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MountainWestBob’s Easy Crockpot Chili

We blog about this recipe here.

MountainWestBob's Easy Crockpot Chili

  • 1 lb minced or ground beef or ground chicken
  • 1/2 c flour
  • 2 T olive oil
  • kosher salt (1 tsp per pound of meat is about right)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1 8 oz can Hatch green chili (mild, unless you’re wild and crazy)
  • 1 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 T red chile flakes
  • 1 can (about 15 oz) corn or 1 bag frozen corn or frozen fire-roasted corn
  • 2 cans (about 15 oz) diced and fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 can pinto beans, (about 15 oz) drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (about 15 oz) red beans or kidney beans, drained an rinsed
  • 1 can (about 15 oz) black beans (optional), drained and rinsed
  • 1 6 oz can tomato paste

Mix the beef with the flour (clean hands work well); heat the olive oil in a pan over medium high heat.  Add the meat and stir occasionally until it’s nicely browned.  Sprinkle with a pinch of salt.

Mix the remaining ingredients together and add that mixture and the browned meat to the crockpot.  Cook for 8 hours on low heat.

Serve with flour or corn tortillas and some Cholula Hot Pepper Sauce for flavor.

Any leftovers will be great reheated in a pan or the microwave – and the chili will freeze well too.

Recipe brought to you by MountainWestBob and

Forecast: Cloudy and Cold – Followed by Sun and Warmth

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The irony of her holding a “Health Insurance” card is not lost on us.  Maybe they should have stayed in Mexico?

Ahhh to be a bird in flight to somewhere else at this moment.  Except we’re not sure where that somewhere would be.  Definitely to a sunny, warm (healthy) spot!

March is always such a bittersweet month – and even more so this crazy March of 2020.  The Snowbirds who winter in Mexico will soon start flying north, at least if they’re allowed to cross the Mexican border!  Speaking of Mexico, our Brooklyn kids just returned from a week split between Mérida in the Yucatan and Campeche on the Gulf Coast.  They highly recommend both.  And, fortunately, their flights home were without issue – but very very empty.  Speaking of kids and warmth, our daughter, Sara, just posted a touching blog about how the warmth of one customer helped ease the pain, as their Tacolicious restaurants were forced to close.

And speaking of flights, this interactive website from The National Geographic about birds’ migratory patterns is both lovely and fascinating.  Western Tanagers should be heading our Northern California direction about now.

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The Western Tanager

Our non-flying pet dogs and cats – who are currently cuddled up on warm wool blankets by toasty fireplaces – will soon be sprawled out in the summer sun.  And Andy, who is happily spending copious amounts of time in our warm basement – see today’s Andy’s Corner – will soon be happily gardening and fixing our drip systems (if you believe that, I have another funny story).

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OnoMoore and ChocoLatte are hanging out near each other ONLY because there’s a fire in our wood stove.

But for now, there’s still time to put another log on the fire and curl up next to it…or, if you’re a dog, take a romp through the snow.  Hope that seeing Rosie – a Bernedoodle who happens to live in Boulder, CO, with our friends – enjoying her wintry life might bring a smile!  Be sure to watch the very short video.

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Rosie and friend in the hills outside Boulder, Colorado

Our chilly weather last week here in Northern California inspired us to enjoy a bowl of chili.  Being wild and crazy and adventurous (and largely stuck in our house), we tried out a pound of Beyond Beef – which we found in a cooler near the fresh vegetables at Whole Foods and also frozen at our local Sonoma/Nugget market.  The resulting chili, quite frankly, was delicious…probably better than the burgers which we fixed with Beyond Burgers.

That cold spell was quickly followed by a 75 degree day.

Even in Colorado – some days this March have reached the high 60’s.  That’s warm enough for asparagus to start growing.  What could be more symbolic of spring for us food fanatics.  Andy and I have vivid memories of “stalking the wild asparagus” back on the Colorado farm where we lived when our kids were born.

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Stalking the wild asparagus – in Colorado!

So whether it’s chilly where you are – or warming up, we’ve got you covered.  For those frigid days, try today’s Beyond Beef chili recipe or one of our other super-duper chili recipes: MountainWestBob’s, Lamb and White Bean, Vegetarian Black Bean, and Not Your Mother’s.

In addition to today’s d-lish chili recipe, we suggest you to make a quick, hand-sanitizer-activated run to your market and pick up a bunch or two of asparagus.  And, believe me, after years of steaming or boiling asparagus, I can assure you the best possible way to fix it is neither of those.  Instead do this!  And once you’ve got a double-batch cooked (we KNOW you’re hoarding a little), make this salad.  If you want something more substantial, try one of these pasta or noodle recipes, which make great use of spring’s asparagus. Continue reading

2020 – It’s Music to My Ears


Carole King’s rendition of Chicken Soup with Rice is a favorite.  Slipping is not a favorite.

As we begin a new decade with new joys and challenges, I find that this little ditty by the Australian artist/cartoonist Michael Leunig speaks to me.  In fact, it inspired me to put together a “2020” playlist!

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We give thanks for singers.
All types of singers.
Popular, concert singers and
tuneless singers in the bath.
Whistlers, hummers and those
who sing while they work.
Singers of lullabies; singers of nonsense
and small scraps of melody.
Singers on branches and rooftops.
Morning yodellers and evening warblers.
Singers in seedy nightclubs, singers in the street;

Singers in cathedrals, school halls, grandstands,
back yards, paddocks, bedrooms, corridors,
stairwells and places of echo and resonance.

We give praise to all those who give some small voice
To the everyday joy of the soul.


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Andy and I agreed that we’d each make a playlist of 20 songs that we’d enjoy while cooking – or cleaning up after cooking….songs that have something about food in the title or lyrics.  Get it? 20 and 20 for 2020!

You would think this would be a non-confrontational task! 🙂  I started my playlist with my ode to Andy: Sweet Home Cookin’ Man  (listen and watch it here).  I thought “Lord how my baby cooks” was tender and loving, but Andy took exception to the “ain’t got personality” and “ain’t got such good looks” lines.

Well he ain’t got personality
He ain’t got such good looks
When I come home hungry
Lord how my baby cooks
He’s a chef of fine distinction
Always cooks and it’s just right
Whether I come home in the morning baby
Or somewhere late in the night.

That was nothing compared to when I read over Andy’s blog and his playlist and noticed one of his top choices:  My Wife Can’t Cook  from Bill Wyman of Rolling Stones fame (listen and watch it here).

If it wasn’t for the beans that come out the can
A lot of the peas or the beets, the rice and the Spam
The milk and bread at the grocery store
I tell you, I couldn’t eat no more

‘Cause let me tell you, my wife, she can’t cook
If I thought she could read, I would buy her a book
But she knows how to do with the fuss and bother
She don’t even know how to boil hot water

But in the healing spirit of the New Year, we moved on 🙂  Isn’t that what a relationship is all about?

My 20 songs for the 2020 playlist are below.  You can listen to bits of each song right here – or go to Spotify to get the whole thing.  Dance around to it while you’re makin’ that Crawfish Etouffee, sippin’ on a Sazerac, and dreamin’ of going to Mardi Gras!

And just to make a point, I would like to remind you of some undeniably great recipes that I’ve fixed for Andy – with canned beans!

*Not Your Mother’s Chili
*MountainWestBob’s Easy Crockpot Chili
*North African Crockpot Lamb Stew
*Quick White Bean Soup
*One Dish Pasta and Beans

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I’m very selective about the brand of beans I buy!

In fact, we celebrated New Year’s Eve with friends, serving them this d-lish Black Bean Chili (which also happens to be vegetarian).  After everyone left, Andy turned up the speakers, clicked on his Jazz for Kitchen Cleanup playlist and welcomed in the New Year.  See today’s Andy’s Corner.

Continue reading


A Simplified Leah Chase Gumbo 
Avocado and Tomato Gazpacho
Almost-Japanese Lotus Root and Pork Rib Curry Soup
Birria de Res
Carrot Ginger Soup
Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
Chicken Pozole Verde
Chile Verde
Curried Lentil, Tomato, and Coconut Soup
Danish Hen’s Soup with Dumplings – Hønsekødssuppe

Gulyás (Hungarian Goulash)
Joyce’s Clam Chowder 
Lamb and White Bean Chili
Lentil Soup with Bacon
MFK Fisher’s Minestrone

MountainWestBob’s Easy Crockpot Chili
Not Your Mother’s Chili
Pho-ish Chicken
Potato Soup That Happens to Have Broccoli In It
Quick White Bean Soup
Sopa de Lima
Soto Ayam – Indonesian Chicken Soup
Super Simple Red Lentil Soup
Turkey Chili
Vegetarian Black Bean Chili
Watercress, Spinach, and Chickpea Soup
Wisconsin Beer and Cheese Soup

A Simplified Leah Chase Gumbo 
Basic Red Beans and Rice
Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
Colorado-ish Potato and Green Chile Stew
Korean Crock Pot Pork Stew
Moquera Biana – Brazilian Fish Stew
Moroccan Stew
North African Crock Pot Lamb Stew

Ropa Vieja
Seafood Stew with Tomatoes & Coconut Milk 
Turkey Bone Gumbo
Vietnamese Tomato-y Beef Stew: Bo Kho

Comfort When We Need It

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Green Bean Casserole made Wikipedia’s Comfort Food list

A long story made short:  I’m obsessing over what qualifies as comfort food.  I feel so comfort-needy!  Andy, meanwhile, is reminiscing about the foods he gagged on.

According to Wikipedia, “the term “comfort food” has been traced back at least to 1966, when the Palm Beach Post used it in a story: “Adults, when under severe emotional stress, turn to what could be called ‘comfort food’—food associated with the security of childhood…they are believed to be a great coping mechanism for rapidly soothing negative feelings.”

A more descriptive quote comes from a very academic and very detailed and interesting article on the subject, found in The International Journal of Gastronomy and Food Science: “most of us are soothed by the soft, sweet, smooth, salty and unctuous.”

Another quote from that article: Comfort foods are often prepared in a simple or traditional style and may have a nostalgic or sentimental appeal, perhaps reminding us of home, family, and/or friends.”

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I found a list of comfort foods on Wikipedia (where else!?) and from (which sounded like a good place to find rankings).  Wikipedia’s list clearly masses all regions of the U.S. into one, which seems odd.  I seriously doubt that Grits – or Red Beans and Rice – are comfort foods for someone who grew up in Maine – or that Chili Mac (a Midwestern favorite) is comfort to an Oregonian.  The ones I marked with an “X” made Ranker’s list – which seems to be more relevant to all areas of this country.  And I linked the ones that we already have given you recipes for (because, obviously, we are SO on top of things – and SO in need of comfort! :).

When questioned about their notions of comfort foods, my family responded in varying ways.  Hannah in Brooklyn, my brother in Fort Collins, and I all find comfort in Angel Food Cake and our grandmothers’ Swedish and German pancakes.  Joe, our son-in-law, fondly remembers his dad fixing him “hamburger gravy” over mashed potatoes.  (Andy might dub that an offshoot of the dreaded SOS – but we’ll forgive him for that.)

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SOS – Here’s the official recipe from the Army Quartermaster Corps (which my brother was once a part of).  You might want to downsize it a little, since it calls for 18 pounds of ground beef and serves 100.  Maybe I’ll try it for one of our “Dining In” dinners.  Want to come? 🙂

Our son Travis remembers his Grandma Gladys’s simple spaghetti recipe – made with hamburger.  Sara – ever the odd one out (just teasing, Sara 🙂 )- finds anything with ground meat – broken up, definitely not in patty form – satisfying, though she prefers those ground meat dishes to have an Asian theme.  Andy and his sister, Helen, fondly remember their mom’s tamale pie.  If there’s any unifier at all here among main dishes, it has to be ground meat.

So the jump to our three new comforting recipes – all with ground meat – was a no-brainer: my mom’s Super Simple Spaghetti, Tamale Pie, and – just for Sara – “Not Your Mother’s Chili” (which is both different and d-lish!).  We’ll offer up our pancake and angel food cake recipes at a later date. Continue reading

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