Sunday was Christmas Parade Day in my hometown, and despite the hats and scarves and gloves and cups of steaming cocoa, everyone came home ready for something hot to eat. So Winter Parade Day was a natural companion to Chili Supper Night. But before we made our first pot of genuine cold-weather chili, I ground some of the red pepper strings that have been hanging in my window, drying.
Prep for long term storage of these spicy veggies is surely easy if you have a food processor. Simply cut off the stems and toss the remaining peppers into the processor. Chop them down until they look like what you find in the condiments rack at your local pizza parlor, and you're good to go.
In just minutes, a jar of chopped red pepper joined my other seasonings near the stove top. But now the kitchen window was quite bare, so I took advantage of the season and added a little holiday flare. Where for months now my garden produce has found a way station, now happy little knick-knacks cushion against the loneliness of a bare view of an equally barren backyard.
Besides chili, the red pepper has found its way into seasoning for olive oil bread dip and into Spicy South of the Border Chex Mix, which leads to my gratuitous recipe of the day:
SPICY SOUTH OF THE BORDER CHEX MIX
In a preheated 250 degree oven, melt 6 tbs. butter in an open roasting pan. To this, add a package of dry taco seasoning mix, one tbs. Worcestershire sauce, 1 tsp. fresh ground pepper. Mix well before adding 8 cups of various dry cereal options--chex mixes, cheerios. Other stir-in options include 1 cup each of mini pretzels, peanuts, cheese bits crackers, dried-rye bites, bagel chips--up to three more cups for a total of 11 cups of munchies. Stir well to coat evenly and bake for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
I highly recommend this mix for teenage parties or to send--in gallon-sized bags--back to school with college students who have come home for the holidays!