Spicy Skinny Chili


It is getting cold and windy and shivery and frigid in DC, and to psychologically withstand such things, I had to make a big pot of something warm and comforting today. It’s also Sunday. Ahhh Sundays. It’s the one day where its perfectly acceptable to watch a marathon of Netflix and just relax in your PJs all day long. Sundays also = football. So, cold weather + Sunday + Football = CHILI. Yum. I love chili. Not only because of that familiar taste but because there are so many different variations and methods for cooking it. You can really get creative. I’ve been on a bit of a health kick so for this recipe I’m going with ground turkey. To make up for not using ground beef (which has more flavor in my opinion), I decided to kick up the heat.

Just like your standard beef chili, there are as many incarnations as there are grains of sand in all the beaches of the world. I know that everyone has an opinion on chili, especially people from Texas, and some will even claim that your chili isn’t chili if you add or omit certain things. If you really want a laugh check out some of the comments on chili recipes on sites like Epicurious. “No TEXAN would ever call this chili!” and “This recipe is blasphemous!” Then again, if you are from Texas you’ve likely got a recipe you were making since you were old enough to stand at a stove and don’t need my chili recipe, so there.

2 lbs 7% fat ground turkey ($5)
1 yellow onion, chopped finely ($.75)
5 cloves garlic, minced ($.25)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes ($1.50)
3 Tbsp tomato paste ($.50)
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp. Texas Pete hot sauce ($.05)
1 (15 oz) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed ($1)
1 red bell pepper, chopped ($1.50)
2 jalapenos, chopped and de-seeded ($.75)
1 1/2 tsp. salt
Pinch of pepper
1 packet Stevia or Splenda
3 Tbsp chili powder ($1)
2 tsp. oregano ($.20)
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper ($.05)
Total: $13.05

1. Saute the onion and garlic in olive oil until fragrant. Add bell pepper and jalapeños.
2. Add ground turkey and browned. Once cooked, poor off excess fat.
3. Add crushed tomatoes, hot sauce, spices, stevia and beans. Stir together and turn heat on low.
3. Mix tomato paste and water until combined and then pour in chili pot.
4. Let simmer on low for 60-90 minutes. Add more tomato paste/ water mixture if you want it less thick.
5. Serve with your favorite toppings– I like chopped green onions sour cream or cheese

*I cooked my chili in a dutch oven but you can easily do this in a crock pot and get the same result*

Award Winning Tailgating

*I’d like to interrupt my regular PLRC posts with something a little different, a throwback from 2009*

I know it’s April and this post is about 4 months premature, but I cannot freaking wait for football season. The pageantry of tradition, being an overly obnoxious fan, ESPN College Gameday, that game-changing field goal, and most importantly– the parking lot dining. I’m from the South. I went to the University of Florida. If you want a tutorial in tailgating, you should probably visit Gainesville. Tailgating is a superlative game in itself. There is nothing better than the smell of a charcoal grill, the taste of cold beer and the endless spreads of chips, dips, cheese and crudités.


Back in 2009, my sister Alli entered a  Texas Pete Hot Sauce contest to try and win tickets to the SEC Championship in Atlanta. In order to qualify for the contest, you had to submit a photo of  your friends or family tailgating . Two “teams” were chosen and the finalists had to travel to Atlanta. There were thousands of entries…and my sister’s was chosen.  The next step of the contest was the cook-off. Alli enlisted the help of her husband, my brother, my mom and me to travel to Atlanta and participate in the Iron Chef of tailgating. The catch was that every recipe we cooked had to a) be original and b) incorporate Texas Pete Hot Sauce. We spent weeks drafting our recipes and assigned them with catchy gator-themed names. We were ready.

Well I thought we were ready. Until THIS guy showed up $%!*


Our hearts sank. This dude from Gulf Shores, Alabama shows up in a monster Ford pickup truck, big-haired wife in tow, hauling a professional barbeque smoker. We had a toaster oven and hot plate. I felt like he should have been disqualified right there. He jumps out of his truck and lets out a big “ROLLLLLL TIDE.” I’m pretty sure I let out a big “oh sh*t.” He wasn’t playing around. This guy was the reigning Texas Pete Ultimate Tailgate Cook-off champion. He was in it to win it.

From there adrenaline kicked in and we cooked our Bryan butts off. We delegated tasks– my brother and brother-in-law manned the grills, I did the chopping/ assembly, and my sister did everything in between. Mom oversaw the whole process and helped where needed. Dad was there for moral support. It was a race to the finish and we weren’t letting the Bama bully get in our way.

This hat is embarrassing
This hat is embarrassing

We eventually made our way from outside the Georgia Dome to inside a convention center. There was a formal presentation and a tasting by a panel of five judges. I was nervous. The Bama dude’s presentation looked pretty darn good and he had brisket, baby back ribs and other southern fare. Ours was creative, though and not as mainstream. After waiting on pins and needles for about 30 minutes the judges made their way to the podium for an announcement.

Drum roll…WE WON! We won we won we won! Happy dance! Take that Alabama. Our prizes included tickets to the game, a flat screen TV (which is currently in my living room), a Big Green Egg grill, a Honda generator (I really have no use for that but I guess it’s cool), and some other things that I can’t remember. The best prize of all though was the bragging rights. I am a tailgate cook-off champion.


Below are our award-winning recipes. Enjoy!

Heisman Heat Shrimp Dip with Blue Corn Tortilla Chips

  • 1 1/2 lbs uncooked shrimp
  • 1 Pkg  Cream Cheese
  • Lemon
  • Texas Pete Wing Sauce
  • 1 Cup Ranch or Blue Cheese Dressing
  • 1 cup Colby Jack Shredded Cheese
  • Texas Pete’s Garlic Sauce
  • Old Bay Seasoning
  • 2 Tbls Butter


Saute shrimp in butter and season with Texas Pete’s Garlic Sauce and Old Bay seasoning until no longer pink. Squeeze 1/2 lemon over cooked shrimp. Set aside to cool.

Beat together cream cheese, wing sauce, and dressing until desired consistency and taste. (We like 1/2 and 1/2 ranch and blue cheese) Stir in strained shrimp (we like to chop them up a bit) and cheese. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or till top of dip is browned.

Serve dip with your favorite Tortilla Chips (Us Gator fans are partial to Blue Corn Tortilla Chips!)


Two Bits Tater Salad


  • 10 to 12 red potatoes (peeled and chopped into bite size pieces)
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 1 vidalia onion
  • 4 hard boiled eggs (Chopped)
  • 2 tbl. yellow mustard
  • Mayonnaise
  • Texas Pete’s Garlic Sauce
  • Salt, Pepper, and White Pepper


Put potatoes on to boil. Chop vegetables very fine. After potatoes are cooked, mash them one at a time in bowl. Add salt, pepper, eggs and vegetables. Add the mayonnaise and mustard, and mix thoroughly. Add Texas Pete’s Garlic sauce to taste….should have a kick, but not too spicy.


Chompin’ Broccoli Salad

  • 1 bunch broccoli (raw), cut into bite size pieces
  • 1/2 c. red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 c. craisins
  • 1/2 c. sunflower seeds
  • ½ c.  bacon, crumbled

Broccoli salad dressing:

  • ½ c. mayonnaise
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • ½ c. Texas Pete’s Honey Mustard Dressing


Combine first 5 ingredients together, making sure to break up broccoli into bite-size pieces. Mix with dressing just before serving.


Bourbon Meyer Sliders with Smoldering Swamp Sauce

  • 1 lb. Ground Chuck
  • 2 tbl. Jalapenos, finely chopped
  • 1 package of Hawaiian Sweet Rolls
  • Dill Pickle Chips

Bourbon Marinade for Burgers

  • ¼ c. Bourbon
  • ¼ c. Honey,
  • ¼ c. soy sauce
  • ½ tsp dry mustard
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • Texas Pete’s Original Sauce to Taste

Smoldering Swamp Sauce

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 generous handful of fresh cilantro, chopped fine
  • 1 c. of Ranch Salad Dressing
  • 1 tsp. Texas Pete’s Garlic Sauce


Combine Chopped jalapenos with the ground chuck in a bowl. Make small, slider-sized patties with the ground chuck mixture.  Marinate the burgers in the Bourbon Meyer marinade for at least 2-4 hours.  Combine the avocado pulp, juice of ½ a lemon, cilantro, ranch dressing and Texas Pete’s Garlic Sauce in a food processor and then reserve until ready to top the burgers. (Make sure to cover the Swamp Sauce with plastic wrap so it does not turn brown before using) Grill burgers and toast sweet rolls to use as buns. Garnish the bun with a few pickle slices, and dress the burgers with the Smoldering Swamp Sauce.


Orange and Bleu Wings


  • 5 pounds chicken wings, separated at joints, tips discarded
  • 1 Bottle Texas Pete’s Wing Sauce
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • Bleu Cheese Dressing

Wing Rub:

  •   6 Tablespoons paprika
  •   2 Tablespoons ground black pepper
  •   2 Tablespoons salt
  •   2 Tablespoons sugar
  •   1 Tablespoon chili powder
  •   1 Tablespoon granulated garlic
  •   1 Tablespoon onion powder
  •   1 teaspoon cayenne


Combine all rub ingredients and mix thoroughly in a large plastic container with lid.  Take chicken wings and roll each wing individually (one-by-one) in the rub.  (Optional) You can add Texas Pete’s to the wings before applying the rub if you are having trouble with the rub sticking, but often the moisture in the wings should be enough for it to adhere. Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat. Using a pot that can be placed on the grill, melt the butter and combine with ½ of the bottle of Texas Pete’s Wing Sauce. Place chicken wings on the grill, and brush generously with this sauce. Grill, turning and basting frequently for 20 to 40 minutes, or until meat is no longer pink and the outside is brown, crispy and extra done.

Place wings in large plastic container, add the remaining Texas Pete’s Wing Sauce, cover with lid and shake thoroughly, making sure sauce completely covers each wing. Serve these with Bleu Cheese dressing; you can also add on celery and/or carrots.


Fightin’ Gator Fiery Fondue with Fruit Kabobs


  • 1  package (12oz) of Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips
  • ¾ c. Heavy Cream
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2 tsp Texas Pete’s Original Hot Sauce
  • Skewers of Fruit, such as Pineapple, Strawberries, Grapes, Apples, Bananas, etc


Melt chocolate chips and heavy cream in 2-quart saucepan over medium-low heat until smooth, stirring often to prevent burning. Add in Vanilla Extract and Texas Pete’s Original Hot Sauce. If chocolate mixture becomes too thick, you can thin it out with a bit more heavy cream, stirring until it reaches desired consistency.

To serve, drizzle fruit kabobs with chocolate fondue.