Tuesday, January 18, 2011

First-ever Homemade Chili for me


Yes, it's sad but true... I've never actually made chili until now. Guess that's because it isn't my personal favourite but since I know my kids love it, I decided to give it a homemade try. After researching online, I found a recipe with four easy steps (since I was making it at 9:00 on a Sunday morning and simple seemed better since who really wants to be cooking chili at breakfast time anyway). Couldn't get much simpler than brown the meat and onions, throw in the other ingredients, simmer and stir every 15 minutes for 2.5 hours. Busy day ahead so good to know it was waiting for us at dinnertime. The result wasn't too spicy nor too hot and we were all pretty happy with it, although I'm looking forward to trying different recipes and finding something even better in the coming months.



Decided that cornbread would be the obvious side dish and although I love our usual Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread, we tried this new one (Homestead Cornbread), which had received lots of great online reviews. Bad choice, unfortunately. Bland and boring. When I peeked into the oven while it was cooking, it looked so cakelike that I threw some grated cheddar cheese on it after 20 minutes to somehow savoury it up a bit. My kids loved it but I think it's because it was like eating yellow cake for dinner and how many kids are ever gonna complain about doing that? No interesting depth of taste by adding onions, bacon or anything else that adults typically love ... so much for that but live and learn.

My sister Karen makes the best cornbread in the entire world and maybe she'll share her recipe with us one of these days (but she'll make me beg first). She prepares it every summer as part of her famous BBQ ribfests but I usually have to whine and whimper to get her to do it, as she claims it takes a lot of last-minute work to pull it all together. But as her guests, we think it's worth every ounce of her effort to make us all that happy. Sometimes she'll even throw in some surprise like spicy sausage for an extra kick.


Chili

2 lbs ground beef
1 (29 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (29 ounce) can kidney beans (with liquid)
1 (29 ounce) can pinto beans (with liquid)
1 cup diced onion (1 medium onion)
1/2 cup diced green chile peppers (2 chilies)
1/4 cup diced celery (1 stalk)
3 medium tomatoes, chopped
2 -3 teaspoons cumin
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups water

Brown the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat. (I sauteed the onions first and then added the beef.)



Drain the fat.
In a large pot, combine the beef plus all the remaining ingredients, and bring to a simmer over low heat. Cook, stirring every 15 minutes, for 2 to 3 hours.



Homestead Cornbread

1/2 cup cornmeal
2 1/2 cups milk
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil



Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a small bowl, combine cornmeal and milk; let stand for 5 minutes. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Stir in the cornmeal mixture, eggs, and oil until smooth. Pour batter into prepared 9x13x2 pan. Bake at 400 degrees F for 30 to 35 minutes (I threw on some grated cheese after 20 minutes of cooking), or until a knife inserted into the centre of the pan comes out clean.





Meals for the Rest of the week

January 14 Pizza night... ordered stacks 'o zza for Maddie and a gaggle of her girlfriends, Caramel Pecan Brownies

January 15 Pasta tossed with sun-dried tomato sauce, with crumbled goat cheese
January 16 Chili with Cornbread

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