serve cooled or cold. Sprinkle with paprika.

And when celebrating (like the "college of your choice" football game win), good drinks go along with the fun. My mother used to make a mean margarita, so I've given the recipe to one of my characters in A Cheese Shop Mystery -- Charlotte's grandmother. Grandmere knows how to mix up the drinks. It's a fun little quirk. Inspired by my mother's margarita, I made a new recipe that would taste great at brunch--or early football games. This turned out fun. It's tasty and colorful. Enjoy.



[per drink]

1 ounce Scotch

1 ounce Triple sec

2 ounces orange juice 100% juice

3-4 cubes ice

1 sprig fresh thyme for decoration


Mix scotch, Triple sec and orange juice. Add ice. Stir. Add thyme.


Easy and delish!

* * * * * * * *

If you'd like to know more about A Cheese Shop Mystery series and want to download a few other recipes from me (on recipe cards), click on this link to my website: Avery Aames. I've posted recipes in the "morsels" section. There's lots of other fun stuff, as well. And sign up for the mailing list to get in on the next contest...coming soon.

Say cheese!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

A note from Krista ~

January first is traditionally a time for new starts. You made some resolutions, right? I know I did.

This January first, we're going through some changes at Mystery Lover's Kitchen. It's with great sadness that we're waving so long to Jenn McKinley. She's bowing out to spend more time writing her delightful books. We're sorry to see her go, and we'll certainly miss her. Don't worry, Jenn promises to come back and visit!

On a happier note, three new regulars will be joining us on Saturdays. We're thrilled to add Wendy Lyn Watson, Sheila Connolly, and MJ Maffini to Mystery Lover's Kitchen!

Wendy Lyn Watson writes the Mystery A La Mode series about Tallulah Jones, proprietor of Dalliance, Texas’s old-fashioned ice-cream parlor. In addition, Wendy is a vegetarian, so she'll be sharing some great meat-free dishes.

Sheila Connolly writes the Orchard Mystery series, about apple orchard owner, Meg Corey. In addition, Sheila writes the Museum Mysteries, which just debuted this fall. Sheila's interest in food and history has spurred her to recreate some fascinating recipes like Emily Dickinson's Black Cake.

MJ Maffini is the author of the Camilla MacPhee mystery series, the Fiona Silk mysteries, and the Charlotte Adams mysteries. Shh, I hear there's a new series on the horizon. While MJ isn't writing culinary mysteries, she's a creative cook and tells us that the new series will include a housekeeper, Senora Panetone, whose cooking skills are phenomenal.

Mystery Lover's Kitchen is delighted that these three talented authors and cooks have agreed to join us!

Today you're getting a twofer! Jenn McKinley is leaving with a bang with her Mexican Chocolate Cupcakes. Ringing in the new is Wendy Watson with Touchdown Taco Dip!

Well, what better way to start the new year than
with cupcakes? BUTTERCREAM BUMP OFF will be released in just three days on January 4th, and I am so excited I decided to whip up a batch of Mexican Chocolate Cupcakes for Christmas and share the recipe here with you!

Sadly, this will also be my last regular post for Mystery Lover's Kitchen, so I wanted to share a special cupcake recipe and this one will be featured in DEATH BY THE DOZEN, which is due out in October 2011.

It was a hard decision to leave the kitchen. These ladies are the best, but I've signed on for another mystery series (yes, that makes four) and what with being a part time librarian and a full time mom, well, something had to give. Hey, maybe this
means the Hub will take me out to eat more often. See? There's always an upside!

Not only that, but the ladies will be inviting some truly spectacular talents to take over the Saturday slot! It's going to be terrific!

Oh, and I will be popping into the kitchen, so it really isn't goodbye but more of a I'll see you when I see you!

And now here is the recipe, which I must say, turned out AMAZING!

Mexican Chocolate Cupcakes:

1 box devil's food cake mix

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp chile powder

A pinch of kosher salt

A dash of black pepper

3 large eggs

1 cup water

4 tbspn canola oil

1 disk (3.1 oz) Mexican chocolate,

ground in food processor

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a cupcake tin with paper cups.
In a mixing bowl, stir together the cake mix, cinnamon and chile powder, plus salt and pepper. Add eggs, water and oil. Stir until the mix is just combined, then add the ground chocolate stir until all of the dry ingredients are moistened. Do not overmix.

Ganache frosting:

3/4 cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon light corn syrup

6 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips

In a double boiler bring the cream and corn syrup to a simmer. Add the chocolate chips, stirring frequently until the mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and let sit for five minutes to cool and thicken. Holding the cupcakes upside down, dip them into the ganache until the top is coated. Allow the excess to drip off and then set aside to allow the frosting to set.

Tip: To jazz it up, I piped a little red chili pepper on top.

I used a basic buttercream frosting recipe and red food coloring!

Enjoy! It has been a pleasure blogging with all of you for the past year and a half. Good luck and good eating, everyone!


And now, Wendy Watson!

New years means lots of things to lots of people -- drunken revelry, resolutions, diets (ahem), clean slates. For me, though, January 1 means football.

It will come as a great surprise to my students--who have to put up with my half-baked and ill-conceived sports analogies on a regular basis--but I watched a lot of college ball as a child. I'm a third generation Michigan Wolverine - Go Blue! - so I didn't have a lot of choice in the matter.

For the first 28 years of my life (until the whole BCS nonsense), the Rose Bowl on January 1 was the crowning moment for the Big 10 Champ, and for 20 of those 28 years, the Rose Bowl was either the last chance to cheer on my beloved Wolverines or the last chance to boo and hiss at our arch-rival, Ohio State. So our family always spent January 1 planted in front of the television, doing terrible things to our blood pressure and our overall cardiovascular health.

As I mentioned before, I watched a lot of football, but I never exactly understood, well, the rules. The ball moved up and down the field, there was a lot of yelling of "hit him, hit him!", but the finer points were wasted on me. For me, there were two highlights to watching football. First, I could sing "Hail to the Victors" as loudly as a I wanted, and no one complained about how off-key I was. And, second, there were lots of snacks ... especially chips and dip.

So for those playing along at home, here's the math:

January 1 = Football = Vast Quantities of Chips and Dip

By the transitive property, January 1 = Dip. Isn't math grand?

Many dips graced my childhood--the ever-popular French-onion-soup-and-sour cream, the Knorr spring vegetable soup version of the same, Velveeta queso, pecan-crusted cheese balls. But no dip was so loved, and quickly devoured, as our family's take on the 7-layer taco dip.

The beauty of this dip is
  1. it takes about 10 minutes to make (before photo taken at 10:52, after photo at 11:00);
  2. it's pretty;
  3. it's delicious;
  4. you can get just about every ingredient at the corner 7-11;
  5. it has protein and veg in it, so you can rationalize eating the whole pan yourself; and
  6. while I have no firsthand experience (riiiight....), I've heard it's excellent hangover food.
So if you're spending today watching football or simply huddling at home trying to recover from last night's overindulgence, take 10 to whip up some of this dip.

Touchdown Taco Dip

1 15-oz container sour cream (light is fine)
1 can refried beans (fat free is fine)
1 packet of taco seasoning (1/4 c., if you buy in bulk)
8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
3/4 c. jarred salsa or picante
small can chopped black olives (optional)

Spread the beans in the bottom of a 7 x 11 or 9 x 13 pan. Mix the sour cream with the taco seasoning. Spread that over the beans. Sprinkle with cheese. Drizzle with salsa/picante. Dot with black olives.

If you're really feeling festive, you could spread a layer of purchased guacamole between the beans and the sour cream. Or throw a handful of actual diced tomatoes on top. Go crazy!


Happy New Year from all of us to all our friends who make Mystery Lover's Kitchen such a special and fun place!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Split Pea Soup and NEWS!

News first!!

Today is the official release day for Krista's newest book - THE DIVA PAINTS THE TOWN. I know I can't wait to get my hands on a copy. I love this series!

I know Krista will be talking about it a bit more on Saturday, but I didn't want the day to pass without acknowledgment!

Congrats Krista!

My family loves split pea soup. I started the girls on it very young before they were old enough to think that eating something green was yucky. It worked for broccoli, salads, and other good-for-you foods, and now my daughters are all happy veggie eaters and they all love split pea soup. My youngest, the vegetarian, has been after me to come up with a version that doesn't use a hambone as its base, but I haven't managed that yet. Soon, I hope. And if it's a success, I'll post it here. But I can't imagine a great pea soup without delicious ham undertones....

Anyway, my mom was the one who first suggested I make this. I had no idea how. She told me to buy Jack Rabbit brand peas, and just follow the recipe on the back of the bag because it was the best. There was no way I believed that a recipe from the back of a cellophane bag would be any good, but it was fabulous. I've modified it a bit since then, but the Jack Rabbit recipe is still pretty excellent. If you need peas, pick up a bag of that brand and follow it to the letter. You won't be disappointed.

Here, however, is my modified version. I've added a bit more water, simmered a bit less time, eliminated an ingredient or two and traded garlic powder for fresh minced garlic.

Personally, I think this is the best pea soup on the planet. Perfect for this weather, perfect to serve at SuperBowl parties ("Soup"-erbowl ... get it?), and just great for bringing back that great feeling of home and warmth and comfort.

Split Pea Soup

16 oz bag of peas
2 chicken bouillon cubes
4 quarts water
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves crushed, minced
1 ham shank (or butt, if that's what you have)
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp pepper
1 bay leaf
Carrots (I like the baby carrots that come cleaned and pre-peeled)

Wash peas and pick out any bad ones.
Combine peas, water, ham shank, onions, bouillon, oregano, pepper, bay leaf, and garlic in a deep soup pot. Bring to a gentle boil and then simmer for about an hour or so. Remove shank and trim any meat off (this is a great time to snack!). Cut this meat into bite-size pieces and return to the pot. Add carrots. Simmer again, uncovered, for about another hour and a half. Remove the bay leaf before serving.

I used to simmer it for 2 and a half hours the second time, but then the soup gets really, really thick. I like thick, but, this was a bit too much. Keep an eye on the pot after an hour and judge appropriate simmer time for yourself.


Enjoy! This is a great soup to sip while reading mysteries. Trust me!


* * *
I'll bet you thought I forgot about the truth and lies.... and I almost did! Here's a reminder of what my "claims" were:

1 - FALSE - although I did buy a goldfish for my fraternity initiation, I did not have to swallow it! Whew!!
2 - TRUE - I have Synesthesia. My youngest shares this "affliction," but I wouldn't trade it away even if I could. Life is so colorful this way ;-)
3 - FALSE - Never met Christian Bale. Never tried to be an extra in Batman. But a lot of folks around here did try to get in and we know a few who succeeded.

Hope you're enjoying our "tall tales"!