Rustic Turkey Ragu

It is the last day of March and, after a fairly mild month, light snow flurries are hinting of a bigger storm passing through the Sierras. We need the snow, desperately. This region is in a severe drought and therefore residents don’t mind if winter chooses to come a bit late. Bring on those April showers.

Even with the mild weather, it has still been challenging to keep those extra winter pounds off. Seems I always pack on about five to seven of them. I’m not always disciplined with my diet and I am partial to a local coffee shop’s vanilla chai lattes. Probably not the leanest things to drink but they sure hit the spot! So now, when my pants feel a bit snug around the waist, I have to think about eating better and getting to the gym (and limiting my chai addiction). Lately, I have been incorporating leaner meats in my dishes, like ground turkey instead of ground beef. Here is a nice rustic skillet dish that is fairly light, but hearty enough to keep you warm on a chilly winterish spring evening. I used pasta that I had in the pantry, but wheat or a gluten-free variety would make an excellent substitute.

IMG_8711Ingredients
12 oz. Ground Turkey
1 tsp oil (olive, Canola)
2 medium Carrots, chopped
1 stalk Celery, chopped
4 oz. Cremini Mushrooms, chopped
1/2 Onion, chopped
1-2 Garlic Cloves, chopped
28-oz can 2 14-oz cans) Diced Tomatoes, undrained
1/2 cup Dry Red Wine
1 – 2 tsps. fennel seeds, crushed
12 oz. Pasta
2 Tbsp Fresh Parsley, chopped, or 1 Tbsp. dried Parsley
Grated Parmesan Cheese

Heat the oil and cook ground turkey...

Heat the oil and cook ground turkey…

...until no longer pink.

…until no longer pink. Remove to a plate.

Cook the carrots, celery and onion over medium heat.

Cook the carrots, celery and onion over medium heat.

Cook for about five minutes until they begin to soften.

Cook for about five minutes until they begin to soften.

Add the mushrooms and garlic and cook through, about three to five minutes.

Add the mushrooms and garlic and cook through, about three to five minutes.

All the veggies cooked through.

All the veggies cooked through.

Add the diced tomatoes.

Add the diced tomatoes and mash with a potato masher or meat pounder.

Incorporate with the veggies for the beginning of a nice ragu.

Incorporate with the veggies for the beginning of a nice ragu.

Add the wine...

Add the wine…

...fennel seeds...

…fennel seeds…

...and cooked turkey.

…and cooked turkey.

Stir together and bring to a simmer.

Stir together and bring to a simmer.

Reduce to low heat; cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is slightly thickened and the flavors have developed, about 30 minutes.

Reduce to low heat; cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is slightly thickened and the flavors have developed, about 30 minutes. While your ragu is getting its groove on, cook your pasta as directed on the package.

Serve the ragu over the cooked pasta. Sprinkle with parsley and parmesan. Enjoy!

Serve the ragu over the cooked pasta. Sprinkle with parsley and parmesan. Enjoy!

 

Advertisements

Smokin’ Basil-Tomato Chicken Skillet

Smoky skies

Hazy days in Reno

Well, it is darn smoky here in Reno, compliments of the massive Rim Fire burning outside Yosemite National Park, nearly two hundred miles away. More than 100,000 acres are ablaze and only five percent of the fire is contained. Each morning we are greeted with smoky, hazy skies and a blood-red sun (which, where I come from, is an ominous apparition). The mountains and foothills are eerie shadows in the distance and sometimes not visible at all.

I lived in Billings, Mont., back in 1988 when the historic Yellowstone fires blanketed the region in smoke and ash. These past few days remind me of that very long summer spent wondering when I’d see blue skies again. The local news predicts we’ll start to see things clear out around Tuesday, but I won’t hold my breath (well, maybe I should!).

So what does all of this have to do with cooking? It means I can’t or shouldn’t be cooking outside, which is part of what summer is all about. Last week I was grilling tri-tip, but this week is all about what to put in my poor neglected skillet.

So here’s a quick (dare I say smokin’), tasty and healthy dish for you to try. I wish you all clear, blue skies to end your summer!

IMG_8338Ingredients
2 boneless, skinless Chicken Breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1 14.5 oz. can Diced Tomatoes, no salt, drained
1/4 cup fresh Basil or Basil Paste
3 to 4 oz. prewashed Spinach
1/8 tsp. each, Salt and Pepper
2 to 3 Tbsps. grated Parmesan Cheese

Add chicken to hot cast iron skillet.

Add chicken to hot cast iron skillet.

Cook through for about 5 to 7 minutes.

Cook through for about 5 to 7 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and basil. I used basil paste, my new favorite ingredient.

Add the tomatoes and basil. I used basil paste, my new favorite ingredient.

Combine and heat through.

Combine and heat through.

Turn off the heat and add the spinach. Stir constantly as it wilts.

Turn off the heat and add the spinach. Stir constantly as it wilts.

Serve alone or over your favorite pasta. Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top. A smokin' fast dish!

Serve alone or over your favorite pasta. Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top. A smokin’ fast dish!

My Big Fat Greek Meatball Gyro

Wow. Here it is, August already, and I didn’t realize how long it’s been since my last post. Where did July go?

Summer is always super busy for me, as I’m sure it is for everyone. I hope all of you are taking advantage of sunny days and warm weather. I am trying to get outside as much as possible, packing in camping trips, Dutch oven events and dog trials while the good weather lasts. Maybe I should call this post “My Big Fat CRAZY Summer!” Because it has been.

But, since I actually have this one weekend off, I thought I’d share a fun twist on a Greek classic. The traditional gyro is usually served with lamb, but not everyone may be a fan (like my husband). And, as I am always trying to find ways to jazz up staple proteins like ground beef, I found this fun recipe to create a meatball version of the gyro. This meal is quick, tasty and can be pretty lean if you use lean ground beef or ground turkey. You can take it one step further and turn it into a lettuce wrap, instead of using pita bread or Naan. So many options for a light and tasty summer dish.

What really makes the gyro so tasty, for me, is the creamy and slightly tangy tzatziki sauce made from yogurt and fresh cucumber. And it is probably one of the easiest and healthiest sauces to make.

TTzatziki Saucezatziki Sauce Ingredients
1 6 oz. container Greek Yogur
1/2 Cucumber, peeled, de-seeded, and diced
1 clove Garlic, crushed
Salt to taste

Remove the seeds from a cucumber and dice.

Remove the seeds from a cucumber and dice.

Add the diced cucumber to a bowl with the Greek yogurt.

Add the diced cucumber to a bowl with the Greek yogurt.

Add the crushed garlic clove.

Add the crushed garlic clove. Season with salt to taste.

Combine thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate until you are ready to serve with the gyros.

Combine thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate until you are ready to serve with the gyros.

My Big Fat Greek Meatball GyroGyro Ingredients
1 lb. lean Ground Beef
2 Eggs
1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder
1 tsp. dried Marjoram
1 tsp. dried Oregano
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Pepper
1/2 Cucumber, sliced
8 oz. Grape Tomatoes, halved
Naan flatbread (found in deli section of most grocery stores; Pita bread or lettuce leaves may be substituted)

Place the ground beef in a bowl.

Place the ground beef in a bowl.

Add the two eggs.

Add the two eggs.

Add all of the spices, including salt and pepper.

Add all of the spices, including salt and pepper.

Combine thoroughly.

Combine thoroughly.

Form into large meatballs. This will make about 12-18 meatballs.

Form into large meatballs. This will make about 15-18 meatballs, depending on the size.

Spray a cast iron griddle with cooking spray and heat to medium temperature.

Spray a cast iron griddle with cooking spray and heat to medium temperature.

Cook the meatballs, turning often to cook evenly. Internal temperature should be between 155 - 165, depending on how rare you like your beef.

Cook the meatballs, turning often to cook evenly. Internal temperature should be between 155 – 165, depending on how rare you like your beef.

Starting to get a nice sear.

Starting to get a nice sear.

If you are using Naan, warm in a microwave for 30 seconds to soften. Add the meatballs, tzatziki sauce, cucumbers and tomatoes. Opa!

If you are using Naan, warm in a microwave for 30 seconds to soften. Add the meatballs, tzatziki sauce, cucumbers and tomatoes. Opa!

Saucy Grilled Shrimp with Roasted Vegetables

In the spirit of mixing things up a bit, here’s a nice “saucy” grilled shrimp recipe with roasted butternut squash, cauliflower and carrots. The red pepper sauce is reminiscent of a Spanish Romesco sauce. If you are not a fan of garlic, then you may want to cut back on the quantity of garlic cloves.

Roasted Vegetables Ingredients (sorry, no group photo)
1 medium-sized Butternut Squash, cubed
1 head Cauliflower, cut into bite-sized pieces
3-4 Carrots, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 Tbsps. Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper, to taste
3 sprigs of fresh Rosemary
6 fresh Sage leaves
2 Tbsps. chopped Parsley

In a large baking dish, mix together the vegetables and olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix in the springs of rosemary and sage leaves. Cover the dish with foil and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 20 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.

In a large baking dish, mix together the vegetables and olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix in the sprigs of rosemary and sage leaves. Cover the dish with foil and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 20 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.

Once roasted, remove the sage and rosemary sprigs. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley.

Once roasted, remove the sage and rosemary sprigs. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley.

While your veggies are roasting, prepare the saucy shrimp.

Saucy Grilled ShrimpIngredients
1/2 lb. fresh Shrimp, de-veined
1 jar Roasted Red Peppers
3/4 cup Crushed Tomatoes
3-4 cloves Garlic, peeled and smashed
1 slice hearty White Bread, torn into pieces
1/2 tsp. Chili Powder
1 tsp. Paprika
1/4 cup Oil
1/3 cup Slivered Almonds
1 tsp. Sherry Vinegar

In a food processor or blender, add the roasted red peppers, crushed tomatoes, garlic, white bread, chili powder, paprika, almonds, oil., and sherry vinegar. Puree.

In a food processor or blender, add the roasted red peppers, crushed tomatoes, garlic, white bread, chili powder, paprika, almonds, oil, and sherry vinegar.

Puree into a thick, slightly chunky sauce.

Puree into a thick, slightly chunky sauce.

Marinade the shrimp in about 1/2 cup of the sauce for 10 minutes. Reserve the rest of the sauce for dipping.

Marinade the shrimp in about 1/2 cup of the sauce for 10 minutes. Reserve the rest of the sauce for dipping.

Grill the shrimp on a hot, oiled cast iron griddle for about 2 minutes on each side until the tails curl and the shrimp turns pink.

Grill the shrimp on a hot, oiled cast iron griddle for about 2 minutes on each side until the tails curl and the shrimp turns pink.

Serve with the roasted vegetables and a side of sauce. Simple and tasty. Enjoy!

Serve with the roasted vegetables and a side of sauce. Simple and tasty. Enjoy!

Herb-Crusted Chicken Breasts with Simple Pasta

Another crazy work week has passed and not much cooking has happened in my skillet lately. My poor blog is feeling neglected. And now I’m off for the weekend to a dog trial in Northern California, so like the Santana song so aptly puts it – my house is empty and my pots are cold. What can I say – life keeps moving and I’m trying to keep up!

So, before I pack up all my doggy stuff and head over the Sierras, I am leaving you with a simple and delicious herb-crusted chicken recipe, baked in my skillet of course, and served with a side of a delicious bow-tie pasta with tomatoes. It is surprisingly easy to make, packed full of flavor and tastes just as good when cold.

Hope you all have a great weekend. Maybe next week won’t be so crazy…

IMG_7193Ingredients
1/2 cup dry Bread Crumbs
2 tsps. dried Thyme
2 tsps. dried Basil
2 tsps. dried Oregano
1/2 cup All-Purpose Flour
2 Whole Eggs
1/4 cup Water
3-4 boneless, skinless Chicken Breasts

In a large mixing bowl, combine bread crumbs with herbs.

In a large mixing bowl, combine bread crumbs with herbs.

Mix well.

Mix well.

IMG_7197

Place flour in a shallow bowl. I used a pie pan.

In another bowl, combine the water and eggs.

In another bowl, combine the water and eggs.

Place the chicken breasts in the flour and dust completely.

Place the chicken breast in the flour and dust completely.

Next, coat the breasts with the egg mixture.

Next, coat the breast with the egg mixture.

Finally, coat the breasts with the herb mixture.

Finally, coat the breast with the herb mixture.

Place the breast in a skillet or baking dish coated with cooking spray.

Place the breast in a skillet or baking dish coated with cooking spray.

Repeat the process for all of the chicken breasts.

Repeat the process for all of the chicken breasts.

Bake in a 375-degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes until the internal temperature is 165 degrees.

Bake in a 375-degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes until the internal temperature is 165 degrees.

While the chicken breasts are baking, make the pasta.

IMG_7207Ingredients
2 Tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh Basil
1/8 cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1 Garlic Clove, minced
1/2 tsp Salt
1/8 – 1/4 tsp crushed Red Pepper Flakes
1/4 tsp Black Pepper
1/2 pound Bow-Tie Pasta
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese

Cut the tomatoes in half and gently squeeze the juice into a bowl.

Cut the tomatoes in half and gently squeeze the juice into a bowl.

Chop the tomatoes and add to the juice.

Chop the tomatoes and add to the juice.

Add the chopped basil, olive oil, garlic, salt, red pepper flakes and black pepper.

Add the chopped basil, olive oil, garlic, salt, red pepper flakes and black pepper.

Combine and let rest at room temperature for 15 minutes.

Combine and let rest at room temperature for 15 minutes.

While the tomato mixture is gelling with all those good flavors, prepare the bow-tie pasta as directed on the package.

Add to the tomato mixture and combine well. Add the Parmesan cheese.

Add to the tomato mixture and combine well. Add the Parmesan cheese.

Serve with the herb-crusted chicken breast. Enjoy!

Serve with the herb-crusted chicken breast. Enjoy!

Rainy Day Quesadilla

It has been raining cats and dogs all day here in Northern Nevada, which is an unusual thing for the high desert. Gray, soggy days like today make me crave something warm and cheerful. This colorful and flavorful chicken quesadilla is just the ticket…and it is low in calories (only 240) and diabetic-friendly. Loved by adults and kids alike, this quesadilla is a longstanding favorite in my household and comes filled with chicken, spinach, cheddar cheese and a delectable pico de gallo.

Ingredients
1 1/2 to 2 cups of fresh Pico de Gallo
2-3 cups of shredded cooked Chicken
1 cup fresh Spinach
1 cup shredded Cheddar Cheese
4 to 8 Flour Tortillas
Cooking Spray

First, make the pico de gallo. Use the recipe found here. Cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge until ready to use.

You can use a variety of cooked chicken, if you like. You can use rotisserie chicken purchased at the grocery story, roast your own in the oven or poach 2 to 3 chicken breasts. I chose to poach my chicken, which is something I did ahead of time and then refrigerated them until dinnertime.

Here’s an easy poaching method:

Place 2 to 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts into a medium-sized pot.

Pour water into the pot until it just covers the top of the chicken breasts.

Cover the pot and bring the water to a boil.

Once the water comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until the chicken in is cooked.

Place the chicken breasts in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process and to cool them so they can be handled. Shred the chicken into a bowl.

Now it’s quesadilla time!

Place a flour tortilla on a dinner plate.

Place the shredded chicken on top.

Next, add the spinach.

Spoon on some pico de gallo.

And finally sprinkle on some cheese.

Cover with another tortilla.

Spray a cast iron skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Cook the quesadilla on each side for 2 minutes each until the tortilla gets toasty and brown.

Like I said, toasty and brown.

Once cooked, remove the quesadilla from the skillet to a plate. Cut into quarters.

Garnish with extra pico de gallo and cheese. (Yes, I got a little carried away here). Eat it while you wait for a rainbow or the sun to shine. Enjoy!

Easy Cheesy Spaghetti with Serendipitous Sauce and Herby Garlic Bread

Serendipity = the phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for

Amen. I first fell in love with the idea of serendipity as a child when I read the wonderful children’s series by Stephen Cosgrove (remember Leo the Lop?). Serendipity was a pink sea monster who came across fortunate discoveries by accident while learning to cope with life’s everyday mishaps. The moral of Serendipity’s story is “knowing who you really are will bring you happiness.” Today, in my middle age, I still find happy surprises where I didn’t expect them…and call out “Serendipity!” when the moment hits me.

So, when I tried a few weeks ago to make braciole – an Italian steak roulade or filled meat roll – things didn’t go so well. The meat was tender but dry (probably because I used the wrong kind of steak and cooked it too long), the filling was too thick and choppy (because I should have pureed it in my Cuisinart), and I did a horrible job of tying the meat roll with butcher’s string. (The very next day after my beefy disaster, while surfing The Cooking Channel, I found a “Good Eats” episode on exactly the proper way to make braciole. This was not a serendipitous moment at all – rather, as Alanis Morisette so aptly put it – ironic.)

My serendipitous moment came when I made the marinara sauce that smothered the braciole. My little culinary disaster reared a wonderfully light tomato sauce flavored with onions, garlic, herbs, carrots and celery. And it made enough for the braciole plus a large Mason jar (plenty for today’s spaghetti recipe).

I may or may not attempt braciole again (I’ll have to consult Alton Brown on this one), but I now have a tasty marinara sauce that will become a staple in my house – Serendipity!

Marinara Sauce Ingredients
1/2 cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1 small Onion, chopped
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 stalk Celery, chopped
1 Carrot, chopped
2 (32-oz.) cans Crushed Tomatoes
1 Tbsp. dried Basil or 4 to 6 fresh Basil Leaves
2 Bay Leaves
Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper
Unsalted Butter

In a large pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until soft and translucent.

Add celery and carrot and season with salt and pepper. Saute veggies until soft, about 5 minutes.

Add tomatoes, basil and bay leaves and reduce heat to low.

Cover the pot and simmer for 1 hour. Remove the bay leaves and taste sauce. If too acidic, add butter, 1 Tbsp. at a time, to round out the flavor.

Store sauce in a Mason jar or freeze in a freezer bag for future use.

Spaghetti Ingredients
1 jar Serendipitous Sauce
1 lb. lean Ground Beef
4 oz. sliced Mushrooms
Spaghetti Noodles, prepared according to package

Garlic Bread Ingredients
1 loaf French Bread
Unsalted Butter
1 clove Garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp. each of dried Basil and Oregano
Grated Cheese (Parmesan or Pecorino Romano)

To finish the sauce, brown the ground beef in a large skillet.

Add the Serendipitous Sauce.

Add the mushrooms, mix into sauce and let simmer over medium-low heat until sauce is hot and mushrooms cook through.

While the sauce is simmering, preheat oven at 375 degrees. Prepare the garlic bread.

Slice a loaf of French bread in half. Place on a baking sheet lined with aluminum.

Melt 2 Tbsp. of unsalted butter with a crushed garlic clove in a microwave. Takes about a minute.

Add the dried basil and oregano

and combine.

Brush the herby butter onto the French bread.

Bake for 10 minutes until edges become golden brown.

Sprinkle grated cheese (I used pecorino romano) on top of the warm bread.

Spoon the marinara sauce on top of noodles, sprinkle with cheese and serve with garlic bread. A dish a pink sea monster would love!

Hearty Italian Vegetable Soup with Meatballs

It seems that cold and flu season has arrived early in northern Nevada. A number of my colleagues and friends have already dealt with the first maladies of fall. Even my husband is fighting a bad head cold, which I do not want to get. (Note to self, get flu shot next week.) This time of year is tricky. The mornings are chilly, around 45-degrees at my house, and warm up to the mid-80s by afternoon. Fall in the high desert is beautiful – sunny, blue skies, the leaves just starting to turn – but the 40-degree temperature difference can prove challenging for our bodies to acclimate.

So to help ward off those nasty viruses – or at least put a little comfort in my tummy – I decided to make this hearty Italian vegetable soup, using up some items in my freezer (Italian sausage), fridge (veggies) and pantry (beans, broth, canned tomatoes, noodles). This hearty soup comes chock full of healthy veggies, a rich beef broth and zesty meatballs. I hope this season finds you in good health!

Meatball Ingredients
1 lb. ground Italian Sausage, mild
1/4 cup Bread Crumbs
1 Egg
1/8 cup Milk

Crumble the Italian sausage in a bowl.

Add the egg

and bread crumbs.

Add a splash of milk, about 1/8 cup, and combine all ingredients. Use your hands. Get personal with that meat!

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (the sausage is oily so the paper helps keep your pan clean). Form small meatballs with the sausage mixture. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

Once baked, cool meatballs on wire rack. Place parchment paper underneath to capture any oil drippings. Reserve about 20 meatballs for the soup. Freeze the rest or munch on them while cooking.

Soup Ingredients
1 Tbsp. Oil
1 cup Onion, chopped
1 clove Garlic, minced
32 oz. Beef Broth
2 Carrots, sliced
2 stalks Celery, sliced
1 14.5 oz can whole Tomatoes
1/2 tsp. Italian Seasoning
Pepper to taste
1 Zucchini, chopped
1 15 oz. can, White Kidney Beans (cannellini), drained
1 cup Pasta (elbow, rotelle), uncooked

In a Dutch oven, heat 1 Tbsp. oil over medium heat.

Add the onion and garlic. Saute until soft and translucent.

Add the broth

carrots and celery

canned tomatoes

and Italian seasoning. Pepper to taste.

Bring to a boil. Then cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, add zucchini

beans

and pasta.

Stir well. Cover and cook over medium heat until pasta is cooked through – about 15-20 minutes. Is it soup yet?

In the last 5 minutes of cooking, add the meatballs so they will heat through.

Serve with some bread – French pictured here – to help soak up all that yummy broth. Sprinkle with a little cheese, if you desire. Here’s to your health!

Foolproof Chili and Skillet Cornbread

Ahhh…fall is just around the corner – this Saturday marks the official start of my favorite season. So what better way to celebrate than with two of my favorite autumnal dishes – chili and cornbread (the two just go together, don’t they?). Now I must confess that I stole this chili recipe from one of my husband’s employees, who stole it from his mom, who won a few cooking awards with it. I was never much of a chili fan until I tried this recipe. Now, I am hooked. What I love most about this recipe is that it isn’t super hot (although you can ratchet up the heat if you want), but it has tons of flavor, includes ground beef and Italian sausage, black beans, and the secret ingredient – fresh corn cut from the cob. It is impossible to mess up this chili (thus the name) and it cooks well in a crock pot in case you want to serve it at potlucks, as a dip with tortilla chips, or tailgating. The cornbread is simple, yet divine, moist and fluffy like a cake. Baking it in a cast iron skillet just makes it that much extra special. Give it a try…and here’s to chilly mornings and turning leaves.

Skillet Cornbread ingredientsSkillet Cornbread Ingredients
1/2 cup Butter, melted
2 Eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups Milk
1 cup Sugar
1 cup Cornmeal
1 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Salt

Whisk together the melted butter, eggs and milk in a bowl.

In a separate bowl, sift together all of the dry ingredients.

Make sure dry ingredients are fully combined.

Add the dry mix, one cup at a time, to the wet ingredients and stir.

Until dry and wet ingredients are completely combined.

Pour batter into a lightly greased cast iron skillet. I placed a cookie sheet underneath to make it easier to carry and to catch any spills – not that I’m a clutz or anything, because I’m not. Really.

Bake in a 350-degree oven for 35 minutes or until a toothpick placed in the center comes out clean. Your cornbread should be lightly golden brown. Check out those edges. I love you cast iron skillet!

Notice how moist and fluffy!

While your cornbread is baking, prepare your chili.

Foolproof Chili Ingredients
1 lb. Ground Beef
1 lb. Ground Italian Sausage, mild (choose hot if you want more heat)
1 10 oz. can RoTel Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilies, mild (or hot, if you like it spicy!)
1 6 oz. can Tomato Paste
1 15.5 oz can each of Black Beans and Red Kidney Beans
1-2 Bell Peppers (I like red and yellow), chopped
1 Jalapeno, chopped (add two, if you can stand the heat in the kitchen)
Fresh Corn cut from 3 corn cobs
1 Tbsp. each of Garlic Salt, Chili Powder, Ground Cumin, Oregano

In a Dutch oven, brown the ground beef and Italian sausage.

Once the meat is browned, add the RoTel tomatoes and tomato paste.

Add the beans.

Then the peppers.

Now the fresh corn.

Mix all ingredients well.

Finally, add all of the spices and herbs and stir into chili.

Cover the Dutch oven with a lid and let the chili simmer for 30 minutes until hot.

Serve with a hearty slice of Skillet Cornbread.