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Dine-In: Family Movie Night


We happened to have a night free last week, and I really wanted to spend some time with the boys at home – together. I do love it when we are all under one roof, but a lot of nights, they might be doing homework or playing video games and we end up in separate rooms. Usually, the smell of something delicious simmering on the stove is enough to draw them to the table, and I use this tool unashamedly. I am all about parenting by bribe.

Somehow the table conversation drifted from the day’s events to a movie they had seen over the weekend. I don’t remember what it was now, but it was something with weapons and blood and gore. I love watching movies, and thought maybe – just maybe – I could convince them to watch a DVD that night someone had recently given me.

Living in East Texas – not too far from Carthage – I was really excited to hear about the movie, “Bernie.” If you don’t know the movie, it’s based on the story of the local mortician, Bernie, who strikes up a friendship with a wealthy widow. I can’t really tell you much more without giving it away, but it does turn out to be a dark, dark comedy – and an interesting study of people and why we do the crazy things we do.

“Bernie” is definitely not for little kids, as I think it’s Rated PG-13. But it is hysterically funny and fascinating, especially for those of us who understand this Southern culture and can relate to most all of the quirky personalities in the film. I kept thinking, “I know someone just like that!”

It was a wonderful evening. Bowls of White Chicken Chili, hot buttery cornbread and “Bernie.” The boys enjoyed it almost as much as I did, but I think some of the old-timey humor escaped them. (Spoiler Alert: There is a murder, and this is when teenage boys start paying attention.)

My favorite line of the night wasn’t from the movie, it was from my older son. Now, remember we live about an hour from where the movie took place. He said, “I am just SO glad we don’t live in a small town like that!”

I had to laugh under my breath. Small-town America – wherever it is – is just like that, for better or worse! 

White Chicken Chili
Serves 8

Ingredients:
1 Tbs olive oil
2 yellow onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 (8 oz) can chopped green chiles
2 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 rotisserie-style chicken, skinned and shredded or 1 ½ lbs cooked, chopped chicken breasts
3 (15-oz) cans Great Northern beans, drained
14 oz chicken broth
3 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Garnishes: Sour cream, salsa, chopped cilantro, chopped jalapeno

Directions:
Heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Sauté onions in hot oil for 10 minutes until tender. Stir in garlic, green chiles, cumin, oregano, cloves and cayenne pepper. Sauté for 2 minutes. Add beans and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. You may prepare to this point up to 1 day in advance and store, covered, in refrigerator. Bring to simmer before continuing recipe. Add chicken and 1 cup of cheese to bean mixture and mix well. Simmer until cheese melts, stirring frequently. Season to taste with salt and pepper and ladle into bowls. Garnish with remaining cheese, sour cream, salsa, cilantro and jalapeno. 


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