Thursday, April 9, 2009

GREEN & THRIFTY THURSDAY...My Potluck Chili Recipe

As promised, here is my POTLUCK CHILI Recipe.
This 'Recipe' is also my GREEN & THRIFTY THURSDAY Post.
Do ya like the way I snuck that in?lol

If you have an onion, some garlic, spices, a can of some kind of tomato product and some leftover beans and/or meat, you can make chili.

I like to use up whatever protein I have hanging around in the fridge. That's what makes this thrifty.....using up leftovers. Less Food Waste is green too!
Try this with ground(or shredded!)chicken or turkey....or TVP too(for the vegeterians in your life).
Even if you don't cook, if you can chop an onion, you CAN make chili. Just let your own tastebuds be your guide.

Ok, there are the basics....
some kind of tomato product, onions, garlic & spices-cumin or cilantro, chili powder, paprika & cayenne.
The beans &/or meat can change. Use what you have or use what you like or use what you are trying to use up(leftovers).
If I want to make an 'expensive' chili or I have expensive steak or roast leftovers to use up, I'll put small chunks of that meat in.
If I have ground beef leftovers to use up(usually taco beef), I'll put that in. Feel free to mix in whatever meats you have, ground, chunked, shredded, etc.

If I have beans leftover or someone likes bean chili I'll put those in. If you are going to use beans just make sure you have canned beans on hand or if using dried beans, make sure you have soaked and boiled them beforehand to soften them before adding. I have learned the HARD way that once you add an acidic ingredient(like ketchup or any tomato based product)the beans in your chili will NOT soften anymore, no matter how long you cook them. Make sure your beans are as soft as you need them BEFORE adding them to a tomato based chili.

Here are the beginnings of POTLUCK CHILI.

1 large onion
2 cloves of garlic
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Meat(whatever kind you have)
Beans(kidney, pinto or whatever kind you have)
1 Tablespoon cilantro or cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder(optional)
1 Large Can of Crushed or Puree Tomatoes
1 teaspoon beef bouillion(optional)

Chop your onion & garlic.
Pour Olive Oil in saute pan.
Add chopped veggies and saute over medium heat until translucent.
When done, if you want meat, add your meat now to brown. Add as much as you like. 1lb. minimum but feel free to add more or less to taste
When meat is browned, add your spices:cilantro or cumin, chili powder, brown sugar, black pepper, salt, paprika, cayenne powder(if you want it hot)
Heat for 5 minutes.
Add your can of tomatoes.
If you want beans, add your beans now. 1-2 cans to start. Add more if you like beans or are making this vegetarian. Kidney &/or pinto beans are traditional chili add-ins, but you can use any type of bean you like. I like to partially mash(with a potato masher)my beans. The mashed beans help give the chili a creamier, thicker texture. It's the GLUE That holds the chili together, I say.

At this point taste your basic chili. If you like it sweeter, add a little ketchup, bbq sauce or chili sauce. If you like more heat, add tabasco or hot sauce. If you like more spice, add more pepper/cumin/cayenne. If you love garlic, add more of that in. If you like a more pornounced 'meat' taste, add some beef boullion or stock.
Just keep playing with the flavors until you find what YOU like!

Transfer into a crockpot at this point and just let it cook on low all day....or leave on the stove to simmer if you are home and can watch & stir the pot every once in awhile.
After at least 3-4 hours the flavors will have melded enough to serve.

Add shredded cheese, green onions &/or a dollop of sour cream on top of the chili.
Serve with warm cornbread, tortillas, biscuits or whatever bread-like food you prefer.

The picture?
Oh, those are the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
I always forget to take pictures of my food before everyone eats it up. The Chili Pepper boys will have to do in lieu of POTLUCK CHILI photos. Some people think they are pretty HOT too. ;-))

Sluggy

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