No Beans About It Chili

I only recently formally wrote down my chili recipe. Several years back I made a batch that was an amalgamation of many versions I’d found online, I took tips from each but my recipe wasn’t really in line with any one of them. It turned out fantastic! Figuring I’d remember what I’d done, I never wrote it down. Why do I do that? Always write it down! I always think I’ll remember things and I never do.

Recently I dedicated a day to recreating it and have come pretty darn close. This is a no bean chili, as my husband prefers it. In all honesty, though, I generally throw a can of beans in after he takes his portion.

I don’t make any claims of authenticity here, there’s all kinds of arguments about tomatoes vs. no tomatoes, cubed vs. ground meat, etc. This is just how we like it.

No Beans About It Chili

1 large yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. stew beef, cut into 1/2″ cubes
1.5 Tbl chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1.5 tsp oregano
1/2 dried jalepeno with stem and seeds removed, chopped
1 dried ancho chili pepper with stem and seeds removed, chopped
2 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes
salt and pepper

You can do this stove top in a Dutch oven if you prefer, but I’ve given directions for crock pot here.

Start by getting your crock pot preheating on high.

Salt and pepper beef generously and brown in a skillet with oil of your choice (coconut or canola is fine, save olive oil for something nicer), do this in batches if necessary to not crowd the pan. You’ll want the heat up pretty high, you want it to caramelize on the outside, not just steam in it’s juices.

Transfer browned beef to crock pot and add the onion and garlic to the skillet to brown. Add to crock pot. Pour off a little juice from the canned tomatoes into the pan to remove any bits of goodness that cling to the bottom, you could use some beer for this, too, if you’re a fan of cooking with beer. Add that and everything else into the crock and give it all a stir. Cook on high 3-4 hours or on low for about 6 hours. Those times aren’t hard and fast, if you need to start in the morning and let it cook while you’re gone all day it’ll be just fine.

Add a can of beans if you want and enjoy. I hope you made cornbread!


That’s me. Absent. From here. From my Facebook page. Minded.

This starting a business thing is hard. My goal is and always has been to share tasty treats, spread the love. I wanted to take that larger scale and so I sought kitchen certification that would allow me to offer my home cooked food (specifically preserves) to the public. It’s been interesting. And hard. SO hard. I feel like I need a degree in chemistry and business law. I can do the cooking stuff, I kick ass at that part. But when you get into cooking items for sale, there are (for good reason) all these rules. Food safety rules, standards for product identification, labeling, etc. I’ve learned a lot about the conditions required for jam to gel, different business structures, and on and on. Know what else? It’s expensive, too! Certifying, licensing, registering your business, specialized equipment, marketing! …and I haven’t even started buying supplies.

Right now I’m in a crisis of sorts over my business name. The name I’ve been using unofficially was not available, so I created a different name to be my “legal” name, thinking I’d just register an assumed name (DBA). Now I’m questioning the whole name thing. At this point I’m officially known to the state of Oregon as Hayes Foodcraft, LLC. That just doesn’t have the charm and home-y feeling I’d like to slap on my jars…so, we’ll see.

But, soon. SOON. Soon I will be able to get into the kitchen and do the part that I enjoy. I just needed to talk (type) it out as a little self reminder.

4:00 am Ramblings


I’m laying awake at 4:00, like happens too often these days, and I’m browsing my social media apps on my phone. It is amazing how connected we are in this day and age, I know what’s happening with friends I haven’t seen since 4th grade! But I’ve noticed it’s been very easy for me to fall victim to comparison. Teddy Roosevelt was a wise one.

I’ve been feeling a lot like my home isn’t good enough; it isn’t big enough or well decorated enough. That one girl who just had a baby is way skinnier than me! I don’t have the right clothes, I don’t dress nearly as cute as my friends. I’ve even had crazy thoughts about how I don’t take good enough photos of my child, I’m going to scar him for life because he doesn’t have amazing photographer quality photos of his childhood! (Yes, I’m totally insane.)

Social media is amazing, and I think it’s awesome how I’m able to share day to day with my friends and family, and they’ve expressed appreciation for being able to keep up with our new baby life. But it’s one major downfall is this ugly monster of comparison. I keep having to remind myself that the internet doesn’t give the full story. Generally people only discuss their rainbows and sunshine. I see my bad days, my messy house, my stress…but I don’t see theirs, but that doesn’t mean they doesn’t exist.

When I find myself caught up in these thoughts I know it’s time to take a step back. It’s time for me to focus a little more on my home and my family and less on what others are doing. Maybe I’ll actually get some things done, too!


Photo Source

One pot Coq Au Vin

This has been on the back burner for a bit. I made it, loved it, took lots of pictures and then did nothing. I’m guilty of that sometimes. But today seems like a good day to revisit this recipe. It’s been rainy and a bit cooler than it has been lately, a great day for Coq Au Vin if you ask me. It sounds pretty fancy, no doubt people will be impressed when you say you made Coq Au Vin for dinner. Just don’t tell them how simple it really is, it just means “rooster with wine.”

When I made this, I consulted a handful of recipes, but I wasn’t happy with all of the complex steps. Some required it to sit overnight, all required more than one pan. I decided I could surely make this in just one pot, my Dutch oven.

You will need:

  • a cutting board and knife, for prepping your ingredients
  • a Dutch oven
  • a plate and a large bowl
  • spoon, whisk, and tongs

I think this is a respectable number of items to be washed following a nice dinner.

It will take some time to bring this together. There are a good number of steps, mostly just sauteing one thing at a time, but the steps and ingredients are all very simple.


  • 4-6 oz bacon, diced
  • one 4-5 lb chicken, divided into legs, thighs, breasts, and wings
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-3 medium carrots, cut at a diagonal into 1″ pieces
  • 8 oz mushrooms, sliced or quartered
  • 2 Tbl butter
  • 2 Tbl flour
  • 1/2 bottle dry red wine, preferably burgundy but any good drinkable dry red is fine
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • several sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • one 8 oz bag frozen pearl onions

I’ll spare you any lesson on breaking down a chicken, it’s not my strong suit.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and adjust your rack to the lower 1/3 of the oven. Brown bacon in Dutch oven over medium heat until lightly crisp. Remove to large bowl, leaving the rendered fat in the Dutch oven.

Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper and place skin side down in Dutch oven. Work in batches, if necessary, so that you do not crowd the pan. When they have browned nicely, flip over. Once all sides are evenly brown, remove to plate.

Add diced onion, garlic, and carrots to Dutch oven and saute until onion is translucent, remove to bowl with bacon.

Add mushrooms to Dutch oven and cook until edges begin to brown, turn up the heat if necessary. Remove to bowl with the rest of the sauteed ingredients.

Finally, add butter and flour and cook together about one minute.

Add wine and chicken stock and cook for a minute or two, whisking roux into liquid and scraping all those good brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Turn off heat.

Return all your ingredients from the bowl to the Dutch oven, stir in pearl onions and add thyme. Nestle chicken pieces down into the stew you have made.

Place the lid on your Dutch oven and transfer it to the oven.

Two hours later you’ll have this deliciousness.

I recommend serving it over mashed potatoes. I also recommend skipping lunch so you’ll be good and hungry when this is ready. :)

Oh, and this is all I dirtied for this dish (not including the Dutch oven):

Pork Carnitas Tacos

If there’s anything better than carnitas, I haven’t come across it yet. Except maybe chocolate.

I crave this recipe. These are the best carnitas tacos I have ever tasted, a former boss taught me to make the pork and my taste buds thank him every time I make it.

Start with a 3-4 lb pork shoulder/boston butt roast, cut away any big pieces of fat. Salt GENEROUSLY with kosher salt. Let it hang out in the fridge for a 3-5 hours. (Sorry for the dark photo, not sure what happened…the rest are better!)

Once you’ve let it hang out with the salt for a long time, start your slow cooker on high to preheat.

You can also start gathering your other ingredients:

  • 1 Tb. chili powder
  • one dried ancho pepper with seeds and top removed (mines a guajillo, it’s what I happened to have on hand today, you could also use 1 tsp. ancho chili powder)
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 Tb. fresh minced garlic
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • one cinnamon stick
  • one 12 oz. bottle of beer (Ideally, you’d want a pale ale or amber, I only had stout on hand today.)

Now remove the roast from the fridge and brown it in a little canola oil over medium high heat.

Don’t skip the edges.

Once you’re browned all over, pop it into the slow cooker. We’re not going to forget all of this good stuff, though.

Turn the heat off the burner and add the bottle of beer. Gently scrape the bits off the bottom of the pan.

Pour this goodness over the roast in the slow cooker. Add enough water to come about half way up the side of the roast. Add all your other stuff and mix it in.

Cover, drop heat to low, and cook 4-6 hours.

Remove from slow cooker to a cutting board. Shred with two forks, if you’ve cooked it long enough this should be super easy.

Now, turn your broiler on high and position your broiler rack 3-5″ from heat. Spread shredded meat out on a cookie sheet and broil for 10-15 minutes, turning with tongs every 2 minutes or so. You want to get some nice caramelization going on. Sorry I didn’t get a picture of this part.

Add some of the cooking liquid and toss.

Now serve!

The accompaniments I think are absolutely necessary are:

  • finely diced Spanish white onion
  • lime wedges
  • chopped fresh cilantro
  • crumbled queso fresco
  • salsa verde (best if you can make it, but the stuff from the jar isn’t bad)
  • and these:

The corn/wheat blend makes them flexible, but they still taste like the traditional corn tortillas that are served with carnitas. Regular corn tortillas frustrate the heck out of me because they won’t hold together.

Enjoy! (I’d recommend a margarita to go with it!)

“The best meatloaf I’ve ever had.”

“This is probably the best meatloaf I’ve ever had in my life.”

Cooking is absolutely an act of love for me. I cook because I love the food, but mostly I cook because I love the people I cook for, so these are some of the sweetest words a lover of food can hear. This is what my husband told me tonight. I had the day off and spent the morning drinking coffee and catching up on some Food Network recordings on the DVR, about half of which was Pioneer Woman. She made an awesome looking meatloaf, that was the inspiration for my dinner tonight.

Ree’s meatloaf was a much looser consistency than I have always made mine. I didn’t so much follow a recipe, but I loosely based mine on hers, making sure not to make mine too dry.

Here is (roughly) what I did:

“Best Meatloaf Ever”

  • 2.5-3 lbs ground beef
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk or half and half
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 Tbl fresh chopped parsley
  • 1-2 Tbl seasoning of your choice, I used a dressing mix from Penzeys…you could use the packets of ranch dressing mix, etc.
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup oatmeal
  • 8-10 slices bacon

Saute onion in a small amount of olive oil or butter until soft. Whisk eggs in a large bowl, add all other ingredients (except bacon), adding just enough oatmeal so the mixture holds together but is not firm. Mix the ingredients well with your hands. Form mixture into two loose loaf shapes and place on a greased sheet pan. Lay four to five strips of bacon across the top of each loaf, leaving about 1″ excess on each side (cut bacon if necessary). Tuck the ends of the bacon under and pull the bacon taut to pull the meatloaf into shape.

Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes, or until 135 degrees. Glaze with sweet and spicy glaze (recipe follows) or ketchup, return to oven until loaves reach 160 degrees in the center.

Sweet and Spicy Glaze

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 2 Tbl brown sugar
  • 2 tsp dry mustard
  • 10 shakes Tabasco, or to taste

Mix all together well. Makes enough to glaze both loaves and extra for spreading on at the table.

This meatloaf is moist and flavorful, the glaze is sweet with a kick. My husbands only complaint is that the bacon doesn’t cut well with a fork, haha.