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Carolyn Brown | The Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off

The Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off
Carolyn Brown




Barnes & Noble

Powell's Books


Indie BookShop

Cadillac, Texas #2

April 2014
On Sale: April 1, 2014
Featuring: Leeny Joe; Carlene Lovelle
ISBN: 1402287038
EAN: 9781402287039
Kindle: B00HFDVOFA
Paperback / e-Book
Add to Wish List

Also by Carolyn Brown:
Coming Home to Paradise, October 2024
Add to review list
Just a Cowboy and His Baby, August 2024
The Sawmill Book Club, July 2024
Sisters in Paradise, May 2024
Add to review list


Thank you Miz Sara and everyone at Fresh Fiction for letting me make a stop here on my recipe blog tour for THE RED-HOT CHILI COOK-OFF. I'm so excited about the second book set in Cadillac, Texas. There's a brand new lingerie shop in town called Bless My Bloomers, run by three cousins, Carlene, Alma Grace and Patrice. And things are heating up at the panty shop because Carlene found some bikini under pants in her husband Lenny Joe's briefcase and they damn sure did not belong to her. Now Alma Grace is the president of the Easter program committee at the local church and she's headed for a committee meeting.

In Texas, folks don't just go to a committee meetings empty handed. No, sir! It's a fine time to take along food and Alma Grace arrived at the church fellowship hall with a platter of jalapeno poppers and a dozen peanut butter cupcakes. Lord, no, Alma Grace didn't make them herself! Alma Grace could sweet talk a nun into a black lace corset and fishnet hose but she couldn't make toast without it resulting in sirens and fire trucks. God bless her mama's cook. An excerpt about what happened before I share the jalapeno popper recipe:

She set her offering on the table and picked up a purple paper plate. A hard morning of running back and forth from fitting room to stockroom to cash register had flat out worked up her appetite. She started with two chicken salad sandwiches and added a handful of chips on the side.

"Okay, while we eat, we'll talk business," Floy said. "I heard that Lenny put Carson on retainer this morning so I suppose this divorce is going to happen."

She bit into the sandwich. "I'm not surprised. I hear he even told his new girlfriend that he'd hang a picture of them together above the mantel."

"Why would he do that?" Floy asked.

"Well, you know he's won the chili cook-off every year since he and Carlene married. I guess he plans to win it this year and put his and Bridget's picture holding the trophy up on the wall. But we are praying that he comes to his senses and repents," Alma Grace said.

"We had an executive meeting before you got here and we've voted to change the bylaws for the Easter committee," Floy said bluntly.

The sandwich stuck firmly somewhere between Alma Grace's throat and stomach. It took three big gulps of sweet tea to send it on down. "What does that mean?"

"It means that the person in charge of the Easter program has to be above reproach. It was bad enough when you threw your lot in with your cousins and went into business in a panty shop, but now there's going to be a divorce and talk will be bad. They'll say that Carlene is doing all kinds of things in that room above the store."

"It's pink," Alma Grace stammered.

"What's that got to do with anything?"

"It looks like a little girl's Barbie room. There's no way it could ever be misconstrued as hooker paradise," Alma Grace said.

Floy set her jaw and shook her head. "Even your language has been affected by working in that place. We just can't abide it, Alma Grace. So we put an amendment into the bylaws. It's to save you and your sweet mama embarrassment. From now on the president of the Easter committee can only serve two terms, each one lasting one year. You've already served far longer than that so as of today someone else is taking over your spot and Kim will help her out. No hard feelings, now. It does say in the Good Book that those who the Lord loves will be chastised. Women need to learn their place and stay in it. If she'd been doing her part in the marriage, Lenny would not have strayed."

Steaming hot tears welled up in Alma Grace's eyes but she didn't let a single one escape. "What about me? I'm the angel who sings the final song and this year we were working on bringing me down from the rafters like I was flying."

Floy's smile was as stiff as that tight little gray bun at the back of her head. "Kim is going to do that. Bless your heart, you can sing in the choir. We'd never take that away from you. Not with your sweet soprano voice."

Alma Grace pushed the plate away from her. If she had to smell that dill pickle another minute, she would throw up. She was ruined and she hadn't done a blasted thing. The fault lay on Carlene's shoulders for leaving Lenny before the Easter program. If she'd stuck around and tried to work it out, none of this would be going on.

Her voice cracked but she didn't let the tears loose. "I suppose you're putting me on the back row, right?"

Everyone in the committee knew that a place on the back row was a slap in the face. There was no way that anyone could even see Alma Grace or hear her either. She'd just been demoted from heaven to hell.

Floy's skinny shoulders popped up a couple of inches in a shrug. "It's the only chair open right now. If someone gets sick, we might make a place for you toward the front."

Alma Grace pushed her chair back. "I'll make it easy for y'all. Just give my chair to someone else and I'll sing with the congregation this year. Have a nice lunch."

She picked up her cupcakes and poppers on the way out, put them in her car, and was about to get inside when she remembered the wings and halo had been bought from her personal checkbook, not the church's money. She marched straight back to the choir robe room to get them. She looked in the closet but they were gone. She checked everywhere but she couldn't find them. Those rotten women had taken her position and stolen her wings, too.

Do you have a favorite appetizer or finger foods recipe that you take to church socials or meetings? We'd love for you to share it with us.



10 jalapeno peppers

2-3 slices bacon, chopped

1/4 cup onion, diced

1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped

3 ounces cream cheese

3 ounces Monterey jack cheese

3 ounces mozzarella cheese

Cooking Directions

Remove stems from the jalapeno peppers and remove innards through the top with a pepper corer. If you do not have a corer, use a knife or very thin spoon.

In a large pan, fry bacon, onion, and mushroom until bacon is crisp. Drain and cool.

In a mixing bowl, combine bacon, onion, mushroom, and cheeses.

Stuff each pepper with the bacon cheese mixture.

Bake at 375 degrees about 20-30 minutes.

Be sure to follow along on THE RED-HOT CHILI COOK-OFF Recipe Sharing Tour!

April 1: Carolyn Brown's Facebook Page
April 2: Dew on the Kudzu
April 3: Fresh Fiction
April 4: Book'd Out
April 7: Book Reviews & More by Kathy
April 8: Chick Lit Central
April 9: Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
April 10: Bitten By Love Reviews
April 11: From the TBR Pile

Learn more about THE RED-HOT CHILI COOK-OFF and find out some delicious recipes from Carolyn and other readers along the way. Chances to win at each stop!

To Purchase THE RED-HOT CHILI COOK-OFF: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Books-a-Million | Chapters/Indigo | IndieBound | iBooks | Sourcebooks


More Than the Chili's Heating Up Cadillac, Texas

Carlene Lovelle, co-owner of Bless My Bloomers lingerie shop, found a pair of fancy red-silk panties in her husband's briefcase, and all hell is breaking loose. She custom-made those fancy bloomers herself—and she remembers the bimbo who bought them. If her husband had a lick of sense, he'd known there are no secrets in a town like Cadillac.

Carlene's cohorts—and their mamas—plan to exact revenge on Lenny Joe where it'll hurt the most: break his ten-year winning streak at the prestigious Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off. Never before has a woman dared to compete. But the ladies of Bless My Bloomers are cooking up a storm...and it seems the whole town is taking sides in the showdown.

Welcome to Cadillac, Texas, where the chili is hot, the gossip is hotter, and friends stick by each other, no matter what the challenge.


"With a cast of characters that will leave readers grinning, Brown's latest is delightful, humorous "chick lit"... Fun, fun and more fun is on hand in a story that wins a blue ribbon in both originality and wit." —RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars

"Fun, fresh and hilarious... The author showed that laughter is the best medicine and a sure fire cure for the toughest of challenges in life." —Chick Lit Reviews

"The characters are vibrant and engaging, the story is endearingly off beat and full of down home folksy charm. A wonderfully heartwarming and highly entertaining novel." —Book Reviews and More by Kathy


Carolyn Brown is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author with more than sixty books published. Her bestselling cowboy romance series include the Lucky trilogy, the Honky Tonk series, Spikes & Spurs, Cowboys & Brides, and the new Burnt Boot, Texas series. She has also launched into women's fiction with a Texas twang. Born in Texas and raised in southern Oklahoma, Carolyn and her husband make their home in the town of Davis, Oklahoma, where she credits her eclectic family for her humor and writing ideas. For more information, please visit http://carolynlbrown.com/.

Add your own recipe for "Texas Food" and you could be one of TWO winners: Prize #1: a print copy of THE RED-HOT CHILI COOK-OFF

Prize #2: A Carolyn Brown Prize Pack
o Cute recipe card set—so the winner can save the recipes shared along the tour!




38 comments posted.

Re: Carolyn Brown | The Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off

Cadillac, Texas..... Gotta love that!
(Lisa Hutson 6:45am April 3, 2014)

Good morning everyone...welcome back to Cadillac, Texas! I'm hoping that a good many of y'all share your appetizer or any other recipes for that matter with us today.
(Carolyn Brown 7:44am April 3, 2014)

My favorite is grilled jalapeños. Depends on how many you want to make. I
usually get about 30 jalapeños, cut in half longways fill each half with
creme cheese w/ chives add a small cocktail sausage, wrap a slice of
bacon around each one and secure with a toothpick. Cook on the grill.
Great for appetizers or like our family, we make a meal out of them.
(Kim Cornwell 9:24am April 3, 2014)

Kim, that sounds wonderful. Next time the kids all come home I'll have to make them.
(Carolyn Brown 10:03am April 3, 2014)

I don't cook "Texas food," but Hubby won an NCO chili cook-off when he was stationed at Fort Hood in the 1990s. It was a bit of a scandal because he's a Yankee, born in Philly and raised in CT.

I do love the flavors of Tex-Mex food though.
(Michelle Mazuros 10:23am April 3, 2014)

Michelle, that is too funny! I bet the Texans didn't appreciate a Yankee (my husband is a PA Yank, too) stealing their thunder one bit! Thank you for stopping by today!
(Carolyn Brown 10:34am April 3, 2014)

The one item that comes to mind is my stuffed celery. I clean and take the extra strings off of the celery. I also take regular cream cheese, and let it sit out a bit, so that it softens up. Once it does, I use a regular knife, and take small chunks of cream cheese, and press it into the cavity of the celery, smoothing it out as I go. Once the stalks are filled with cream cheese, I take a sharp knife, and cut them to smaller pieces, then take Hungarian Paprika, or whatever Paprika you have on hand, and sprinkle a little bit on top of the cream cheese for decoration. It's quite tasty, but if there's any left over, it doesn't save very well. I've tried to put it on a plate with a paper towel underneath to collect the extra moisture, and it works a little bit, but it's on the soggy side the next day. Your book sounds like a real old-fashioned down-home read, and I'm looking forward to it. Congratulations on another book with great accolades!!
(Peggy Roberson 11:28am April 3, 2014)

Peggy, tasty and healthy at the same time. I bet for some extra flavor that cream cheese could be whipped up with some cucumber ranch salad dressing, too!
(Carolyn Brown 11:49am April 3, 2014)

Wonderful and enticing post, the food and the books. Love it.
(Sharon Berger 12:02pm April 3, 2014)

Sharon, thank you! This was such a fun book to write.
(Carolyn Brown 12:14pm April 3, 2014)

YUMMMMM - I am so cooking-challenged - LOL - my brothers have all of the cooking ability, while I was absent whenever ANY kind of talent whatsoever was given out - that is why, I guess, I love watching the Food Network and the Cooking Channel -

I am hooked on this story already!
(Felicia Ciaudelli 12:52pm April 3, 2014)

I hadn't heard of these books - but just the description is whetting my appetite. They sound ... delicious. Thanks for this chance to win. I am addicted to watching cooking shows - and yet I'm not a great cook. Crazy, huh? Thanks for the chance to win. Best of luck with the books!
(Nancy Reynolds 1:16pm April 3, 2014)

This book sounds like a real blast! I love the name Bless My Bloomers for a lingerie shop and Cadillac Texas just makes me chuckle. Thanks for the chance to win a copy...but, if I don't win, well, I'll be ordering it for sure!
(Ann Martinisi 2:49pm April 3, 2014)

Felicia: I hope that you do get hooked on it when you get a chance to read it! I have one daughter who couldn't boil water without callin' me to see how much to put in the pan, how high to set the heat and which pot holder to use to get it off the stove when it does boil. My son, however, is a fantastic cook.

Nancy: Thank you! The mamas of Bless My Bloomers can't cook, either but they are determined to learn how to make prize winnin' chili so that Lenny Joe can eat a big chunk of humble pie.

Ann: Thank you, thank you! There's lots of chuckles at Bless My Bloomers including an incident when not one of the mama's know that the other two have already added the cayenne pepper. So welcome to Cadillac and happy reading!
(Carolyn Brown 3:03pm April 3, 2014)

I don't really have any specific Texas recipes. I do have
Italian recipes. The most I would says is putting Honey or
Molassas in my cornbread. I do have a favorite HushPuppies
recipe that I like. It is 2c cornmeal, 2 eggs beaten for 5
mins, 1/2c margarine, 3 green onions chopped finely, 1/4tsp
minced garlic, 1/2tsp garlic juice/water, 1/4tsp salt,
1/2tsp baking soda, 1/4c flour, 1/4c water, 1/4c milk
beat eggs then add remaining ingredients. shape into balls
and fry for 5 mins turning at least twice.
(Tina Ullrich 4:49pm April 3, 2014)

Yummy! I wish my hubby wasn't such a wimp when it comes to spicy foods.
(Barbara Tobey 6:15pm April 3, 2014)

Tina: Those hush puppies sound scrumptious. I bet they'd disappear fast when we have our next fish fry. thank you so much for stopping by and for the recipe.

L. Lam: MMMM, love chili nachos! With jalapeno peppers on them! And ice cream for dessert! LOL
(Carolyn Brown 6:16pm April 3, 2014)

Love any kind/variation of nachos. I have many recipes. One for Southwest Nachos: 1 lb. ground beef, 1 can diced tomatoes (drained), 1 can tomatoes (with green chilis, drained well), 1 can corn (drained), 1 can black beans (rinsed and drained), 1 packet Taco seasoning, tortilla chips, 1-1/2 cups cheddar cheese (shredded). Brown ground beef, drain grease. Add all ingredients except chips and cheese. Bring to a boil. On a large cookie sheet or baking stone, make a layer of tortilla chips. Spoon meat mixture over chips. Top with cheese. Brown under broiler just until toasty.
Love your books, Carolyn. I've read most of them...but haven't read this one yet!
(Linda Luinstra 6:47pm April 3, 2014)

Would love this book. My pimento cheese is a little different in that I don't
use pimentos. It is more like a delicious cheese spread. I use an 8oz pkg.
of cream cheese, softened, a pkg. of shredded sharp cheddar cheese, 1
tsp. garlic powder, 1 tsp. black pepper, 3/4 to 1 cup mayo. Mix, spread on
crackers or bread, eat up! Yum!
(Melanie Backus 7:31pm April 3, 2014)

The book sounds great, Carolyn, and I love Jalapeno Poppers.
I like this better than canned sauce because you have control of the salt content.
Enchilada Sauce
1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons chili powder
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion salt
1/4 teaspoon salt
Heat oil in a large skillet to medium heat. Whisk in flour and chili powder. Reduce heat to medium and continue to whisk until lightly browned. Gradually whisk in tomato sauce, chicken broth, cumin, garlic powder, onion salt and salt. Stir until smooth, and continue simmering over medium heat about 10 minutes, or until slightly thickened.

Serve immediately, or keep in a covered bowl in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Makes 2.5 cups.
(Marcy Shuler 9:16pm April 3, 2014)

Linda, Melanie and Marcelyn: Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your recipes. They sound so good...I can't wait to try them out! I'm hungry for enchiladas, pimento cheese and nachos just reading through them.
(Carolyn Brown 9:58pm April 3, 2014)

Hi Carolyn! I've got an adaptation on your jalapenos that I
love. Like most of my recipes, I don't have exact
measurements - my husband gets really aggravated when he
tries to make something I do because of this. ;-)
Jalapenos (stemmed and de-seeded)
Shrimp (deveined)
Block of your favorite cheese
1 slice of bacon per jalapeno (or more if you love bacon)

Stuff each jalapeno with a shrimp and cheese. Wrap with
bacon and secure with toothpick. Grill until bacon is crispy
and cheese is melted. Shrimp will cook during this time
too. Enjoy!
(Glenda Martillotti 12:02pm April 4, 2014)

Love my husbands Cowboy Chili, he has won lots of cook offs
with it. Lots of meat, beans, spices and I don't know what
else (he doesn't even let me know).
(Cindy Olp 12:34pm April 4, 2014)

Oh my goodness, I just really need to read this book in full. After reading the excerpt, I want to immediately; read the book, meet the characters, eat chili (love the recipes) and visit Cadillac, Texas.
(C Culp 5:45am April 4, 2014)

My wife and her grandmother would love these books, read them and pass them around to the library. Others would enjoy a good read, too.
(Julio Herrera 8:54am April 4, 2014)

I love all these foods-makes me want to eat just reading all the post here.
(Barbara Wells 9:11am April 4, 2014)

I haven't made chili in a while, this makes me want to, soon.
These books sound great!
(Maria Proctor 11:03am April 4, 2014)

these books sounds really good
(Denise Smith 11:26am April 4, 2014)

Velveeta and Ro-tel Cheese Dip.
I make this dip a lot. It freezes well.
I use a 2 # block of Velveeta (Original) and a can of Ro-
tel. Cut the Velveeta into chunks and put in a large
container one can put in the microwave, add the Ro-tel. Put
in microwave for 5 minutes on high. Remove and stir. At one
time, I had to buy the Ro-tel when I visited my parents in
Texas but Minnesota started carrying this product and so I
can get it here. If the dip gets too thick, a LITTLE milk,
like a 1/2 teaspoon at a time.

I love the "sweeet tea" and "Bless your heart" in the books.
(Leona Olson 12:13pm April 4, 2014)

I've found a quick and easy chicken salad using shredded chicken, mayonnaise, celery, and Chef Cluck's Wing Sauce from Glen's Gourmet Goodies. It adds just a little bit of Buffalo flavor for a flavor kick to the ordinary chicken salad.
(Anna Mekus 1:01pm April 4, 2014)

Wow I love chili. This sounds like such a great book!
(Denise Austin 2:21pm April 4, 2014)

This is a book that will attract everyone's attention. As we read it laugh out loud people will look and wonder! It sounds like I will love it.
(Vennie Martinisi 2:39pm April 4, 2014)

I so love spice food. Can't wait to read your book.
(Mary Smith 3:02pm April 4, 2014)

Count me in to win a spicy read or two!
(Susan Coster 3:05pm April 4, 2014)

Well, I'm not much of a cook, so I don't have a Texas food recipe. But I do LOVE your books and I cannot wait to read The Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off!
(Kelli Jo Calvert 5:43pm April 4, 2014)

Yum! Your trying to lure me in with good food and good reading!
(Richard Burr 10:51pm April 4, 2014)

Your book sounds like great fun. I wish I knew some Tex-Mex recipes, but I've never made any.
(Carol Woodruff 7:10pm April 5, 2014)

What a fun book! Thanks for sharing the great excerpt and recipe.
(Bonnie H 1:20pm April 28, 2014)

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