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Saturday, December 21, 2013

Winterizing

Happy Winter Solstice!

12:11 pm marks the official start to winter, although it has been really cold (for me) since early November.  Winter, without fail, makes my inner food craver go nuts.  All I want to eat is soups and stews; and bread.  Crusty bread with sweet, slightly salty butter (I'm getting hungry just typing about it).

I can't make bread to save my life, but I'm a decent soup maker and getting better at stews, where I really shine though is chili (yes, that was a complete brag).  I know that chili isn't that difficult to make, but a good chili can be altered into a multiple of varieties and mine does that.  My chili is based on my mom's and can be altered to be meatless or meat heavy, it's entirely up to you.  Here's the base recipe:

1 lb ground (turkey, chicken or beef)

3 - 15.5 ounce cans of beans (I use 3 types black, red and - kidney, pink or pinto)

1 - 28 ounce can diced tomatoes

1/2 large onion, diced

Chili powder

Cumin

Garlic powder

Instructions:

In a large stockpot, brown meat (if using turkey or chicken put a small amount of olive oil in the bottom of the pan to help prevent sticking and for flavor).

Once meat has browned, add beans and onion.  Season with chili powder, cumin and garlic powder (I eyeball my measurement in the palm of my hand, its approximately 2 tablespoons of each).  [You could also just use a chili seasoning].

Next, add your tomatoes and stir.  Let chili cook for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring occasionally.  You want a thick and hearty consistency.

Variations:

Here are a few:

- Meatless:  add a 4th or 5th variety of beans and mushroom (you can also add mushrooms to the above).  I've never used seitan or tofu in this chili, but i'm sure you could.  You can also add additional vegetables.

- Use real garlic in place of the garlic powder.

- Make it extra spicy with hot sauce.

Finally,  if you have a small family or are single, don't be afraid to make this or other large pot meals most freeze really well.

Stay warm.

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