Thursday, October 09, 2008

Southwest frenzy: Texas chili and empanadas

I've told ya'll I'm not a creative cook.

I've told ya'll I'm wonderful at following recipes. Putting my own twist on them? Well, let's just say there's two dishes that will be featured here today. Out of those two, one was a product of my own culinary creativity. And it was nowhere near as tasty as the winner: Texas Chili.

That's right--it's STEAMING!

I'll give you one guess who cooked this.

Don't you love the artful display of the crackers? Ya'll are making me fancy!

That's right. My darling husband whipped up this chili last weekend. And let me tell you, it was good. But it was hot. So hot I had to break out the milk and dump half a bag of cheese in there. Not that I mind cheese. Actually, I love cheese. Excuse me. I'm drooling again.

While this may look like a bunch of spicy meat to you, it's not. It's chili. "Real" chili, according many Texans, is pure meat and spices. No beans. No veggies. Nothing but meat and enough spice to make you cry.

Well don't tell my Daddy, but I make a chili with beans. I like it. Fiber is good.

This recipe is about as simple as it gets. Dump this in with two pounds of ground beef, brown and simmer for about an hour. You can do it for thirty minutes, but we use such lean beef we have to let things cook a little longer. Only put about half the red pepper in there. It made Ben sweat. He eats jalapenos for breakfast.

Now we come to the disaster portion of today's post: my chicken empanadas.

Being the brilliant wanna-be cook I am, I thought I'd take the pastry recipe from Ben's
Meat pies and stuff them with shredded chicken, cheese and refried beans. I'd spice them up with enchilada sauce and spices, throw them in the frying pan and have a meal that would send Ben to his knees in gratitude.


I don't know if I told you this, but I have a very active imagination.

Being the extremely brilliant duck that I am, I decided to do this on Monday night after work and having a million errands. Ben wasn't coming home until after 8, so I had plenty of time, I reasoned.


When you add a tired Blond Duck preparing for going out of town to baking banana nut bread for her mother for watching her antisocial chihuahuas to trying to be culinary creative, you get a disaster.

I forgot all spices and enchilada sauce in the beans.

I realized this after I was making the pies.

After all these were done and I'd burned the banana nut bread.

Still, I soldiered on and chunked them in the frying pan. Heck, how can anything beany, cheesy and fried be bad?

Well, I forgot to fry the edges. They were raw. I had to go back and re-fry them.

Personally, I liked my little empanadas. But they were too bland for Ben. He went back for more chili from the freezer, remarking that perhaps we should cook soups over the weekend and freeze them to heat up during the week.

Several of you also suggested that I bake all sorts of goodies and stick them in the freezer for the holidays. But unfortunately, there's a tiny problem.

I like freezing things.

In fact, I've frozen myself out of the freezer with a huge batch of empanadas no one will eat but me. I just finished off the burritos I made two months ago that he turned his nose up at because they weren't "spicy" enough.

So the moral of our story today, Invisible Friends?

1) The Blond Duck is sticking to cookbooks.
2) Anyone have an extra freezer?
3) Want a "mild" empanada?

Stay tuned tomorrow for a spooky Halloween story! And on Saturday, we'll have a seven things meme about Vivi and Wade, then Miss Pickles on Monday! Come check them out!


Prudy said...

Oh that chili looks good and oh so easy. Your freezer looks like mine did a while back, before I decided to stop the madness and buy a very small additional freezer. It's just too hard to stock up without one. Sorry about the empanadas and the bread. Try try again. The idea sounds heavenly.

Katherine Aucoin said...

This invisible friend will really miss you while you are on vacay. Your chili looks very good and I think your empanadas look very tasty too. Prudy is right...try again. You had too much on your mind and you were tired.

P.S. About the catfish recipe, go back to my post and and click on Broiled Catfish - it's a link.

TavoLini said...

LOL--I have been there!! Congrats on making the empanadas, though. They are time consuming little buggers!

Kitt said...

Ha! Eat up!

Maybe it's time for a separate freezer.

Mine's full of goat milk and dog bones.

Marjie said...

I have many freezers. You can share mine. Ben will learn to cope with "not enough spice." Keep some hot sauce on hand for him at all times. There! Now the Blond Duck has a plan!

Have fun on your trip, and wish your mother luck with the pups.

Chad in the AZ Desert said...

Oh, I so do LOVE chili!!

jenjen said...

I made chili this week too -- but yours looks better! I think the empanadas looks delicious. You should get a little freezer and put it in your garage. That's what I did. Now I have all sorts of frozen foods that I forget about! :-)

Grammy Staffy said...

Well the empanadas look great to me. Can I come to dinner?

My freezers are in the same shape as yours. I have been planning to clean them out for weeks.

I haven't wanted to get all the frozen stuff out while it is so hot here....but hey, maybe it would cool me off.

Have a good day..and enjoy those empanadas.s

Tiaras and Tantrums said...

oh that chili looks delicious- but I can't do hot either - my hubs would have LOVED it- I love thick chili - so it looked really good!
empanadas - wow - I am impressed - those look so hard to make!

Sandy Toes said...

The chili looks great! I freeze stuff and then forget about it!
Fun posting!
-Sandy Toes

Bunny said...

I'll eat the empanadas with you sweetie I don't like really hot spicy food so they'd be just perfect for me!

Oh my! Apple pie! said...

At last....someone who's freezer looks just like mine, I gave in and bought a second 'back-up' freezer.

Pam said...

The chili sounds really good. I have never made empanadas but I just love them.

noble pig said...

Okay, now I'm hungry! This sounds delicious.

Lisa said...

Good chili! I have adeep freezer and still it's full to the rim.

nikkicrumpet said...

LOL I love the last questions of the post. I'll take the mild empanada...I don't like super spicy stuff! And I'm impressed that you even gave it a try. Way to complicated for me! And I too like beans in my chili!

Marie said...

Good looking chili. I'm afraid to show my freezer to you! Even, "I" don't know what's all in there. I have one small freezer here in the kitchen, the three drawer one attached to my big fridge and a chest freezer in the back room, and they're all full. I know, I'm crazy! One thing I have learned through the years Duckie, is that it's not very good to cook when you are too tired or have too much on your mind. It always goes blah, or at least it does for me! Better luck next time? Hope you have a lovely time away. We need to chat soon!

Grace said...

you've been busy! i love to set my mouth on fire for some twisted reason, and i always refuse to soften to blow with milk or cheese. what can i say, i walk a fine line. :)
and we all appreciate the lovely saltine display. :)

Lore said...

You're right, beany and cheesy can't be bad, I'm sure I would've munch on them all day! And Ben gets extra points for the chili, in fact it looks just great to dip some empanadas ;)

Clumbsy Cookie said...

Same freezer problem here!
Is there a way your hubby can come and make chilli and empanadas at my house also?

Live.Love.Eat said...

can you put a storage freezer in the garage?

empanadas look awesome!!!!!!!

Esi said...

Your freezer looks a lot like mine :)

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