by Lisa Prysock
From My Kitchen to Yours
One of my favorite meals to make during this time of year is chili! My whole family enjoys it! It is easy to prepare, tastes even better the second day, and it’s economical. At our house, we like to serve it with plenty of saltines, shredded cheddar cheese, and chopped onion. It’s also a relatively healthy and hearty meal for these colder days we are just beginning to experience here in Kentucky.
There are a few secret tips to keep in mind that really make this one of the best tasting chili recipes ever–:
1) Try to use the Hunt’s Tomato sauce if at all possible. I’ve tried this recipe over the years with other sauces, but Hunt’s tastes the best by far. I usually buy 2 or 3 of the medium sized cans (not the 8 oz. cans, but the 13-15 oz. cans).
2) This chili turns out best if the majority of the beans are the pork and beans Showboat or Van de Kamp’s variety. I usually buy the extra tall cans. I like to add about 3 or 4 of the 15 oz. cans for a family of 4-5 (it tastes even better on the second day).
Here are the ingredients for this sweet and spicy, hearty chili:
1.5 to 2 lbs. browned, well cooked, drained ground beef
2-3 (Medium sized) cans of Hunt’s Tomato Sauce
3-4 (Tall) cans of Showboat or Van de Kamp’s pork and beans
2 Cans of rinsed and drained Light or Dark Red Kidney Beans, 8 oz. variety
3-4 Cans of chili beans, 8 oz. variety
2 packets of chili seasoning or 4-8 teaspoons of chili powder to taste, mild to medium spicy
1 tsp of garlic powder
1.5 tsp of black ground pepper
1 generous tsp of sea salt
Several generous dashes of paprika
2 tsp of hot sauce, mild to medium spicy
¾ to 1 cup of white granulated sugar
1-2 large onion, chopped and set aside for garnish
1 box of saltine crackers, set aside for garnish
1 bowl of pre-shredded sharp cheddar cheese, set aside for garnish
Brown and drain the ground beef in a large stock pot or soup/sauce pot. Return drained ground beef to burner and lower heat to medium. Add the other ingredients to the pan, including the seasonings except for the garnish items. Mix well and then bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Turn the temperature on a low heat setting to simmer for 1 to 2 hours, stirring often. Be sure to add the seasonings and hot sauce according to your preference. You can add more sauce, fewer beans and/or less or more ground beef if you prefer more of a soup chili. This recipe is for a hearty, thick chili with loads of protein. If you don’t add the sugar, it will have a tart flavor. As always, use caution when adding hot sauce and spicy seasonings. (Serves 5-10 +)
Lisa’s Writing Tips
1) Guard your writing time with proper planning. Map out the days or evenings in advance when you will be writing. Be sure your family knows that this will be your writing time. Choose meals that are easy to prepare or meals which can be made well in advance of your writing time (such as the chili recipe in this post which may last for up to two or three days, giving you extra writing time)!
2) Ask God for a theme or an idea He would like you to write about. Then listen for His instruction.
3) Make a road map or a general OUTLINE of your story. This is a crucial step. It involves plotting, but do allow plenty of room for changes along the way. It’s hard to finish a book if you don’t know where you are going. It doesn’t have to be a really detailed outline. It just needs to be an outline sharing a little about what will be contained in each chapter. If you are having trouble filling in all of the chapters, you should at least be able to start with a beginning, middle, and an end to get you going on your outline. Then you can add obstacles, enhance the climax and ending, and refine your beginning.
4) Try not to put too much back story into your first chapter. Less is more.
5) Research your story and elements you want to include thoroughly. Get out there and visit the scene, a location, or detail items that would enhance your story. For instance, in my book “Protecting Miss Jenna,” I visited numerous historical plantations and enjoyed a riverboat ride as part of my research. It made a huge difference in the outcome of the story.
6) Develop and use your own style. Do what works for you.
7) Edit your work numerous times and then edit again. Look for grammar, spelling, and typo errors the first time through. Then look for content errors the next time through. Then look at formatting errors. If possible, hire a professional editor.
8) Make each sentence as simple as possible.
9) Have someone else read and critique your work before publication.
10) Try to obtain reviews. Often, readers will give a review if you ask for one.
11) Use a notebook as you write to keep track of each character’s traits and other details that may be difficult to remember. I keep track of full names, ages, eye and hair color, birthdays, siblings, parents, important dates and events, and many other pertinent details.
12) When developing characters, one tip I learned from another writer early on is to employ the use of character work sheets. For example, I ask a long series of questions about each of my main characters and provide the answers. The answers to the questions will bleed through or come out in the writing later on. I may ask questions and provide answers such as–:
Q. What is Sally afraid of or what fears does she have and why?
A. Sally is afraid of the water because she nearly drowned when she was eight years old and never learned to swim.
Q. When did Sally decide to follow Jesus?
Q. When the Lord sent an angel to rescue her from the drowning incident she decided to accept the Lord into her heart and life.
Q. What are her favorite foods and least favorite foods?
A. Sally loves strawberries and biscuits, pancakes, and fried chicken. She does not like cornbread because she grew weary of it as a child.
Q. What are Sally’s favorite activities?
A. Sally likes to read in her treehouse; paint and sketch portraits and pictures; she likes to walk by the river; and she loves to ride her horse named Nehemiah.
Q. What are Sally’s ambitions?
A. Sally wants to become an artist and move to southern France.
13.) Read everything you can about being a writer. Constantly try to learn and improve your writing craft.
14.) Connect with other writers. Especially be supportive of other like-minded writers as much as possible.
15.) Cover everything you do with prayer and strive for excellence. We represent Jesus, so make it the very best you have to give. Bathe your writing in constant prayer and allow the Holy Spirit to guide what you write. Several times I have been stuck with regard to a plot or event in a book as I was writing. In each situation I have asked the Lord to help me and show me what to do next. He has always found a way to answer and direct my work. His answers usually surprise me. I find His ideas are far superior to my own. Sometimes He has directed me to remove something or re-write something. He has often given me what I felt to be a brilliant solution to many of my writing dilemmas.
In closing, I realize that we are about to embark on the holiday season as we are now just seven days away from Thanksgiving! Wow has time flown in 2016! We have so much to be thankful for! I hope you have enjoyed these writing tips and my chili recipe. If you have a writing tip, or if this entry has blessed you in some way, please share with us in the comments below. May you have great success in all of your writing endeavors and a very blessed Thanksgiving!
Lisa M. Prysock
About the Author:
Lisa M. Prysock is the author of “To Find a Duchess,” a Regency Inspirational Romance and two more Historical Christian Romance books with Kentucky settings in the Victorian Era, “Hannah’s Garden: a Turn of the Century Love Story,” and “Abigail’s Melody,” Volume 1 and 2 in a series titled “The Victorian Christian Heritage Series.”
“I don’t know how it happens but most of my books end up in beautiful England at some point and two start out in gorgeous, rolling Kentucky…”
Kentucky inspires her writing and is home. She is happily married to her husband of seventeen years and homeschools two of their five children. She has a son in college and two stepdaughters, grown. Lisa grew up in the Ohio Valley and also spent her early childhood years in Minnesota on a farm. “Yes, there were chickens, a cow named Daisy and even horses one summer, a huge vegetable garden, fishing and snowmobiles!”
Lisa remembers writing her very first book in kindergarten in Wisconsin, with help from the teacher and a stapler. “It was a book about ‘Curious George.’ I couldn’t spell yet but the teacher wrote words beneath my illustrations for what I wanted to say on each page.” She has been writing ever since. She won a prize for a short story in 8th grade and remembers buying a manual typewriter with her first ever babysitting earnings.
Lisa is a huge fan of the “Little House on the Prairie” series, the “Anne of Green Gables” collection, the Jane Austen collection, C.S. Lewis books, “Heidi,” “Christy,” “Jane Eyre,” and “Little Women.” She loves writing family oriented, classic style literature: a little less conversation and a lot more detail and background. She also loves sharing her faith in Christ with her readers. She believes people just need to know how wonderful He is and attributes her dream of writing coming true entirely to Him.
She gives a portion of the proceeds of her books each month to missionaries and evangelists to further the gospel. She is currently writing her eighth book, and she recently completed “The Lydia Collection.” For more information about Lisa and to find out when her next book will launch, she can be found at: www.LisaPrysock.com