Cooking is one of my favorite things to do to decompress after a long writing session—or to avoid facing that blank page. I made this favorite chili recipe last Sunday during a rainy weekend. It’s my own recipe, honed over the years and requested by many friends. I always make this on Halloween night. Between the trick-or-treaters, my husband and I watch the Stanley Kubrick version of “The Shining.”


by Dianne Emley

Serves six

Two hours preparation (includes one hour cooking)


2 (16 oz) cans small white beans, rinsed in water and drained.

4 boneless chicken breasts

l large onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp pickled jalapenos (or ½ fresh) minced for medium “heat.” Start with 1 tsp and adjust.

1 (10 ¾ oz) can cream of chicken soup

1 (4 oz can) diced green chilies (make sure they’re “green chilies,” not jalapenos)

3 cups chicken stock (start with 3 cups and add as needed)

1 tbsp ground cumin

3 tsp dried oregano, crushed

White pepper to taste

Salt to taste

2 tbsp vegetable oil for sautéing

Shredded jack cheese for garnish


  1. Brown chicken breasts in oil.  Cube when cool.
  2. Sauté onions and garlic until soft in pan used for chicken.
  3. In Dutch oven or large, heavy pot, add all ingredients.
  4. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer and cover with lid slightly ajar.
  5. Simmer an hour, stirring occasionally, adjusting seasonings and liquid.
  6. Garnish each serving with cheese.


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