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Simply Food!

Traditional Tasty Tidbits for any holiday!

Yes, the holiday season is here and cooking is in full force in my home. I live in southern California and the weather has cooled enough that I can start using the oven again. What traditional food is in your family? Read about other familiar traditions in my Traditions! blog.

And I also start craving meals I associate with fall and winter. Chili. This is a family favorite and brings back memories when my family and I would go skiing. This was a meal we brought with us to eat after skiing. Nothing tastes better than hot chili and saltines after a hard day on the slopes!

Chilly nights with chili.

The McCarthy recipe.

3 lbs hamburger

½ cup onions (or more, to taste)

2 TBS chopped garlic

3 cans tomato soup

3 cups water

Chili Powder


1. Brown hamburger meat. I like to crisp it a bit.

Add onions & garlic to hamburger and brown together.

2. Add 1 can tomato soup per pound of hamburger

3. Add 1 cup water per pound of hamburger, to taste & consistency

4. Add 1 TBS vinegar per pound of hamburger

5. Bring to a boil, stirring

6. Turn the heat to simmer & add 4-6 Tablespoons chili powder per pound of hamburger.

7. Simmer for 1 hour, add chili powder to taste, add more water as needed for consistency.

Or place in Crockpot on Low Heat, 4 hours

My preference is to freeze it and serve it a week later. Or if you can’t wait that long let it rest in the refrigerator 24 hours. Chili tastes better the more it ages.

Chilly nights with chili.

Gravy anyone!

Another favorite recipe in the McCarthy family was pasta with Italian gravy. My dad went through a make-it-yourself pasta stage. We had long strands of spaghetti, fettuccine, and other noodles hanging from the clothes rack. This Italian gravy is good with any pasta and a sure hit with guests!

Italian Gravy

2 Cans Tomato Puree (29oz.)

5-6 Garlic Cloves, minced

1 Sm Onion, chopped

1-Bunch parsley chopped

¾ Lb. Mushrooms sliced

¾ Cup Red wine

2 TBS dry basil

1 TBS Oregano

1 TBS Sugar

2 Tsp Salt

1 Tsp pepper

1 Can Beef Stock (or for lower sodium use vegetable)

Mix all ingredients—Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer 45-60 minutes.

This can be frozen up to 3 months.

Poor over warm pasta and serve immediately. Add a side of Spinach-walnut salad with a vinaigrette dressing of your choice. Extra delights: serve a variety of olives, dipping dishes of olive oil and distinct variety of vinegars with sliced warm sourdough bread.

Family, good food, festive atmosphere, it’s an all-inclusive deal this season. Take the season on and make it yours! Own it and love it! Need more gratitude nudging,read my blog, 5 Grateful Behaviors to Nurture. Here's to us! We can choose to be grateful, happy, and appreciative.

Enjoy your family and be safe.


SK Out! Have a great week! Be Happy!

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