Wednesday, May 2, 2012

I'm the Best Mom in the World!

Okay.  I know it can't be true all the time.  But, tonight, after dinner, I really felt like I'd achieved "Best Mom" status, if only for the duration of one meal. 

Faithful readers, do you remember my Canned Chili from my weeklong Crockpot series?  Honestly, once I saw the photo of all those canned foods sitting there next to each other, I was a teensy bit grossed out.  I do strive to provide my family more whole, less processed foods, and Canned Chili definitely wasn't fitting the bill.  So, I went to the internet in search of a slow food chili option.  Turns out that "Healthy Chili" is a bit of an oxymoron.  Anyway, I combined pieces of several recipes and came up with this vegetarian tastebud pleaser.

Just to show how different this recipe is from Canned Chili, let's compare the ingredient photo.

Canned Chili

Black Bean Chili

Now, doesn't that look yummy!  Here's what you need:

I medium onion, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, diced
1 Tbs. + 1.5 c. vegetable broth (Once we have our first slaughter day, I'll be able to have a homemade version.  For now, I used one can of all-natural broth)
6 medium cloves garlic, minced
4 cups of cooked black beans, drained (Use a standard 1 lb. bag of dry beans.  I soaked mine overnight and cooked them on low all day until ready to add them to the chili pot.  I had one big serving leftover.  I plan to feed mine to the chickens.  They love unseasoned beans!  The leftovers would also make great mashed baby food.)
1   8oz. can tomato sauce (my can in the photo is actually twice this size because it was all they had in organic.  I only used half the can.)
3 good-sized tomatoes, chopped with juices
2 Tbs. ground cumin
2 Tbs. red chili powder
2 Tbs. dried oregano
Corn scraped from two cobs
1/4 c. fresh chopped cilantro (optional, but recommended)
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

Because I like to do my prep work during the day, before the mania that is the 4 o'clock hour at our house, I filled two separate bowls with the following ingredients.  Into Bowl 1 on the left, I added the following:  1.5 c. vegetable broth, tomato sauce, tomatoes, oregano, and corn.  Into Bowl 2, add onion and bell pepper.  Into Bowl 3 (not pictured) goes the chopped cilantro.

When it's time to prepare chili (30 minutes before dinner time), heat 1 Tbs. broth in soup pot.  Saute ingredients of Bowl 2 in broth over medium heat for about 5 minutes.  Add garlic, cumin, and red chili powder and continue to saute for another minute. 

Add Bowl 1 to the mix and simmer for 20 minutes uncovered, stirring frequently.

Add Bowl 3 (cilantro) and season with salt and pepper to taste.  I confess, I felt a bit like Anne Burrell, the Restaurant Chef, when I was adding the salt.  It took A LOT to get it seasoned just right.  But, as justification, because you're not using cans, nothing is pre-salted. 

Serve with tortilla chips.  Enjoy!  And, at our house, everyone did!  We had clean bowls all around!  Victory!
  Cost analysis?  This recipe made enough for us to eat it twice.  Because I generally assume that eating fresh veggies is more expensive than going canned, I was surprised to see that at $1.14 per person this was actually cheaper than the $1.63 per person that the Canned Chili cost us.

Indeed, it was a victory in every way!  Indeed, I am the best mom in the world . . . or, at least I was at dinner tonight.  ;)

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