Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Tuesday 2/3: Chili and Cornbread

I made my standard "crockpot chili." Sometimes I make it without beef, in which case it is "food storage chili" because it uses only ingredients I keep in my shelf-stable food storage. It makes a huge batch; believe it or not, I actually always make this much, because it freezes well or will feed us all for about 5 days if kept in the fridge, and it is so easy. And it's not expensive, so why not do the work once for quite a few meals? I make it pretty mild, you can add more chili powder or red pepper or hot sauce as you like to up the heat level if desired.

Drain and rinse (until the water runs pink is good enough; it's not like 3 bean salad where you want it to run clear so it won't stain the other food) 3 27 ounce cans kidney beans (dark or light makes no difference; can also use 1 no. 10 can, which is what I usually do, I get them at Smart and Final, or you can cook dried; you shouldn't use dried straight in the crockpot unless you adjust the liquid accordingly, which I don't have room for since I'm making a huge batch but on the stove it's completely feasable, or if you have a working pressure canner, which I don't right now, you can can your own dried beans to make it even cheaper.) Dump them in the crockpot.

Add 1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes and 1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes (for soupier chili; for more stew-like chili use 1 28 oz. and 1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes), undrained.

Add 1 lb.-ish browned and drained ground beef (I did 4 lbs. all at once the other night, might as well; used 1/2 of it for the Nogales Pie and then used 1/2 of what was left tonight; the other part will be Hamburger Helper or something later in the week.)

Add about 1/2 cup dried diced onions, 1/4 cup dark chili powder, 2 Tbsp. cumin, and a shot (about a Tbsp.) of Worchestershire sauce (I only use Lea & Perrins, I just think it tastes better.)

Mix (I just use my hands for this...)

It will cook on Low for at least 6 hours. Ideally it would be stirred once or twice in there, but if not, just stir before serving.

To go with I made a pan (in a disposable cake pan so it doesn't have to come home) of Marie Callender's just-add-water cornbread mix. Yes, I am that lazy. It tastes great and they won't care (or probably know) it's not from scratch. And it's a lot less work and less messy than "real" cornbread (no eggshells, etc.) and tastes just as good! Plus it's shelf-stable too, I keep it as part of my food storage. It's an easy, tasty way to make a complete protein with the beans if you're going vegetarian (though of course it's not vegan.)

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