Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Snow Day Chili!

I can't think of anything better than a big ol' pot of chili to warm you up on a cold blustery day.  I live in Michigan and we just had 14 inches of snow dumped on us in the course of about 18 hours and did a lot of shoveling over that time. Having a yummy crock pot of chili simmering in the kitchen was a perfect meal to warm us up when we came in from the cold! Served up with some Mexican cornbread it really hit the spot!

Chili is pretty easy to make, and I don't usually use a recipe... I pretty much throw in what I like or have in my pantry, and spice it up with a pinch of this and a dash of that, but I knew that someday my daughter Jessy would ask me for a recipe so I thought it would be a good idea to jot it down when I made it... here is what I generally put in our chili, but of course be creative with spices and amounts and make it as as hot or mild as your family likes. We add diced potatoes that make it really hardy but this is optional too... sometimes I add peppers or even use sausage!

Snow Day Chili
1 1/2 to 2 lbs of ground beef
1 28 oz. and 1 15 oz. can of Tomato sauce
1 28 oz. canned tomatoes with green chilies or two 16 oz. cans (or plain tomatoes and a small can of green chilies) 
2 15 oz. cans of diced potatoes (or equivalent of fresh potatoes peeled and cubed)
1 16 oz. can dark red kidney beans
1 16 oz. can light red kidney beans
1 16 oz. can black beans drained and rinsed
1 cup diced onion
3 TBS. chili powder
2 cloves garlic or garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
1 TBS. sugar
1/2 tsp. coarse pepper
1 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
few drops of hot sauce (optional)

Directions:  Brown ground beef and onion in skillet on medium high heat until beef is cooked and onions are tender.  Spray 6 quart crock pot with non stick cooking spray, or place large stock pot on stove top.  Add Tomato sauce, tomatoes with chilies, beans and all the spices and seasonings and stir.  Drain fat from meat and add to crock pot or stock pot.  If cooking in crock pot, cook for about 3 to 4 hours on high until potatoes are tender (if using fresh).  If cooking on stove top, cook about an hour on medium high until potatoes are tender.  Serve with a dollop of sour cream and some shredded cheddar cheese for a warm delicious meal on a cold winter evening!

Brown ground beef in pan over medium/high heat

Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, beans, and spices to pot

If using fresh potatoes dice into bite size chunks with a knife or this
handy dandy chopper that I just got for Christmas!

Add diced potatoes to pot

Cook meat and onions until meat is no longer pink and 
onions are tender,drain excess fat from meat and add to pot and stir

Add chili powder and spices to pot

Secret ingredient... by adding a little sugar to chili or spaghetti sauce 
it helps balance the acidity of the tomatoes

Almost everyone loves chili and it is a really hardy easy one dish meal that can be served with crackers or cornbread and a fresh green salad for a complete meal. It is really versatile dish that can be made without using meat but is still packed with protein and fiber from the beans. With what it looks to be a long cold winter ahead of us, I am sure I will be making this again real soon!

Stay Warm!

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