Sunday, September 25, 2016

Chicken Enchilada Casserole & Chocolate Cake - A Birthday Celebration!

This morning I woke up early and immediately got to work in the kitchen because we are celebrating my oldest son's birthday later today. He requested my White Chicken Enchilada Casserole for dinner. We are having that along with green beans w/ toasted almonds at his request. Since it's going to be another hot day (low 90s), I awoke early to get much of the prep work done while it was still cool outside. I made 20 of my grain free tortillas (by tripling the recipe). I made a HUGE batch of chicken and cheese filling (diced cooked chicken and shredded cheese). I also sauteed 3 diced Poblano peppers and 2 diced jalapeno peppers to add to the chicken cheese enchilada filling. I stuffed and rolled the enchiladas and arranged them in my casserole dishes and covered them and popped them in the fridge. Before I put them in the oven to bake later, I'll quickly whisk together the sauce to pour over them right before baking. If you haven't made this recipe before, you should definitely try it because it's awesome. I'm so excited because this is the first "family celebration" in our new house. They have come for dinner individually since we've been in the house but this is the first all of us together celebration.

For his birthday cake, I decided to make my MJ's Fourth Generation Chocolate Cake, a special family recipe that I recreated for one of my blog followers last summer. When I made that recipe, it was baked in a jelly roll pan (10" x 15" x 1") and was a thinner cake, similar to a Texas Sheet Cake if you've ever had one of those before. This morning, I doubled the recipe and baked it in a 9" x 13" pan. I had to adjust the baking time and I baked it for 45 minutes (about twice as long as in the jelly roll pan). It's cooling on top of the stove now so I can frost it with Chocolate Ganache Frosting and pecans later. So, before noon today I had made 20 tortillas, stuffed 20 enchiladas and baked a cake! How is that for prepping ahead! I snapped a few photos of my work so far this morning as well as a finished photo from when I made these dishes before. I've linked to the recipes in the paragraphs above (the enchilada casserole link is in the first paragraph and the cake recipe link is in the first sentence of this paragraph). Now, I'm off to clean the house. Enjoy!


Stack of 20 grain free tortillas waiting to be stuffed with a bowl of 11 cups diced chicken, 4 cups shredded cheese, 3 sauteed Poblano peppers and 2 jalapeno peppers
Stuffed and ready to be sauced and baked later

Cooling and ready to be "ganached" later

           

Friday, September 23, 2016

Apple Cinnamon Walnut Muffins - Happy Fall Y'all!

Happy Friday & Happy Fall! I've got a new muffin recipe featuring two of my favorite fall flavors and aromas; apples and cinnamon! Since my favorite Honeycrisp apples are now available, I thought what better way to help usher in fall than with a recipe for Apple Cinnamon Walnut Muffins. You can use whatever kind of apple that is your own personal favorite. This entire batch of 3 dozen muffins (40 to be exact) used only 1 medium apple (adding approximately 16 grams of net carbs and 14 grams of sugar to the entire recipe). Divided between the 40 mini muffins that I got from this recipe, it added less than 1/2 gram of net carbs (.4) and about 1/3 of a gram of sugar (.35) per muffin. 

I prefer leaving the skin on my apples for both fiber and color, but peeling them is probably what most folks prefer to do. These muffins are moist and lightly sweetened and each little piece of apple still retains a little crunch with the kind of apple I used. They were delicious warm, spread with a bit of softened butter and would be great eaten as a snack, spread with a little smear of peanut butter, too. My favorite way to eat them though is “as is” just popped into my mouth (in two bites). The aroma they created while baking was amazing. There is just something about the smell of apples and cinnamon wafting through the kitchen while you are baking on a cool fall morning. 

I'm going to make another batch of them this weekend. I think they taste even better the next day after the apple flavor and moistness has worked its way throughout the muffin. I recommend you cut your apples into small dice (1/4" or so) so the apples get distributed evenly throughout all the muffins and you get a bit of apple in each bite. Also, I want to share one interesting thing that I noted. I baked 2 dozen muffins at a time and refrigerated the batter uncovered until I was ready to put the 2nd batch in the oven and I to. I noticed that the 2nd batch of muffins that's batter had sat for about 25 minutes rose higher and were fluffier than the first batch baked right after mixing (they had nice rounded crowns). It was noticeable enough for me to purposely place the entire bowl of batter in the fridge to sit for 20 minutes or so before scooping and baking all of them next time. The recipe and photos are below. Enjoy!











Apple Cinnamon Walnut Muffins

INGREDIENTS:

1-1/4 cups Honeyville Blanched Amond Flour
2 tablespoons coconut flour 
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup Swerve Sweetener (or preferred granular sweetener)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 large eggs
1/4 cup extra light olive oil or melted coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 medium apple, peeled, cored and finely diced
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Olive oil spray or coconut oil spray for greasing muffin tins

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray mini muffin pans with oil and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together almond flour, ground flax, coconut flour, baking powder and 1 cup sweetener until combined.


In a separate medium bowl, beat eggs, oil, vanilla extract, and buttermilk until well combined. Stir wet mixture into dry mixture, stirring just until combined. Fold in diced apples and walnuts. Spoon batter into muffin cups; fill almost to the top. Bake for 18-21 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes in pan; flip and cool completely on a wire rack. Makes approximately 3 dozen mini-muffins.

            

Apple Cinnamon Walnut Muffins - Happy Fall Y'all!

Happy Friday & Happy Fall! I've got a new muffin recipe featuring two of my favorite fall flavors and aromas; apples and cinnamon! Since my favorite Honeycrisp apples are now available, I thought what better way to help usher in fall than with a recipe for Apple Cinnamon Walnut Muffins. You can use whatever kind of apple that is your own personal favorite. This entire batch of 3 dozen muffins (40 to be exact) used only 1 medium apple (adding approximately 16 grams of net carbs and 14 grams of sugar to the entire recipe). Divided between the 40 mini muffins that I got from this recipe, it added less than 1/2 gram of net carbs (.4) and about 1/3 of a gram of sugar (.35). 

I prefer leaving the skin on my apples for both fiber and color, but peeling them is probably what most folks prefer to do. These muffins are moist and lightly sweetened and each little piece of apple still retains a little crunch with the kind of apple I used. They were delicious warm, spread with a bit of softened butter and would be great eaten as a snack, spread with a little smear of peanut butter, too. My favorite way to eat them though is “as is” just popped into my mouth (in two bites). The aroma they created while baking was amazing. There is just something about the smell of apples and cinnamon wafting through the kitchen while you are baking on a cool fall morning. 

I'm going to make another batch of them this weekend. I think they taste even better the next day after the apple flavor and moistness has worked its way throughout the muffin. I recommend you cut your apples into small dice (1/4" or so) so the apples get distributed evenly throughout all the muffins and you get a bit of apple in each bite. Also, I want to share one interesting thing that I noted. I baked 2 dozen muffins at a time and refrigerated the batter uncovered until I was ready to put the 2nd batch in the oven and I to. I noticed that the 2nd batch of muffins that's batter had sat for about 25 minutes rose higher and were fluffier than the first batch baked right after mixing (they had nice rounded crowns). It was noticeable enough for me to purposely place the entire bowl of batter in the fridge to sit for 20 minutes or so before scooping and baking all of them next time. The recipe and photos are below. Enjoy!











Apple Cinnamon Walnut Muffins

INGREDIENTS:

1-1/4 cups Honeyville Blanched Amond Flour
2 tablespoons coconut flour 
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup Swerve Sweetener (or preferred granular sweetener)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 large eggs
1/4 cup extra light olive oil or melted coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 medium apple, peeled, cored and finely diced
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Olive oil spray or coconut oil spray for greasing muffin tins

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray mini muffin pans with oil and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together almond flour, ground flax, coconut flour, baking powder and 1 cup sweetener until combined.


In a separate medium bowl, beat eggs, oil, vanilla extract, and buttermilk until well combined. Stir wet mixture into dry mixture, stirring just until combined. Fold in diced apples and walnuts. Spoon batter into muffin cups; fill almost to the top. Bake for 18-21 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes in pan; flip and cool completely on a wire rack. Makes approximately 3 dozen mini-muffins.

            

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Cheddar-Black Pepper Mini Biscuit Muffins - Low Carb

Happy Sunday! This morning we awoke to overcast skies and it's actually raining right now (we need it). I woke up early this morning to work on a recipe project and before I knew it, it was already 11:00. I decided to prepare us a nice Sunday brunch since it was so late. I was in the mood for biscuits with my scrambled eggs and bacon, so I quickly whipped up a batch of my Cheddar-Black Pepper Biscuits. I decided that rather than make them in the usual style of larger biscuits, that I'd scoop the dough into a mini muffin tin and make 24 small "biscuit-muffins" instead. Sometimes I don't feel like eating an entire biscuit (shocking, I know) and this way it's easier to have more or less, depending on your mood. They turned out great. I used Cabot's Classic Vermont White Cheddar Cheese in this morning's biscuits that I grated from a big brick I buy at Costco. It has lots of cheddar flavor, which I love. I also added some 3-Alarm Spicy Colby Jack Cheese to my eggs (another of my faves). The little Cheddar-Black Pepper Mini Biscuit Muffins turned out GREAT! Check out this morning's breakfast/brunch of "two's"...2 eggs, 2 strips of bacon, 2 mini biscuit-muffins and 2 small strawberries! I included a few photos as well as the easy peasy recipe below. Enjoy!






Cheddar-Black Pepper Mini Biscuit Muffins

INGREDIENTS:


2 cups blanched almond flour
3 tablespoons "cold" butter, diced
1 large egg
1 cup sharp shredded cheddar cheese, divided (I used Cabot's Classic Vermont White Cheddar)
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup heavy cream (or buttermilk)

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly grease a 24-cup mini muffin pan.  

In a medium bowl, add almond flour, butter, egg, 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese, salt, black pepper, and baking powder. Cut in with a pastry cutter/dough blender until crumbly and all flour is slightly moistened and cheese is pulverized into the mixture. 


Stir in cream and remaining 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese; mix in lightly until dough forms. Use a 1-tablespoon retractable scoop to make 24 even sized biscuit muffins by scooping heaping tablespoons of dough divided equally among the mini muffin pan wells. 

Bake at 350 degrees F for approximately 18-20 minutes or until light golden brown. Remove from oven; brush tops with melted butter, if desired. Cool for about 5 minutes; carefully remove from pan.

            

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Southwestern Style Chicken Chili - Easy Low Carb

This evening I was in the mood for chili, even though our temperature here is still ridiculously hot. I simply turned down the air conditioning and made it feel like Fall inside while we ate! LOL I stopped by Sprouts Farmers Market on  my way home and decided to make Southwestern Style Chicken Chili using ground chicken breast and fresh Southwestern Style Chicken Sausage (made fresh at Sprouts). The sausage was bulk style (not in casings) and had diced jalapeno, onion and garlic in it. The chili turned out absolutely amazing. The ground chicken breast becomes so tender when it simmers in the acidic tomato base. I only simmered it for about 30 minutes after everything was cooked. I like to use fire roasted tomatoes for extra flavor but you can use regular diced or crushed tomatoes if you prefer. The chili was moderately spicy but you can tone it down or add more heat if you prefer. I served the chili topped with Sargento's 4 State Shredded Cheddar, a blend of 4 different cheddars. It's one of my favorites. We also added a little dollop of sour cream to our bowls. I served the chili with mini Cheddar-Black Pepper Biscuits made with Cabot's Artisan Reserve 3-Year Aged Sharp White Vermont Cheddar that I shredded by hand. They were tender little biscuits that carry big cheddar flavor. I snapped a couple photos of the chili below and included the easy peasy recipe. Enjoy!


Chicken and veggies are cooked and ready for spices and tomatoes


Southwestern Style Chicken Chili

Ingredients:

2 pounds ground chicken (I used ground chicken breast)
3/4 pound spicy chicken sausage (I used Sprout's fresh Southwestern Spicy Sausage)
3 tablespoons oil, to saute vegetables
1 cup onion, diced
1 large sweet bell pepper (red, yellow or orange), diced
2 jalapeno peppers, finely diced (optional)
4 cloves garlic, minced
Spices:
   1 tablespoon chili powder
   1 teaspoon "Mexican style chili powder" (or 1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder)
   1 teaspoon hot Hungarian paprika (optional)
   1 teaspoon ground coriander
   1 teaspoon ground cumin (I use roasted cumin)
   1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
   1 teaspoon dried oregano
   1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
   1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
1 28-oz can diced or crushed fire roasted tomatoes, including juice (I used Muir Glen Organic Crushed Fire Roasted tomatoes)
1 6-oz. can tomato paste
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup water (more or less, depending on preferred thickness)
1 16-oz can kidney beans, drained (optional)

Directions:

In a large stockpot over medium heat, add oil and saute onion, sweet bell peppers, and jalapeno peppers until almost tender; add minced garlic and cook approximately 2 to 3 more minutes, stirring frequently (cover the pan to help speed up cooking time). 

In the same pan, add ground chicken and chicken sausage; cook, breaking up with a large spoon, until chicken is no longer pink. Add all of the spices, tomatoes, tomato paste, chicken stock and water. Add optional beans, if using. Bring to a medium boil; taste to adjust seasoning, if necessary.  Cover pot and reduce heat to low, Simmer on low for approximately 30 minutes (if desired, chili can be placed in a crock-pot and cooked on low for approximately 8 hours instead of cooking on stove top).

Ladle chili into bowls and top with shredded cheddar cheese and dollop of sour cream, if desired.

           

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Wild Alaskan Coho Salad - Quick, Easy & Delicious

This evening I made a simple, quick and cool salad for dinner using a leftover piece of Wild Alaskan Coho Salmon (I poached a large fillet wrapped in foil on the grill last night for dinner for 12 minutes and then removed it from the heat, tightly closed it, and let it sit for about 10 minutes). I cut up a head of baby romaine lettuce and halved some small grape tomatoes and placed the Coho on top of the bed of salad greens. I drizzled it with a little olive oil and a squeeze of fresh lemon. It was fresh and delicious.

I bought a beautiful large piece of wild Alaskan Coho Salmon this weekend at Costco. Unfortunately, last weekend I thought I had picked up a piece of wild Coho salmon (the case was labeled "wild Alaskan Coho") and when I got home I realized that I instead came home with a $20 piece of FARMED steelhead trout; I don't know if someone made a mistake or mixed them up. To say it was upsetting is putting it mildly. I was so disgusted that I actually threw it away. But...this weekend I actually came home with the REAL Coho. I ate it for dinner last night, lunch today, and dinner again this evening. I have one more piece left for my lunch tomorrow! When I prepared it, I kept it simple and poached it with nothing but Kerrygold butter, fresh lemon juice and a pinch of pink Himalayan sea salt. I wanted to taste nothing but fresh wild salmon. I snapped a quick photo of this evening's "Coho Salad" below and included a couple peeks into my new house. The walls are still bare but it's finally beginning to look like someone actually lives here! Enjoy!





        

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Stove-Top Skillet Cheesy Squash Casserole - Low Carb

Yesterday was a busy day here. We're still getting situated in the new house and working on the final unpacking. We're beginning to hang pictures and decorate as well. I finally can see the light at the end of the tunnel now. I'm still waiting for one more appliance to arrive...my fridge. It's supposed to come this week...but I'll believe it when I see it! I ordered it 1 month before we moved in so it's been over 2 months now.

I can't tell you how much I am looking forward to the coming fall weeks when I can sit back and enjoy the house and start my fall baking. I'm dreaming of pumpkin, cranberries and the smell of cinnamon in the crisp cool fall air. Meanwhile, yesterday was yet another unbearably hot day here in the Atlanta area. It was 95 degrees before noon; I'm sick of the summer weather and it's been an unseasonably hot summer to boot. Hubby and I began our Saturday morning yesterday with going to get our address changed on our driver's licenses. We got there at 8:00 (they opened at 7:30) and we were already number 270 and 271 in line!!! We stood and waited for over 1-1/2 hours to do what took less than 2 minutes to do when we finally got our turn. Ugh...the joys of moving!

I decided to keep dinner simple and cool. I made a very simple chicken salad (chicken, a tiny bit of onion, celery, diced pickles and mayo). I've been craving my Yellow Cheddar Squash Casserole recently but did not want to add any additional heat to my kitchen at the end of a hot and exhausting day. I decided to experiment a bit with making a "stove top skillet version" of my cheesy squash casserole. It turned out great. Now, I'll be honest...it wasn't as pretty as the golden brown oven version, but it was every bit as delicious. If you wanted to brown the top a bit after cooking, place skillet (ovenproof skillet only) under the broiler for a few minutes until browned. I tweaked the casserole recipe a little by bumping up the amount of squash and slightly reducing the liquid part since it was going to cook covered in a skillet on the stove instead of uncovered in a dry hot oven. I snapped a few photos of my Stove-Top Skillet Cheesy Squash Casserole and included the easy peasy recipe for it below as well. It only took about 20-25 minutes to cook and it kept my kitchen much cooler than turning the oven on would have. Enjoy!


Ready to cover and cook on the stove
Cooking for 20-25 minutes
Ready to serve

Stove-Top Skillet Cheesy Squash Casserole

Ingredients:

8 cups yellow squash, sliced
1/2 cup onion, diced
4 tablespoons butter, divided
3 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup milk or cream
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (powdery style)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, or to taste
Dash cayenne pepper, optional
1 cup blanched almond flour, divided
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
Paprika, optional

Directions:

Heat 2 to 3 tablespoons butter in a large 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Saute squash and onions (do not add any water).  Cook until tender (covering pan while cooking hastens cooking time). Uncover skillet and increase heat to high to cook off any remaining liquid in bottom of pan (or drain off any remaining liquid). Remove skillet from heat.

In a medium bowl or glass measuring cup, beat eggs, milk, and Parmesan. Stir in salt, pepper, and optional cayenne. Set aside.

Add 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese and 1/2 cup almond flour to skillet of cooked squash, mixing until evenly distributed. Pour egg and milk mixture over squash, combining well. 

In a separate small bowl, place remaining 1/2 cup of almond flour and remaining tablespoon of butter. Cut butter into the almond flour with a pastry/dough blender or fork until crumbly (like you do when making a topping for a fruit crisp). Add remaining 1 cup of cheddar and cut into flour and butter mixture with dough blender until coarse and crumbly. Top squash with crumbly mixture; sprinkle with paprika, if desired. Cover skillet and cook on stove top over medium heat for 20 to 25 minutes, or until casserole is set and cooked through (no jiggling when skillet is gently shaken). 

        

Friday, September 9, 2016

Friday Night Pizza - Cheese Head Style

This evening I was in the mood for pizza. I had a big jar of oil packed grilled veggies (by Del Destino) from Costco that needed to be used. I decided a gourmet pizza would be the perfect way to use them. I made my Cheese Head Pizza Crust (one of the easiest and delicious gluten free pizza crusts you could ever make) and topped it with DeLallo's Pizza Sauce, mozzarella cheese, pepperoni and a medley of oil packed grilled veggies (baby eggplant, zucchini, piquillo peppers, and artichokes). It turned out absolutely AMAZING! It was one of the best pizzas I've made; hubby thought so too. If you haven't tried this pizza crust before, add it to your "make soon" list. You won't be sorry, I promise. I snapped a few photos of tonight's masterpiece below. Here's a link to the recipe: Cheese Head Pizza Crust. Enjoy!


Before baking with toppings
Fresh out of the oven
BOOM!

            

Monday, August 29, 2016

Stoplight Pizza w/ Cheese Head Pizza Crust

This evening I made our first pizza in the new house! I have several different pizza crust recipes to choose from but decided to make my Cheese Head Pizza Crust because it is super quick and easy to make and it tastes exactly like regular pizza crust...maybe even better!

I just happened to have a package of "stoplight bell peppers"...you know the package that comes with 1 red, 1 yellow and 1 green pepper. I decided it would make the perfect ingredient for "Stoplight Pizza", with a few thinly sliced Vidalia onions and pepperoni thrown in. I decided to bake my pizza crust the minimum amount of time (10 minutes) until light golden brown because it continues to cook after you add the toppings. This kept it from getting too brown on the edges when fully cooked with the toppings. It turned out AMAZING! I'm still learning how to use my new stove; so far everything I've made in it or on it has turned out great. I snapped a few photos of the pizza below (as well as a pic of my new stove). If you haven't tried this pizza crust yet...it's a must try! To get to the recipe, please click here: Cheese Head Pizza Crust. Enjoy!


Before going back into the oven with the toppings
Fresh out of the oven!
GGC's new stove!
One of my many obsessions...teapots! (It might be time for an intervention!)
            

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Peach Pecan Muffins - Easy & Dellicious

Today I've got a brand new recipe to share with you. It's special to me for a number of reasons. First, it's made with my favorite almond flour...Honeyville's Blanched Almond Flour that has had a place in my pantry for over 4 years now! Second, it's made with two of my favorite Georgia grown ingredients...Georgia pecans and Georgia peaches (and I just happen to live in Georgia)! Last, but not least...this recipe was the very first item to be baked in my new oven in my new house. These delicious muffins embarked on the "maiden voyage" of my new oven. A little silly, I know, but it's true!

These muffins are easy to make and can be made with either fresh, ripe juicy peaches or no sugar added canned peaches. They are lightly sweetened but can easily be made sweeter if that's how you like your muffins (simply increase the sweetener or add a few drops of stevia to boost the sweetness). They are super moist and tender. I store mine in the fridge since they are moist and because it's pretty humid here this time of year. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. Check out a few photos below. To get to the recipe, please click here: Peach Pecan Muffins. Enjoy!






        

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Spicy Homestyle Chili

This evening I decided to make dinner instead of unpack boxes...and it felt SO good to be back in the kitchen again believe it or not! Since it was a little cooler today (as in upper 80s/90 degrees...LOL) I was in the mood to make a big ole pot of chili. I usually like to make chili and cook it all day long on low in the crock pot, but I settled for simmering it on the stove this evening instead. I made a modified version of my "Sweet & Spicy Chili" recipe but used all ground beef instead of a mixture of beef chunks and ground beef and made a few other tweaks as well. It turned out great! I snapped a quick photo below and included my modified recipe as well. You can make this chili as spicy or as mild as you like by adjusting the chipotle pepper, hot paprika and cayenne pepper. Enjoy!


Spicy Homestyle Chili

Ingredients:

2 1/2 pounds ground beef
2 tablespoons oil, to saute vegetables
1 cup onion, diced
2 sweet bell peppers (red, yellow or orange), diced
1 Poblano pepper, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, diced (optional)
5 cloves garlic, minced
Spices:
   1 tablespoon chili powder
   1 teaspoon "chipotle chili powder" (or regular chili powder to reduce heat)
   1 teaspoon hot Hungarian paprika (or substitute sweet paprika to reduce heat)
   1 teaspoon ground coriander
   1 teaspoon cumin (I used roasted cumin)
   1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
   1 teaspoon oregano
   1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
   1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
1 28-oz can diced fire roasted tomatoes (including juice)
1 6-oz. can tomato paste
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup water (more or less, depending on preferred thickness)
1 16-oz can kidney beans, drained (optional)

Directions:

In a large stockpot over medium heat, add oil and saute onion, sweet bell peppers, Poblano pepper, and jalapeno peppers until almost tender; add minced garlic and cook a couple more minutes, stirring frequently (covering the pan helps speed up cooking the veggies). Remove the veggies with a slotted spoon and set aside on a platter.  

In the same pan, brown ground beef until cooked and no longer pink. Return pepper and onion mixture back to the pot. Stir in all of the spices, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, chicken stock and water. Bring to a medium boil; taste to adjust seasoning, if necessary.  Cover pot and reduce heat to low, Simmer on low for approximately 1 hour (if desired, chili can be placed in a crock-pot and cooked on low for 8 - 10 hours instead of simmering on top of the stove).  

Ladle chili into bowls and top with shredded sharp cheddar cheese and dollop of sour cream, if desired.