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Jalapeno Popper Chicken with Roasted Broccoli

Jalapeno Popper Chicken

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Jalapeno Popper Chicken
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IF you ever are on Pintrest looking for chicken recipes you will see a gazillion jalapeno popper chicken recipes along with titles that say “best chicken ever”. So after ignoring many of them curiosity sucked me in on Jalapeno popper chicken. I am typically not a “stuffed” chicken or pork chop guy. Id rather brine and cook it through and then top it with a sauce etc…

If you like jalapeno poppers you will like this recipe. Tangy cream cheese, sharp cheddar cheese with spicy jalapeno bits. It just works. You could dice and crisp up some bacon even. A few tips on stuffing the chicken. Butterfly the chicken slowly to create a nice pocket and then close it up well. The cream cheese will melt right out. Also lightly salt your chicken before breading and stuffing it.

For a side I roasted some broccoli with garlic and tossed it with lemon juice and finely grated Parmesan cheese.

Ingredients
2 thick chicken breasts
2 jalapeno peppers (seeded and diced)
2 oz of cream cheese
1/4 cup of sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 panko bread crumbs
Taco seasoning
1 egg
Kosher Salt

Broccoli
4 cloves of garlic
1/2 lemon juices
1/4 cup of Parmsean cheese (fine grated)

Directions:
1. Fire up the oven to 375 degrees. While it is coming to heat take a small pan and add your panko bread crumbs and cook on medium heat until golden brown. Right before you remove from heat add about 1-2 tablespoons of taco seasoning to the crumbs. The heat will allow the spices to bloom. IMG_9990

2. Now in a bowl make your stuffing by seeding and dicing your jalapenos and combining with the cream cheese and fresh grated cheddar cheese. Add a touch of salt. IMG_9991

3. Butterfly your chicken slowly and carefully using short strokes with your knife as to keep a nice pocket with no holes. Stuff your chicken and close it with toothpicks. IMG_9993IMG_9994

4. Make a simple egg wash and have your Taco Seasoned Panko in another dish. Roll your chicken in the egg and then coat with the Panko mixture. Set in a baking dish.

5. Prepare your broccoli by cutting it up and mincing garlic and coating both with some olive oil. Dust with salt and pepper.

6. Add both dishes to your oven and cook for 30 minutes or until the chicken is done (165 degrees). When done remove your chicken and let it rest for a few minutes. While it is resting coat your roasted broccoli with some lemon juice and then dust with the Parmesan cheese.
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Chicken Marsala with Pancetta and Cream

Chicken Marsala with Pancetta and Cream

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Chicken Marsala with Pancetta and Cream
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Jill had a hankering for pasta tonight. For some odd reason I wasn’t wanting anything cheesy or tomato based so I settled on a simple Marsala sauce. Marsala wine is an Italian wine produced around Sicily that is on the sweet side. You can buy the “cooking wine” but I prefer to use the real thing.

Chicken Marsala is supposedly a popular dish in Italy to celebrate their wine with simple ingredients. If you think of pairing sweet, I naturally think salty or earthy. Mushroom and onions would be nice but I kept it pretty simple and used pancetta with a creamy sauce and wide egg noodles.

Ingredients:

2 free range trimmed chicken breasts
2 oz of Pancetta (cubed)
Egg noodles for two
Parsley for garnish
1/2 cup of Marsala Wine
Touch of cream
pat of butter
Seasoned AP flour


Directions:

1. Slice your chicken breasts in to thin (consistent) slices. Like chicken tender sized. Make a seasoned flour mixture (pepper, salt, paprika) and dredge your chicken and set aside.
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2. In a pan on medium heat add your pancetta and cook until browned. Remove the pancetta and let it rest on a paper towel. IMG_9953

3. Once your pancetta is cooked and removed, add your flour dredged chicken and brown it on both sides. remove and set aside to rest. IMG_9957

4. Remove some of the pancetta drippings but keep a little. To make the sauce add the Marsala wine and let it reduce by 30%. Add a pat of butter and some cream to your desired color and taste. IMG_9958

5. Cook your noodles to package directions. Reserve some pasta water and then strain it. Put the pancetta back into the sauce along with the chicken. Now slowly add your pasta continually stirring to coat the entire dish. If it gets too thick, add some pasta water to thin it out. Serve in a bowl and top with chopped parsley.
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Quick Chicken Verde Enchiladas

Quick Chicken Verde Enchiladas

  • Servings: 3
  • Difficulty: easy
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Quick Chicken Verde Enchiladas
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Jill was gone all week attending a conference where she had long days and nights. She let me know she would be getting home all week and said she was ready to be home and wanted to eat at home. I didn’t have time to marinate or do anything that took much time, so I thought comfort=mexican. We also generally go out to a mexican restaurant most Friday nights to kick off our weekend.

Without a recipe in hand, I took off for the store and picked up a rotisserie chicken. Picked up some corn tortillas, verde sauce, cilantro, pico de gallo, sour cream and some cheeses. Whipped up some margaritas and had it all done in minutes.

Ingredients:
Rotisserie Chicken
Store bought Pico de Gallo
Cilantro
Small Sour cream
Cheddar cheese block
Monterrey Jack block
1 can Verde enchilada sauce
Corn tortillas

Directions:
1. Preheat your oven to 350. In a large sauce pan or skillet add the pico de gallo and sweat out the onions for about 10minutes. Oil as needed.
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2. In a skillet on medium low heat pour in your enchilada sauce to heat just beyond warm.

3. In a large bowl add your sauteed pico. Shred your chicken and add to the bowl. Spoon in some sour cream until the consistency you like. I then added fresh shredded cheese but saved most for the top. I put about a quarter cup of the verde sauce and fresh Cilantro. Set aside. IMG_9891

4. Since it was two of us I used small pan. Take your corn tortillas and add two at a time to the sauce to soften them up. I use my hands for this because tongs always seem to murder my tortillas. When soft pull them out and spoon in the chicken mixture. Roll them up and place them seam side down in the glass dish. Pour the remaining verda sauce evenly across the top of the enchiladas. Top with cheese, cover with foil and cook until the cheese melts. (remember everything is cooked ) IMG_9896

5. When you are about 10minutes out from serving. Put your oven on broil, remove the foil and let that cheese brown up. Serve with cilantro, margarita, rice, beans or whatever else tickles your fancy.
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“California” Ground Beef Tacos

California Beef Tacos

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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California Ground Beef Tacos
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Growing up, taco night right up there with the rare mythical pizza night. Back then, it was the simple hard shell ground beef taco topped with cheddar cheese. Today my taco aperture is fully widened. To adapt a JBJ lyric … “I’ve seen a million tacos and I’ve rocked them all” or something close.

A few decades ago on a visit to the the mother in law, she made us some “California” tacos. At this stage in my game, I had soft and hard shells but not oiled ones. It’s the same basic taco set up but she would take the corn tortillas and softened them in a heated and oiled skillet. Kind of what you might do to an enchilada in sauce.

Between us, I am not sure that single act of hot oil made them “Californian.” My hunch is someone, not from California, made them for her whilst she was living out there in her post college days. To me the California taco is a proper fish taco or some street barbacoa or carne asada tacos. The only reason I point that out is out to calm down any Californian who might read this and feel the need to educate me. I get it. The name is more about my MIL vs the state.

For my beef filling I like to really concentrate and reduce the sauce to a deep, spicy, rich salty mixture. I also like a fine cut of my ground beef while adding beans too. For the flavor, I will play around with my mixture by adding, beer, tomato sauce, green sauce or salsa etc.. This batch I went heavier on the tomato sauce but will use the typical amount in my base recipe.

Ingredients:
1 lbs ground beef (chopped further before browning)
corn tortillas
1 onion
8 oz of tomato sauce
8 oz of beer
4 oz of beef stock
Shredded cheddar for topping
1 green pepper (seeded and spined)
1 jalapeno (seeded and spined)
1 can of jalapeno pinto beans (rinsed)

Spices
2 tbs chili powder
2 tbs ancho chili powder
2 tbs of Penzey’s taco seasoning
1 tbs of cumin
1 tbs of paprika
1 tsp of coriander
1 tsp of cayenne

Directions:
1. Take your ground beef and chop it on a cutting board. Add to a medium heated skillet to brown. Drain some of the fat.

2. Mince your onion, jalapeno, green pepper and add to the mixture and cook for about 5-6 minutes. Now add your spices and let them bloom for 5 minutes more.

3. Add the wet ingredients and simmer until it is really reduced and tight. You can cheat with cornstarch if you are in a hurry. Just put a 1tbs in a little water and then add and stir. IMG_9850IMG_9860

4. I add my beans towards the end and kind of mash it up a bit.

5. For the tortillas I take about a tablespoon of peanut or vegetable oil in a non-stick pan and heat it up. I use my hand so be careful of burning your self. Tongs tend to rip them. Since I cooked 4 tacos I put all 4 tortillas in the skillet. I flip all four and then take the top two, flip them and then flip all four. The point is each one needs to have contact with oil and heat. This is a one to two minute ordeal. Pull from heat and let them rest on a paper towel to soak up some of the oil.

6. Fill the tortillas with beef, cheese and anything else you want. I also made a simple salad and used avocado, lime juice and oil and blended it until smooth. I smashed a few chips to top.
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Spinach Mushroom Creamy Chicken Casserole

Spinach Mushroom Creamy Chicken Casserole

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Spinach Mushroom Creamy Chicken Casserole
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Lately I have been playing around with chicken recipes. If you have followed the last few weeks, I made shish tawook, chicken and rice and then that “yum” chicken recipe. So I had some left over rice pilaf from my shish tawook and also some extra chicken. I thought I would add some veggies and landed on spinach, mushroom and caramelized onions.

The chicken stays moist due to the sauce which is a creamy Parmesan cheese bechamel. The veggies add an earthiness on top of the savory sauce and finally the balsamic caramelized onions introduce a pop of sweetness. I added a touch of Slap ya Mama seasoning to my flour for a touch of heat.

Ingredients:
4 organic free range chicken breasts (sliced into larger than bite sized pieces)
2 onions (diced)
1 package of mushrooms (sliced)
3 cloves of garlic (minced)
2 bags of baby spinach (8 cups uncooked)
1/3 cup of heavy cream
1/4 cup of whole milk
1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup seasoned flour (w/Slap Ya Mama)
1 tbs of balsamic vinegar
Olive Oil
Kosher salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:
1. I started by cooking my chicken. I trimmed the breasts and then cut them in to cutlet size. I dusted with some seasoned flour and then in a medium heated skillet I put a little crust on them. Once browned set them aside. I had some rice pilaf so put it into a baking dish and placed the chicken on top. IMG_9782

2. Start the veggies by dicing the onions and adding them to a medium heated pan with a some oil. Cook for about 10 minutes until they are browning and then add your tablespoon of balsamic vinegar. Into the pan goes the mushrooms and garlic. Cook for about 3-4 minutes. Now add your spinach. It looks like a lot but will wilt dramatically. Turn it on low heat. IMG_9788

3. In a smaller sauce pan add a small amount of flour and butter to make a small blond roux. Add the milk, cream and Parmesan cheese with a little pepper. See below (not a great picture) IMG_9786

4. Now add half the sauce to the cooked veggies and coat them well. The remaining sauce pour over the chicken and rice pilaf. Then add your saucy veggies. Top with a little more parm and put into a 375 degree oven. Everything is cooked so you are just going to let it all meld together and for the cheese to brown.
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Shish Tawook Chicken Kabob with Hummus, Rice Pilaf and Naan

Shish Tawook Chicken with Hummus, Rice Pilaf and Naan

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Shish Tawook Chicken Kabob with Hummus, Rice Pilaf and Naan
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We used to live in the “M” street area when we were newlyweds. We gave the restaurants up and down Greenville Ave a good amount of business. One joint we discovered is Ali Baba which fancies itself as Middle Eastern fare. Candidly I didn’t venture too far on their menu outside of lamb and chicken. We always split the Shish Tawook (Taouk) and a bowl of hummus.

I love this stuff so much. It’s lemony, garlicky, savory moist chicken kabob. The way I eat it is like a Middle Eastern fajita. I spread the hummus on my Naan bread and then top with rice then Mediterranean pickles and chicken.
It’s a great conversation meal as you talk and tear off your naan and build each bite according to your tastes and ratios. Sometimes more hummus, or just chicken and rice or hummus and chicken.

The recipes I used for these were just sensational. My hummus, chicken and rice were absolutely perfect. Dare I say as good as the real deal? I do. Think about Greek food’s cousin if you haven’t experienced Middle Eastern or specifically Lebanese food.
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Ingredients:
Store bought Naan bread

Shish Tawook Chicken Kabob
4 chicken breasts (diced into kabob pieces)
1 cup of fresh lemon juice
15 cloves of minced garlic
6 tbs of plain Greek yogurt
6 tbs of olive oil
2 tbs of red wine vinegar
1 tbs of tomato paste
2 tsp white pepper
1 tsp of ginger powder
1 tsp of oregano
1 tsp of paprika
Pinch of Kosher salt and Cayenne (optional)

Hummus from scratch
1 lbs of dried chickpeas
6 cloves of garlic
1 cup of tahini paste
3/4-1 cup of lemon juice
Olive oil
Paprika
Kosher Salt

Lebanese Rice Pilaf
1.5 cups white rice
1/4 clarified butter
1/2 cup of vermicelli pasta (broken into 1 inch pieces)
3 cups of boiling water
Kosher Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:
There are three recipes here so I will take each of them separately but if you make this one night you will soak your chickpeas and marinate your chicken over night (12hrs min). The day of cooking it will take about an hour for the chickpeas to cook so while that is cooking you can do all your prep. Then I suggest making the hummus and then knock out the rice and while it cooks you can grill your chicken. Those will come together at once.

1. Hummus – first off this is time consuming but really good. For many it might be just easier and certainly faster to buy it. I wanted to see how it turned out doing it from scratch. Rinse the chickpeas and then put them into a bowl filled with water and 1/2 tsp of baking soda. 12 hours. Rinse thoroughly and then add them to a pot with 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil and simmer with lid on for 60-90 minutes. You should be able to smush it with your fingers(cooled first)

When the chickpeas are done. Strain the water and rinse well. Add to food processor with a cup of warm water. Let it grind smooth for about 3 minutes. Add garlic and half the tahini, salt pepper, paprika, and half of lemon juice. Grind for another 3 minutes. Taste it and add lemon juice, olive oil and tahini a little at a time. Tasting as you go. I refrigerated it to serve cold/cool. IMG_9776

2. Rice Pilaf – Measure your white rice and put into a colander and run water over it until it runs clear. Set aside.
Now take a good sized pot and melt your butter. (clarified/ghee if possible). Break your pasta into one inch pieces and add to the butter. Put three cups of water in a microwave safe bowl and heat to a boil while your stirring your pasta. You want to put a nice brown color on your pasta. That said be careful not to burn it. I stopped a little short so mine could have gone longer but the taste wasn’t compromised. Once pasta is browned add the white rice and stir for 2 minutes.

Add the boiling water and stir once. The whole pot should be boiling. Cover with a lid and turn it on low. Don’t touch it for 15 minutes. Precisely at 15 minutes remove from the burner and fluff with a fork. Perfection!!!
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3. Chicken – While your rice is simmering. Grill your chicken on a kabob. You can add other veggies if you want. I used a red onion I had on hand. Get some nice grill marks. Add the chicken to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap to steam and rest. IMG_9769IMG_9775

Serve all of this together with warm Naan bread. So dang delicious.

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Dijon Maple Baked Chicken

Dijon Maple Baked Chicken

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Dijon Maple Baked Chicken
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When I am in recipe hunting mode I generally cruse through my bookmarked sites and will also look at Pintrest, Yummly, FoodNetwork, Food.com, Food52 etc. Pintrest is great in many ways but at the sametime feels less authentic because it is about getting people to your site vs promoting good food you made. Not everyone plays that game but I see a recipe multiple times when I go there to look. One of those is “the best chicken ever”. I see it posted as Holy Yum, Man-Pleasing Chicken etc… You know the one.

Firstly, it is a good recipe for chicken that you and your family will like if they enjoy or tolerate mustard flavor. The chicken was super moist and the sauce concentrated and worked well as a sweet and tart kinda of sauce. It’s good but by no means will be the best ever as stated. I say that not to discourage you but instead level set with you. No hyperbole here or at least I try.

Ingredients:
2 Chicken breasts and thighs (trimmed)
1/2 cup Dijon Mustard
1/4 cup Maple Syrup
1 tbs of Rice wine vinegar
Fresh Rosemary
Kosher Salt and Pepper

Brussels Sprouts (diced)
1 green onion (diced)
Garlic Salt
Red Pepper Flakes
Kosher Salt
Black Pepper
Parmesan Cheese
Splash of red wine vinegar

Directions:
1. Super easy. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Trim your chicken. In a baking dish salt and pepper your chicken on both sides. Mix your wet ingredients and pour over the top. Move the chicken around so its coated on all sides.
Pop it in the oven for 40-50 minutes until done. Some recipes talk about making a sauce and pour it on top of the chicken. IMG_9710IMG_9711

2. As a side I decided upon Brussels Sprouts. I heated a cast iron skillet with coconut oil (medium)
I washed and cut the sprouts and onion and then tossed them with the seasoning. I put them in the cast iron skillet and let the bottoms brown before turning. 3 minutes or so. Stir occasionally until it is tender to your liking.

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Perfect Morning: Bacon, Eggs and Potato Hash

Perfect Morning: Bacon, Eggs and Potato Hash
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Growing up my Mom made us breakfast every morning before school. Not sure why but my Dad always called it a “sawmill breakfast” Breakfast meat, eggs, potato and some toast. A perfect way to nourish your chubby little spawn:) I do like making breakfast on Saturday’s and Sunday’s. Nothing fussy but more substantial than your average morning rise.

We started cooking bacon like this a few years ago. If you are a crispy bacon person this is your technique. First off you must go low and slow to render that fat out over time. It also lays down perfectly flat. I use a 300 degree oven and arrange them on a wire wrack atop a sheet pan. Today I topped it with a touch of brown sugar and cayenne.
So divine and you can keep some for use later in the week. IMG_9624
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I also had three small potatoes left over so I thought I would make a potato hash thing. Frankly it sucked. I grated the potato and about half an onion and even crumbled in a touch of bacon. The potato itself wasn’t made for this and I didn’t like how it turned out.
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And finally the cheddar eggs with a touch of sour cream for some tang. Really there is no recipe to share other than the bacon above. I wouldn’t pass along the potato trash I created.
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Roasted Salmon Garlic Broccoli Asparagus Pasta

Roasted Salmon Garlic Broccoli Asparagus Pasta

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Roasted Salmon Garlic Broccoli Asparagus Pasta
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Lame name but delivers on taste. I typically make a couple of runs to the grocery per week. My first run is typically Sunday afternoon. So prior to that run I have a lot of items left that need to be used and consumed.

On hand I had a bunch of asparagus, a little broccoli and half a head of garlic. I pulled out a salmon filet from the freezer and decided I would whip up a pasta dish. To be frank, nothing about any of the above ingredients excites Jill. So she took a bath following her treadmill time and I went to work.

This little comfort dish really turned out fantastic. The roasted veggies imparted a nuttiness, the Parmesan and salami give a salty savory flavor. The peas would pop with sweetness and finally the goat cheese gave it a tangy creaminess.
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Ingredients:
Salmon Filet
Bunch of Asparagus
About three small crowns of broccoli
6 cloves of roasted garlic
1 cup of peas
3 tbs of diced salami
2 cups of Pasta (Bow tie)
3 tbs of Goat Cheese
2-3 tbs of grated Parmesan
1 cup of pasta water
2 tsp Red Pepper chili flakes
Balsamic Vinegar
Olive oil
1 tbs of Black Pepper
3 tbs of Butter

Directions:
1. Dice up your asparagus and slice your broccoli. In a 400 degree oven cover the veggies with oil, balsamic, salt and pepper. Also cut the top of the your garlic bulb off, drizzle olive oil and wrap in foil. Put that pan in the oven for about 20mins-30mins. IMG_9166

2. While the veggies are roasting, remove your peas from the freezer, prep your salmon filet with oil and a little salt. Dice up your salami finely.

3. When the veggies are done. Lower the oven to 300 degrees. Remove the veggies from the pan and add your salmon and roast it for about 15 minutes. Remove it at medium rare. You will be putting it in with the pasta in a pan and it will cook a little more. IMG_9170

4. Cook your pasta in salty boiling pot of water. Cook it al dente so hat it retains a little chew to it. Scoop about 1 cup of the pasta water to use to thin out the pasta.

5. So now everything is cooked and chopped. Let’s put it all together. In a large skillet on medium low heat, melt the butter. Add the peas, diced roasted garlic and diced salami. IMG_9172

Stir in the goat cheese and red pepper flakes and pepper. Let the goat cheese melt down so that is can coat everything nicely. Now add your pasta and stir and coat well. At this point you will likely need to add a half cup of pasta water while stirring.

Now fold in the roasted asparagus and broccoli. IMG_9173

Finally gently fold in your flaked salmon followed by grated Parmesan cheese. You make need to add a little more pasta water to keep it shiny and moist. Serve and enjoy…

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Uncle J’s Chili #103

Uncle J's Chili #103

  • Servings: 41
  • Difficulty: easy
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Chili #103
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I posted a chili recipe a while back titled “Chili 102”. That recipe was based upon the popular recipe called Major Cojone’s Chili. Jill friend Abby tipped us off on his recipe. Thanks Abby. I hosted a little pre-Christmas shindig at our house. I was going to go Asian fusion but I noticed at my Mom’s Slider Bday party a lot of the gals were going bun less. So concerned about the gluten free crowd I opted for a nice chili. The older folks in our family don’t like the spice levels that I prefer so I toned it down a bit and added more sugar than I otherwise would. It turned out great. We had about 20 folks and almost everyone went back for a little more. Always a good sign.

I severed the chili with Fritos, diced sweet onions, Shredded Cheddar from a block, and Zesta crackers. I grew up a Zesta guy but converted to Fritos.
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Ingredients:
4 lbs of Grass Fed Ground Beef
2 lbs of Turkey Breakfast sausage
1 lbs. of Thick cut bacon
4 jalapeno peppers (seeded for less heat)
4 yellow onions diced medium
3 green pepper diced medium
5 cloves of diced garlic
2 cans (15oz) of beans (chili, pinto or kidney)
2 cans (15oz) of fire roasted tomatoes
1 can (28oz) tomato Sauce/Puree
1 cup of ketchup
1-2 beers (or beef stock or blend of stock/beer and water)
3 tbs of Adobe sauce (you can dice a chili or two if you want but I used the sauce only)
3 tbs Tabasco
3 tbs Worcestershire sauce
8 tbs of Chili powder
5 tbs of Ancho chili Powder
2 tbs of black pepper
2 tbs of mustard powder
1 tbs of red pepper flakes
3/4 cup of sugar
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Directions:
1. First brown the beef and sausage and break them up as you brown (med heat). Drain the fat and remove the meats and set aside.

2. While beef and turkey sausage are browning dice up all your peppers and onions. You want a small dice.

3. Last meat… Bacon.. trim off some of the fat. Those big white spaces and throw them out. You dont need that much fat. Small dice the rest of your bacon. We are talking bacon bits size. We want the chili to be uniform and nothing stealing the show. Turn your heat to medium low and add your diced uncooked bacon and cook until browned (right before crispy) Remove the bacon bits but keep the fat for sauteing your veggies.

4. In the same pot with the remaining bacon fat add your onions and peppers until softened.

5. Add your garlic and spices to open them up and to get the oils distributed well. If you need more oil add a glug of olive oil. 1 or 2 mins.

6. Now add your wet ingredients and, browned meat and beans to the pot and let it simmer for 4-5 hours. Keep an eye on it and stir often. If it needs liquid to loosen it up add some more beer, beef stock or water.
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