Quickie Chili



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Quickie Chili
Story and Photos by Troy Grohman

With quick company coming over for dinner and not much time for preparation, Tabitha Grohman, former biology major at St. Mary’s, knows exactly what to make: a nice bowl of quickie chili—a family recipe that has been passed down for generations.

“This dish was passed down from my grandma to my mom, to me, so I guess you could say this dish has been a family recipe for generations,” Grohman says.

Grohman’s taste in food reveals where she was raised.

“I’m a big fan of Italian food but I would say that my favorite type of food would be Tex-Mex simply because I grew up with it. I love pairing a good Tex-Mex dish with an ice cold sweet tea,” she says.

As a teacher at Savannah Heights in Somerset, Texas, Grohman’s schedule is usually hectic so it is nice to be able to make something so easy to make and yet so hearty and filling.

“I choose to make this quickie chili recipe because it was simple and something that would be easy for many people to cook,” she says

To her surprise this recipe won a cooking contest at Savannah Heights. “I also entered this chili in our schools first annual chili contest or “Souper Bowl” and my chili won the contest for best tasting chili,” Grohman says.

She encourages people to add to the recipe to make it their own, as the dish is very versatile and easy to personalize.

“I’ve added things like potatoes or peppers to it. You can really experiment with it,” Grohman explains.



1/2 lb. hamburger meat per 6 servings

2 tbs. of chili powder

1 can of ranch style beans

1 cup of water

1tsp. of salt

1tsp. of pepper

Cheese to taste

Sour cream to taste



1.cook ground beef in pan on high, season with salt and pepper

2. stir until beef is fully brown

3.Turn town pan temp to med-low

4.Drain off any excess grease in the pan

5.Once grease is drained, add 2 tbs. of chili powder to pan

6.Stir chili powder into beef until it turns slightly more orange in color.

7.open can of ranch style beans (save can for later) and add them to the pan

8.Stir until beans are fully mixed

9.Fill empty can of ranch style beans with water and add it to the pan

10.Stir pan for about 5-10 minutes

11. plate the chili in a bowl and add cheese and sour cream to taste.




Red Velvet Cupcakes

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Rich and Creamy Cupcakes Made with Love

Story and Photos by Juan Casas

Velvety perfection is the first thing that comes to mind after taking a bite out of one of Mercedes Kelso’s red velvet cupcakes.

A sophomore English major at St. Mary’s University, Kelso plans on becoming a high school English teacher.

“I’m probably going to be the kind of teacher that brings her students all kinds of baked goodies,” says Kelso.

Growing up in Boise, Idaho, Kelso enjoyed spending time baking with her family. Though being away from them has been tough, she says St. Mary’s has welcomed her warmly.

“I like St. Mary’s because it has a positive and welcoming community and the student body is very accepting.”

Kelso’s favorite food to eat is Indian, “I like the unique spices and flavor,” she explains. Nevertheless, her favorite kind of cooking is actually baking, though she also enjoys making homemade pizzas, “like the crust and everything,” Kelso says.

Kelso’s enthusiasm demonstrates that baking has a place in her heart. Though meticulous about how she bakes, she also does so with such a level of confidence that she has no use for measuring cups. “This recipe is one of my favorites,” she says. “My sister and I spent lots of quality time together baking red velvet cupcakes growing up.”

Despite her diligence, Kelso also puts much passion into her baking. According to her, it is the only way to do it, “Though it may sound cheesy – no pun intended – the best way to bake these cupcakes is with tons of love and lots of patience.”


Cupcake ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups of vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons red food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Frosting ingredients:

  • 1 pound cream cheese, softened
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar



1. First and for most make sure you preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Line 2 cupcake pans with cupcake papers.

3. In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder.

4. In a separate bowl gently beat together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla with a handheld electric mixer.

5. Take the ingredients from both bowls and mix until smooth and completely combined.

6. Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins.

7. Bake in oven for about 20 to 22 minutes.

8. Test the cupcakes with a toothpick to make sure the are fully baked.

9. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.


For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

1. In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth.

2. Add the sugar and beat on a low speed until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and mix until super light and fluffy.

Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells

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Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells
Story and Photos by Angelica Radacinski 

Eating healthy and feeling full are two goals Cynthia Ramirez looks for in every meal.

Ramirez, a San Antonio native and a senior at St. Mary’s University, is studying Forensic Science.

She hopes to continue school shortly after she graduates and attend law school.  Aside from loving to cook, Ramirez enjoys painting and creating jewelry.

Ramirez loves St. Mary’s because, unlike larger schools, she is able to receive constant help and support in her classes from professors.

“St. Mary’s offers such wonderful classes and support for whatever your major may be,” she says.

Ramirez enjoys a wide variety of foods and makes clear that she doesn’t necessarily have a favorite dish; however, she points out that she does like seafood quite a bit.  She enjoys baking and has baked an array of desserts.

The recipe was chosen based on a few factors–it is fairly inexpensive to make the dish based on the simple ingredients, it can feed a large number, it is quite healthy compared to most dishes, and it also fills a person up with relatively small portions.

This dish is also easy to make if someone is short on time.

“This dish is really simple. I always like to add a little more garlic for flavor and I tend to use organic products because it gives a cleaner, still delicious flavor,”  adds Ramirez.


  • 16 jumbo pasta shells
  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 lbs baby spinach
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 lbs part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 lbs part-skim mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 T chopped basil
  • 1 1/2 c marinara sauce
  • 2 T grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta shells and cook about 10 minutes. Drain well then toss with oil in a large bowl; set aside. Preheat oven to 375°F. Put spinach into a large skillet and drizzle with a tablespoon or two of water. Cover and cook over medium low heat, tossing occasionally, until just wilted; drain well. When cool enough to handle, squeeze to remove any excess water. Chop spinach and transfer to a large bowl. Add garlic, ricotta, mozzarella, egg and basil to make the filling. Spread a few spoonfuls of marinara sauce in the bottom of a shallow baking dish large enough to hold the shells in a single layer. Fill each shell with spinach mixture and arrange in the dish. Pour remaining sauce over and around the stuffed shells and top with Parmigiano Reggiano. Cover with foil and bake until hot throughout, 20 to 30 minutes, then uncover and continue baking until golden brown, about 10 minutes more. Makes four servings.

Doritos Casserole

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Doritos Casserole
Story and Photos by Fernando Armendariz 

It’s a cold winter day in London.

Feeling homesick, St. Mary’s International Relations Major Juls Forbus decides to Skype with her mother; however she stops as she smells the cooking of her flat mates.

Curiously, she enters the kitchen expecting to find a gourmet meal.

To her surprise, she discovers only Doritos and other ingredients.

Forbus, originally from Houston, presently lives in a residence hall on campus and will graduate in December 2011 with her bachelor of arts degree.

While at St. Mary’s, she was extremely active in the Tri-Sigma Sorority, Organization for Conflict Diplomacy and participated in the London Study Abroad Program in fall 2010.

After receiving her degree, she hopes to return to London and study for a master’s degree in international relations; ultimately, she hopes to practice family law.

Forbus chose to attend St. Mary’s due to the funding she was awarded, student-teacher ratio and the sense of community she felt.

“What I like most about St. Mary’s are the deep connections I’ve developed with my peers, teachers and the immense opportunities I’ve been given such as studying abroad,” Forbus says.

After learning about the dish while studying abroad in London, Forbus returned to the U.S., tried the recipe and was pleasantly surprised with its taste and ease of preparation; it quickly became one of her favorites.

When preparing this dish, Forbus suggests, “You can never have too much cheese!”


  • 2 large handfuls of Doritos chips
  • 1/2 c of Hormel pre-made, microwaveable chili meat
  • 1 1/2 c shredded cheese of your preference
  • 1 small sized tomato
  • diced onions (optional)
  • dollop of sour cream (optional)
  • sliced jalapeños (optional)

Warm up Hormel, pre-made, microwaveable chili meat for one minute and let cool. Dice tomato. Lay out the chips so that they completely cover a microwavable plate (may overlap in some areas). Spread chili-meat over the Doritos, creating an even layer. Sprinkle the cheese over the top of the chili meat and Doritos. Add the diced vegetables (and optional onions) on top of the cheese. Warm nachos in microwave for two minutes or until cheese is melted thoroughly. Add a dollop of sour cream (optional) and serve the nachos while warm. Makes one serving.

Chicken Piccata

Chicken Piccata by Katie O’Kelley
Videography and Production by Austin W. Newton

Freshmen Biology major Katie O’Kelley uses her culinary skills to prepare a lemon-zested chicken piccata dish.  O’Kelley has been cooking for less than three years, but her mother prepared her for making this delight viral for you to enjoy.


  • 4 boneless/skinless chicken breast halves.
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • ½ cup white wine
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • 1 can artichoke hearts (quartered)
  • ¼ cup drained capers


Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and saute 2 minutes per side, until golden brown and cooked through. Add lemon juice, wine and chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Simmer 5 minutes, until chicken is cooked through and sauce thickens. Add artichoke hearts and capers in separate pan and simmer 1 minute to heat through.

Vegan Pancakes

Vegan Pancakes by Avery Saenz
Videography and Production by Matthew Rodriguez

Avery Saenz, a senior communications arts student at St. Mary’s University, cooks a lot of her meals with easier recipes. However, she doesn’t use eggs or milk for her meals, not even pancakes because she follows a vegan lifestyle.


  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1 tbsp of sugar
  • 1/8 tsp of salt
  • 1 cup of soy milk
  • 2 tbsp of vegetable oil


Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl until well-mixed. Mix in the soy milk and oil and beat together until batter is smooth. Drop 1/4 cup of batter at a time onto a hot-oiled griddle, or well-greased frying pan over medium high heat. When bubbles appear on the surface of the pancake, at approximately 3 minutes, flip  and cook the other side for another two minutes.