Cook's Exchange: Chili, stuffed jalapenos are big game winners

January 29, 2014 

I play no favorites when it comes to Super Bowl games. This native Texan is still waiting for Houston to have a team in the Super Bowl.

Yes, I know, keep dreaming, but I remember the glory days of Earl Campbell and the Houston Oilers. Surely, the Texans can do it before I am too old to care.

When it comes to Sunday's Super Bowl, I have no team in the hunt, but I do have a favorite when it comes to Super Bowl party food. Both cities have fine restaurants, but I love Denver's blend of Hispanic and Southwestern flavors with a bit of California thrown in.

Years ago, I picked up a good, low-fat chili recipe in a Denver bookstore. My dad lived in Evergreen, Colo., and knew the best Hispanic restaurants in the area. We shared a love of spice.

I make this sirloin chili often, sometimes with sirloin and sometimes with pork tenderloin. It is good either way. I suppose you could even do it with chicken, although I have never tried that. This chili is guaranteed to be a winner at any Super Bowl party, no matter which team you are rooting for.

Another must-have at a game party is another favorite of mine, known in Texas as armadillo eggs and other places as jalapeno poppers. This is another oldie but goodie. These, too, are lower in fat because they are baked and not fried. Guests won't pass on these.


1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup bacon bits

1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives

1 teaspoon hot sauce

1 pound pork sausage

1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

1 (5.5 ounce) package seasoned coating mix (I use Shake 'n' Bake for Pork)

1/8 teaspoon ground cumin

1/8 teaspoon chili powder

16 fresh jalapeno peppers

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl, mix the cream cheese, bacon bits, chives and hot sauce. In a separate bowl, mix the uncooked sausage and Cheddar cheese. On a flat surface, mix the seasoned coating mix, cumin and chili powder.

Cut a slit lengthwise into each jalapeno pepper, and remove the seeds.

Stuff the peppers with the cream cheese mixture.

Press the sausage mixture around the stuffed jalapenos, and roll in the seasoned coating mix to coat.

Arrange the coated jalapenos on a baking sheet in a single layer.

Bake 25 minutes in the preheated oven, until the sausage is evenly browned.

Remember to wear gloves when handling jalapenos. If the jalapeno juice gets in your skin, your hands will burn for hours.

I've made that mistake, never again.


1/4 cup olive oil

2 pounds New York strip steak, diced into 1-inch cubes

1 cup cooked black beans

2 cups cooked posole or canned hominy

1 cup tomatoes, chopped

2 serrano peppers, thinly julienned

1/2 cup ancho chile peppers, thinly julienned

1 cup fresh corn kernels

1 tablespoon fresh garlic, finely chopped

1- 1/2 cups chicken broth

1 tablespoon red chile powder

1/2 tablespoon ground cumin

Hot Desert Seasoning, to taste (recipe follows)

8 corn tortillas, warmed

In medium large saucepan, place the olive oil and heat it on high until it is hot. Add the meat and sear it for 5 seconds. Add the remainder of the ingredients (except for the Hot Desert Seasoning Mix and the corn tortillas) and cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until they are hot. Season the chile with the seasoning mix.

Serve it with the corn tortillas.

Serves 4. This recipe is easily doubled or tripled.

Hot Desert Seasoning Mix

1 cup salt

1/4 cup cayenne pepper

1/4 cup white pepper

Place the ingredients in a jar with a tight lid. Shake them together so that they are well blended. Makes 1- 1/2 cups.

Keeps for months in airtight container. Great in any Southwestern or Tex-Mex recipe.

-- Original recipe from "Santa Fe Lite & Spicy Recipe" by Joan Stromquist

Andrea Yeager, who can be reached at, takes contributions or requests at Cook's Exchange, P.O. Box 4567, Biloxi, MS 39535-4567.

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