Category Archives: Beef

A Chili Summer

Ask people how they like their chili and you’ll get a variety of answers. Mild or caliente, vegetarian or con carne, everyone has an opinion. Chili brings out our experimental side, and almost anything can be thrown into the pot; as evidenced by the many chili cook-offs occurring across the country each summer.

One such cook-off that I’ve frequented over the years is the summer chili cook-off at Saratoga Race Course in upstate New York.  Come August at the Spa, it’s High Society  and horses in the paddock, and folding chairs & coolers behind the grandstand.  Saratoga’s 40-day summer meet is the crème de la crème of thoroughbred racing, boasting a stakes race each and every day.  The historic grandstand & race course has even been named one of the worlds great sporting venues by Sports Illustrated magazine.

So if you’re looking for one last day-trip to your never ending summer, set a course for upstate New York, where the horses will be running through Labor Day.  Can’t get to the Spa…  then try my summer chili recipe.  It takes me back there everytime !

as photographed by our team, à la Carte Partners

Joe’s Slow-Cooker Chili
makes about 12 servings

1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. ground Italian sausage (hot or sweet)
1 bottle (12 oz) beer
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium-sized onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cans (28 oz. each) crushed tomatoes
1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
2 tablespoons chili powder (more for spicy)
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons oregano, crushed
1 teaspoon salt
1/2  teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2  teaspoon ground red pepper (optional)
1  package (10 oz.) frozen corn
1  package (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1 can (15 oz.) red pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15 oz.) white kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained

– In large skillet brown ground beef and sausage; drain and spoon into Crock-Pot.
– Add remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on Low for 8 to 10 hours.


– Leftovers can be frozen.
Any combination of beans can be used.
– Seasoning can be adjusted to your taste buds.
– To make a vegetarian version, remove the beef and sausage  and add your favorite vegetables such as zucchini, carrots, yellow squash, butternut squash,  bell peppers, etc.



Filed under Beef, Chili, Crock-Pot, Sausage

Spicy Skillet Beef & Pasta

Ask Rich and the girls, and they will know exactly what I mean when they ask, “What’s for dinner?” and I say, “That Ground Beef Dish.”  It has been a staple on our weekly menu for at least 25 years.  I think everyone has a family recipe that has its own secret code name. Anyway, it’s an easy skillet dinner that evolved one day while I was searching through my cabinets for ingredients that would pair nicely with ground beef.  It has taken on slight changes over the years for one reason or another.  The big change thus far has been substituting ground turkey for ground beef.  I have also upped the spice factor!

Spicy Skillet Beef & Pasta

Makes 4 servings

1 pound ground beef or turkey
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 jalapeno pepper, chopped (optional)
1 clove garlic, minced
1  can (14 1/2 ounces) stewed tomatoes
1 can (8 ounces) corn
1/3 cup barbecue sauce
3/4 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chili powder (optional)
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup elbow pasta
– In large nonstick skillet, brown ground beef, onion, jalapeno pepper and garlic.
– Stir in stewed tomatoes, corn with its liquid, barbecue sauce, water, salt, chili powder, red  and black peppers; heat to boiling.
–  Add pasta and reduce heat. Cover and simmer until pasta is tender, about 8 to 10 minutes.

– As mentioned, you can substitute ground turkey for ground beef.  You may have to brown the ground turkey in a little vegetable oil.
– If you do not want the bold flavors, eliminate the chili powder and the crushed red pepper.  Sometimes I opt for the plain and simple.
– Try different pasta.  I’ve tried wheels, rotelle, fusilli, cavatappi (curly elbows).
– I love using Kraft Original Barbecue Sauce, but you can use your favorite.



Filed under Beef, Turkey