Sunday, December 1, 2013

Welcome Guest Toni LP Kelner aka Leigh Perry

                                          For some reason, Sid the ambulatory skeleton in my Family Skeleton series gets all the attention. He’s not all that colorful, being solid white thanks to frequent hydrogen peroxide sponge baths, and he isn’t exactly brainy because his skull is empty. And since beauty is only skin deep, I can’t honestly say he’s a looker. (Though he does have robust bone structure.) Besides for the purposes of this blog, he’s kind of useless--he doesn’t even eat, let alone cook.

No, for the culinary arts, we have to look at the real protagonist of the books: Georgia Thackery. Georgia is an adjunct faculty member and a single mother of a teenaged daughter, both of which are more-than-full-time jobs, even if she didn’t have a mystery-solving skeleton for a sidekick. That means her cooking has to be simple and fast and filling enough for those times when her daughter Madison hits a growth spurt. The recipe for Enamel Chili below is Georgia’s speciality and Madison’s favorite.
There are a couple of stories behind this recipe. First off, the name. I’m a member of a private Facebook group called Enamel Chili, and the guy who founded it challenged me and another writer in the group to fit the phrase “enamel chili” into our works-in-progress. So where Georgia had just been making dinner before, I changed it so that she was making Enamel Chili, chili so hot it’ll melt the enamel off your teeth. Second, the original chili recipe I’ve tweaked came from my brother-in-law John Holt. Not only is he a great guy and an excellent cook, but A Skeleton in the Family is dedicated to him.

So here’s Enamel Chili, and as Sid the Skeleton would say:

Bone appetit!


1 lb hamburger meat (can substitute turkey or chicken, or use a mix)
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 15-oz can stewed tomatoes
1 15-oz can diced tomatoes
1 small can tomato paste (optional--use for a thicker sauce)
1 diced small to medium onion
1 can red beans
1 can kidney beans (dark beans suggested, but you can use light if you prefer)
1 packet basic chili seasoning
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Cumin and paprika to taste


1)    Brown meat in a pan with vegetable oil.

2)    While the meat is browning, mix tomatoes (both cans, plus the paste if using it), onion, beans (both cans), and spices in either a sauce pan or a crock pot.

3)    When meat is browned, add it to the vegetable mixture.

4)    If using a sauce pan, bring the mixture to a boil and simmer for an hour. If using a crock pot, turn it on High, cover, and cook for 3 to 4 hours. (You can also cook in a crock pot all day on Low, but be sure to add 1/2 cup water.)

Serving suggestions:

•    Serve topped with cheddar cheese.

•    Serve with rolls and a salad to make a good meal.

•    Freeze leftovers to warm in the microwave for a fast meal.

Lucy says: Thanks for visiting Toni and Leigh! Toni is giving away two cool prizes, a copy of A SKELETON IN THE FAMILY, and this very cool "bone pan." To enter all you have to do is pin, tweet, or Facebook this post, and leave us a comment. Good luck!  

(You can find Toni and Leigh on Facebook)



    Posted to FB - hope I did this right! Looking forward to the book and trying the recipe.

  2. I'll have to try this recipe sometime as my husband likes lots of spice in his food.

  3. Posted on FB - love this!!!

    Raquel Burson-Silies shared a link.
    42 seconds ago
    Mystery Lovers' Kitchen: Welcome Guest Toni LP Kelner aka Leigh Perry

  4. Love the name, and love Sid. Your recipe is similar to the family chili recipe I've used for 43 years, except I use the big can of kidney beans with chili already in them, plus a BIG spoonful of chili powder. Will have to try adding some onion powder. Bet that gives it a little more depth.

    Off to Facebook to share.

  5. A great winter recipe, Toni. Hot and spicy, chili warms you all over. Thank you for coming, and say hello to Sid.

    ~ Cleo

  6. I can't wait to try this recipe. It sounds delicious! I can't wait to read this book. I posted on Facebook. :)

  7. Your book sounds wonderful! I just wondered if any other beans could be used instead of the red and kidney beans? Melt the enamel of your it!!!! :0)

  8. Hi Toni, thanks for being our guest today. I love those bone pans! LOL! What a great idea for Halloween. Bet you'd blow people away. Your chili sounds great, too. So nice for this freezing weather we've been having.


  9. Thanks for the welcome.

    Edel, I never tried it with any other beans so perhaps experimentation is called for.

  10. I love chili. It's so forgiving when I get "inspired" and add unexpected things. A vareity of beans makes it just that much more interesting and tasty.
    Yes, Sid does sound like an attention getter.

    1. PS I posted on Facebook, as I do most every day.

  11. This is the perfect season for eating chili. Thanks for the recipe.

  12. Toni/Leigh, congrats on the new series. Sounds fun. Love the recipe and the reason for the title of the recipe. Fun!

    Daryl / Avery

  13. Love Toni's, err Leigh's other books. Looking forward to a new series. Always love a good chili! I work in a daycare... the kiddies would love some 'bones' for snack! :D (P.S. Shared on Twitter.)

  14. recipe sounds great will try it. The book sounds wonderful , love the cover :)
    Would be so happy if I won :)

  15. Yummy recipe. Would love a copy of this hook.

  16. This book sounds great-and I admit, I am enamored of Sid! lol
    I tweeted ( and posted to my personal Facebook page, which I'll then share to my cozy Facebook page.

  17. I want to win the book because Sid sounds like so much fun---but my beagles say Bone Pan, Bone Pan.

  18. Posted to FB. Recipe looks delicious.

  19. Looks like another fun series to get into.

  20. The book & the recipe look good! Can't wait to try them both.

  21. So excited for this new series!!! Sid seems very animated for a skeleton! ;) Can't wait to read Georgia's story & try that Enamel Chili recipe!!

  22. love the cover: the dog bringing the remote control!!! LOL!!!
    thank you for the giveaway!!
    shared on FB:

    cyn209 at juno dot com

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  25. the book looks great - the series should be awesome. thanks

  26. Looks like a great series. Book, please. My cats aren't impressed with the cute bone pan although Webster likes the remote control fetch trick!

  27. Can't wait to read this....sounds really fun!

  28. I could give that bone pan a fine new home ... as well as this book, which I'm going to have to go buy now, thankyouverymuch! :), if I don't win it, that is.

  29. I love your skeleton humor and always look forward to the next bone rattler :) Thank you for the contest.

  30. I love the apron just as much as the recipe.
    tweeted about the contest


  31. Ooh, I love your chili recipe! I tweeted it
    Can't wait to make the chili and knock my family's socks off. Thanks for the opportunity to win!

  32. I shared on Facebook:

    Love the bone pan!

  33. Thanks for entering Toni's contest everyone! Sue Farrell was the winner of the bone pan, and Katreader won the book. xoxo