Cincinnati-Style Chili

There are probably as many different recipes for Cincinnati Chili as there are folx who make it, so I make no apologies for my take on this classic.

I use a ‘meatloaf mix” of ground beef and pork (bonus if I can find one with a wee, tiny bit of ground veal in it), chicken stock in place of the more usual beef, and I add onion and celery and garlic and black beans directly to my chili, fully realizing that for a classic “5-Way” I am gonna be adding additional onions and beans on top.

I do not, however, skip on what makes Cincinnati chili… well… Cincinnati chili.

Namely the cocoa and the cinnamon.

Trust me… it is wicked good!

•1 lb ground beef
•1 lb ground pork
•1 cup diced onion
•1 cup diced celery
•4 cups chicken stock
•2 (8 oz) cans tomato sauce
•3 cloves garlic, minced
•3 tbsp chili powder
•2 tbsp sherry vinegar
•1 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce*
•1 tsp Cajun Power Spicy Garlic Pepper Sauce – or your fave hot sauce, to taste
•2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
•2 tbsp + 2 tsp cocoa
•1 tsp cinnamon
•1 tsp dried oregano
•1/2 tsp cumin
•1/2 tsp celery salt
•1/2 tsp Cayenne
•1/4 tsp ground allspice
•1/4 tsp ground cloves
•1 bay leaf
•1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
•1/2 cup ketchup (optional)
•1 tbsp smoked bourbon sugar

*No Sherry Peppers Sauce? No Problem! Simply add a bit of decent sherry (none of that “cooking” stuff) and a dash or three of your fave hot sauce, to taste.

Brown ground meat with the onion and celery, then drain.

Add chicken stock and sherry vinegar to the pot and simmer for ten minutes.

Add the remaining ingredients, except for the ketchup and sugar, then simmer (uncovered) for one hour.

Remove bay leaf, skim off extra fat, and give it a taste.

Stir in the ketchup (if you are planning to use it) and the sugar and cook for another 30 minutes or so.

Taste it again.

I think that the chili is perfect.

Note: if you follow my seasonings, your chili will be a bit on the… zippy side, but, once you’ve added pasta (or hot dogs) and shredded cheese and more onion and more beans and… whatever else you like on your chili, I think that you will find the flavor is nicely balanced.


To serve…

In classic Cincinnati style, go with topping some freshly cooked spaghetti with the chili, then chopped fresh onion, more beans (if you like), and shredded cheese.

Lovely, and truly one of our fave ways to enjoy chili.


You could also opt for serving the chili over a hot dog on a toasted roll spread with a bit of yellow mustard.

Top with diced onion, shredded cheese, mebbe some chopped Ranch Pickles.

Also a mighty fine way to enjoy your Cincinnati chili – and/or, a nice solution for using up any leftover chili later in the week.

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Chocolate Cherry Dump Cake

Kinda like a Black Forest Cake, but much simpler, and with only three ingredients – if you don’t count the whipped cream and/or ice cream for topping; the nice folx at Betty Crocker have really come through with a winner dessert.

Since I am currently on injured reserve with a fractured shoulder, I have been looking for stuff to make that is manageable mostly one handed, and this recipe, with the possible exception of hoisting it in and out of the oven, fits that bill.

And, if the reward is a freshly baked, tasty chocolate cherry cake, who, exactly, is gonna begrudge a wee, tiny bit of baking pan schlepping?

•2 cans (21 oz each) cherry pie filling
•1 box devil’s food cake mix
•3/4 cup butter, melted

•Whipped cream
•Vanilla ice cream

Heat your oven to 350º and apply cooking spray to a 13×9 inch baking pan.

Spread the pie filling evenly across the bottom of the prepared baking pan.

Pour the cake mix powder over the cherries, then smooth it out into an even layer.

Note: if you happen to have a crêpe paddle on hand, that works a treat for smoothing out the cake mix powder.

Drizzle the melted butter over the top, tilting the pan to cover as much of the cake mix powder as possible. Don’t fret if you have a few dry spots, all will work out.

Pop into the oven and bake, uncovered, for 42 to 45 minutes, until the cake is mostly dry on top, but bubbly around the edges.

Remove from the oven and set on a rack to cool for at least ten minutes before serving.

Nice cake!

And, since it is in a non-fussy 13×9 pan, wicked easy to bring somewhere to share.

Truly, you can enjoy this cake on its own, but how very much nicer with a scoop of ice cream and/or whipped cream on top?

Tip: try a slice in the ‘wave for 15 seconds or so just before serving.

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Let’s Louis Like We Mean It!

One of my all time fave salads is assorted greens, blanched asparagus, and, if available, grilled shrimp or lobster.

With Louis Dressing.

Louis dressing, for those that are unfamiliar with it, is like Thousand Island has shed those awkward teen years and has finally, at long last achieved its’ potential.

Yeh. I do think that a Louis Salad is all of that and some grilled Halloumi.

Which is how I served this version.

Louis Dressing:
•1 cup mayonnaise
•1 cup heavy cream, whipped stiff*
•1 cup chili sauce
•1 tsp Cajun Power Spicy Garlic Pepper Sauce – or your fave hot sauce, to taste

•Chopped Romaine
•Red onion, thinly sliced
•Asparagus, blanched
•Shrimp or lobster

*1/2 cup heavy cream will whip into the one cup stiffly whipped cream called for.

Whip the cream until stiff – an immersion blender works a treat for this; just be certain to keep moving the blender up and down in the beaker to get as much air into the cream as possible.

Transfer the dressing to a jar, cover tightly, and chill until needed.

Now, for the salad.

To blanch the asparagus, gut the woody ends off the stalks and let soak in a large, shallow bowl of water.

While the asparagus is soaking, bring a large pot of water and one tablespoon of salt to a rapid boil.

Transfer the asparagus to the boiling water and blanch for 2-1/2 to three minutes, just until they are bright green and crisp tender.

While the asparagus is blanching, rinse out the bowl and refill it with cold water.

Transfer the asparagus from the boiling water to the bowl and add ice cubes. This will stop the stalks from cooking any further and help to lock in that bright green.

Remove the asparagus from the water and allow to dry completely.

Cut your Halloumi into strips, then spritz with a bit of lemon juice and grill or air fru until crispity.

Prepare your shrimp or lobster as you like it, then set about to preparing your salad.

Topped, of course, with Louis dressing.


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Vinegar Steak

Don’t worry, this is not some exotic preparation for your next steak; it is, in fact, a wicked simple way to enhance the flavor of most any steak, in any way you choose to prepare it, on the grill, in a skillet or broiler, or in the air fryer.

You can also use your choice of vinegar, so how simple is that?

In this case, I have gone with T-Bone steak in the air fryer (because our grill ran out of gas) with fig balsamic vinegar.

And it was TASTY!

•Steak Seasoning*

*One of our local markets carries a line of seasonings and condiments from the St Elmo Steakhouse in Indianapolis, and we have been very happy with them.

As I said, this is wicked simple.

Bring your steak(s) to room temperature, then go over both sides with a meat tenderizer (that multi blade black thing in the background).

Note: No tenderizer? No problem! Simply stick a fork all over both sides of the steak(s) and set aside.

Drizzle the steak(s) with the vinegar, then rub the seasoning in.

Turn the steak(s) over and repeat.

Let rest for 30 minutes.

When ready to cook, heat your air fryer to 400º (or heat your grill).

Arrange the steaks on the rack and cook for ten minutes, then turn the steaks over and cook for another five to seven minutes, until the steaks are done to your liking.

Note: air fryers ware different. Some will cook faster than others. I did ours for five minutes on each side for medium rare, and really could have gone a bit longer, so do check your steak(s)’ progress.

When done to your liking cover the steak(s) loosely with foil and let rest for about five minutes before serving.

If your grill hasn’t rub out of gas, or you’d rather fry them, cook the steak(s) as you will and enjoy. They will be tasty any way you choose to make them.

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Summertime Saturday Bonus! Arby’s Sauce

Yeh. So I did just repost this fine sammich and burger and steak sauce in May; but, it is a beautiful July Saturday and we are planning on grilling some vinegar and seasoning T-Bones tonight, so I thought it a good time to make a fresh batch of my take on Arby’s Sauce.

As I’ve noted in the past, Arby’s is not one of my favorite places to eat, so it has more than likely been a decade since I have darkened their food court space and so I have no idea how close this is to the real thing.

I do know that this sauce is an absolute favorite in our house, and I cannot recommend it highly enough.

•1/2 cup ketchup
•1/2 cup water
•2 tbsp Heinz 57 Steak Sauce
•2 tsp brown sugar
•2 tsp white vinegar
•1 tsp Cajun Power Spicy Garlic Pepper Sauce, or your fave hot sauce, to taste
•1/4 tsp onion powder
•1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt
•1/4 tsp black pepper
•1/4 tsp Aleppo pepper
•1/8 tsp white pepper
•1/8 tsp allspice

Other than how very tasty this is, it is also wicked easy to toss together. I use my immersion blender to mix everything, but a regular blender or even just a whisk will both work a treat.

Add all of the ingredients to a blender jar or beaker and blend/whisk/stir until well and truly mixed.

Transfer to a covered container (I like a squeeze bottle) and stash in the fridge until needed (I tend to make a fresh batch every month, so we seem to need it rather a lot).

Note: give it a try on grilled chicken and fish, too.


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Chopped Salad

When I was a kid, my mom felt it was very close to rude to serve a salad that required a knife to enjoy at the table. Perhaps why, today, a chopped salad is one of my fave choices eating out or in.

Of course, my chopped salad today is a far cry from the lettuce, tomato, and radish version my mom would make.  “The gen’ral,” my dad, was a picky eater so our salads reflected that. The Gen’ral would most decidedly not care for this chopped salad, but I am OK with that.

•Coleslaw mix
•Sliced onion
•Sliced radishes
•Blanched Asparagus
•Sliced radishes
•Chopped salami
•Kalamata olives, pitted
•Cooked pasta
•Feta cheese, crumbled

•Italian Dressing

Blanched Asparagus:

*I use shredded Green Leaf lettuce and chopped Romaine, but feel free to use whatever lettuce(s) you like.

First, cook the pasta according to package instructions, then drain and, yes, rinse (preferable for pasta salad).

Transfer the pasta to a small container and add dressing just to cover.

This is important. Stir, cover, and stash in the fridge overnight. The next day, take a look. The pasta will have absorbed all that dressing, and the flavor, and is now ready for the salad.

To blanch the asparagus, trim the bottom woody stems off the stalks, then wash and let soak in a bowl of water while you bring a pot of salted water to a boil.

Once boiling, add the asparagus and blanch for 2-1/2 to three minutes, until bright green and still a bit crispity.

Immediately transfer the asparagus to a bowl of ice water to stop them from cooking any longer and to lock in that bright green.

Remove the cooled asparagus from the ice water and dry completely before slicing and adding to your salad.

A note on the salad: the list I provided is just a guideline, based on who we are having over for dinner. I sometimes swap out crumbled bleu cheese for the Feta, and will add sliced roasted beets, hard cooked eggs, and croutons. Follow your tastes.

Toss the pasta together with the asparagus and whatever other add-ins you like in a bowl without the lettuce, then cover tightly until just before serving.

Adding the lettuce at the last minute ensures that it is fresh and crispy, and also makes the salad easier to transport when your job is to “bring the salad.”

When you are ready to serve, choose a bowl bigger than you think you will need, add the lettuce and your add-ins, then toss well, with more dressing of your choice, or, without, and allow folx to dress theirs as they like.


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The Cheeez of Threes

It has been exactly two years since I shared this recipe for the ultimate melting cheese (think that big yellow box in the market) made with just three (or four, depending on your choice of cheese(s)) ingredients.

Perfect for burgers, or queso, or veggies, or ??? – this cheeez food will serve you well through the summer season and beyond!

One thing. Because this cheeez does not have all the stuff found in the big yellow box, it will not keep for anywhere near as long.

Good thing, then, that my name “Cheeez of Threes” refers not only to the number of basic ingredients; it also refers to how very easy it is to cut the recipe in thirds to make a smaller batch that you will be able to use up well before any mold sets in.


Full Batch:
•1-1/2 lb grated cheddar cheese
•9 tbsp instant dry milk
•1/2 envelope unflavored gelatin (1-1/2 tsp)
•1-1/2 cup almost boiling water

Small Batch:
•1/2 lb grated cheddar cheese
•3 tbsp instant dry milk
•1/2 tsp unflavored gelatin
•1/2 cup almost boiling water

Note 1: I like to blend different cheeses for my Cheeez of Threes, in the case, Colbyjack and Pepperjack.

Note 2: even if you are making a full batch, the process works best if you break it into thirds to combine the cheese(s), milk, gelatin, and water, then add that to your prepared container and repeat.

Line a container with plastic wrap, with the wrap hanging over the sides. For a full batch, a regular loaf pan will work a treat. For a small batch, most any two cup dish will be perfect.

Add 1/2 cup very hot water, 3 tablespoons of the dry milk, and 1/2 teaspoon of the gelatin to a blender jar.

Blend until the gelatin has dissolved.

Add 1/2 lb of your shredded cheese and blend until you have a smooth consistency.

Pour into your plastic wrap lined pan.

For a full batch, repeat same procedure two more times for a full batch, adding each additional blended cheese to the pan.

For a small batch, you are done!

Cover tightly with plastic wrap and chill at least overnight to firm up.

Remove from the container and use as you will. Your can see how creamy it looks when sliced; just imagine how very tasty it will be your next cheeezy project!

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Peachy Keen BBQ Sauce and Ribs

I’ve posted my new fave Peachy Keen Barbecue Sauce before, and my fave way to prepare a rack o’ ribs; but, well, ’tis the season for ribs!

Note 1: I am recovering from a fractured shoulder, and editing film is… not easy, sooo, these images are the exact same prep, but a slightly different sauce. Which is good, just not Peachy Keen.

Note 2: my sauce is home made barbecue and pepper relish. Feel free to use your fave.

Peachy Keen Barbecue:
•12 oz barbecue sauce
•8 oz pepper relish
•1 can (15 oz) sliced peaches in light syrup

•1 or 2 racks of ribs
•Montreal Steak Seasoning (or your fave)

Making the Peachy Keen Sauce is dead simple…

Combine the barbecue sauce, pepper relish, and the peaches (do not drain) in a beaker and use your immersion blender to make a smooth sauce. Or, add the contents to a blender or food processor and pulse until smooth. Set aside while you prep the ribs.

Heat your oven to 350º.

Note: depending on the number of racks you are making and the size of your pan, you might need to cut your rib rack(s) in half to fit. For this family sized batch, I used two racks of ribs and my large anodized turkey roasting pan.

Season both sides of the ribs and arrange in a single layer, meaty side up, in your chosen roasting pan.

Note: a single rack, cut in half will work a treat in a standard 13×9 glass baking pan.

Cover the pan tightly with foil, then pop into your pre-heated oven for 75 minutes.

Remove from the oven and drain and discard any pan juices.

At this point, you have choices.

You can, if you like, finish the ribs on your grill, brushing both sides with the sauce until they are charred to your liking.


As I usually do (because my husband is kinda picky about when he feels like firing up the grill), finsh ’em off in the oven.

Turn the ribs bony side up and brush with the sauce.

Pop into the oven and bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

Turn the ribs over so they are meaty side up, brush with the remaining sauce, and return to the oven, still uncovered, for another 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven, tent with foil, and let rest for ten minutes before serving.

If you have any leftover sauce, or have made extra, feel free to pass with the ribs when serving but, really, you won’t need it.


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Swedish Baked Beans

OK, first things first, provenance

Of course this is an authentic recipe! I found it on the interwebs from a restaurant in Kansas that was in bidness from aound 1955 to 1960. How much more authentic do you actually need?

Also, note to any trolls trying to come back later with a “gotcha!” You obviously have not read the post, so go to heck.

Besides, authentic or not, these are tasty!

•1 apple
•1/4 cup dried cherries
•1/2 cup chopped onion
•8 oz ham steak, chopped
•3/4 cup ketchup
•3/4 cup brown sugar
•1/4 cup sweet relish
•1 tbsp Dijon mustard
•1 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce*
•1 tsp Cajun Power Spicy Garlic Pepper Sauce – or your fave hot sauce, to taste
•1/2 tsp garlic powder
•1/2 tsp black pepper
•1 (28 oz) can baked beans (I used Bush’s)

*No Sherry Peppers Sauce? No Problem! Simply add a bit of decent sherry (none of that “cooking” stuff) and a dash or three of your fave hot sauce, to taste.

Heat your oven to 225º.

Add the dried cherries, onion, and ham steak to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade.

Pulse until finely chopped.

Stir the ketchup, brown sugar, relish, mustard, Sherry Peppers, hot sauce, and seasonings together in a two quart casserole.

Stir in the ham, onion, and cherry mixture and the baked beans – do not drain the baked beans – until well blended.

Cover and bake for 90 minutes.

Remove from the oven, let rest for five minutes or so, then serve.

I think that this is more than enough for six to eight folk and, believe it or not, these tasty baked beans are most excellent
UK-style, on top of a baked potato.

We had ours topped with crumbled Feta and with roasted garlic Naan on the side.

How’s that for authentic?

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Air Fried Salmon With Fancy French Fish Sauce

Aside from one or two friends of mine, most folk love salmon.

We like ours freshly smoked, for bagels or for my take on Kedgeree, and fresh glazed, on the grill or, more often now, air fryer.

For today’s post, I chose to glaze some food kit salmon fillets with my new Fancy French Fish Sauce (not to worry, I am sharing the recipe again in this post) and, yeh, it all worked a treat in the air fryer, but if you would prefer to grill, go for it.

Fancy French Fish Sauce:
•1/2 cup basic French dressing
•3/4 cup chili sauce
•1 tsp horseradish
•1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
•2 tbsp diced celery

•1 salmon fillet per person
•Olive oil
Seasoned Salt
•Black Pepper

First, let’s make the Fancy French Fish Sauce.

Whisk the French dressing into the chili sauce, then stir in the remaining ingredients until nicely blended.

Transfer to a storage jar, close tightly, then stash in the fridge for a few hours or – always more better – overnight, to allow the flavors to really blend.

Note: yes, this is called a sauce for fish, but we have found it quite nice on brats and burgers and tacos, so feel free to explore!

When ready to cook your salmon, heat your air fryer to 400º and season the salmon with the salt and pepper.

Brush the air fryer basket or grill with olive oil, then add the salmon, skin side down.

Pop into the air fryer and cook for five minutes, then remove form the air fryer and brush on the Fancy French Fish Sauce.

Back into the air fryer for another five minutes, until the salmon is nicely cooked and flaky, and the glaze is just a bit crusty.

Serve as you will. Since this was from a food kit we had ours with some “ok” Parmesan roasted broccoli and a rather nice Aioli on top of the salmon.

Hmmm… should’ve added a bit of that to the broccoli.



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