Friday, November 19, 2010

baby it's cold outside

As soon as the first chill hits the air, I start craving chili. I remember when I lived in DC during law school and the first snow would fall. While my friends who were from up North and used to such weather went about their business, I huddled at home and had chili. There is nothing more warming that a hot bowl of chili on a cold night. Since the carnivore was raised (mostly) in Pennsylvania he has a different definition of cold than me, but he will take chili any time. And, it is a simple thing to make - even if you have both meat eaters and vegetarians in your home. I know lots of people rave about one pot meals, but this only takes two, which I think isn't so bad in the scheme of things. Also, it is super easy considering you can eat on it for days.

To make one carnivore pot and one veggie one you will need the following:
2 cans of organic red kidney beans
2 cans of organic white beans
2 cans of diced tomatoes (with or without chilies)
1-2lbs of ground meat (lean is best)
1 package of ground soy crumbles
a swirl or two of olive oil
2 chili seasoning packs
something for the bed (tortilla chips, rice or elbow mac)
toppings of your choice (cheese, sour cream, chives, oyster crackers, etc.)

Start with two large pots. Brown the ground meat (beef or turkey, whichever you prefer) in one. In the other swirl a bit of olive oil and heat up the soy crumbles. Then add in one can of tomatoes, juices and all, to each. If need be you can puree them like I have to for my carnivore. Also, I like my stuff more spicy so I use the ones with chilies for my pot, but not for his. Then add one can of red beans and one can of white beans to each. Combine well with a seasoning pack in each pot. Cover and cook over a low simmer for at least thirty minutes. If you prefer to add in your own mix of spices, dark beer, tabasco etc. you can do that too. Once ready, prepare large bowls with a bed of something. I like crunchy tortilla chips, the carnivore prefers rice (which is easy enough to just pop in the rice maker while the chili simmers). Growing up we always had elbow macaroni. Try them all out and see what your family likes best. Then top them as desired. The carnivore and I both love colby jack shredded and melted on top. I love a dollop of sour cream too, but be as creative as you want. Add blue cheese and you have a very patriotic meal with the red and white beans. The sky is the limit on the possibilities here. Store in the covered pots in the fridge and reheat daily over a low flame. Or, store your leftovers in the freezer and break them out later on.

So, when it gets cold outside heat you and your carnivore up some chili to warm you up from the inside out. And, let me know your favorite variation on this classic below. Always love hearing new ideas!


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