Man-Sized Chili

Seems like I’m always telling you my dirty little secrets, so I might as well share another one with all ya’ll. 

I don’t like to cook.
I don’t like all the mental energy that goes into. Figuring out what to make. Shopping for all the ingredients. Preparing the food. Cleaning up afterwards. Meh. It’s just not my favorite activity.
That said, I’m actually a pretty good cook. One of the advantages of moving all over the US, is that I’ve stolen all my friends best recipes amassed a collection of wonderful recipes.
Man-Child is home for the weekend to do his laundry spend the weekend with the family. It’s typical late fall weather in Ohio…cold, overcast and threatening to snow. On the menu tonight is my hearty, Man-Sized Chili.
Start with:

1 C. Red or White Onions, chopped       

1 C. Red Peppers, chopped
1 C. Green Peppers, chopped             

I used to buy the onions and peppers prepackaged, chopped and frozen. Not only was I wasting a lot of money on that, but it was also hard to find. Grocery stores like to hide those items in their freezer sections. I’m now willing to buy my own onions (Walla Walla sweet, when I can get them) and red, orange, yellow and green peppers. I buy several of both and chop and freeze them. It lasts me about 3 months. 

2 cloves Garlic, minced 
I know I’m never going to make it on the food network because this is how I mince my Garlic. I don’t even own a garlic press or any other type of garlic-y tool. And, you know what? I can live with that. This gets the job done and my family has never complained that the garlic just wasn’t fresh enough.

I throw the onions and garlic in my pan and start cooking them. Because they are frozen, I give them time for the water to evaporate. It looks like this at first:

Notice all the water? Keep cooking until it’s gone. I even go until I see a little brown on the peppers.  It will look like this:

While this is cooking, I work on the meat. I use lean stewing beef because I like to limit fat where I can. Also, when you cook it all day, the beef just melts apart.

1½ lb. Stewing Beef, cubed   
Next, I grab my spices:
1½ tsp. Chili Powder
1½ tsp. Cumin
1½ tsp. Oregano (dried)
1 tsp. Ground Coriander
½ t. Ground Black Pepper
FruGal Tip: I find great prices on spices at the Dollar Stores. If your grocery stores has an aisle where they sell the Mexican foods, look there for spices. They are about half the price of the spices in the baking aisle. They usually come in plastic baggies, but if you invest in some spice jars or reuse ones you have, it won’t even matter.
I mix the spices with a couple handfuls of flour and dredge my meat in the mixture.
 Tip: I use a wire whisk for mixing my flour and spices. I also use a whisk when baking as a faux-sifting technique.
After the veggies are cooked, add some Extra Virgin Olive Oil to the pan (about 2 T.) and throw in your dredged meat. It’ll look like this:
Those of you that are paying attention may notice my “2 cloves of minced garlic” on top of the pile. I forgot to add it to the veggies because I was trying to cook and take pictures. It still works fine if you add it in at this step. Also, you may notice the extra flour on there. I just throw whatever is left in my pie tin (about a couple of teaspoons) in with the meat so I get all the spices. The extra flour will help thicken the chili as it cooks, so it’s all good.
I don’t measure this next part out, but I throw in some of this on the meat while it’s cooking.
I love me some Mrs. Dash. She and I are great pals. You can see I have a collection of Mrs. Dash seasoning mixes. The Southwest Chipotle adds a punch of smoky flavor to your dishes. It’s not hot – which I can’t handle, but it is flavor. Yum!
Stir the meat occasionally until it is browned. I’d show you a picture of this, but my lame-o phone camera made it look red and not brown. 
While the meat is cooking, assemble the following ingredients:
1 ½ C. Salsa (mild or medium) 
I’m a MILD girl. The “kick” of your chili will come from your Salsa. If you like things spicy, use a hotter salsa. I just used the rest of the jar here.
1 can (15 oz.) Black Beans, drained & rinsed
1 can (15 oz.) Kidney Beans, drained & rinsed
2 can (15 oz.) Chili Beans, not rinsed if it comes in a sauce
1 can (14.5 oz.) Tomatoes, diced

I can’t emphasize this enough. Rinse your beans. The chili beans I buy has a sauce with it, so I don’t rinse those beans. If you’ve never rinsed beans before, you might be surprised to see they do this:
Weird, huh? I’m not sure why they get all foamy, just keep rinsing until it goes away.

Throw all of that in the crock pot, along with:
3½ C. Beef Broth, low-sodium, low-fat  

I just made my own from Bouillon today because it’s what I had. You use a teaspoon of bouillon for every cup of water. Pour it in the crock pot with the salsa and beans. If you want to save yourself 4 seconds, you could buy the box of broth, too.

Remember, you’re working on the beans and broth and salsa while your meat is cooking. After it’s all nice and brown, add it to the crock pot with the rest of the ingredients.

  I didn’t have a can of tomatoes at the time I put this in. I added those later after I went to the store. I cooked the chili on low all day

If your chili is too runny, you can thicken it with instant mashed potatoes. I have just tossed some of the flakes in and stirred until I got a thicker chili. I’ve also mixed up the potatoes first and then added them to the chili. Either method works well, just make sure to stir them in well so you don’t have potatoes chunks in your chili.

Just before serving, add the following:

¼ C. Fresh Cilantro, chopped 

2 T. Lime Juice

1 tsp. Honey 

Your chili will look like this:

I like to serve the chili in hollowed out bread bowls, with some grated cheddar cheese and some sour cream on it.

While I don’t really like to cook, I do like to make my boys/man happy. I never get such heart-felt declarations of love, as when I make them food that they enjoy!

Kiddo and Buddy

Man-Child and Hubs

This chili is enough for a couple of meals for us. I’ve won numerous awards for it and it would be great meal for a potluck or tail-gate. Give it a try. You’ll be smiling, too!

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