Saturday, February 5, 2011

It's getting chili in here!

Nothing warms the body and soul better than a spicy-sweet bowl of chili! I was never a chili fan growing up. I didn't like the chunks of peppers and onions, the kidney beans wierded me out, and it was usually too spicy for my tastes.

But then, I had my grandmother's chili. It was slightly sweet, not too much spice, a little salty, meaty, beany, yummy! I was hooked! Bring on the chili! :)

Chili is a wonderfully hearty and frugal meal, and naturally gluten free! Serve it over some brown rice with a nice green salad on the side, and you've got a quick, no fuss meal that will fill you up and warm your soul. It is easy to make a huge batch of chili, then you can make this ahead of time, and freeze the extra. I suggest freezing it in appropriate size glass canning jars, small for single servings, or large for family sized. Just be sure to leave a good inch or more of space at the top of your jar, or you'll have a chili bomb ticking in your freezer!

I like to make my own baked beans for this recipe.
It's easy, the crockpot does all the work, well, most of it :). You can use canned baked beans, but by making your own, you know exactly what's in them. (No gluten!)

Baked Beans
1 lb dry navy beans (soaked overnight with 2T whey or cider vinegar added to the soaking water)
1/2 cup thinly sliced onion
1/2 -1 cup molasses (to taste, I use about 3/4 cup)
6 slices bacon, chopped
1 teaspoon salt

In the morning, drain the water from your soaked beans and put them in the crock pot. Add the sliced onion, molasses, bacon, and salt. Pour in enough water to just cover the beans. I used about 5 cups of water. Set the crockpot on high and cook for 4 hours. Turn onto low setting and let it finish cooking for about 4 hours more.
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That's it! I usually get my beans started by 9:00 in the morning, then they're ready for supper by 5:00 pm.

Here's what I usually throw in my chili pot:

1 cup browned hamburger
1/2 cup chopped onion
1-2 cups homemade baked beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can black beans
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup ketchup
1 teaspoon worcesershire sauce
1 T chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin

 *Frugal tip: I cook big batches of burger and then freeze it in 8 oz canning jars, so 1 lb of burger can go a long way!

Saute the onion until soft. Put all the ingredients in the crock pot and cook until hot and bubbly! You can also do this on the stove top fairly quickly. Just let everything simmer for 30 min.

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And here's the original recipe from my Grandmother:

Grandmother's Chili
1 lb lean ground beef
1/2 cup diced green pepper
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 lb kielbasa, sliced
2 large cans baked beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup ketchup
1 T worcestershire sauce
1 T chili powder

Saute the burger until it's thoroughly cooked, put it in the crockpot. Saute the onions and peppers until softened, put them in the crockpot along with all remaining ingredients. Cook on low heat until hot and bubbly. Or if you're in a hurry, crank that pot to high heat!

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