When Annette and Greg Wagner were living in Japan, "We learned that food really brings people together," says Annette. "It was hard to be so far from home, so we socialized often. I joined a 'knit group' which met weekly to knit, talk and, of course, eat. That's where I first heard of Penzeys.
"When someone new arrived in the country we would put together a basket of necessities and deliver a meal to them to welcome them to Japan. When someone had a baby, or was ill, or had any kind of crisis, we would organize home delivery of meals for their family just to make things a little easier for them.
"It is so simple to put love into something handmade. Many of the gifts today are from my kitchen—homemade jam, cocoa and cookie mixes and fresh breads. You never have to figure out where to put food."
Now living in Fairfax, Virginia, Annette loves to make her Mixed Meat and Bean Chili for potlucks and football games. "This is our go-to recipe. We used just beef for chili in the past, but I wanted to lighten it up a little so I substituted turkey breast and crumbles for some of the beef, and added a lot of beans. With the seasonings, I can't even tell the difference. I like how the chipotle gives it a smooth heat without burning."
As Annette says, "This is great served with polenta, cornbread or corn chips. We also use sharp cheddar cheese and nonfat Greek yogurt or sour cream to top it off. A nice green salad is a great side."
Brown the beef and turkey over medium-high heat, cutting it into small pieces with the edge of the spatula while it's cooking. Drain out any excess fat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the vegetables soften. Add the crumbles. Stir until they are heated through. Add the beans, tomato sauce, tomatoes, beer and SPICES. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for an hour or so until the flavors meld. Add salt to taste.Prep. time: 10 minutes
Nutritional Information: Servings 12;
Serving Size 1 1/2 cups (401g); Calories 310; Calories from fat 80; Total fat 9g; Cholesterol 55mg; Sodium 950mg; Carbohydrate 29g; Dietary Fiber 8g.