My best friend planned much of our baby shower and she did a great job. She doesn’t think she’s a good planner (I still to this day hear how she thinks she was a bad maid of honor – couldn’t be further from the truth!), but she always knocks everything she does out of the park. I mean check out the centerpieces she made. And really, that photo does them no justice – her photo was way better.
I was curious to see what “games”, if any, she’d have us play and when she told Mr. Prevention to come prepared to interact, I knew it’d be fun. She had made a mustache (representing Mr. P) and a set of bright red lips (representing me) for each of us, that were glued to popsicle sticks to easily hold in the air. She asked the shower attendees to guess a number (up to 27, I think it was…) of how many answers Mr. P and I would agree on. He and I were not allowed to see the others’ responses nor did anyone know what the questions would be about…other than the baby, parenting, etc.
Some of the questions were really cute and the crowd’s reactions generally gave away how our answers differed.
One of the questions was who’s athletic ability we hope Shea gets – we both said ourselves.
One question was on who would stay up waiting for Shea to get home from her first date – we both said ourselves.
Another question had to do with who would be more of a disciplinarian to Shea – we both said Mr. P
One of my favorite questions had to do with which parent would be more insistent on Shea attending the University of Illinois and we both emphatically agreed…me. I say emphatically because my red set of lips shot up quickly and the crowd laughed and nodded along with the motion.
And it’s true. I LOVE my alma mater. Being back on campus for a football game this year has been the highlight of the month, for sure. Especially since, you know, we won!! And we’ve won 3 out of 4 games so far this year. Our one loss was to Washington last week which was disappointing, yes…but also somewhat expected.
The loss was easier to absorb given that I spent quite a bit of time preparing this chili. Stacey has entered my chili contest every year (right, Stacey?!) and won my chili contest, too. The girl is not only one of my most loyal, long-time readers, but also someone I call my friend…and like myself, a total foodie at heart. The girl knows her food and by this point, I think she knows exactly what I love. And this chili hit the mark, spot on.
Mr. Prevention’s nose was beyond confused as I was whipping up this chili, but he complimented it up and down. It doesn’t taste like traditional chili in any way, shape, or form, but it has all the necessary components of chili – tomato, bean, spice! It was spicy, earthy, meaty, sweet…the flavors ran DEEP. This non-traditional entry will be hard to beat. Thanks, Stacey!
- 2 mangoes, peeled and diced
- Juice of 1 lime
- ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
- pinch of salt
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1½ Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
- 2 cups jasmine rice, rinsed and drained
- 2 (15 oz) cans light coconut milk
- 2 cups water
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- zest of 1 lime
- ¼ tsp white pepper
- 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- ⅓ cup jerk seasoning, divided
- 3 Tbsp canola oil, divided
- 1 red onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
- 1 Tbsp fresh ginger, grated
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 scotch bonnet or habanero pepper, minced
- 1½ tsp all-spice
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 Tbsp cumin
- 1 Tbsp cinnamon
- 1 Tbsp chili powder
- ¼ cup molasses
- 1 tsp liquid smoke
- 2 (15 oz) cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes
- 2 cans no added salt red beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- To make the salsa: Combine ingredients in a small bowl and let sit for several hours in the fridge, allowing the flavors to marry.
- To make the rice: Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat. Add ginger, garlic, and cinnamon stick, and sauté 1 minute, or until fragrant. Stir in rice, and sauté 2 minutes, or until rice grains are opaque. Add coconut milk, water, sugar, salt, lime zest, and white pepper; bring to a simmer. Stir once, cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 15 minutes (adjust cook time according to directions on rice packaging). Fluff rice with fork, cover, and let rest 5 minutes.
- To make the chili: Rub all but 2 tablespoons of jerk seasoning over surface of chicken on all sides. Heat a large pot over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon oil. Once hot, add the chicken and cook 8-10 minutes or until cooked through. Remove to a cutting board and allow to cool to touch. Dice or shred using 2 forks and set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in the same pot. Once hot, add onion and bell peppers. Cook until softened and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Add ginger, garlic, scotch bonnet/habanero, all-spice, paprika, cumin, cinnamon, and chili powder; stir continuously for 30-60 seconds. Add the molasses, liquid smoke, tomatoes, beans, and chicken broth. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes over low heat.
- Add diced/shredded chicken and cook for 15 minutes longer.
- To serve, place rice on bottom of bowl. Cover with chili and top with a dollop of mango salsa.
Weekly Menu: September 21st – 25th
- Sunday: leftover chili!
- Monday: my mom’s stuffed acorn squash with chicken sausage and okra
- Tuesday: Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Soup
- Wednesday: Buffalo Chicken Lasagna and salad
- Thursday: Mr. P’s birthday! Out, most likely
Donna is coming over for brunch today and I hope to continue catching up with my Kindle
19 days until my due date! I’m getting incredibly, incredibly anxious to meet our daughter…no words!