Tag Archives: Ground Beef

Nowinsky Chili

20 Sep

Chili is a staple of fall. I don’t care who you are or what you think about that, in my world, it just IS. And when my husband and I were musing about fall foods a few weeks ago, both of us had the “lightbulb” moment of…”let’s make CHILI!”.

Now, having a solid chili recipe in your arsenal is essential. It’s something that could vary a little bit every time you make it, but in theory, you still have the same overall chili outline.

I did not have a chili recipe that I could fall on without looking up something to get me started.

My mother in law has one. A GOOD one. One that the entire Nowinsky family knows and loves. One she tweaks every time she makes it, sometimes with steak and sometimes with ground beef. She had never even written it down until we probed her for the basic outline so that we could give it a try.

This is foolproof, guys. It really is. You put in meat, spices, beans, veggies and liquid…you let it slow cook for several hours…and it becomes chili. That’s the basic premise. And you get to use Bloody Mary mix. (A newfound favorite drink. De-lish!)


It will also fill your entire kitchen with a chili aroma. That’s a bonus because let me tell you, the way it tastes will warm your insides and make you ooze happiness.

Ok, ok, that’s dramatic. But it WILL be good. And you WILL want to make it again.

We are diving in the chili-making process with a cannonball…here…we….



  •  3 lbs ground beef
  • 2 Tbsp dried basil
  • 2 Tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 2 Tbsp oregano
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 2 white onions, chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 16 oz tomato juice
  • 16 oz Hair of the Dawg (or any other Bloody Mary mix)
  • 3 cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 2 cans chili beans
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 6 (or so) dashes of hot sauce

How to Make:

First, it’s time to brown the meat. And not just the meat, we browned it with 1 Tbsp of each of the dried basil, Italian seasoning, oregano and chili powder.




While that’s browning, chop up your white onions and celery stalks.



When the meat is mostly browned (my own technical term), add in your onions and celery and low that cook on low for about 15 minutes.



Now, this makes a large batch of chili. So for us, we divided it amongst our largest stockpot and crockpot. But if you have a BIG stockpot, this will all fit nicely. If not, I do think splitting amongst two big stockpots or between your stockpot and crockpot, will work too. It did for us!

Now, take your meat/onion/celery mixture and pour into your stockpot/crockpot. Now, we get to add everything else!

Add in the tomato juice (not pictured in step format, but I promise it went in) and the Bloody mix, which adds a nice amount of spice (we like Hair of the Dawg…it’s sooooo tasty)…


…and then the canned diced and peeled tomatoes…



…and the chili and black beans…



…add in 1 Tbsp of garlic powder….


…and the remaining 1 Tbsp of basil, Italian seasoning, oregano and chili powder.


Give everything a BIG stir and then, for a final touch of ‘zing’, add in some dashes of hot sauce (not pictured, but is an essential final step). We did about 6 dashes, but you can do more or less depending on your affinity for the condiment.


Now, if you’re doing this as an all-day crockpot item, I recommend doing this is on low for 6-8 hours. The longer and lower heat, the better!

If you’re like us, and wanting to eat this for dinner and you’re making it early afternoon, you can easily do this in your crockpot on high for 4 hours.

Now, for the stockpot option, leave that on medium-low for a short cooking time of 4 hours, or on low for a long 6-8 hour batch.


The good news is that this is flexible and you can tweak it depending on the time you have and the cooking method you plan to use!

When you’re ready, this is great to serve with a little sour cream or plain Greek yogurt, a sprinkling of your favorite shredded cheese and a big slab of cornbread. We really enjoyed dipping and eating our Beer Bacon Cornbread with this chili and it was perfect.


So if you too are ready for fall foods, you want something to warm your insides and make your kitchen smell like heaven, you need to make yourself a big batch of Nowinsky chili.

You WON’T be disappointed!!


Bacon-Gruyère Meatloaf

18 Jun

Oh baby. Meatloaf. One of God’s gift to man, if you ask me. I mean, a loaf…of meat. If meatloaf is wrong…I don’t want to be right.

You catch my drift. I LOVE meatloaf.

Now, my mama makes killer meatloaf, and I don’t know if this recipe is quite up to the standards that is her magnificent recipe. However, it comes pretty darn close.

What makes this so good?


Delicious, fantastic, bacon goodness.


So, I found this recipe in a new cookbook – it’s a compilation of the many recipes my favorite magazine puts out each month: Real Simple. This cookbook features appetizers, main dishes, sides and desserts for every season.

Never mind that this recipe is technically “Fall”.

I wanted meatloaf. AND I had all the ingredients. That happens 2% of the time I decide to make something, so I took that as a sign that I must…make…meatloaf.

Also, this is an incredibly easy recipe, hence the magazine’s title “Real Simple”. Their recipes are always delicious and require very little skill in the kitchen. And no fear if you don’t have access to this fabulous cookbook (though I do highly recommend) you can see the recipe on their website here.

Geniuses they are.

Ok, enough with the rambling, let’s make some meatloaf!

The original recipe has a suggested side of roasted carrots and onions, which I passed on. I had plenty of veggies to make a side salad with, so I went that route. But if you’d prefer the carrot/onion side concoction, check out the original recipe. Looks quite tasty!

Ingredients (I made a 2/3 variation of this as I only had access to 1 lb of meat. But here is the full-fledged version, which serves 4)

  • 1 1/2  pounds ground beef chuck (I used ground turkey instead, but I would imagine ground beef chuck would make this even more delicious)
  • 1/4  cup  bread crumbs
  • 1/4  cup  ketchup (You may also want some extra to have around to dip your meatloaf in, if you’re into that sort of thing.)
  • 1 small red onion, coarsely chopped (Or if you’re extra skilled, the recipe calls for ‘coarsely grated’. I preferred the chopping method)
  • 2  slices bacon, chopped (<— Best part!)
  • 2  cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1  large egg
  • 3/4  cup  grated Gruyère or Cheddar (I had cheddar on hand, so that’s what I used. My imagination tells me Gruyère would be just as, if not more, tasty)
  • Kosher salt and black pepper

How to Make:

This recipe is so easy, you may not even believe it.

First things first…preheat that oven to 400 degrees. Also, heat up a skillet to cook your bacon.

Fry up your bacon first. While it’s sizzling you can start mixing your other ingredients.

In a medium-ish sized bowl, mix up all of your ingredients EXCEPT 1/4 cup of your shredded cheese. Also toss in 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper.

Once your bacon is all finished up and you’ve let it cool so you don’t burn your fingertips off, crumble it up and add it to your meatloaf mixture. Don’t try to crumble it before it’s cooled down. Who does that? (Oops.)

While cooking your bacon, you may or may not decide to fry up 3 slices…and consume 1 of those while you’re waiting for your bacon (and fingertips) to cool. I mean, bacon is good. Why not enjoy an extra slice?

Once your bacon is thoroughly mixed in with the rest of your ingredients…

…spoon your meatloaf into a sprayed pan. The recipe recommends a 8″ x 4″ pan. Then, sprinkle that remaining 1/4 cup of cheese on top. Admire how pretty it looks. Sigh.

You must now patiently wait for your loaf of meat to cook. 40-45 minutes to be exact.

You could also use this time to consume that lovely 3rd piece of bacon.

Just trying to help.

As your kitchen starts to smell like glorious bacony-cheesy-meat, perhaps whip up whatever side you are planning on enjoying. For me it was a lighter side salad to balance the rich meatloaf, but roasted veggies (such as the carrots/onions in the original recipe) would be great if this is being made in the Fall or Winter. That’d make for one cozy meal. As it was 90 plus degrees when I made this…didn’t want the ‘cozy, cold weather’ feel for dinner. But that’s just me.

My younger brother likes soup when it’s 90 degrees. Some people just like warm, cozy food at all times of the year. Weird, but that’s life I guess.

Ok, back to meatloaf. Pull that baby out once it’s done. Let it stand for about 10 minutes and try to not cut into it and take a bite. I solemnly swear I did NOT cheat and take a bite. I was very tempted though.

Before you slice this up, pat the top with a paper towel to get the grease off. I had a few little pools on top (as seen in the glow of the picture above), nothing ridiculous. You can also ‘pour’ it off, but I just envisioned my meatloaf landing upside down in the sink. That would happen to me.

Slice this up, serve with your choice of side and enjoy!


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