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chili tostada stack

chili con carne on tostada shells

This is my sister-in-law’s award-winning chili recipe. How generous of her to share it with me. Her secret ingredient is Angry Orchard. How generous of me to divulge that right off the bat, instead of making you read ’til the end of the post to find out.

My husband loves, loves chili con carne! Served on rice or bread or tostada shells, with french fries or crackers or nacho chips, it doesn’t matter much to him. He just loves it! So I was constantly on the hunt to find a better recipe but I think the hunt is finally over. I’ve found the best!

chili con carne on rice

It totally blew my mind when my SIL told me her secret ingredient. First of all, I never even had an Angry Orchard before. My GF BIL (gluten-free, not girlfriend. C’mon, would that even make sense?) introduced it to me. OMG, IWLAFS (it was love at first sip, duh!). It’s much easier communicating with acronyms, SSMT (saves so much time). BNIIHTKE (But not if I have to keep explaining) so I’ll stop.

I did modify her recipe a teensy bit. For the chili con carne, I omitted the beans and added beef pieces, instead. That way my son would eat it, too. He claims he’s allergic to beans. I know for a fact that he’s not, but I humor him all the same. The things you do for your kids!

The vegan version, on the other hand, is for my daughter. She claims ground meat makes her gag. I know for a fact this is the absolute truth, so I always make her something different whenever I’m serving anything with ground meat. The things you do for your kids!

(P.S. I’m not being paid by Angry Orchard to write this. I should be! But really, you don’t have to use Angry Orchard. You can use any hard cider or beer. The Angry Orchard, I think, gives this chili its sweet taste, which you may or may not prefer. Substitute with beer if you don’t like your chili on the sweet side.)

chili con carne

My Sister-in-law's Chili con Carne


1 lb lean ground beef
1/2 lb beef chuck roast, cut up into 1/2 inch cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 medium green bell pepper, diced
1 medium red bell pepper, diced
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 tbsp (heaping) chili powder
1 tbsp ground cumin
2 tsp dried oregano
1 (29 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (15 oz) tomato sauce or 2 cups homemade tomato sauce
One (12 oz) bottle Angry Orchard hard cider
Salt & pepper or beef bouillon cubes, to taste

1. In a large Dutch oven, over medium-high heat, brown ground beef and chuck roast in 1 tbsp of oil. When meat is browned, remove from pot and drain excess oil. Set aside.
2. Add 1 more tbsp of oil to the pot and sauté onions and peppers until soft. Add garlic and continue to cook until garlic is fragrant. Stir in chipotle peppers.
3. Add the meat back into the pot.
4. Stir in chili powder, cumin, and oregano. Continue to cook and stir, scraping the browned bits that form on the bottom of the pan, about 3-5 minutes. This will create a lot of flavor for your chili. You may reduce the heat slightly if it browns too quickly.
5. Add the cider, stir it down, then add the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce.
6. Let it simmer for about 2 hours or until sauce is reduced and chili is thick, stirring every now and then to prevent sticking. Add salt & pepper or bouillon as needed.
7. Serve on rice or tostada shells. Garnish as desired, with shredded cheddar cheese, jalapeño slices, chopped fresh tomato, diced avocado or green onions.

The vegan version
vegan chili with crumbled tofu and tempeh

Substitute the meat with chopped or mashed-up frozen tofu that has been thawed and roasted crumbled tempeh. I wouldn’t recommend using fresh tofu for this, since it’s too soft. Freezing tofu causes it to become more chewy and dense, therefore making it suitable for longer cooking such as a slow simmer in chili or stew. To freeze tofu, simply place the package in a freezer for a minimum of 24 hours or until completely solid. You can thaw frozen tofu at room temperature or in a bowl of warm water. Once thawed, squeeze tofu dry before using.

frozen tofu

For each 1 lb of meat, substitute with 2 cups of crumbled tofu + 1 cup of crumbled tempeh. A can of beans (pinto, red kidney or black) may be added as well.

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I’m so grateful to Hilda @Along The Grapevine for assisting me with selecting features from FF31. She knew I was feeling under the weather and offered to help. She visited all the links on my behalf. She is also co-hosting FF32 with me. I can’t thank her enough for her thoughtfulness and most of all, her friendship.

Without further ado, here are features from Fiesta Friday #31:


Truffle Mac and Cheese Bun Burgerfrom Sarah @Sarah ‘n Spice. In Hilda’s word, “I had a feeling when I saw the title that it was not going to be the old mac and cheese in a box, but had no idea how far outside the box this recipe was. The flavors of mushroom and truffle butter were enough to pique my interest, but the thoroughly original technique of making a bun out of these ingredients wowed me! I can’t wait to try these myself!”

In my words, “Uhm………..uhm………. I don’t have any words! I’m speechless!” I was truly bowled over by these. For a minute or so, I just sat there looking at the burger and the buns with my mouth wide open, at a loss for words. Those buns are just too awesome for words. Just so creative and original. Are you sure you’re not an Iron Chef in disguise, Sarah?

Black Forest, Goat Cheese Brownies from Julianna @Foodie On Board. Once again, I’m speechless! Just an incredible recipe for a brownie. This is the stuff that only the very talented can think of. Goat cheese and cherries? In a brownie? Wow! Uhm………..uhm……….told you I’m speechless.


Pork Tenderloin with Mango Pineapple Salsa from Juju @cookingwithauntjuju. I have to admit I find cooking with pork challenging. Most of the time, my chops end up dry, no matter how thickly I have them cut. No wonder I don’t have that many tried and true pork recipes. Enter Juju’s Pork Tenderloin. Just reading the ingredients, I can tell this will be one of my most successful pork dishes when I try it. How can it not? First it’s seasoned with a spice rum, then slathered with a rum glaze, and finally served with a tropical salsa of mango and pineapple. Sounds so fabulous, Juju! This is an excellent pork recipe!


Gulab Phirni / Rose Rice Pudding with fresh Fruits from Namrata @MyFoodTapestry. In Hilda’s words, “This festive dessert would be the perfect ending to any fine meal, but the aromatic and creamy sweetness would be especially good after a spicy dinner. I feel as if I am being transported to the subcontinent just thinking about these exotic flavors.”

This has got to be the prettiest rice pudding I have ever seen. And the flavors of saffron, cardamom, and rose water would make it a standout among other rice puddings. I also love the way this post is written. Reads almost like poetry, doesn’t it? Wonderful post, Namrata!

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Once again, thanks to Hilda for helping me select these features. And now she’s even helping me start Fiesta Friday #32. What a gal!

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