I make a number of different chilies. This is my most basic go to recipe. This chili is brothy with a deep and rich flavor. I use fresh poblanoes and a jalapeño or two, depending how spicy they are. Cumin is a must. I used black beans and pintos today but use whatever beans are in your pantry. Top with a slice of lime and some cilantro to brighten things up. Things don’t get much better!


1 pound ground chuck

One Tablespoon each cumin, dried oregano and coriander

1 large onion chopped

2 poblanos chopped

1-2 jalapenos seedied and minced

2 garlic cloves minced

1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes

1 quart good beef stock

1 15ounce can each black beans and pinto beans

1 lime sliced

1 bunch cilantro

1. Brown meat in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Stir in cumin, oregano, coriander and salt and pepper. Remove to a dish.

2. Sauté onion, poblano and jalapeno till wilted. Stir in garlic till fragrant.

3. Stir in tomatoes, meat and stock. Raise heat to bring to a boil.

4. Lower heat to a simmer. Stir in beans. You may simmer for 1-2 hours. 1 hour will give you a fresh bright chili. 2 hours will give you a deep rich chili. Both are great!

5. Garnish each serving with a slice of lime and some cilantro.


Orange Rosemary Chicken

Orange Rosemary Chicken with Roasted Green Beans

Orange Rosemary Chicken with Roasted Green Beans

So easy and so yummy. You can cook for one person or a crowd. My recipe assumes a large (over one pound) boneless, skin on chicken breast for two people. There would be no problem doubling, tripling  or more the recipe. We find about one half pound per person is good but I would allow extra if I was entertaining. I served the orange rosemary chicken with simple roasted green beans. Green beans cleaned and trimmed, tossed with some olive oil salt and pepper. 400 degree oven about 20 minutes. All done!

Orange Rosemary Chicken

1 skin on, boneless chicken breast about 1-11/4 pounds

1 Tablespoon unsalted butter

zest of 1/2 orange

11/2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary

salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

1. In a small bowl mix butter, orange zest, rosemary and salt and pepper.

2. Put mixture under the skin of the chicken breast.

3. Bake 45 minutes. Let rest 5-10 minutes. Slice and serve.

MP’s Meatloaf

Great Meatloaf

Great Meatloaf

Meatloaf is not sexy. I never really liked meatloaf. It made sense when we had growing boys to feed, as it fit in the budget easily. Then at some point in the 90s diner food got popular and I felt guilty for not being wild about meatloaf. When I made it the loaf would fall apart when sliced. It only tasted OK. I let my husband make it and he did a good job!

I decided to make a good, no a great meatloaf. This is what I came up with. I like it a lot! I hope you do too.

Meatloaf and roasted potatoes

Meatloaf and roasted potatoes

MP's Meatloaf

2 cups diced firm bread

3/4 cup heavy cream

3/4 pound ground pork

3/4 pound ground chuck

2 shallots minced

2 cloves garlic minced

1 teaspoon each salt and pepper

1 cup ketchup

1 egg beaten


1/4 cup brown sugar

2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup ketchup

1 Tablespoon grainy mustard

3-4 slices applewood bacon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1. in a small bowl soak bread in cream for about 30 minutes.

2. In a large bowl gently combine bread and cream with next 6 ingredients. Pat firmly into meatloaf/bread pan leaving space between loaf and pan.

3. Combine brown sugar, vinegar, ketchup and mustard in small bowl. Spread this sauce over meatloaf. Top with bacon.

4. Bake 1 1/2 hour. Let rest 5 minutes then remove from pan. Cover with foil and let rest 10 minutes. Slice and serve. The resting is important if you want the meatloaf to slice neatly.

Sauerkraut Casserole AKA German Shepherd Pie



This is a fun dish and no dogs were harmed in the process. 🙂  Sauerkraut casserole AKA German shepherd pie is simple and super tasty! Try using other sausage if you like. I have cooked bratwurst to add to the sauerkraut and it was good too. If you don’t want to use apple cider try Riesling wine or a beer of your choice. Even a vegetable or chicken broth would do the trick. I always mash the potatoes (skin on) with a hand held potato masher. I like the lumpy texture I can keep. But mash the potatoes your own way if you insist.

Sauerkraut Casserole AKA German Shepherd Pie

5-6 Yukon gold potatoes

2 Tablespoons butter

1 pound smoked sausage

1 large onion chopped

2 carrots chopped

2 pound refrigerator sauerkraut, drained

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 Tablespoon caraway seed

1 cup apple cider

 2 cups grated Gruyere

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1. In a sauce pan cover the potatoes with well salted water and bring to boil. Partially cover and simmer till tender. About 20 minutes. Drain. Mash with the butter. Set aside.

2.In a skillet brown the smoked sausage. If using a non smoked sausage cook thoroughly. Remove to a plate.

3. To the skillet add onion and carrot. There should be plenty of fat but you can add olive oil or butter if needed. Just cook till the onion is wilted.

4. Add the drained sauerkraut, brown sugar, caraway seeds and apple cider. Bring to a simmer. Add sausage.

5. Put sauerkraut mixture into a casserole. Top with potatoes. Top with grated gruyere. Bake about 50 minutes. Let rest about 10 minutes before serving.

Hank says,”I’m going to go with a German Racuchbier for this dish. “Rauch” means smoked in German and I really think that the smoked malts in these beers will pair nicely with everything that is going on in this dish. Try a Aecht Schlenkerla’s Marzen or Doppelbock if you’re adventurous or try the Aecht Schlenkerla Helles if you want the smoke dialed back a bit. Prosit!”

Cissie says,”This dish is going to need to be paired with an Alsatian Riesling or Alsatian Pinot Gris . If you insist on red, which will not pair as nicely, I would go with a fruity Red Zinfandel.”

Fall Bratwurst Soup

Fall Bratwurst Soup

Fall Bratwurst Soup

This was originally a clean out the fridge soup, but it was so good I wrote it down and kept it around. The measurements and even the ingredients are fairly flexible. The secret is the low slow cooking so the cruciferous veggies have a relatively long time between crunchy and mushy sulphery…yuck. Just keep checking and you will have nicely textured and flavored cabbage and cauliflower. Of course if you are in a hurry you can cook this on a higher heat but watch and taste closely.

Fall Bratwurst Soup

2 Bratwurst

2 medium onion chopped

2 mild chilies (like banana pepper) chopped

quart of chicken broth

1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes

1/4 head of cabbage

1/2 head cauliflower

4 small potatoes quartered

2 carrots chopped

2 cups lima beans ( fresh or frozen)

sprig of fresh thyme

2 bay leaves

1Tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1. Over medium low heat in a Dutch oven cook the bratwurst about 15 minutes. Remove to a plate.

2. Add olive oil if needed and sweat the onion and pepper.

3. Add the rest of the ingredients except the apple cider vinegar. Bring to a boil. Lower heat to just a simmer.

4. Let barely simmer for 45-60 minutes. Just before serving stir in the vinegar.

Fennel Apple Salad

Fennel Apple Salad

Fennel Apple Salad

So easy so yummy.

Fennel Apple Salad

1 large bulb of fennel

1 granny smith apple

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Parmesan cheese

salt and pepper

1. Slice the fennel and the apple very thin.

2. Whisk thyme, olive oil and vinegar together. Toss with fennel and apple.

3. Garnish with Parmesan cheese using a vegetable peeler. Salt and pepper to taste.

Apple and Blue Cheese Slaw

Apple and Blue Cheese Slaw

Apple and Blue Cheese Slaw

Quick, simple and tasty. This salad screams autumn. I make it early in the day or the night before to let the dressing soften the cabbage and meld all the flavors. The apples will not brown due to the acid in the vinaigrette plus they stay crunchy.

Apple Blue Cheese Slaw

1/2 head of cabbage, sliced very thin

1 apple sliced thin

2 stalks celery sliced thin

3 ounces blue cheese crumbled

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

1/2 teaspoon grainy Dijon mustard

1/4 cup olive oil

1. Combine vegetables in a large bowl.

2. Whisk mustard into vinegar. Whisk in olive oil in a slow stream. Salt and pepper to taste.

3. Stir dressing and salad together. Refrigerate 6 hours to overnight stirring occasionally.