Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Who wants chili?!? I do! I do!

Okay...chili has to be one of my favorite comfort foods!! I can eat any kind of chili, any day of the week and for any meal! You can serve it to me in a bowl with crackers, over a hot dog or even over nachos! Honestly, I'll take chili any way you serve it! :) That's the beauty of can make it your own and serve it however you want it...and chances are that it'll be good!

I have this recipe book that I received when I started the Insanity workout program...and like we all know...I HATED that work out program...but learned to love some of the recipes. That is of course after I added my own *twist* to them! And that is exactly what I've done with this recipe.

I'm going to let you in on a little is okay to deviate from a recipe. **Falls down in shock!** I know...I know. Well let me put a disclaimer on this...when you are NOT FOR ANY REASON deviate from the recipe! I always say..."Cooking is an ART! Baking is a SCIENCE!" When you cook you can add or subtract ingredients to make it your own. When you bake...if you take something out...well you might end up with a pile of MUSH! So do not deviate when you are baking. But for those of you who are like me...cook up a storm, and ADD YOUR TWIST!

Living with Michael has really changed how I cook, and I might argue that it's for the worse...but my doctors will say it's for the best...booooo! :) But I digress. In this recipe I've substituted ground chicken, but you can use beef, turkey or even pork if that is what your heart desires! I promise that it'll be okay no matter what protein you use. Oh...and guess don't have to add meat if you don't want to!!! :)

So here is my adaptation of a chili recipe that I found in the cookbook. I hope you enjoy it!!!
The REAL Housewife of Snohomish County's "Oh So YUMMY CHILI!"
**Note** I make a big batch of chili, that way there is plenty for leftovers. Feel free to 1/2 this recipe! And this is more a chili that showcases veggies rather than the meat. And remember...if you don't like some of the veggies I added...leave them out. If you want to add something else...add it! Make it YOUR OWN! :)
  • 1 pound of ground meat (your choice)
  • 4 - Yellow Onions - diced
  • 4 - Stalks of Celery, sliced thin
  • 2 - Yellow Bell Peppers, seeds removed & diced
  • 1 1/4 pounds of white mushrooms, fresh, quartered
  • 2 - Jalapeno Peppers, seeds removed & minced
  • 2 - Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 4 - 14 1/2 ounce cans of diced tomatoes
  • 2 - 15 1/2 ounce cans of beans of your choice, rinsed & drained (I used black beans)
  • 6 cups of water
  • 4 tablespoons of Tomato Paste
  • 3 tablespoons of Chili Powder
  • 2 teaspoons Ground Cumin
  • 2 teaspoons Dried Oregano, oils released (see picture/description)
  • Kosher Salt, to taste
  • Fresh Ground Black Pepper, to taste
  • 6 tablespoons Cilantro, fresh chopped
  • Olive Oil
First thing you want to do is get all of your veggies ready.
Dice the onions. Hold the "hairy" end of the onion and slice off the other end.

Lay the onion cut side down, and cut through the center.

Peel each half of the onion, then lay the cut side down.

Make cuts through the onion, do NOT cut through the hairy end. Feel free to make these cuts as small or as large as you want. I like a larger dice for this chili...that is my preference.

Now turn the onion and cut in the opposite direction, making the dice. Cut as close to the hairy end as possible, and discard the hairy end.

 Slice the celery. Lay the celery side by side, and slice it thinly.

Bell Peppers. Cut the bell pepper in half.

Using your fingers, grab the "core" that holds the seeds and pull it out, along with the stem. (Do this for each 1/2) Make sure to get all the white parts out from the inside of the pepper.

Lay the cut(inside) of the pepper face down on the cutting board. Using the palm of your hand push it down, flattening the pepper. This makes it easier to slice.

Now slice the pepper.

Turn the slices the other way, and cut into the dice.

Mushrooms. Pull the stem out of the mushroom. (Discard the stem, or save it for making stock!)

Cut into quarters. If it is a large mushroom, cut it into smaller pieces. You want all the mushrooms to be roughly the same size.

Jalapenos. Cut off the top of the jalapeno. **Note** Wear gloves while cutting hot peppers. Or be diligent about washing your hands with warm water and soap. When working with hot peppers do NOT touch any part of your face/eyes!!! 

Slice it in 1/2, long ways.

Use a teaspoon to scoop out the seeds and the core.

Just like the bell pepper...put the cut side down, use the palm of your hand to flatten the pepper. Then slice, turn and dice.

Garlic. Cut the bottom, hard end off the clove.

Place the flat side of the knife on the clove of garlic and give it a whack. This will loosen the skin.

Peel the loosened skin off the clove(s).

Lay the clove down and using the flat side of the knife and the palm of your hand, give it another whack to smush it. **Note** If you are not comfortable doing this, put the flat side of the knife on the clove and using your body weight, push down to flatten.

Then, mince the garlic.

I use a sheet tray to hold my veggies. There you have it! :) Now you are ready to cook!! I can NOT stress the importance of having all of your prep work done before you cook! This in itself will make cooking easier and more enjoyable!! :)

Now lets get on with the chili!! :)
Add two tablespoons of Olive Oil to your pot. (And from experience...use the biggest pot you have!! LOLOL It sucks to have to move everything to a bigger pot! FYI...I had to do it during this photo shoot! Take my advice!) **Note**Depending on the type of meat you use you might have to adjust the amount of oil. Beef takes less oil, where as turkey or chicken will require more.

Heat the oil over Medium-High heat, then add the ground meat.

Brown the meat. I find that using a potato masher works GREAT to break up meat for browning.

After the meat has browned (each meat will take a different time...just watch it) use a slotted spoon and remove it to a bowl. Set aside.

Now add all of your prepped veggies to the pot. Season with Kosher Salt!!!! And stir! Cook them for about 8 to 10 minutes until the veggies are softened. Stir them occasionally.

Once veggies are softened add the tomato paste, chili powder and cumin.

For the oregano, put the dried herb in the palm of your hand, and using your fingers rub it into your palm. This action releases the oils from the dried herbs! :) Then let the "ground" up herbs fall into the pot!

Stir all the herbs and tomato paste into the veggies. Then add the diced tomatoes and beans. Use a strainer to rinse and drain the beans before adding them to the pot.

Now return your browned meat to the pot. And give it all a great big stir!

Add the water and give it another stir!

The hard work is done, I promise! Now bring this entire pot of goodness to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer it for about 45 minutes to an hour. Do NOT cover it. During this time the liquid will reduce and thicken a bit. 
Now it's time to sprinkle with the chopped cilantro and serve it!! :) Such a GREAT meal!! All of the veggies make this a hearty chili!
I served Mikey's up with some sliced avocado and some shredded cheese! But I encourage you to add any toppings you want!! :) Make it your own! :)
**RHOSC cooking note** I made this recipe in the morning. I simmered it for 45 minutes...then I turned off the heat, covered it, and left it on the stove. (Mind you I made this about 5 hours before dinner.) Then for dinner I reheated it slowly on the stove. This allowed all those wonderfully yummy flavors to mesh together even more!
As you can see this isn't your "typical" chili! It has a TON of veggies and you can easily leave out the meat and add more beans or even tofu. This is why I love cooking, you can follow the recipe to a"T." Or you can add things you like, take out things you don't...and you'll still have a wonderful meal! But remember...taste along the way! Make sure you have your seasonings right!! :)
I hope you enjoy this recipe! Try it out and report back! Until next time...Keep Cooking!

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