Tag Archives: chili

Easy Lentil Chili

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One evening after work last week, Bruce and I had quite the discussion on how we wanted to eat healthier meals in the New Year.  We talked about eating more vegetarian dishes and avoiding white bread, white sugar and most the most damaging thing of all, fast food.  Our conversation was not about making any resolutions, it was all about making some positive lifestyle changes.  I particularly liked that idea for I don’t believe in resolutions.  I know that when I make New Year’s resolutions, you can bet that I will break them within a few short months.

One of the challenges with cooking healthy meals in our home is finding dishes that both Bruce and I will enjoy.  For instance, I love ingredients such as kidney beans, green peas, fresh picked asparagus and mushrooms.  Bruce on the other hand, will not (knowingly) eat those foods.  He considers them taboo.  And trust me…  He has quite the list of “taboo” ingredients.  So, in order to accomplish preparing a meal that I know that Bruce will like, I sometimes have to get really creative and super stealthy.  That sometimes means chopping the forbidden ingredients into smaller pieces, not telling Bruce what he is “really” eating unless he asks and putting the focus on creating fabulous flavor profiles that distracts his attention.  In other words, out of site, out of mind is the key when preparing a dish for Bruce.

While shopping at Trader Joe’s last week I found a package of precooked lentils in the produce section of the store.  Fortunately, after about ten years of marriage, Bruce has finally warmed to the idea of eating lentils.  Unlike Bruce, I have always loved lentils and with our busy lives this precooked ingredient was something that I just had to try.  I figured that the precooked lentils would be delicious in salads or soups for lunch during the work week.  This evening, I opted to put the lentils in a quick chili for dinner.  As a result, I am glad that I did.  Bruce absolutely loved it!  And the cool part about all this was that he did not notice that he just ate a meal that was hearty, and high in fiber and iron.  And, as a final double bonus, it was vegetarian and cholesterol free!

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My Easy Lentil Chili is super simple to make, incredibly flavorful and tastes great with fresh baked cornbread and a leafy green salad on the side.  Garnish my Easy Lentil Chili with some shredded cheddar cheese, a little dollop of light sour cream, a spoonful of salsa and a sprinkling of fresh chopped cilantro.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 1 – 17 oz. package Trader Joe’s Steamed Lentils (about 2 1/2 cups, cooked)
  • 1 cup onion chopped
  • 2 tsp canola oil
  • 1 – 15 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups vegetable stock (or more if desired)
  • 1/2 cup brewed coffee
  • 2 Tbs flour (whisked with 1/2 cup stock to make a slurry)
  • 2 Tbs extra dark cocoa powder
  • 1 Tbs dark chili powder
  • 1 Tbs brown sugar (or to taste)
  • 2 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp Sriracha sauce (or to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp salt or to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • Top with shredded cheddar cheese, salsa, sour cream or fresh cilantro (optional)

In a medium sized pot on medium flame, cook onions in canola oil until onions are translucent. Add 1/2 package of lentils, vegetable stock, coffee, flour slurry, extra dark cocoa powder, dark chili powder, brown sugar, garlic paste, cumin, sriracha, thyme, salt and pepper.  Turn down the heat, cook uncovered on low for about 30 – 40 minutes stirring occasionally, taking care not to burn the chili.  Add remaining lentils and cook covered for an additional 15 minutes.  Taste and correct your seasonings.  Ladle into bowls and garnish with cheddar cheese, sour cream, salsa and/or chopped cilantro.  Makes about 4 servings.

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White Chicken Chili

White Chicken Chili

I’ve learned that cooking good food does not always start in the kitchen.  So, every year I plant a little garden in my backyard.  I don’t have a lot of space for a big garden so my husband Bruce built me a couple of raised garden beds that I stuff with all kinds of vegetables.  We compost our kitchen scraps and yard clippings to make the soil in the little garden fertile and perfect for planting.  It’s amazing how many vegetables a little patch of earth can produce.

Since it is mid March in Southern Oregon I was able to plant snow peas, lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, celery and onions.  This year instead of starting my plants from seed, I decided to buy a bunch of vegetable starts.  Planting starts allows me to harvest my vegetables a few weeks earlier than planting directly from seed.  Preparing meals with home grown fresh picked ingredients does not get much better!

Plant starts waiting to be put in the ground.

Snow Peas…

I will be picking fresh crisp snow peas in about 6 weeks!  I can’t wait!

After I planting my little spring garden I decided to make a pot of White Chicken Chili.  White Chicken Chili is hearty, flavorful and perfect for a cool spring day.  Garnish with fresh chopped red bell peppers, sharp white cheddar cheese and sliced green onions.  Serve with a slice of cornbread or a green salad.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • big pinch of salt
  • 2 – 15 ounce cans of great northern beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 4 ounce can diced roasted green chilies
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 Tbs ground cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp dried ground jalapeno
  • 1/8 tsp white pepper
  • salt to taste

In a large sauce pan with a lid, saute the onion, bell pepper, salt and olive oil until onion is opaque.  Chop the chicken into 1 inch sized pieces.  Add the chicken to the pan and cook until a light golden color.  Add remaining ingredients, cover and cook on medium low for about half an hour or until the beans are cooked to your liking.  Taste and correct your seasonings.  Garnish with shredded white cheddar cheese, diced red bell pepper, and sliced green onions.  Makes about 2 big fabulous bowls of White Chicken Chili.

Note:  Next time I make this, I am going to try it in my slow cooker.

Cranberry Bean Chili Con Carne

Cranberry Bean Chili Con Carne

Can you believe that I started my new year without any resolutions?  Nope, none, nothing, nada…  I have a tough time keeping resolutions.  Every year I say I have one, I am good for a few short months and then my bad habits creep right back up on me.  This year is different.  I decided that this year I am having “New Year’s Expectations”.  Expectations, I know I can do.  Expectations are attainable and having expectations is how I operate.

One of my expectations for 2012 is to be less wasteful in the kitchen.  Instead of buying expensive store bought vegetable and meat stocks, I will make my own.  It saves money and helps keep spoiled vegetables in the vegetable drawer of my refrigerator to a minimum.  I also expect to be more creative with the use of leftovers.  That also saves money and valuable refrigerator space too.

Last night I made a gorgeous prime rib roast for New Year’s Day dinner.  I had a couple of pounds of the roast leftover in the refrigerator this morning.  Living up to my “new” expectations, I decided to make a Cranberry Bean Chili Con Carne.  My Cranberry Bean Chili Con Carne is made with leftover prime rib roast, cranberry beans, homemade beef stock (from the prime rib), onions, garlic, carrots (leftover too!), extra dark cocoa powder  and fragrant spices.  Top your bowl of Cranberry Bean Chili Con Carne with fresh grated cheddar cheese, green onions and red bell pepper.  Makes about 2 quarts of chili or 8 servings.  Enjoy!  Tessa

 Ingredients:

  • 2 cups dried cranberry beans (soaked overnight)
  • 1 pound leftover prime rib or roast beef cubed (fat removed)
  • 1 cup white onion chopped
  • 2 shallots chopped
  • 1 cup carrots chopped
  • 1 – 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups beef stock (0r more if needed)
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 2 Tbls. extra dark cocoa powder
  • 1/4 c. dark chili powder
  • 1 Tbls. ground cumin
  • 1 Tbls. ground coriander
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 2 tsp. onion powder
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. seasoning salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • Garnish with shredded cheddar cheese, sliced green onion and chopped red pepper.

Begin by washing, picking over and soaking the cranberry beans in a bowl of water overnight.  Grab a large pot with a tight fitting lid.  On medium heat saute your onion, shallots and carrots in the olive oil.  Cook until onion is opaque.  Add soaked cranberry beans and the remaining ingredients with the exception of the garnishes. Cook for about 4 hours on very low or until beans are cooked to your liking.  Be sure to keep an eye on it and stir occasionally.  Taste the chili, correct your salt level, add additional stock if needed and ladle into bowls.  Garnish with shredded cheese, sliced green onions red pepper.  Note:  Go ahead and make this in your slow cooker.  About 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low.