Sunday, November 20, 2011

28 years later

This is how I go deer hunting now.

We own an acre of recreational property in a beautiful valley surrounded by tall cliffs called pinnacles where we have our own big camping trailer with a canopy and deck built above and around it.  We have running water and electricity.   We spend as much time as we can there in the summer, “camping”, being lazy, spending time with family and extended family (who stay at our Grandpa’s cabin a half mile down the road), fishing, tubing down the river, hiking, riding ATV’s, and sometimes working on the upkeep of our property (my Hunter Man does most of that stuff!).  This is where we stay for the deer hunt.

These are my kids (and grandson).  All the boys hunted this year.  And the two girls gave them their support by going out on the mountain with them.  

I am still amazed at the planning and preparation that takes place the night before.  They still plan their orange and camouflage wardrobes.  They still make sandwiches and pack their backpacks the night before, placing them in the truck so that everything is ready early in the morning.  They look at maps and talk about  the different areas that they have pre-scouted, trying to make a decision on where to hunt the next morning.  They confer about what time to get up and what time to leave.  Then, my Hunter Man seriously sets at least 3 different alarm clocks to make sure that he gets up on time!

A few hours later, when the alarm clocks go off, I do my best to stay as asleep as possible.

Everyone else slowly gets moving, gets dressed, and whispers goodbye to me and I got back to sleep until about 10:00 a.m.

That’s how I hunt now.

While everyone is gone, I read, watch my favorite movies, scrapbook, play with my grandson, take pictures, go on walks, talk to relatives who are at Grandpa’s cabin, and prepare something for dinner.   I like to make food that can just simmer in the crock pot all day long—ready to eat whenever the hunters get back that night.
I have a lot of fun going deer hunting this way.  I usually stay warm and dry, and I love, love, love not getting up early. 

A lot has changed since that first hunt 28 years ago.

Hunting Potluck Meal Recipe from 2011

This year I made what I call “Illinois White Chicken Chili”.  I learned how to make this after I took a trip to Illinois to visit my best friend a few years ago.  We went to a “Meat Shoot” at one of her friend’s houses.  This was something that I had heard about many times when we lived in Illinois, but had never seen.

People bought tickets and then entered shooting contests for different cuts of meat.  Whoever hit the target the closest would win the meat—turkeys, hams, pork loins, sausages, etc.  The funny thing to me was the growing pile of empty beer cans next to the shooting area.  I kept thinking to myself, “How does this even seem like a safe, good idea?”  Drinking and shooting shouldn’t be a good mix.   It made me laugh (nervously). 

I was glad that my friend and I had gone to the store and bought our own Pepsi’s and Sprites before we went to the meat shoot.  BYO non-alcoholic beverage!

And then there was the food.  A delicious pork loin roasting on a spit over a fire and a huge cauldron of White Chicken Chili simmering over charcoal. The chili was amazing.

One of the first things that I did when I got home from that trip was figure out how to make it.  I had a verbal recipe from the person who made it at the meat shoot that I started with.   But, her recipe included a package of White Chicken Chili mix that I could not find at any store in my area, so I thought it was one of those things that is only available in certain areas like Illinois.  (I have found it occasionally in Utah and when I do, I throw a few tablespoons of it in my chili).  I googled the recipe and then took everyone’s ideas and made my own recipe.

I am not a professional cook and I do not like big pieces of onions, peppers, garlic, or celery in anything, so when I cook I use a lot of spices.   I also just add things until I like how it tastes.

Here is my recipe.

Illinois White Chicken Chili

2 large potatoes, cubed
20 mini carrots cut into little pieces

Boil potatoes and carrots until soft.  When potatoes and carrots are soft, do not drain.  The liquid will form the base for the chili.

Add the following ingredients:

3 c. cooked, cubed chicken or turkey                      
2 cans Great Northern Beans, drained                
1 – 14 ounce can chicken broth                      
1 T onion powder                        
2 ½ t. cumin
1 ½ t. chili powder
½ t. cayenne pepper
½ t. pepper
3 t. minced garlic paste                        
2 t. dried oregano                       
1 – 7 ounce can diced green chilies (which
   I puree in the blender)                      
½ can peas
1 c. cooked brown rice
2 T lime juice
3 T white chicken chili seasoning, if available

Simmer in the crock pot for 6 hours on medium (300 degrees). 

Add ½ c. fat free half and half cream
And ½ c. fat free sour cream about 20 minutes before serving.

If it seems like the chili is not thick enough, add about ¼ cup at a time of instant potatoes.  Or, if it is too thick, add a little bit more half and half or milk.

This chili is good served with grated cheese, saltine crackers, tortilla chips, or Fritos chips sprinkled on top.  I also love to have corn bread with it.

I like to buy a rotisserie chicken to use for my cubed chicken.  Sometimes I use Schwans’s frozen chicken chunks if I am making it and don’t want to go to the store to buy a chicken.

I hope you like it as much as I do.


  1. oh how I LOVE your white chicken chili! :) I cracked up about the 3 alarm clocks...that makes me laugh every single year.

  2. Now, I add a can of black beans to this recipe!