Frito Pie

Beef, Bean and Beer Chili for Frito Pie

Goodness, blogging has certainly taken a back seat to mothering lately!  As it should, of course.  I kind of feel like I’ve fallen off the face of the earth in some ways, though.  I am beat.  I have permanent dark circles under my eyes and I can’t always form complete and comprehensible thoughts.  I almost always feel foggy headed.  And I hear this doesn’t get any better as your children get older…

Baby Betsy is 7 weeks old now and we are all alive, which is really saying something.  If you want more details, then check this out.  We love our sweet girl and are so very blessed to have our two beautiful and healthy babies.

A few weeks ago we had a group of friends and family at our house to watch an Aggie game.  We’d planned on grilling, but with rain chances that day being 100% we decided to make chili and have Frito pie instead.  It ended up only raining in the morning, so we could have grilled, but I am glad we changed our plans.  Chili and football just go together, don’t you think?  Now if only we could have a football Saturday under 80 degrees.  I am so ready for that.

I don’t know about you, but when I decide to make something I rarely get to say, “I have the best recipe for _____!”.  I start searching around online and in my cookbooks for a new recipe.  I don’t know how many times I’ve made chili, but except for this chicken chili, I have never used the same recipe twice.  I can stop searching.  I can print a hard copy of this recipe and put it with my keepers.  Thanks Jimmy Fallon and Martha!

The recipe for Jimmy Fallon’s chili is made in a crock pot.  I made it in a big stock pot since I was making 1 1/2 times the recipe and my crock pot isn’t big enough.  (And I needed my crock pot to make a batch of Velveeta and Rotel queso!)  And honestly, if you’re already getting a skillet dirty I don’t see the point in moving everything to the crock pot and getting that dirty too.  I guess the “set it and forget it” aspect is nice, but there is enough prep work that I don’t think it would be that helpful.  I did everything in one pot and that meant fewer dishes to clean which made my husband happy.  And that is good.


Beef and Bean Chili

From Martha Stewart courtesy of Jimmy Fallon

Feeds 12 generously


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 pounds ground chuck beef, ground for chili
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1-2 large white onions, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped fine
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons chile powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 3 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes, coarsely chopped with their juices
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for serving
  • 2 (12-ounce) bottles amber beer (I used this)
  • 3 (15-ounce) cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
For Serving
  • Fritos
  • Grated cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Green onions, chopped


  1. In a large stock pot, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches if necessary, add beef and cook until no longer pink.  Season with salt and pepper; drain on a large rimmed baking sheet lined with a thick layer of paper towels and set aside.
  2. Add remaining tablespoon olive oil to skillet and reduce heat to medium. Add onions, garlic, and jalapeno; season with salt. Cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add beef to the onion mixture, and mix in chile powder, oregano, cumin, and cayenne pepper. Add tomatoes, cilantro, beer and beans.  Stir together and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 1-2 hours.
  4. At this point you can either serve the chili or take it off the heat, let it cool off and put the pot in the fridge overnight.  The next day, reheat the chili over medium low heat, stirring occasionally until hot.
  5. Serve over Fritos, topped with cheese, sour cream and green onions or your favorite chili toppings.

Cowboy Gelato

Following a high scoring game of bowling this afternoon, Ben and I needed something for lunch before we passed out.  Amarillo is not known for local restaurants that are open on Sundays and Mondays.  I was not thrilled about the idea of getting something at McDonalds or Taco Bell, so we tried to eat at a local burger place on 6th street (historic Route 66), but as expected, they were closed.  So we kept driving and saw a place I hadn’t seen on 6th before boasting fresh made gelato and tasty sandwiches.  We decided to take our chances and try it out.

164_cowboy-gelato-logo-09The restaurant is called Cowboy Gelato and has been open since the 1st of August.  The owner was there, her daughter took our order and I think her son was making the gelato.  The owner was such a sweet woman.  She came and talked to us a few times, complimenting me on my lunch decision, the Leone, which I will describe shortly.  Everyone there checked on us more than once to make sure we were enjoying our food, and offering to refill our drinks.  I love Texas hospitality.

The name of this place seems like quite an odd combination.  Cowboy food and Italian gelato are not a match made in culinary heaven, but it works people…it really works.  The inspiration for the place is film “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”. Most menu items are named for Spaghetti Western movies, directors and actors.  The walls are hung with Spaghetti Western movie posters.

The sandwiches are called The Eastwood, Van Cleef, Wallach, Bronson, Leone, and Hill.  Salads choices include The Ferzetti, and Volonte.  Kids meals are the Django, Red Sun, Sabata and Campaneros.

Are you lost?  I was.  I knew Eastwood meant Clint Eastwood and that Van Cleef referred to Lee Van Cleef who starred alongside Eastwood in “For a Few Dollars More”.  I also knew that Sergio Leone was a direcor.  I did not know that he directed “For a Few Dollars More” and “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”.  Other than that I was pretty clueless about who the other food items on the menu were named for.  I found the answer to all my questions here!  I never thought a restaurant would lead me to a wiki article devoted to the Spaghetti Western.

Ok, to the food!