Sunday, July 5, 2020

Summer Slow Cooker Carne con Chili by guest auther Victoria Hamilton #giveaway

Today we're delighted to have  our good friend Victoria Hamilton join us with a tangy summer recipe and a giveaway to celebrate the release of the latest in the Lady Anne Addison Historical Mystery series. LADY ANNE AND THE MENACING MYSTIC is out this Tuesday! And she's celebrating with a $20 USD Amazon gift card! So, be sure to leave a comment for a chance to  win.

Summer is a time for cookouts, fire pits, barbecues, and… when it’s really hot, salad. Lots and lots of salad: pasta salad, five bean salad, green salad, and some pretty weird concoctions like a Thai noodle salad featuring peanut butter. But sometimes you need something that can be prepared ahead of time, that’ll be ready for dinner, and yet isn’t a salad. Enter… the slow cooker! Perfect when you want a hot meal (and maybe some leftovers) but don’t want to heat up the kitchen. I have a variety of these nifty appliances… four, to be exact, one ginormous one I haven’t used for a while; it was good for big pot lucks or family gatherings. And then three more: A large casserole style (pork ribs do well in it! It holds a full rack.); a smaller casserole style that’s good for almost everything else (especially smothered pork chops… yum!); and a medium sized upright… I think it’s 5 quarts.
That’s what I’m using today. I’m making my foolproof potluck-worthy Chili con Carne, as we used to call it in my house, which is just chili with meat. I call this one Carne con Chili because… well, it has a lot of meat.

Olive oil
1 yellow onion
1 yellow/orange/red pepper (* if you don’t like peppers, you can omit them, or use something like diced celery instead. In fact you can add the diced celery too, if you’re of a mind!)
1 cup sliced cremini or other type mushrooms (optional)
1 pound ground beef
8 – 10 ounces mild Italian sausage
1 splootch minced garlic (never heard of a splotch? About a heaping tsp, then! I use a jarred variety that is in oil… simpler than chopping my own.)
796 ml or 28 oz can stewed tomatoes (you can substitute any canned tomato)
156 ml or 5 oz can tomato paste
398 ml or 14 oz  can Heinz Light Red Kidney beans rinsed and drained… (or two cans) more about these later…
1 – 2 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp Old Bay (optional)
1 Glurg Worcestershire sauce (never heard of a glurg? About 2 tsps.)
1 – 2 tsp brown sugar (optional)
Sneaky addition: I also use a tablespoon or two of Clubhouse Spicy Spaghetti seasoning blend… it adds an herbal flavour that I like, but it is not necessary.
Toppings: Green onion, sour cream and/or grated cheddar cheese. I serve with whole grain Tostitos chips, using them like a spoon… yum!!

1 – In a sauté pan or frying pan put a few turns of olive oil, then sauté the onions, peppers, and mushrooms until the onions are translucent. Transfer the sautéed veggies into the slow cooker.
2 – Put another turn or two of olive oil into the frying pan, and sauté the Italian sausage and ground beef until there is no pink left. Transfer the meat to the slow cooker.
*Note… you can sauté the veggies and meat the night before and keep them in containers in the fridge; the next day it is simplicity itself to just dump them in the slow cooker and proceed to #3…
3 – Open cans: I use stewed tomatoes (I prefer the depth of flavor in stewed tomatoes compared to just canned tomatoes) and cut them myself into pieces because I like control over the size of the tomato chunks. But there is no reason on earth you couldn’t use a can of diced tomatoes and just throw them in to save time. The tomato paste is non-negotiable; it gives a richness to the chilli that can’t be beat. Now, the kidney beans… I use Heinz Light Red kidney beans; I have to buy them on Amazon because our grocery stores don’t stock them! They are the tenderest beans I’ve ever eaten. If you think you don’t like red kidney beans, try these. You could add two cans of these beans if you wanted to extend the chili to feed more. Do rinse the beans in cold water before adding to the chili.
4 – Add these next 3 ingredients: chili powder, Old Bay, Worcestershire sauce. Also add, if you are going to use it, the Clubhouse Spicy Spaghetti seasoning.
5 - Mix it all up, and put your slow cooker on high for 3 hours or so, then low for another couple of hours. Stir occasionally, but not too often. This is how I do it, but you could probably put it on low for the whole time and it would be fine… all of the ingredients are pre-cooked, after all. You have to know your slow cooker; some run hotter than others!
6 - Taste near the end! This is when you can add more Old Bay, or chili powder, and some salt and pepper. I don’t do salt near the beginning; close to the end of cooking time you can tell how much it needs. Quite likely, none. This is also when you add the brown sugar if you feel that the tomato taste is too sharp; this is definitely optional, and you may not feel it necessary.
Serve it up in a bowl with the toppings on the side! Set it out with a big bowl of the corn chips, or slices of fresh buttered bread.
Serves many… at least 6, maybe more. You’ll have leftovers… or plan-overs, as some cooks call them. This chili is dynamite reheated, or you can make chili dogs, or it would be so good on baked potatoes! It freezes pretty well too.

GIVEAWAY! Comment here to be entered to win a $20 USD Amazon gift card. Tell me your go-to summer dish, or your tips for chili! Contest open to all commenters internationally. Please leave a first name and your email address ( youremailname (at) yourserver (dot) com ) in your comment!
Lady Anne and the Menacing Mystic:
#4 in the bestselling Lady Anne Addison Historical Mystery series.
Fans of the Lady Julia Grey Mysteries will love this all-new Lady Anne Addison Mystery from Victoria Hamilton . . .
While in Bath preparing for her upcoming marriage to Lord Darkefell, Lady Anne learns of a profoundly accurate mystic working in town whose uncanny predictions have stunned the gullible and the skeptical alike. Certain there’s a harmless rational explanation for the medium’s supposed otherworldly abilities, Anne’s tolerance turns to defiance when the seer’s dark pronouncements begin having a decidedly harmful affect on her friends—and a troubled local vicar takes his own life.
Convinced that the woman is orchestrating a devious scheme, Anne begins to suspect that she’s working in league with a shrewd newcomer who’s attached himself to many of the town’s wealthy widowers. As she navigates the swirling rumors of Bath society to confirm her suspicions and unmask the charlatans for what they are, she discovers that the treacherous conspirators are plotting to make her own future very dark—and very short-lived . . . 

Praise for the Lady Anne Addison Mysteries:
“If you are looking for a historical mystery with romance, suspense, and a suggestion of paranormal, then read Lady Anne and the Howl in the Dark.” —Fallen Angel Reviews
“[Hamilton] excels at imbuing her realistic characters with subtle depths . . .” —American Library Association
“[The author] has set up a well-drawn Gothic horror setting here, so the atmosphere is fantastic, what with it being chilling, mysterious, and menacing all at once.” —Mrs. Giggles

Author Victoria Hamilton Biography

Victoria Hamilton is the national bestselling author of four mystery series: the Vintage Kitchen Mysteries; the Merry Muffin Mysteries; the Lady Anne Addison Historical Mysteries and the Gentlewoman's Guide Regency Mysteries.

Victoria loves to read, especially mystery novels, and enjoys good tea and cheap wine, the company of friends, and has a newfound appreciation for opera. She enjoys crocheting and beading, but a good book can tempt her away from almost anything… except writing!

She now happily writes about vintage kitchen collecting, muffin baking and dead bodies – among other mysterious topics - for publisher Beyond the Page.

Visit Victoria’s website and sign up for her newsletter! 

Victoria Hamilton Social Media Links
Gentlewoman’s Guide & Lady Anne Addison Historical Mystery Series:
Twitter: @MysteryVictoria


  1. A favourite summer dish is grilled chicken fresh off the bbq on a Caesar salad. Delish! Roswita roswita.hildebrandt (at) gmail (dot) com

    1. How do you grill your chicken, and is it chicken on the bone? I always have trouble with the timing of that...

  2. A great summer dish is brats. ckmbeg (at) gmail (dot) com

  3. Favorite summer dishes include fresh sliced tomatoes and sliced cucumbers in sour cream. When we can we grill hot dogs and hamburgers. My chili is simple: brown 1 lb hamburger, drain off fat, add 1 fifteen ounce can of tomato sauce, 1 pkg chili mix, 1 can chili beans and cook until heated through. dbahn(at)iw(dot)net

    1. LOVE tomatoes when they are local and fresh... a toasted sandwich with green onions... yum!

  4. Here we do a lot of cold foods or meals you can make on the stove, to avoid heating up the house too much. Hamburgers, sandwiches, casserole (we make it in a pot on the stove, very rarely do we make something in a casserole dish).

    1. Sometimes for dinner just a bacon and tomato sandwich is delish!

  5. I love my crockpot, and I use it all the time. I have to try this recipe, thank you for sharing! I love shrimp and kebobs done on the barbecue grill during the summer. Thank you for this chance! areewekidding(at)yahoo(dot)com

  6. Our go to summer dish is taco salad. It's easy to make a small batch for just hubby and myself or a larger batch to bring to a picnic. It's just onions, tomatoes, lettuce, black olives, seasoned taco meat, taco cheese, noodles, and Western dressing.

    And I love my slow cooker use it at least once a week. We make a meal called Sr. Beef which is just a pork butt roast and 1 jar of pickles in the cooker on slow for 6-8 hours (until it's fork tender/falling apart) and then we use the Sr. Beef (even though it's pork... but you could use a beef roast) on tacos, on top of noodles or salad... or whatever else your imagination can think of!

    kimheniadis at gmail dot com

  7. My favorite summer dish is salmon on the grill with grilled veggies. So tasty and lovely. Thanks. Anne. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  8. Bruschetta, chopped salad and smoked salmon are delightful, refreshing and cool for the hot summer. Ellie. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

    1. OMG... LOVE Bruschetta... I shared my recipe here once... maybe last year?

  9. In my wanderings for cool meals on hot days - I recently found Napa Cabbage wraps, you can fill it with anything you like :-) Ilona ilona(at)davisbunch(dot)net

  10. My favorite summer to go dish is a pasta salad that I make. It’s refreshing on a hot summer day and can be used as a main dish or a side depending on what ingredients you use. Mine is never the same way twice cause it depends on what veggies are in season or on hand

    1. Pasta Salad is my go-to as well... I've started making a tortellini pasta salad... so good!

  11. usually burgers on the grill with corn and potatoes grilled also. thanks for the chance. Lynn

    1. Oooh, grilled potatoes sound good... I love potatoes.

  12. Some unsweetened chocolate (powder or bar) adds a subtle depth to the flavor.
    "1 splootch minced garlic (never heard of a splotch?"
    Is it a splootch or a splotch? I want to get my terminology straight!
    libbydodd at comcast dot net

  13. My tips for chili cooking is to use a high quality lean ground beef so the the spices go into the meat and not the fat, and after you put everything in put the pot on simmer for awhile.
    Kitten143 (at) Verizon (dot) net

  14. My favorite summer side is potato salad!

  15. Oh my gosh that chili looks delicious! I love to use the slow cooker in summer and one of my family's favorites is green chili pork stew. I prefer it in winter, but my family wants it all year long.

  16. I always add a tablespoon of cocoa powder to enhance flavor.

  17. To thicken my chili I use Wheat Chex cereal
    My favorite summer recipe is for a fruit salad using melons, berries and grapes.

  18. Your chili sounds very interesting! My secret ingredient is white vinegar! I like to use 3 or 4 different kinds of beans. Usually Kidney, Black and Pinto. Thanks for the chance! Alma almaj80(at)suddenlink(dot)net

  19. This comment has been removed by the author.

  20. I love chicken salad in the summer.
    Jana turtle6422 at gmail dot com

  21. I love making a broccoli & cheese casserole. Thanks for your great generosity.

  22. London broil is my go to summer dish. Leftovers are good as sandwiches or on salad.
    sgiden at verizon(.)net

  23. I never dreamed of adding bay seasoning, I need to try that!! Mmmmm!!
    lindalou64(@)live(dot) com

  24. I love anything with kidney beans in it,so chili is always good. Taco salad (with kidney beans of course) or bbq chicken salad and sweet corn are also favorites. Plus lots of fruit and tomatoes. I live in Minnesota so I love when summer finally arrives.

  25. Pasta salad is my go-to summer dish. Quick and easy to make. It has been a while since I've had chili, and I've never tried making it myself. Marla: mbradeen [at] yahoo [dot] com

  26. Cold tuna casserole celery onions noodles tuna mayonnaise thank you for the chance your chili sounds delicious.

  27. I love chili any time of the year. Your recipe sounds amazing. I really like grilled vegetables, especially asparagus, on the grill. Thanks for the chance.

  28. I have the book on pre-order already!!!! Thanks for the giveaway and the great recipe!!!!!😍 My boyfriend hates beans, so I sustitute black olives in place of the beans in chili they are not salty and tend to take on the flavor of the chili.