Cheesy Chorizo Chili | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Cheesy Chorizo Chili

Cheesy Chorizo Chili | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I’ve never been particularly good at being normal. Whenever I start to inch toward typical, I get a twitch. I like to be weird, but I know it puts people off, particularly some of the teenagers I work with. They hate my red coat and the fact that I wear sunglasses any time there’s daylight. They hate that I drive a moped and that I know how to waltz. Possibly their favorite thing is making fun of my accent, but that only makes me weird to them.

Of course, some adults find my “uniqueness” awkward as well. Good thing I don’t really care what anyone thinks.

Cheesy Chorizo Chili | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

This chili recipe is a bit unusual as well. For one thing, it doesn’t contain any chili powder. The main flavoring coming from the chorizo. It’s spicy and smoky, and I can’t get enough of it. It also contains two balls of fresh mozzarella. It permeates the whole pot with its stringy cheesiness. You still have some of your usual suspects like ground beef, chopped tomatoes, and kidney beans, but there’s also a bit of cocoa powder, so don’t get too comfortable.

Don’t let the unusualness of this recipe put you off. It’s easy to make and delicious in a unique way. It’s an awesome, cozy, one pot winter meal, and you should totally give it a try.

Cheesy Chorizo Chili | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Keep it weird, friends. Keep it awesome.

Cheesy Chorizo Chili

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Cheesy Chorizo Chili might seem a bit unusual, but that's what makes it so awesome.


  • 140 grams chopped chorizo
  • 500 grams ground beef
  • 1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 x 125 grams fresh mozzarella balls, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a heavy pot with a lid, cook your chorizo over medium heat until it starts releasing its orange oil.
  2. Add the ground beef, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Cook, stirring frequently, over medium heat until it's just cooked through.
  3. Add the cocoa powder, oregano, and tomato paste and stir to combine.
  4. Add the chopped tomatoes and then add the water to the can and give it a good swirl before adding to the pot, taking any leftover tomato bits with it. Add the Worcestershire sauce and kidney beans, stir it all together, and bring the whole thing up to a simmer.
  5. Turn the heat to low, clamp the lid onto the pot, and let the whole thing simmer for about 20 minutes.
  6. After everything has had a chance to get to know each other, turn the heat off under your pot, and stir in the chopped mozzarella. Season to taste. Serve hot. Crushed up tortilla chips at the bottom of your bowl never hurt anything.
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Loco Moco | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Loco Moco

Loco Moco | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

We’re easing into the long dark of winter here in Scotland. The gloom doesn’t quite hit until after the holidays because we’re all battling against it with Christmas lights right now, but it won’t be long before it’s dark both when you arrive at and when you leave work. This is the time of year when I wonder why I ever left Hawaii.

In Honolulu, we would have started making more trips to Diamond Head Lookout to spot whales. We might start to close the windows in the house at night and get out a thin blanket for the bed, but we’d still be putting on sunblock every day and walking on the beach on a regular basis. Even when it rains in Honolulu, you know the sunshine will return before too long. It couldn’t be more different from Scotland.

Loco Moco | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Loco Moco is the simplest way to feel like I’m back in Hawaii. It’s such a humble dish, and while making it at home doesn’t quite compare to the true beautiful greasiness of a Hawaiian drive-in, if I close my eyes for a minute, I can almost see the palm trees swaying in the trade winds. And almost nothing is made worse by putting a fried egg on top of it..

All you need to do is make up some white rice (I made mine in the microwave because we don’t eat rice enough to have a rice cooker and I’m too lazy to wash another pot), cook up some simple and delicious hamburger steaks, use the drippings to make gravy, then fry a couple of eggs, making sure to leave yourself a beautifully runny yolk. Put that all on a plate or in a bowl, and go to town. One benefit of making it at home is that there’s no styrofoam container to throw of at the end.

Loco Moco | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I am grateful to live in Scotland for so many reasons, not least of which is how easy it is to travel to other beautiful places, which we could never do in Honolulu. I miss our Hawaiian home, but at least I can make Loco Moco from time to time to take me back.

Loco Moco
Serves 4
Loco Moco is the easiest way to bring Hawaii into your home, no matter where it is.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
  1. 4 servings white rice
  2. 1 pound ground beef
  3. 1 teaspoon salt
  4. 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  5. 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  6. 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  7. 2 tablespoons green onions, the white parts only, finely sliced (or scissored)
  8. 1 tablespoon oil
  9. 1 to 2 tablespoons flour
  10. 1 to 1-1/2 cups beef stock
  11. Salt and pepper to taste
  12. 1 tablespoon butter
  13. 4 eggs
  14. Green onions, the green parts, thinly sliced (or scissored)
  1. In a mixing bowl, combine beef, seasonings, soy sauce, and onions. Work quickly with your hands and try not to handle it excessively.
  2. Form into four patties.
  3. Add oil to a large skillet and heat to medium high. Cook patties about 4 minutes a side or to desired doneness. Just make sure you get some good browning on the outside.
  4. As your meat is cooking up, make sure your rice is ready to go. Divide your rice between four plates or bowls.
  5. Place a hamburger steak atop each mound of rice so that the juices will soak into the rice. Don't waste the flavor.
  6. Reduce heat to medium low on the remaining fat and delicious bits in your skillet. Sprinkle flour over the fat, just enough to absorb the fat and create a paste. Cook for a few minutes until the flour mixture turns brown.
  7. Add stock about a quarter cup at a time, stirring well to remove lumps. Also make sure you scrape up any bits off the bottom of the pan. They are full of flavor. Keep adding liquid until you get your favorite consistency and season to taste.
  8. Spoon your gravy generously over your hamburger steaks and rice.
  9. Add butter to a nonstick skillet and melt over medium low heat.
  10. Crack you eggs into the pan and season with salt and pepper if desired. Cook slowly until whites are just set for over sunny side up eggs, or give them a quick flip, just 15 seconds on the other side, for over easy eggs.
  11. Place on egg with its gorgeously runny yolk, on top of each gravy covered hamburger steak, and dig in.
Adapted from How to be Awesome o $20 a Day
How to be Awesome on $20 a day
28 Awesome Recipes to Eat Outside

28 Awesome Recipes to Eat Outside

28 Awesome Recipes to Eat Outside

The time has come for dining al fresco. For picnics, potlucks, backyard barbecues, cookouts at the beach, and all other kitchen free eating. Today I’ve got a round up for you of recipes that you can cook or prep ahead. These are all things that are easily transportable and either don’t need to be refrigerated or could fit in a small cooler. The next time you’re invited to a party, you won’t be at a loss for what to bring. It’s gonna be awesome.

Starters, Snacks & Sides

Everybody wants something to snack on while their waiting for the main meal to come off the grill. And of course, a hot dog on a plate all by itself is just sad. Here are some things to get you started, fill out that epic cheese plate, or accompany your burgers and dogs.

Dill Potato Salad | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Easy Peanut Butter Hummus – serve with veggies or chips to keep people from lurking around the grill

Fancy Pants Sauage Rolls – These are great hot or cold, so pack them in your picnic for sure

Southwest Pasta Salad – Mayo-free and full of flavor

Blue Cheese Crackers – That’s right, you made your own crackers

Picnic Cheese Plate – Be a hero and bring a simple, affordable, and totally delicious cheese plate for the gang

Dill Potato Salad – This is potato salad with a dash of elegance

Loaded Baked Potato Salad – This is that trashed up potato salad that you’ve been dreaming of

Homemade Oat Cakes – Another option to serve with some really great cheese

On the Grill

Because we’ve all decided that frozen burgers are the worst, I want to make it easy for you to always have the best burgers. Make your patties ahead of time, pack them on ice, and throw them on the grill when you’re ready.

Jalapeno Cream Cheese Stuffed Burgers | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Jalapeno Cream Cheese-Stuffed Burgers – A burger with a spicy surprise

Cuban Burger – Add pickles if you’re into that because they really should be there

Spicy Southwest Burgers – You won’t be able to keep your hands off them

Basic Burgers – My tips for making awesome burgers with whatever’s in your kitchen

Sweet Treats

So this section is the longest because, let’s face it, I’m gonna ask to bring dessert. But you have to plan properly if you want people to eat something delicious instead of sad and melty. All these recipes are very easy to transport and serve outside and don’t need to be refrigerated.

White Chocolate Raspberry Blondies | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

Classic Crunchy Peanut Butter Cookies

White Chocolate Chip Brownies

White Chocolate Raspberry Blondies

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Kahlua Brownies

White Chocolate Cranberry Macadamia Nut Cookies

Chocolate Peanut Butter Blossoms

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

Lofthouse Cookie Bars

Giant Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies

Mexican Brownies

Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies

S’mores Brownies

Go eat outside while you can, kids!

Mozzarella-Stuffed Meatball Sliders | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Mozzarella-Stuffed Meatball Sliders

Mozzarella-Stuffed Meatball Sliders | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

If you follow me on Instagram, you know we’ve got a new mess maker living in our house. Within eight hours of moving in, she smashed the glass in our living room door and peed on the rug on which I do my yoga. Right where my face would go when I’m in downward dog. I doubt she did it for irony.

Eevee is our mystery-breed rescue puppy, and if you know me at all, you know she was not my idea. I know a lot of you will judge me for not being a dog person. I’m an introvert who finds pleasure in a certain level of order, routine, and general chillness. Dogs are rambunctious, messy, and constantly want to interact. And by constantly, I mean chasing a ball basically non-stop since she got here. If I don’t qualify as a cat person, no one does.

Mozzarella-Stuffed Meatball Sliders | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

To comfort myself through this new upheaval, I’m going to need a lot of cheese. These meatballs each have a chunk of fresh mozzarella hidden inside.  You can use your favorite jarred or homemade tomato sauce to bake them in. Other than a little light assembly, these really couldn’t be simpler.

I like to serve these on a soft roll, but you can do ’em up any way you like. They’d be great as a meatball sub, or serve with spaghetti. Mozzarella-Stuffed Meatballs are fantastic, sliders or no.

Mozzarella-Stuffed Meatball Sliders | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

We do strange things for the people we love, even inviting a dirty, smelly dog into your once peaceful and not entirely unattractive home. For that, we get to eat Mozzarella-Stuffed Meatball Sliders whenever we want.

Mozzarella-Stuffed Meatball Sliders
Serves 6
Mozzarella-Stuffed Meatball Sliders are so delicious, they make nearly anything bearable.
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
30 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
30 min
  1. 1 pound ground beef
  2. 1 egg
  3. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  4. 1/3 cup shaved parmesan cheese
  5. 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  6. 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  7. 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  8. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  9. 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  10. 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  11. 4 ounces mozzarella cheese, cut into small cubes
  12. 2 cups of your favorite pasta sauce
  13. Your favorite soft rolls
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and lightly spray a casserole or baking dish with non-stick spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine beef, egg, oil, parmesan, seasonings, and breadcrumbs. Use your hands to mix the ingredients gently so that you don't overwork the meat.
  3. Form the meat mixture into golfball size meatballs, burying and completely surrounding a cube of mozzarella in each one.
  4. Pour about 1 to 1-1/2 cups of your pasta sauce into your baking pan. Make sure it covers the bottom. Place meatballs in pan, add more pasta sauce over the top, sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and a bit more parmesan if you have it.
  5. Bake for about 30 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through. Allow the dish to cool long enough for the sauce to stop acting like molten lava.
  6. Scoop meatballs, with some extra cheesy sauce, onto a roll, and go to town.
Adapted from How to be Awesome on $20 a Day
How to be Awesome on $20 a day
40 Awesome Recipes to Summon the Sunshine

40 Awesome Recipes to Summon the Sunshine


40 Awesome Recipes to Summon the Sunshine We’ve been having one of those days where it’s cold and rainy but also sunny at the same time. It’s a horrible trick. Rude almost. I’m done with the wind and the rain. I’m ready to hold onto that sunshine. I don’t know whether or not Scotland will deliver, so I’m going to turn to my kitchen . If we can’t have real sun, at least maybe we can put some sunshine on a plate. Or in a glass, as the case may be. 

Here’s 40 awesome recipes to bring some sunshine into your life, whether or not you’re getting any out your window.

Lemon Poppyseed Pancakes | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day


Feta & Strawberry Salad from Awesome on 20

Sides, Snacks, & Appetizers

Jalapeno Cream Cheese Stuffed Burgers | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Lunch & Dinner

Raspberry Lemonade | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day


Citrus Bundt Cake from Awesome on 20


I hope you have lots of sunny days full of al fresco dining. If not, at least you can eat and drink some sunshine.

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