Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Chili for a Cold, Icy Day

There is absolutely nothing like a hot bowl of chili on a cold, cold winter day.

I have to say that while we had sub-zero temperatures a couple of weeks ago with little snow, what is happening right now is the epitome of a frigid winter day. Six inches of snow with an inch of ice on top of that and then more snow....well, it makes the idea of a bowl of chili quite heartwarming.

I don't have a particular chili recipe that I follow. Other than one recipe that the kids really like that calls for tomato juice as the base, I really kinda wing it and today was no different. What I do is take a basic recipe (beef, tomatoes, beans, chili seasoning) and start adding a dash of this and a dash of that from various other recipes that I look up in my cookbooks and the 'net both until I get a taste that is pretty good. I am almost always tasting it and deeming that it needs just a little of "something else", and then searching recipes for an ingredient that I haven't used yet.

We also really, really try to follow a fairly healthy recipe. With D's high blood pressure, I buy a lot of "no salt added" canned goods, no sodium broths and use natural flavors of fresh foods and spices to make up for the salt that I do not use.

My recipes are not always sodium free, and may even have more than may be ideal, but they definitely have less than dumping cans of this, cans of that, bouillon cubes and gobs of salt into the pot.

Now, D likes his chili HOT and SPICY. But I like a low-medium hotness, and the kids....well.....they don't desire fire breath, and neither do I. So, hot recipes I modify and figure he can add his own hot sauce to his bowl. I mean, he really has a thing for super hot peppers!

Anyway, this is one of my concoctions, and so far seems to taste pretty good. I was able to modify it with ingredients to offset some of the more hot spices so that the blend of flavors was very unique and blended well.

So, dinner on this cold, snowy day is CHILI!


  • 1- lb lean beef (I used 96/4)
  • 1 - yellow onion
  • 2 cans of "no salt added" kidney beans
  • 3 cans of "no salt added" diced tomatoes (fresh is even better)
  • 1- can of water
  • 1/4 cup of chili powder
  • 1- 6 oz can of tomato paste
  • 2-beef bouillon cubes, lower sodium
  • 1-chicken bouillon cube, lower sodium
  • 1/2 cup of beer (yes, it really brings out the flavor - the alcohol evaporates so safe for kids)
  • 1 Tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon of minced garlic (or use a bit of garlic powder, about a teaspoon)
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon Splenda for baking
  • 1/4 cup of pureed pineapple, with juice (YES - believe me, I was skeptical but it offsets the spiciness)

Cook the beef and onion in a large pot over high heat, chopping and stirring until the beef is cooked thoroughly

Lower heat to medium-high and add beans, tomatoes and water.

When hot, add chili powder, tomato paste, bouillon cubes. If too thick, add a bit more water.

Add the beer, Worcestershire and stir, letting it simmer for about a minute or two.

Add the rest of the spices and stir, simmering again for a few minutes.

Add the baking-splenda and add pineapple.

Stir and simmer for 2 hours hour on low. Serve.

(I added elbow macaroni for the kids too, which required more water to soak it in)

Serve with shredded cheese, and Fritos to dip are awesome too!

It also seems to get better as a leftover. YUM!

Enjoy! And stay warm!