Not this year.
Today was in the upper 70’s and it’s barely frozen! I still have flowers blooming in front of the house and my ferns are still hanging on the porch. Doesn’t feel like Fall in Kansas! What beautiful weather we’ve had although it is very dry and we desperately need rain.
But we know the weather is coming. We are supposed to have unseasonably warm weather tomorrow but on Thursday, Fall is really here and we know winter won’t be far behind. Tomorrow’s prediction is High of 52, low of 24. 40% Chance of rain (yes, Dear Lord, let it be so!)
The days following are more of the same with highs in the 40’s and 50’s and lows in the teens! Brrrr!
But the really good thing is….it’s soup weather! And more specifically, when the weather turns cold, I think about Chili!
There are many different ways to make chili and as far as I’m concerned, all of them are good–unless it is a weak, watery broth with beans and hamburger with a sprinkle of chili powder that tastes like nothing. Can’t tolerate that! Has to have some decent chili spice and be thick and delicious! And I’m not a fan of “sweet” chili. But other than that–I’d eat chili any time.
And I have.
I actually love Chili for breakfast. It’s one of my favorites and began as an accident.
When I started my nursing career, I worked nights 11 PM to 7 AM and there was a nursing shortage so we were often asked to stay over and work a double shift. Many times, I took chili as my middle-of-the-night supper but didn’t get to eat it due to the busyness of the shift. The day shift would arrive and I’d be asked to stay. My reply was that I would, but I needed to stop and eat. My “lunch break” came at 7 AM when we set down with the on-coming shift to give report. I’d be reporting to nurses who just woke up while I was eating chili with crunched up tortilla chips and grated cheddar on top. It was a little tough on their collective stomachs! But I loved it and I’ll eat Chili anytime.
Our church facilitates a Harvest Festival as an alternative to Halloween and a part of that is a chili cook-off to win the coveted “Golden Ladle.” It’s actually a plastic ladle from Walmart that is spray painted gold, but it is the honor that counts! I’ve won 2 Golden Ladles. Kary has won 1. And we’ve come close countless other times.
I am normally a traditionalist when it comes to Chili, having lived in Texas and seen the Terlingua chili competitions there. In fact, while I lived in Texas, I fixed a traditional chili with no beans, but after coming back to Kansas, I’ve jumped back on the bean bandwagon and my favorite chili has a combo of black, pinto, Great Northern, and Navy beans. Kary is a fan of kidney beans, but I’m really not so I don’t add them but he does and has the Golden Ladle to prove it!
When we owned Cuppa Joe Espresso, we were well known for our homemade soups. I often fixed chili and another favorite was a White Chicken Chili but I’d always entered more traditional chili’s in the contest at church.
This year I just threw caution to the wind. I’ve fallen in love with everything Buffalo Chicken and created a Buffalo Chicken Chili for the contest and though it didn’t win, it did quite well and I’ve been craving it ever since! It’s beginning point was the very popular Buffalo Chicken Dip and I took it from there.
So when the wind blows and you need some heat for the bones, try this! My apologies because I seldom use a recipe so what is posted here is my guestimate and mostly a method so try my recipe, but add and subtract and make it your own and you should come up with something very tasty!
WILD BILL’s BUFFALO CHICKEN CHILI
2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts (I buy the frozen pkg from Walmart and cook in my crockpot with garlic, salt and pepper and a bit of water until fall apart. In my crockpot, about 4-5 hours from frozen till done!)
2-3 cups chicken broth (I use the stock from cooking the chicken)
1/2 cup of red, yellow, orange peppers and onion (dice fine and saute in 1 T butter till soft)
1 Jalapeno Pepper (remove seeds and veins, chop fine)
2 T butter
1 1/2 cup Ranch dressing
1/2 -1 cup Franks Red Hot Sauce (add to taste. I like it spicy so went with about 3/4 cup)
16 oz Cream Cheese
1 1/2 cup Cream or Half and Half
2 cans Great Northern Beans with liquid
1/2 Cup Blue Cheese
Cook chicken breasts until they shred easily. Shred in broth in crock pot. Season with salt, pepper and garlic to taste. Add Franks Red Hot Sauce to chicken. Saute’ the onions and peppers in butter till soft and add to the pot along with additional butter. Soften cream cheese in microwave. Stir in Ranch dressing and cream. Stir into pot. Add beans with liquid and stir to combine. If need to thin down, add additional broth. Broth should be thick and creamy with a nice kick like Buffalo Chicken Wings. Add additional Franks if needed for heat and flavor. Just before serving, stir in 1/2 cup of blue cheese and very finely chopped jalapeno pepper. Serve with tortilla chips and celery sticks. May sprinkle with grated cheddar if desired.
Enjoy! But I’ll post this warning! If you love Buffalo Chicken Wings, this is hard to resist and may be habit forming!