Chili Con Carne

Here’s another family recipe that I’ve updated to suit my own preferences through experimentation. This recipe is for a fairly large batch, with enough for left-overs. Probably about 12-14 servings.


  • 2 medium yellow onions, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 pounds ground beef (as always, I recommend grass-fed)
  • 2 large cans (30.5 oz) Brooks Chili Beans (mild or hot, or one of each type, depending on your taste)
  • 1/2 Cup ketchup
  • 1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
  • 2 cans (14 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 bottle of good beer
  • 4 tsp cumin
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional – can skip, or use more, according to taste)
  • 1/2 onion and shredded cheddar or shredded mexican cheese blend (for garnish, optional)


  1. Saute the onions, green and red peppers, and the ground beef in the olive oil
  2. Add diced tomatoes and ketchup, then simmer for 30 minutes
  3. Add tomato paste, Brooks chili beans, and beer, then simmer for another 30 minutes
  4. Add seasoning, adjusting according to taste
  5. When serving, top with fresh, finely chopped onion and shredded cheddar or shredded mexican blend cheese (optional)

Tenderloin Filet and Braised Brussels Sprouts

OK, here’s one for the meat-eaters out there…

If you’ve never tasted the difference between organic grass-fed beef and the stuff they sell at the grocery store, you must! I’ve eaten at some of the finest steak restaurants in the Chicagoland area, and nothing comes close to this. I ordered this from Blackwing Quality Meats, which I can now highly recommend. This steak was so tender, juicy and flavorful, I will never again be able to eat a steak without comparing it to this.

I prepared this with a red wine reduction with shallots and a side of braised brussels sprouts.

The brussels sprouts were boiled until tender, then braised with some butter and finely chopped shallots.

For the filets, I used a simple marinade of about 1 cup extra virgin olive oil, a little salt and black pepper, and about a tablespoon of soy sauce. I placed a thick cast-iron pan in the oven on the top rack and preheated the oven to 500 degrees. I then switched over to the broiler and put the steaks in the hot pan (about 6 inches from the broiler). A few minutes on each side is all it takes, depending on your preferred doneness. I used an instant thermometer to check them (click here for a basic temperature guide). Remember, the temperature will increase another 5 degrees or so while it’s resting, so take it out when it’s about 5 degrees below your target temperature and let it rest for 8-10 minutes before cutting into it.

While the filets were resting, I moved the cast-iron pan to the stove top for deglazing and added some finely chopped shallots, about 1 cup of organic beef stock, 1 cup of good dry red wine, and 2 tablespoons of butter. I let that boil down until it started to thicken, then poured it over the filets.