Enjoy A Recipe: Un-Spicy Chili by Barbara Barrett

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A secondary story that runs through Jokers Wild is Syd’s husband, Trip’s, quest to concoct the perfect chili for an upcoming chili cook-off. Trip was seeking the perfect secret ingredient. The following recipe is no secret. This is what I’ve used for used for years, typically on Christmas Eve when my family was younger. As I’ve gotten older, my interest in spicy foods has deteriorated, so this is my un-spicy chili I’m sharing with you. I’m sure Trip won’t mind. It probably bears no resemblance to what he developed, but I think it’s a pretty good treat, even on hot September days when I recently made it to check the ingredients.

Un-Spicy Chili by Barbara Barrett

1 lb. lean ground beef
3 tsp. chili powder
1 T. onion flakes or minced onion
1 20 oz. can stewed or crushed tomatoes (add another can to make more chili)
1 16 oz can chili or red kidney beans (add another can to make more chili)
1 8 oz can tomato soup
Shredded cheddar (mild) to taste
Dollops of sour cream to taste

Brown ground beef and separate into small pieces. While browning, sprinkle 2 tsp of chili powder and the onion flakes over the meat. When browned, drain excess oil. Place in crockpot. Add stewed tomatoes, chili beans, tomato soup and 2 soup cans of water. Stir. Heat on high for at least one hour. Then turn down to medium heat for several hours. Add another cup to 2 cups of water as needed or if too soupy, remove lid.
Serve with shredded cheddar and dollops of sour cream to taste. Salt and pepper to taste.
This actually tastes better the second day after the soup thickens.
Like it spicier? Add Tabasco sauce


The show must go on.” That applies even to playwright Marianne Putnam, when the director of her one-act play, “Jokers Wild,” fails to show for curtains up on opening night 

About The Book:

The show must go on.” That applies even to playwright Marianne Putnam, when the director of her one-act play, “Jokers Wild,” fails to show for curtains up on opening night at the community theater in Serendipity Springs, Florida. When the director’s wife begs Marianne to accompany her to their home to check on him, they find the man floating in his pool. Dead.

Though not known for his pleasant disposition—her relationship with him had been tense since nearly ramming into his car in a parking lot, but after all, he was the director—who would have wanted to murder him? Surely no one in the production crew, cast or the staff of the community center where the play was to be staged. Maybe it was the wife, who Marianne had overheard arguing with him. Or perhaps someone from his theater connections back in the Big Apple.

Since she was there when the body was discovered, Marianne is considered a suspect. That doesn’t mean she can’t help her three Mah Jongg friends—Syd, Micki, and Kat—assist the sheriff with the investigation. But who’s there to help her when her path crosses the murderer’s.

Book Links:  Amazon

Photo by Chris Kridler, ChrisKridler.com


About The Author:

Barbara Barrett started reading mysteries when she was pregnant with her first child to keep her mind off things like her changing body and food cravings. When she’d devoured as many Agatha Christies as she could find, she branched out to English village cozies and Ellery Queen.

Later, to avoid a midlife crisis, she began writing fiction at night when she wasn’t at her day job in human resources for Iowa State Government. After releasing eleven full-length romance novels and two novellas, she returned to the cozy mystery genre, using one of her retirement pastimes, the game of mah jongg, as her inspiration. Not only has it been a great social outlet, it has also helped keep her mind active when not writing.

Jokers Wild, the sixth book in her “Mah Jongg Mystery” series, features four friends who play mah jongg together and share otherwise in each other’s lives. None of the four is based on an actual person. Each is an amalgamation of several mah jongg friends with a lot of Barbara’s imagination thrown in for good measure. The four will continue to appear in future books in the series.

Barbara is a member of Sisters in Crime, Sinc-Iowa, Romance Writers of America, and the SpacecoasT chapter of Romance Writers of America.

She is married to the man she met her senior year of college. They have two grown children and eight grandchildren.

Now retired, she is a resident of Florida, although she spends her summers in Iowa, her home state. She earned her B.A. degree in History from the University of Iowa and her Master’s Degree in History from Drake University.

When not in front of her laptop creating her next story, she plays mah jongg, travels, and enjoys lunches with friends.

Author Links


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1 Comment

  1. Thanks for having me here today. I hope your readers try my un-spicy chili recipe and enjoy it. It’s perfect for cool fall days. I also hope they will check out “Jokers Wild” or one of the other books in the Mah Jongg Mystery series. I have enjoyed creating these characters and developing their friendship with each successive book.


    Liked by 1 person

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