Big Offer. Big Bowl. Big Game.

Is it just me or have bowl games become more competitive? I’m not talking about the players – I’m talking about the parties. It used to be that when someone invited you over to watch the Big Game you were pleased as punch if they slapped a tub of French onion dip and a bag of potato chips on the table.OFFER DAY 1

Now people invite you over for a ‘spread’ or ‘buffet’. It feels more like a wedding than a football game. And the problem is that you’re expected to do the same when you return the favor. So guess what? You end up spending the whole time in the kitchen so you don’t watch the game, don’t scream your lungs out and don’t raise your blood pressure to stratospheric heights. And where’s the fun in that?

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And be honest – does anyone really want a bunch of foofy food anyway? What they want is stick-to-your-ribs, coat-your-stomach food and a lot of it. So don’t bow down to Big Game Pressure (BGP). Serve up the food people want and make sure you don’t miss out on the half-time show. This year, I’ll be making a big ‘ole batch of Campfire Chili. And before you get all cutesy, no you don’t need a campfire to cook it.

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It’s quick, easy and mighty tasty. I serve it up with lots of condiments on the side– extra chile, diced avocado, shredded cheese, chopped scallions – you get the idea.

Make it on the day or better yet the day before (it just gets better and better). Bring the pot to the table and let everyone fix up their own bowlful. And please – whatever you do – don’t forget the French onion dip and chips. Promise?

Campfire Chile

Campfire Chile Kit
2 ½ lbs lean ground beef or ground turkey
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
3 cups water

1 15 oz. can pinto beans, drained
1 15 oz. can kidney beans, drained

Brown the meat, add water and the Campfire Chili seasoning and simmer 30 minutes. Add tomatoes (and beans, if you’re using them). Simmer 10 minutes. If you want more heat, crumble the dired chiles and add a bit at a time to get to your preferred ‘burn’ level.

Continue cooking for 15 minutes. For a thicker chili, combine the contents of the masa evelope (yellow corn flour) with ½ cup warm water and stir to dissolve. Add this mixture to the chili a little at a time to reach your desired thickness. If adding masa, continue cooking for an additional 10 minutes. Salt to taste.

Big Day 3-D: Drinks, Dip and Dinner!

Okay, the Big game is coming up and we mean big with a capital “B”. Millions of Americans will be glued to their TV and we all know that watching sporting events makes you very, very hungry. It’s something about seeing people burning calories that makes you want to ingest as many as humanly possible. (This is currently a theory and hasn’t been scientifically proven…yet.)

SUPERBOWL 3DSo the question is what’s to eat? First things first. You do not – I repeat not – want to be stuck in the kitchen because dollars to donuts you’ll miss the key touchdown/pass/fumble – you get the idea. So do it all ahead. And remember, it’s all about the 3 D’s: Drinks, Dips and Dinner.
Dips and Drinks are easy. We make killer Bloody Mary’s (with or without alcohol) and always – and I mean always – serve Arriba Verde Dip. First the Bloody Mary’s – they’re spicy but not over the top. Garnish with celery, wedges of lime and lemon or slices of red and yellow pepper. If you want to add some more heat, wet the rim of the glass and dust it with some chile powder. Easy peasy.

SUPERBOWL 4The Arriba Verde Dip is simple too – mix it with mayo, sour cream or plain yogurt if you prefer. Garnish with sliced spring onions, slivered radish, cilantro or serve it naked. A big honking bowl of tortilla chips and you’re all set.


Now for dinner. Make our Big Game Chili and – here’s the trick – make it the day before. It actually tastes better and all you have to do is heat it up. Serve it with lots of sides so people can dress their chili the way they like it. We’ve got loads of suggestions at the bottom of the recipe.

So eat up!


Big Game Chili

4 to 6 portions

4 Tbsp Vegetable oil
I Onion, diced
2 lbs. Braising beef, cut into 1” chunks
1 packet Los Chileros Santa Fe Chile Seasoning
1 tsp Oregano
2 tsp ground Cumin
2 cups crushed Tomatoes
2 cups Beef stock (or water)
¼ cup Tomato Paste
1 Tbsp. Brown sugar
2-14.5 oz cans of Beans (pinto, kidney, etc.), drained and rinsed
Salt to season

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a casserole or deep frying pan. Sauté the onion until soft and golden. Remove the onion and pour in the remaining oil. Brown the beef in batches. Add back in the onions and stir in the spices and cook over low heat for a few minutes. Add the remaining ingredients except for the beans and simmer over low heat for about 1 ½ hours until the meat is tender. In the last half hour of cooking, add in the beans and check the seasonings.

Serve with bowls of condiments such as:

Grated cheese
Sliced spring onions
Sour cream
Tortilla chips
Chopped red and yellow peppers