Monday, October 14, 2013

Tonight: Chili!

Toward the end of last week, it started raining and didn't quit for two days.  That is normally not a problem and certainly should not have been a problem now, since my area was more than 4 inches (15.24cm) under for normal precipitation for the year. Well, in two days, we received more than 11 inches (27.94cm) of rain and are ahead of the normal year-to-date totals by 6 inches! The garden has finally dried out and when I thought about what I wanted for dinner, I decided to make chili with some of the fresh vegetables that are still growing.

With the exception of the onion, all the vegetables pictured here were grown in my backyard! That does include the celery, which, as I found is very difficult to  grow.

My chili recipe is fairly simple, though not for those who like sweeter chilis. Chop celery, pepper, and onion small and place in pan coated with nonstick spray.  Add 1 lb ground beef, sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and, if desired, garlic powder (use fresh minced garlic for a fresher flavor).  Cook beef thoroughly and make sure vegetables are tender.

While the beef and vegetables are cooking, drain and rinse 1 can of kidney beans. This step is important for people with diabetes!! Most canned kidney beans on the market are canned in heavy syrup and draining and rinsing removes the vast majority of the syrup, which lessens both the calories and carbohydrate counts.  So PLEASE do not skip this step! 

Transfer the beef and vegetables to a soup pot, add the beans, and add a can of diced tomatoes. Then, add 1 cup of beef broth -- this helps replace the liquid lost from draining the kidney beans. Add 1 Tablespoon chili powder, 1 Teaspoon garlic powder, 1 Teaspoon oregano, 2 Tablespoons dried parsley, 1 Teaspoon salt, 1 Teaspoon black pepper, and 1/8 Teaspoon ground red pepper to the pot. Bring to near boil on medium high heat, turn down and simmer for about an hour before serving.

I find that while this is very tasty the same day, its heat increases the next day. One serving is approximately 3/4 cup. The combination of tomatoes, onions, peppers, and celery gives this version nearly a full serving of vegetables, the beans have about 15 grams carbs and if you use 90% lean ground beef, this is a low fat, high fiber, tasty meal that, on a cool fall day, will warm your insides!