Saturday, February 7, 2015

Recipe: Easy Chili

pasta sauce chili recipe
For the past few weeks on my internal medicine block, dinners have been a quick throw-together of whatever has been on hand -- eggs, fried rice, and oatmeal for the most part. Suffice it to say, preparing proper meals has not been a priority. Now that the busy days of internal medicine are behind me I have no excuse to be eating ramen for dinner. By no means will my dinners be anything fancy; I'd just like to prepare some meals in advance to save me from reaching for cookies when I get home ravenous.

Last night I decided a good use for two aging green peppers in my fridge would be chili. Here's the recipe I came up with, based on what I had on hand:
  • 1 lb extra lean ground beef
  • 2 cups dried kidney beans (or 4-5 cups cooked kidney beans)
  • 1 medium onion (coarsely chopped)
  • a few cloves garlic (finely chopped)
  • 2 green peppers (coarsely chopped)
  • 2 cups corn (I used frozen -- please excuse the inaccurate photo below!)
  • 1 can/jar pasta sauce or tomato sauce
  • 1 can tomatoes (mine had added herbs and spices)
  • 1.5 tbsp chili powder (adjust based on taste)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
chili ingredients
the ingredients (minus the ground beef and spices)
While chili is not a labour-intensive meal to prepare, it does require a bit of advance planning -- namely taking out a pound of ground beef from the freezer and soaking two cups of dried kidney beans overnight.
defrosting ground beef
1 lb ground beef -- about to go into the fridge for defrosting overnight
soaking dried beans
2 cups of dried kidney beans, soaking overnight
This morning I boiled the pre-soaked kidney beans for around 45 minutes, until they had softened. (I've talked about cooking dried beans previously; for interest's sake, I measured that 2 cups of dried kidney beans expand to nearly 5 cups cooked).
cooked dried beans
cooked kidney beans
Next, I chopped some garlic (a whole bulb, given that it had lost potency in the 7 months (!) it had been sitting on my shelf) and a medium-sized onion. In a large pot, I fried the garlic and onion briefly in a bit of olive oil, then scooped it out into a bowl.
chili ingredients
fried onion and garlic, corn, kidney beans, and green pepper
In the same pot, I browned 1 pound of defrosted ground beef. Because it was extra lean, there was no significant oil to drain.
browned ground beef
To the browned beef I added the fried garlic and onion, chopped green peppers, corn, beans, pasta sauce, and canned tomatoes. I added the chili powder and cinnamon, stirred everything together, and left the pot, covered, to simmer for around 45 minutes.
pasta sauce chili recipe
chili powder and cinnamon added
ragu chili recipe
all stirred up and ready to simmer
When the 45 minutes were up (which is a long time when your stomach is rumbling over delicious cooking smells) I scooped myself a bowl, topped it with shredded cheddar cheese, and dug in. Even burning my mouth didn't change my review of this chili -- it is fantastic!! I needn't have been worried that it would taste like pasta sauce or regret the fact that I didn't have any cumin to add.
ragu chili recipe
This thick, medium spicy chili boasts taste out of proportion to work of preparation. The cinnamon adds a wonderful aroma and the green peppers and corn are nice additions to both taste and texture. With good amounts of protein and fibre, and a relatively low ingredient cost, chili is a great meal to make ahead of a busy week. I know I'll be looking forward to chili dinners for the next few days!
pasta sauce chili recipe

If you have a chili recipe to recommend or any add-ins to suggest, please share!

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