For those of you who read my blog regularly, you know that I do not, as a matter or course, do product reviews. However (you knew there was going to be one….), when the folks from Mooney Farms contacted me and asked if I would do a review of their Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried Tomatoes I eagerly said yes.
Ugh, gift giving, it’s both a fun thing to do and an overwhelming task. Lets face it, some people are so hard to buy for. This year try sending them your love through their tummy.
I’ve put together a couple of homemade food gifts that super quick and easy to assemble. No special tools or crafty skills required! Please head over to Pig of the Month and check out my post on Homemade Foodie Gifts.
When it comes to cooking, I pretty much just cook the everyday stuff. The typical American hodge podge, melting pot of meals. I cook Mexican/TexMex but don’t make my own tortillas. I cook Italian but I don’t make my own pasta. I cook French but don’t make fancy pastries. I cook German but don’t make my own sauerkraut. I cook this and that but I tend to shy away from things that I perceive complicated/above my skill level. In other words I’m a chicken in the kitchen (and kinda lazy too).
(Pictured are all teas that I have in my pantry, including the roses. The roses are a tea that I purchased in Chinatown, San Francisco.)
Which is why I’ve avoided Daring Kitchen’s Daring Cook’s Challenges. Till now. It’s time that I stopped reading them on other blogs and started doing them myself. I’m a commitment gal, if I sign-up to do something or promise to do something I do it (unless it’s too myself, read: diet and exercise). I know myself and I knew if I signed up for a challenge, I would attempt it regardless of how chicken I might feel about it.
Talk about an interesting first challenge! Sarah provided us recipes for Chinese Tea Eggs, Green Tea Soup and Beef stew (made with Rooibos tea). I was absolutely fascinated with the Chinese Tea Eggs. The seeped eggs were so unique looking, they reminded me of a stained glass. I had great success making them, it was really quite simple. I was amazed at how subtle the tea flavor was and how the Chinese 5-spice really shined through. I could have easily gobbled all of them.
I wanted to make the Green Tea Soup also but my family isn’t too keen on tofu. Soup was still on my mind, I remembered I had made a fresh Miki Soup several months ago that we all loved. I took the basis of that recipe and turned a traditional Filipino soup into a Chinese/Filipino fusion. The basis for my broth was ginger tea that I simmered with chicken and shrimp shells. Bok Choy was used for color and crunch, fish sauce was added to intensify the flavor. The finishing touch, was of course, a Chinese Tea Egg quarter.
I thought that something crunchy would be a nice accompaniment, well actually I had some left over wonton wrappers that I needed to use… a crunchy side was still a great idea. Here’s where I got creative…daring even, all on my own. No copy cat Chinese Tea Egg, no inspiration from another soup, just my own little brain cells firing away. This was a tea challenge and I wanted to incorporate tea in every aspect. Enter tea salt, you read that right, tea salt.
Here’s how my brain works: A while back I watched chopped, rose petals were part of the challenge. The contestant nuked the rose petals (to dry them), turned them into a powder, mixed it with salt = rose salt. I have tea that is made of roses. I didn’t want rose salt but I did want salt on my wonton chips. Tea is already dried. I put white tea and salt in a mini-processor and whirred them together = tea salt.
Nothing short of brilliant and daring! The wonton chips were certainly the big hit of the meal, so good that by the next day we had snacked on them until they were gone. I thought that it was interesting how tea salt looked like salt and pepper on the wonton’s, very appetizing along with being tasty.
I did discover that fresh Chinese noodles do not hold as well in broth as fresh Miki noodles which are considerably thicker. I cooked the noodles in the broth, however after a few hours in the soup they disintegrated into mush. I have adjusted my recipe to cook the noodles on the side and put them in the bowl then to pour the soup over the top to maintain the integrity of the noodles. Unfortunately I had to toss all of our leftovers, the texture was too unpalatable. But isn’t that what challenges are about? Learning.
6 eggs (any size)
2 tablespoons (30 ml) (6 gm) black tea leaves, or 4 tea bags
2 teaspoons (10 ml) (5 gm) Chinese five spice powder
1 tablespoon (5 ml) (3 gm) coarse grain salt
toasted sesame seeds, to garnish
In a large enough pot to avoid overcrowding, cover the eggs with cold water. Bring to a boil over medium heat and simmer for twelve minutes. Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and keep the cooking water. With a spoon, tap the eggs all over until they are covered with small cracks. This can also be done by tapping and rolling the eggs very gently on the counter.
Return the eggs to the pan and add the tea leaves or bags, Chinese five spice powder, and salt. Cover the pan. Heat gently and simmer, covered, for one hour. Remove the pan from the heat and let the eggs cool down in the liquid for 30 minutes. Remove the eggs from the liquid. Peel one egg to check how dark it is; the others can be returned to the liquid if you wish to have the web-like pattern darker. Allow the eggs to cool fully.
To serve, peel and slice the eggs in halves or quarters. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.
Ginger Tea Soup with Chinese Noodles
1 (9 oz.) package fresh Chinese noodles
8 cups water
12 to 18 shrimp, peeled (shells reserved)
2 chicken breasts
1 tablespoon oil
1 head bok choy, chopped (stalk and greens separated)
1 medium onion, halved and sliced thinly
1/2 head garlic, minced
5 to 6 green onions, chopped (whites and greens separated)
1/2 cup fish sauce
3 to 4 ginger tea bags
Salt and pepper to taste
Chinese Tea Eggs, quartered (see recipe above)
To make broth: In a large pot bring to a boil chicken, shrimp shells and water. Turn down to a simmer, add tea bags (I used 4). Simmer until chicken breast is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Drain broth, shred chicken breast, discard shells and tea bags. Reserve the broth.
Using the same large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Sauté onions and garlic until onion is tender and transluscent. Add bok choy stems and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add chicken, broth and fish sauce, bring to a gentle boil. Add bok choy greens and shrimp, cook until shrimp is done, about 3 minutes (they will turn pink). Salt and pepper to taste.
In a separate pot, bring some water to a boil, add Chinese noodles, cook for 3 minutes. Drain noodles. To serve soup, place some noodles in a bowl, ladle soup over noodles. Garnish with Chinese Tea Egg quarter and green onion tops.
Wonton Chips with White Tea Salt
Packaged wonton wrappers
1 bag white tea
2 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
Canola oil for frying.
To make tea salt: cut open tea bag and remove tea, mix with salt. Run tea/salt mixture through a spice grinder or processor.
In a deep pan heat oil until it reaches 350°F. Cut wontons in half diagonally. Fry wontons approximately 15 seconds on each side, drain on a paper towel lined plate. Sprinkle tea salt over wontons. Store in an air tight container.
Rhode Island – broth based, clams, potatoes, bacon, onion
Delaware – Same as New England but uses fried salt pork
Hatteras – clear broth thickened with flour, potatoes, bacon, onion and copious amounts of black or white pepper
Minorcan – (Florida) tomato based, clams, broth, potatoes, bacon, onion and an extremely hot pepper called datil pepper
Seattle/Portland – New England style except the bacon is substituted with smoked salmon
San Francisco – New England style served in a sour dough bread bowl
Many of the chowders use celery, parsley, thyme and even carrot for color but they all have something in common: clams, broth and a salty and sometimes smoky meat, With that basis I’m sure people have made a zillion of their own variations.
Just a trip down the Rhode Island coast and you will taste a different chowder at every place you stop. And that’s a good thing. My Baby boy’s Nana lives in Rhode Island, when we visited, I always loved heading to the shore and stopping at some little ‘shack’ and getting some chowder and clam cakes.
I’m originally from Washington State so I’m no stranger to clam chowder especially since my dad was a commercial diver. He used to dive for Geoduck (which is Native American for King Clam). Naturally when your dad dives for Geoduck, you eat a lot of it at home, you also end up eating plenty of clam chowder (sometimes more often than you want). No wonder the Baby boy loves chowder, it runs through his veins.
Seriously, Geoduck is a real clam and the brunt of many jokes. And it’s big. A mature geoduck weighs in, on average, at 3 pounds and can weigh up to 15 pounds! I remember when I was a teen (not much shorter than I am now…), I held a geoduck neck in my hand and it stretched all the way down to ground. We’re talking 5 feet tall, now that’s one big clam (and one short girl). You can just imagine how much clam chowder and how many clam cakes you could make from one clam!
My chowder is fairly straight forward, heavy on the clams with some thyme and bay leaves for an extra special little flavor. If you have fresh clams available, you can certainly cook your own clams (or geoduck) and use the broth in place of the canned/bottled. My locale dictates the use of canned clams and bottled clam broth (frankly it’s easier). I serve mine the way my mom always did, with a pat of butter on the top and some bread to soak up all the goodness that is clam chowder.
4 cans (6.5 oz.) minced clams, drained, juice reserved
2 bottles clam juice
6 slice bacon, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
1 large sweet onion, diced
6 large potatoes, peeled and diced
2 cups cream or half and half
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, plus extra for garnish if desired (1 teaspoon dried thyme may be substituted)
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon salt or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
In a large Dutch oven or other heavy bottomed pot, cook diced bacon over medium high until bacon is cooked but not crispy. Add butter, celery, onion, bay leaves, thyme and salt and pepper. Turn the heat down to medium, continue to cook until the onion and celery are tender (about 8 to 10 minutes).
Add diced potatoes, reserved clam juice and bottled clam juice. If needed, add enough water to just cover the potatoes. Bring to a boil then turn down and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about another 10 minutes. Spoon off any ‘scum’ that boils up. When potatoes are tender stir in cream and clams, gently heat until warmed through about 5 minutes. Taste, add more salt and pepper if necessary. Remove bay leaves before serving. Top chowder with a pat of butter and some fresh thyme or chopped parsley if desired.
When I lived in England my family and I took a holiday up in the Yorkshire Dales. The Yorkshire Dales is a gorgeous area of England, full of green rolling hills spotted with dark craggy rocks.
You can see sheep and cows wandering the fenced off green fields. The moist weather creates the most intense and beautiful greenery. We rented a cottage there, it was the first time I ever had to put a 1 pound coin in a shower for hot water. That’s one way of ensuring quick showers. I’m thinking of installing one at home for the Baby boy.
The Dales is also home to one of my all time favorite breweries, Theakston’s which is located in Masham (had to go visit). While visiting the area, we also stopped off at a local creamery ( a must for a cheese fanatic like me). I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw a cheese soaked in Theakston’s Old Peculiar Ale. Did all the planets align? What miracle is this?
A quick sample confirmed that it indeed was a miracle. Immediately I could taste the ale, then the taste finished with a nice sharp cheese flavor. Both the ale and sharp cheese lingered on my taste buds, oddly making me want a glass of red wine to go with my beer-cheese. It totally blew my mind, my mouth was masticating on cheese but my brain was saying beer. A wonderful paradox.
I haven’t had Theakston’s or the the Swaledale cheese since I left England, such as life goes. In writing this post I did find out that Swaledale cheese won 4 medals at the 2011British cheese awards. The Old Peculiar Ale cheese taking a bronze. Who would have thought that by happen-chance I would taste an award winning cheese?
So much of the Yorkshire Dales reminds me of our very own Wisconsin here in the U.S. The rolling green hills spotted with dairy farms and cows wandering in fenced off fields, almost the same. Naturally great cheese also comes from Wisconsin, although I haven’t had a beer cheese from there. Superb cheese isn’t the only great thing from Wisconsin, oddly enough one of my favorite American breweries is also located in Wisconsin. McGyver and I are big fans of Leinenkugel beer. So much so, that coming back from a motorcycle trip (Harley Davidson’s 105th Anniversary in Milwaukee) we made a special diversion to Chippewa to visit the Leinie Brewery and lodge (I love their tag line “It’s like a museum but you get to drink the exhibits”).
I have never been able to get that beer/cheese thing out of my mind. Since I’m not likely to visit the Dales anytime soon, I would have to substitute with the next best thing. Wisconsin cheese and beer in the form of a soup. I used a nice sharp cheddar and since it is the month of October, naturally I had to use the Leinenkugel’s Oktoberfest beer, a German style Märzen beer. German Märzen beer is a full bodied ale that has a nice malty flavor with some hop-iness and a little bitterness to balance it out. Historically it was kept through the summer with the last bottles being served at none other than Oktoberfest time. To make the soup a little more substantial for a main meal, I added macaroni. Who doesn’t like to wash mac-n-cheese down with a beer?
I wasn’t disappointed. The Oktoberfest beer was the perfect pairing with the sharp cheddar. Again my taste buds and mind were in a paradox, am I eating beer? It wasn’t quite as momentous or as good as The Old Peculiar Ale Swaledale cheese, so few things match a vivid memory. It is probably for the best, I’d hate for another beer/cheese combo to trump my fond memories of one of the most significant cheese moments I’ve ever had.
If you are not a fan of dark/strong beers, any beer can be substituted to suit your tastes.
1 1/2 cups dry elbow macaroni, cooked according to package directions
6 slices bacon, diced
1 1/2 cups minced onion
1 cup minced celery
1 cup minced carrots
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup flour
2 cups chicken broth
12 ounces beer
1 cup half and half, milk or cream
4 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Chopped chives for garnish (optional)
Heat a large Dutch oven or other heavy bottom pot on medium-high. Cook diced bacon until crisp. With a slotted spoon remove bacon to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Pour out excess fat (if necessary), leaving 2 tablespoons of fat. Add butter, onion, celery,, carrots and garlic to the bacon grease. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
Mix in flour, stirring until flour is hot and bubbly. Slowly add broth, scrapping up any brown bits, deglazing the pan. Add beer, mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Turn down the heat and let simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes. Add half and half, then add the cheese one cup at a time, ensuring the first cup melts prior to adding the next.
Just prior to serving add cooked macaroni and bacon (reserve some for garnish if desired). Garnish with chives.
Wow, has it been a month already? It seems like just last week I was doing my first Secret Recipe Club post. It was so much fun that I came back for more. Not only did I have fun, so did the Baby boy. In fact he had so much fun making Southwestern Egg Rolls from The Freshman Cook, he wanted to cook for the next round.
Hey, if you can get a teenage boy interested in cooking through SRC, you are one lucky mom! I got my assignment and informed the Baby boy. He’s on the iPad and asks, “who is it”, I said Family Fresh Cooking. He starts to type in Family, then he goes, “Wow, she’s popular, it’s the first thing that came up”. Then he went rooting around the site, and stated “I don’t think I should cook one of her recipes, I mean, she has a lot of followers”. Kind of intimidating for a teenager, I mean what if they thought he did a bad job?
I assured him that this was about trying recipes from different sites and anybody with “family” in their title would be happy to see one of the kids cooking! He was convinced and set about immediately to find a recipe. He was sold on the Chinese 5 Spice Harvest Chili with Bison. He loves Chinese and he loves chili. The fact that we had temps in the high 80’s was no matter to him.
A little about Family Fresh Cooking, Marla is an amazing person! Not only is she a mom, she is also a food photographer, stylist and writer, she also does recipe development and somehow manages to travel. Oh, and guess who designed the badge at the top of this post? Yep, she’s one talented lady. What amazed me most about Marla is that she gets up at 4 am! Hello, I’m not such a morning person (you won’t see me until after 7 am). She seems to have boundless energy, maybe it’s all that healthy living. Looks like I have a few things I could learn from Marla.
Trying to get the Baby boys schedule and mine to mash (read he’s never home), took some finagling. I finally pinned him down on a cold rainy day…perfect for a bowl of chili! What luck. Only he started feeling sick, and pooped out on me after just a little prep time…
I pressed on. I made very few changes to the recipe (which you can see with the modified original below). I used one of Marla’s substitute ideas, and used ground turkey instead of bison. Bison was $8 a pound and the ground turkey was buy one get one free…what a deal (as long as we don’t get salmonella from it)!
This is also the first time that the Baby boy had parsnips, I mean “white carrots”. Really, I don’t know why I don’t use them more. I enjoy their flavor and they are popular in Montana due to our short growing season.
I also pulled out my three wimpy leeks that I planted year before last (they were a Farmer’s Market impulse buy at 10 cents each). I’ve never grown leeks and had no clue what to do. My leeks had kind of a bulbous end and upon peeling they broke off and there was my leek…which was more like a scallion. I tasted the bulb part and it was not good…can it be used to replant? Is that how it reproduces? Any gardeners out there know? Fortunately I had purchased some big girl leeks to supplement the meager 1/8 cup I ended with from my garden.
As far as the recipe goes…it was delicious. A unique and enjoyable flavor. The 5 spice hits you first and then it’s rounded out by the nice tomato and chili flavor. McGyver refused to call it chili and instead referred to it as stew, guess he’s too much of a traditionalist (he still loved it). Whether you call it a stew or a chili, call it wonderful and make it!
Thanks Marla for a great healthy recipe, I’ll be making more for sure!
Chinese 5 Spice Chili with Turkey
1 cup Chopped Leeks
A few cloves chopped Garlic or 1 tablespoon Garlic purée
1 cup chopped Mushrooms
5 large Carrots, chopped
5 Parsnips, chopped
28 2 14.5 ounce cans chopped diced Tomatoes
6 ounce can Tomato Paste
splash of Lemon Juice
1 2 cup Vegetable or Beef Broth or a few cubes of Bouillon with 1 cup water
1 tablespoon Chili Powder
2 teaspoons Cumin
1 tablespoon Chinese 5 Spice Blend
2 teaspoons Smoked Paprika
Garlic Salt and Pepper to taste
splash of Olive Oil
2 pounds ground Bison turkey
*Add an additional pinch of the above spices to season the meat, use the above measurements to add to the pot of chili
In a large pot add a splash of olive oil, garlic and leeks. Over medium heat cook for a few minutes and add the measured spices. Cook until softened, fragrant and lightly browned. Stir occasionally. Add veggies. Cook to soften veggies for about 10 minutes while the meat browns. Stir occasionally.
In a separate pan, add splash of olive oil, cook and brown ground meat. Add pinches of the above spices, stir to combine. Add cooked meat, chopped tomatoes tomato paste, broth and lemon juice to veggie pot. Stir to combine. Bring to boil. Turn down heat to low and simmer for about 1/2 hour or until veggies are cooked thorough. Add additional broth or water if necessary to thin out. Adjust seasonings to taste.
Hop on over and check out all the other SRC recipes.
My final post in a 3 part series. Soupa Avegolemono is traditionally made with eggs, chicken broth, rice or a small pasta like orzo with out the addition of chicken. Although not traditional in the purist sense, many Greek restaurants serve Soupa Avgolemono with chicken in it. In my version, I’ve omitted the eggs because I felt with the addition of chopped chicken that it wouldn’t be necessary. Soupa Avgolemono is a snap to make, especially if you have leftovers from Crispy Roasted Lemon Pepper Chicken and Rice Pilaf with Vegetables from my previous posts. If you haven’t made them already, you need to, just so you can make this soup with the leftovers.
Soupa Avgolemono is a light soup with a pleasant tartness from the lemons. It’s a great starter because it doesn’t fill you up, it would also make a great lunch. Adding chopped chicken gave the soup more substance, it ended up being a great light dinner accompanied with some fresh baked thyme rolls. The soup can be ready to serve in less than 15 minutes if you have stock on hand. I made homemade stock, using the carcass of the Crispy Roasted Lemon Pepper Chicken, which also layered in more lemon flavor.
Soupa Avgolemono (Greek Lemon Chicken Soup)
2 quarts chicken stock (homemade or purchased)
2 cups chopped chicken
2 cups cooked rice or orzo
Salt and pepper to taste
Juice of 1 or 2 lemons
Minced fresh parsley for garnish (if desired)
In a large pot, bring stock to a boil over medium high heat. Add chicken, rice, salt and pepper. continue to heat until chicken is warmed through, about 5 minutes. Just prior to serving squeeze the juice of one lemon into the soup. Taste for tartness, if it is not tart, add the juice of the second lemon.
This is it, the last of the Prime Rib. No surprise, when I get down to the last little bit of anything my mind wanders towards soup. I love a “garbage” soup where you take all the odds and ends leftover and through them into a pot and turn them into something delicious. Prime rib hardly seemed like an ingredient to throw into some garbage soup, so I pondered what would I make. My mind was set on soup and I had some wild rice so I thought that would pair nicely. The rest of my inspiration came from my favorite place, the grocery store.
I was just moseying on down in the fresh veg section, thinking about picking up some garlic (which I now can not find any where in my kitchen) and a couple of other odd ball things when I passed by baskets full of mushrooms. That got the ol’ hamster wheel running. Mushroom soup! Yes, perfect. I pondered my mushroom choices, button, baby bellas, oyster and shiitake. Then my eyes dropped down and there were some dried morel mushrooms. I’ve never, ever, in my life prepared or cooked a morel mushroom. After looking at the price, I remembered why. It is the season for indulgence, and I’ve been dying my own hair for at least a year now (saved about $120) so why not?
I put the morels in my basket, then opted for oyster versus shiitake and baby bellas (pre-sliced). I quickly picked up the rest of my stuff and hurried home. I couldn’t wait to make dinner. Only I was scared. The soup sounded perfect in my little pea brain but would it execute properly? I was worried that the morels would get lost in the mix of ingredients, I was worried that this was going to be too over the top. Would too many rich and wonderful ingredients combine into a flop?
A hot bowl of soup is just the thing to warm you up.
Navy bean soup is in my all time top three favorite soups. Normally I cook it with a smoked ham hock or the leftover ham bone. I had some smoked turkey I needed to use up, so I used it instead. I was pleasantly surprised on how good this tasted. The smokiness really came through, honestly, if I didn’t cook it myself I would have thought it was ham.
Just look at all that succulent smoked turkey.
Tender white beans.
Smoky salty broth.
Warm yourself up with a bowl of this soup, I know you want some!
2 cups dried beans
1 tbs. oil
1 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced celery
1 cup diced carrots
2 smoked turkey wings ( Smoked ham hock, Ham bone or leftover smoked turkey if you have some)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Carefully sort through your beans and look for any stones. The night before soak your beans in a big pot of water. Next day, drain off the water. In a large Dutch oven heat the one tbsp. oil and sauté the onions, carrots and celery until the onions become translucent. Add the beans and enough water to cover the beans by a 1/2 inch. Add the smoked turkey wings. Bring to a boil then turn down to a simmer. Cook the beans for 2 to 4 hours. Remove the wings and let cool enough to handle. Once the wings are cool enough to handle, pick the meat off and chop into bite size pieces. Add the turkey back to the beans. Salt and pepper to taste.
You can also cook the soup in a crock pot for 6-8 hours over low heat.
Over a month ago, when I was teaching my California Roll class, Mark had confessed to me that he didn’t know how to make chili. I told him perfect, that I had planned on posting my “no” recipe chili that very week. Me and my big mouth, I should never give a date for anything. Obviously it didn’t happen, but I do keep my word, even if it’s late.
I can’t say this is a recipe per say. More of a guideline. Chili lovers have so many different tastes, from mild to 5 alarm, different types of meats or beans. Frankly chili is a very individual dish.
People are even associated with their “famous” chili’s because it is so easy to make a chili recipe your own. Personally I’ve never been know for my “world famous” chili, I haven’t spent years perfecting the ultimate chili recipe.
I’ve spent years perfect a base chili recipe. A recipe formula, if you will, that gives the basis for all that recipe creativity that everyone has somewhere inside them.
Get the creative juices flowing or just follow the basic formula, wow your friends and family, enter a chili cook-off.
Experiment and have fun. Enjoy you own special version of chili, it’s easy!
1 lb meat (ground beef, chicken, turkey, lamb, or sausage any type, or stew meat…)
1 can tomatoes (Rotel, diced, stewed, etc.) or 2 cups fresh
1 small can tomato paste
1 tbsp. cumin
1 to tbsp. chili powder (regular, chipotle, ancho or combination)
In a large dutch oven cook the meat, drain if necessary. Add the pepper and onion, cook until they are tender. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for an hour.
Some notes: I used venison breakfast sausage, fresh tomatoes (because they had to be used), 1 can chili beans, 1 can kidney beans and 1 can of pinto beans. I used plain chili powder because the Baby boy likes it mild.
If you like a spicier chili, use Rotel tomatoes either mild, medium or hot. The chipotle chili powder will increase the heat factor and the Ancho chili powder will give it a smoky flavor. You can add jalapenos or other hot peppers if you are looking for that 5 alarm chili.
If you use something besides ground meat such a stew meat you will need to adjust your cooking time accordingly.