Friday, February 6, 2009

Main Dish: Super Easy Bean Chili + Leftover Recipes!

I know you all have a favorite chili recipe. This is the bare bones version - a great way to stretch a budget and an awesome cornerstone for a whole week’s worth of dinner, dinner variations and lunches. After all, chili is not just a main dish, but also an ingredient in dishes such as tacos, fajitas, burritos and can easily be made into a soup. There are not many recipes that are that versatile.

Super easy Bean Chili:

 For about six servings you will need: Cost from $6.31

½ pound dried beans - prepared the Romanian way - or substitute two cans if you are in a rush = $0.90 for dried or $2.00 for canned

vegetable oil of your choice - $0.50

1 28 oz can tomato - you can used crushed, or whole peeled or sauce = $1.79

2 large onions - chopped roughly = $1.10

2 large carrots - diced = $0.35

2 green peppers - chopped ( can be omitted if organic green peppers are too expensive) $1.00

about two cups corn - frozen works well ( highly optional) $1.00

1 head garlic - cloves roughly chopped - or if you must substitute, one generous tablespoon garlic powder $0.37

1 small can green chilies or 1 fresh chili pepper - (believe it or not those are optional) =$1.25

1 tablespoon cumin = $0.10

1 tablespoon chili powder = $0.05

hot pepper - dried or liquid = $0.10

2 tablespoons salsa ( can be omitted - but rounds up the flavor nicely) = $0.25

fresh cilantro - really nice when you can add it, but optional = $0.50

Salt and pepper = $0.05

1. After you have prepared your basic beans or opened two cans of beans, chop onions, carrots and green peppers and gently sauté in two tablespoons of oil.

2. While your veggies are sautéing prepare your fresh garlic - roughly chop or finely grate with a cheese grater and add to the sauté. Move everything around - the garlic usually makes things sticky, and once you see the onion softening add a tiny bit of the tomato sauce.

3. In about half a cup of tomato sauce - dissolve your spices - cumin, chili powder, garlic powder( if you use it) and stir to dissolve - add to your saute and once stirred in, add the rest of the tomato sauce.

4. Add beans, corn and chilies and turn heat down to simmer. Let simmer for about 35 minutes. Mix occasionally, taste and add salt towards the end, also add hot peppers to taste.

Potluck variation chili:

When I take this recipe to a gathering of non-veggies, I usually add some sort of vegetarian version of ground beef to disguise my chili. Peoples jaws drop when after they lapped it all up they are told they just had vegetarian chili. So, to add extra protein you could use TVP- texturized vegetable protein - the best brand in my opinion is made by Heartline Meatless Meats - their products absolutely rock! You could also use their vegetarian jerky which they sell in little lunch box bags - they are under a dollar - the jerky cut into little strips would dress up any chili.

A more expensive option is ground beef style crumbles found in the freezer section by Boca Burgers or Ground Beef style quorn. But do keep in mind that none of these products are needed and they make this dish considerably more expensive!

Ideas for leftovers:

Leftover chili is awesome!

Leftover recipe 1: Burritos

You will need:

Leftover chili

One package whole wheat tortillas

½ jar salsa

Cheese of choice - optional of course

1. Heat oven to 375º. Heat up your leftover chili in a pan.

2. If you have an electric stove - rejoice - perfect for heating up tortillas - just heat on very low setting and then put the tortillas directly on the coils. Warning this is a major fire hazard - so watch them like a hawk and leave them on there only for about ten seconds. If you don’t have an electric stove, either omit this step altogether or heat up your tortillas in a pan over low heat for a couple of minutes. Basically, you want to heat them so they become nice and pliable and not to be ice cold straight out of the refrigerator. (Yes, I keep my tortillas in the fridge - they last longer that way)

3. Scoop some chili into each burrito, add some shredded cheese and a small scoop of salsa, roll up and arrange in a slightly greased baking dish our better yet in a large cast iron pan.

4. Use up all your tortillas and your chili - and layer your burritos in the pan. Top with salsa and some more cheese and put in oven for about 10 - 15 minutes. Not really to cook just to heat everything well through.

5. For my vegan friends - the cheese is absolutely optional - the meal tastes equally good without it - if you want to splurge on vegan cheese you can but it is certainly not necessary and a tad expensive.

Leftover Recipe 2: Bean Soup:

Takes minutes and is phenomenally delicious and filling.

You’ll need:

Leftover chili

1-2 28 oz cans of crushed tomatoes - or any style that is on sale - break down large chunks if necessary

1- 2 cups of basic beans - either prepared the Romanian Way - or canned

dried herbs

salt and pepper

Sorry I am a bit vague with the the number of cans of tomatoes and beans, but it really depends on the amount of chili you have left over. You want the chili - tomato ratio to be equal, maybe leaning towards the chili a bit. But again my recipes are merely suggestions, I am sure you can make a stunning soup that would be much heavier on the tomatoes.

1. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and heat.

2. Taste for seasoning - you probably will have to add - salt, pepper, and any dried spice (short of mint) should lend itself well - oregano, marjoram, sage, basil will all work well. You can add extra chili powder and adjust hotness according to your wishes.

3. You may top with a tad of shredded cheese - just before serving - for extra impact.

1 comment:

Rose said...

Another sub for ground meat is seitan crumbled in a blender. Make it yourself using the quick method via wheat gluten flour, and you've got a great cheap sub that will fool just about anyone.