Posts Tagged entrees

Cincinnati Chili, a unique twist on a family favorite

Chili has always been a staple in my family. To me, it goes with winter like peanut butter goes with jelly, you can’t have one without the other. Growing up we ate chili at least once a week. We’d crumble crackers or cornbread up in the tomato base to thicken it up. I enjoy my family’s recipe for chili, but I do like to change it up every now and then by making Cincinnati Chili.

Cincinnati Chili, for those outside the Ohio-Kentucky area, is a delicious blend of spices–cinnamon, allspice, cumin, chili powder, etc.–onions, ground beef and tomatoes. It can be served over hot dogs with shredded cheese and chopped onions to make the Coney Dog, or it can be served as the following:

  • Two Way (chili over spaghetti noodles)
  • Three Way (a layer of spaghetti, chili and cheddar cheese)
  • Four Way (a layer of spaghetti, chili, cheddar cheese and onions)
  • Five Way (a layer of spaghetti, kidney beans, chili, cheddar cheese and onions)

Don’t be shy to try the mountainous four- or five-way chili, but whichever way you try it you must eat it with oyster crackers (small, hexgon-shaped crackers).


My recipe comes the 1987 Inter County Rural Electric Employee’s Cookbook (Danville, Ky.). It’s like a church cookbook, everything’s good!

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 4 cups water
  • 16 oz. diced tomatoes
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon vinegar
  • 2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 servings spaghetti, cooked
  • 1-1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 bag oyster crackers
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 16 oz. kidney beans, drained and heated

Combine ground beef , onions and water in a saucepan. Simmer until beef is turns brown. Add tomatoes with liquid, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and all the spices. Cover and simmer for 3 hours. The fat will float. If there is time, place chili in the refrigerator and lift the fat layer off. If times doesn’t allow, it’s ok. It tastes great. Servings: 6.


, , , , ,

1 Comment

Chicken and Black Bean Enchiladas

I really like Mexican food. It’s pretty easy to make and is usually a hit in my house, which includes a 5-year-old who thinks the world could survive on macaroni and cheese. Since I’m not willing to serve mac and cheese every night, my boy is forced to eat other meals. While making up this week’s menu, it was little surprise that chicken and black bean enchiladas made the short list.

It seems every time I go to a Mexican restaurant I order enchiladas–chicken, shrimp, cheese, beans, you name it. It’s the old standby and for good reason, they’re delicious. Here in Columbia, I think Rio Grande has some of the best ones yet. I attribute it to their sauce.  And since I probably can’t get the proprietary recipe, I had to come up with my own sauce recipe and I’m happy to share it.

Chicken and Black Bean Enchiladas

  • 1-2 chicken breasts, cooked and diced
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 8 whole jalapenos
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cups enchilada sauce* (see recipe below)
  • 4 flour tortillas
  • 3 cups shredded Mexican cheese

Boil the chicken in a pot of water with 6 halved jalapenos. Once the chicken is cooked, take off the heat and shred. Rinse the beans and add to a bowl with the chicken. Pour 1 cup of sauce over the chicken and beans. In a skillet, add the olive oil, onions and two diced jalapenos. Once tender, remove from heat. On each tortilla, spread the chicken and bean mixture along the center, top with onions and jalapenos, then finish off with a quarter cup of cheese. Roll up tortillas tightly.

In an 8×8 baking dish, pour one cup enchilada sauce in bottom of dish. Place four rolled up tortillas in the dish. Pour two cups of enchilada sauce over top. Add two cups of shredded cheese on the top.

 I usually put aluminum foil over top so the cheese doesn’t brown too fast. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and cook for another 10 minutes. Serve with rice.

Enchilada Sauce

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 poblano pepper, diced
  • 4 chipotles en adobo
  • 4 large tomatoes, diced
  • 6 oz. tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 3 cups chicken stock

In a large high-sided pan, add olive oil, onion, garlic and peppers. Once tender, add tomatoes, paste, chipotles en adobo and chicken stock. Now add the spices.

Simmer 15-20 minutes. Now add the entire mixture to a food processor or blender and pulse until thick and smooth. This recipe makes 4 cups.

Melissa’s Notes:

Sometimes I double this recipe and freeze the extra in Zip-loc gallon bags. They lay flat and take up less space than containers. It’s a nice treat to have onhand when I’m feeling lazy but want something tasty to eat.

, , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Parmesan Chicken with Homemade Marinara, Yum!

It’s another cold Saturday here in Missouri, so what better way to warm up than a hearty plate of Parmesan Chicken with homemade marinara sauce. It takes a little time to put together, but it’s totally worth it. My family loves chicken and we’re always looking for a different way of making it, but there are some things that you really can’t improve and this IS one of them.
I would suggest starting with the marinara since it takes the longest to finish. Also, I would highly recommend not wearing clothing you truly like while making the sauce. My spotted T-shirt is proof that this red sauce loves to splatter when you lift the lid to get a whiff. And if you’re like me, that whiff has to turn into a taste. Quality assurance, right? Anyway, just be sure you let it cool a bit. If you have kids, this is a great dipping recipe, less the mozzerella. Just cut up the chicken into bite-size pieces before dredging–an Italian twist on good ol’ chicken nuggets.

Parmesan Chicken with Marinara Sauce

So let’s get started…
Marinara Sauce
  • Two (28 oz.) cans crushed tomatoes
  • Two (6 oz.) cans tomato paste
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced  
  • 4 cloves garlic (if you use the jar kind, then remember 1/2 tsp. equals 1 clove)
  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. basil
  • 1 /2 Tbsp. oregano
  • 2 large bay leaves
  • 1 Tbsp. dark brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. good balsamic vinegar

Finely Chopped Onions & Garlic

Wet Ingredients: Balsamic Vinegar, Crushed Tomatoes, Tomato Paste







1) In a Dutch oven or large stockpot, bring olive oil to medium-low heat.

2) Add onions and garlic and cook until golden. The caramelization will make the sauce sweeter.

3) Add the dry ingredients, then wet ingredients. Stir until the tomato paste is smooth.

4) Simmer for one hour with lid ajar so steam can escape.



Parmesan Chicken

  • 4-6 boneless chicken breasts
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp. water
  • 1 up all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1 cup Italian bread crumbs
  • 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1 cup Parmesan Cheese
  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tsbp. unsalted butter
  • 16 oz. fresh mozzerella

Pound Chicken

Dredge Chicken







1) Place 1-2 chicken breasts in a large Ziploc bag, get all the air out and seal. Use a kitchen mallet and pound  chicken into thin, even pieces. By doing this in a bag, clean up is easy and there’s no chance of splattering raw chicken juices.

2) In three separate dishes, place the following: a) two eggs and 1 Tbsp. water, mix together; b) flour, salt and pepper; and c) Italian bread crumbs, Panko bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese, mix.  
3) Now, take out the chicken and dredge each piece into the egg mixture, then into the flour mixture, back into the egg mixture, then into the bread crumb mixture. Place the finished piece onto a plate until you are ready to sautee the chicken.
4) In a skillet, bring the olive oil and butter up to medium heat. Once warm, place chicken in, one or two pieces at a time. Cook until golden brown.
5) Once cooked through (5-7 minutes, depending on thickness), place them on a cooling rack with paper towels underneath to drain any excess oil.
Let’s put it all together…

1) In an oven-proof  baking dish, layer each piece of chicken with a couple of tablespoons of sauce and sliced fresh mozzerella. Most grocery stores carry fresh mozzerrella in a ball or in my case, I was lucky enough to find it pre-sliced in a log. Fresh is waaayyy better than the bag of shredded, but if that’s what you have on hand, go for it.
2) Place the baking dish under the broiler and broil until the mozzerella is melted and bubbly.
3) Now, ladle some sauce onto the plate then lay a piece of chicken on top. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and dig in! 

, , , , , , , ,

1 Comment