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Red-hot & Not-so-hot Chili

Did you know that "chili" generally refers
to all hot peppers? There are over 3,000 varieties ranging from sweet and mild
to hot, hot, hot. Our favorite chili recipes wouldn’t be the same without these
little wonders.

Whether you prefer good old store-bought chili powder
or feel brave enough to try a habanera-the world’s hottest pepper-you’ll enjoy
these recipes. The Southwest Beef Chili Pizza is compliments of the National Cattlemen’s
Association. The Easy Chili Dip is a favorite of mine when guests drop in and
I need a snack in a hurry.

EASY CHILI DIP

1/4 cup chopped onion

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 small jar spaghetti sauce

1 (10-1/2 oz.) can chili without beans

1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Crisp corn chips

Sauté onions in oil. Stir in spaghetti sauce and
chili. Heat thoroughly. Top with cheese and use chips for dipping. (For added
spice I grind up dried habanera peppers and store them in a Ziploc bag. I sprinkle
a tiny amount over this dip. Be careful-a little goes a long way.) Serves 4.

TEXAS STYLE CHILI

3 lbs. ground chuck

1 lb. hot bulk sausage

3 medium onions, chopped

5 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup chili powder

1-1/2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 Tablespoon sugar

1 Tablespoon oregano

1 teaspoon salt

1 can (28 oz.) chopped tomatoes (do not drain)

3 (16 oz.) cans kidney beans, drained

Combine ground chuck, sausage, onion, and garlic
in a Dutch oven. Cook until meat is brown, stirring to crumble meat. Drain.
Stir in next 6 ingredients and cover. Simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
Add kidney beans and simmer an additional 20 minutes. Serves 8-10.

SOUTHWEST BEEF CHILI PIZZA

1 lb. ground beef

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 pkg. (16 oz.) thick prefaced pizza crust (12-in.

diameter)

1-1/4 cups prepared thick and chunky salsa

1-1/2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend or

Monterey Jack cheese

1 can (4 oz.) diced green chilies, drained well

2 medium plum tomatoes, seeded, coarsely

chopped

1/3 cup thinly slivered red onion

2 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Heat oven to 450°. Brown ground beef in large nonstick
skillet over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes or until beef is not pink, breaking
up into 3/4-inch crumbles. Remove from skillet with slotted spoon; season with
salt. Place pizza crust on ungreased pizza pan or large baking sheet. Spread
salsa evenly over crust, sprinkle with 1/2 of cheese. Top evenly with beef,
chilies, tomatoes, onion, and remaining cheese. Bake in 450° oven 11 to 13 minutes
or until topping is hot and cheese is melted. Sprinkle with cilantro; cut into
8 wedges and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Cook’s Tip: One cup seeded and coarsely chopped regular tomatoes may
be substituted for plum tomatoes. For spicier flavor, shredded jalapeno pepper
cheese may be substituted for Mexican cheese blend.

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