How I Actually Make Chili These Days

One Pot Chili

My sister texted me to ask if I had a chili recipe that was any good.

My first thought was, “Are you kidding me? I must make chili once a week! It’s awesome!”

But I told her to go to my blog and find the recipe. And then I sent her a link to it, because I’m an overbearing sister and I didn’t want her to possibly miss the link that says “Chili” and then feel like I lied to her or was being a brat. Fortunately, my sisters are very patient with me.

Then I thought, “I wonder if my recipe has changed any since I wrote it all down? I mean, I wrote it in 2010, but it couldn’t be too different?”

O. M. G.

It was appalling. I was mortified. I wanted to text her back and say in all caps DO NOT CLICK THAT LINK!

The pictures were tiny. They were all weirdly yellow. The amounts of ingredients are completely different from what I use now. I used THREE different pots. And I found more than one typo.

Seriously, was I drunk?

Definitely not, but that’s what it seemed like.

So please, accept this new post with my sincerest apologies. And if you ever tried to make chili from my recipe, I don’t even know what to say…

In ONE pot, brown your ground beef with an onion.

One Pot Chili

I don’t add oil to the pot because there’s usually enough fat in the beef to keep things from sticking. I just toss everything in over medium heat.

One Pot Chili

When the beef is browned, I add all the beans.

One Pot Chili

And then diced tomatoes with their liquid.

One Pot Chili

Then I toss in all the seasonings. (Seriously, WHY was more than one pot necessary?)

One Pot Chili

And after a couple minutes simmering, you have chili.

One Pot Chili

Not hard at all.

One Pot Chili
Serves 6-8

1 pound ground beef (or two boneless skinless chicken breasts, or ground turkey, or leave out the meat for vegetarian chili)
1 medium onion, diced
1 14.5 oz can of black beans
1 14.5 oz can of kidney beans
1 14.5 oz can of garbanzo beans (also called chickpeas)
2 15 oz cans of diced tomatoes
1 1/5 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/8 tsp cayenne (1/4 tsp if you like it a little more spicy)
Grated cheese and/or sour cream for serving

Drain and rinse all the beans.
Combine the ground beef and onion in a pot over medium-high heat. When the meat is almost all the way browned, add the beans, the tomatoes with their juices, and all the seasonings. Stir to combine. Allow the chili to come to a boil, and then reduce the heat to low. Let it simmer for 10-15 minutes, and then serve.

***Want an even easier recipe? Combine all the ingredients into a crockpot and stir to mix well. Cook on low for 5-6 hours. Dinner.***

Lime Kabobs

Lime Marinated Kabobs
Hello friends.

Lime Marinated Kabobs
That was somewhat lackluster…

Hello friends!

Lime Marinated Kabobs

How’s your summer going?

Lime Marinated Kabobs

We’ve been pretty busy, but we’ve managed to do 90% of all the very fun things we love to do when it’s warm outside.

You know, Farmers Market, canoe trips down the river, run through sprinklers, tour with a dance company…that kind of thing.

And because we’ve been so busy, we’ve gotten really good at the seriously fast, seriously easy dinner prep.

These kabobs taste fancy. Like someone spent all day mixing a marinade and then slaving over a hot grill.

(But there’s only four ingredients! Shh, no one has to know that these took no work or thought at all. Just go with it)

Are you ready for the mind-blowing list of ingredients?

Brace yourself:
Meat
Limes
Vegetables
Olive Oil

I know it seems weird to marinate steak in lime juice, but you just have to trust me. Your mouth will thank you.

Lime Marinated Kabobs

1 pound of roast or steak, cubed
5-6 limes, juiced
Vegetables (we used onion, bell pepper, mushroom, zucchini, and pineapple cause it’s delicious, but use what you love)
1/4 cup olive oil
Kabob skewers

Place the cubed meat in a bowl or ziplock bag, and pour the lime juice over the meat. Allow the meat to marinate in the refrigerator for up to a day, but no less than 2 hours.

If you’re using wooden skewers, soak them in a pan of water for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, skewer the vegetables and then brush them with the olive oil. Use separate skewers for the meat. We like to do all meat kabobs and all vegetable kabobs to allow for varying grill times. We also have some vegetarian friends who appreciate not having to pick off the meat. We also have some meat eating friends who appreciate not having to pick off the vegetables.

Grill the meat kabobs first, adding more lime juice if they start to dry out. After about 5 minutes, add the vegetable kabobs to the grill and brush on more olive oil if they start to dry out.

You can serve them on the skewers or pull everything off and mix it in a bowl, as you prefer.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I hear the sprinkler calling my name.

Dinner I pulled out of my…

Brain.

I pulled this dinner out of my brain.

I completely made it up on the fly, and pretended to know what I was doing.

I’ve heard of people making roux, and figured I could pretend to know how to do it too.
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This is flour and beef broth. Not a roux. Close enough?

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This is onion and some unidentified orange thing that could possibly be bell pepper. I told you this was done on the fly.

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Beef sounded like a good idea, so I threw some in.

And I didn’t want to over cook the beef just yet*, so I pulled it out of the pan to rest.
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*I frequently-accidentally overcook beef, so now I kinda plan for it.

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And what goes better with beef than potatoes? Carrots? Both.
At least the mysterious orange thing is explained.

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And then I thought, “Shoot! I should have added herbs and spices!” I proceeded to madly throw around spice bottles until finding this one. Then I thought, “Oh sweet, savory.”
What exactly is “Savory” made from? I didn’t have time to care. Stuff was cooking. I threw it on the meat and stirred it around.

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And then I added more beef broth, because it seemed like a good idea at the time.
And it was.

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All together, resting comfortably.

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So, naturally, I tucked everything in.

I happened to have an extra pie crust, because earlier in the day I figured that if you’re making one pie crust, you might as well make two.

It’s solid logic.

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And then I had some time on my hands, and decided that I should at least attempt to give this dinner the appearance of forethought. So I made it look pretty.

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And there you have dinner!

Surprisingly, this was excellent. It got approval from all the men in the house. I was told that I could make it again. Should make it again, even!

Crap.

At least I have pictures to guide me?
Recipes are for chumps!
I guess it’s back to the kitchen for me.
Darn 😉

If I can figure out how I made this, I’ll post a recipe that includes actual quantities of ingredients.

And now for dinner

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I know, I know–it’s not pie. It’s Beef and Broccoli.

But it’s seriously delicious! And healthy! I mean, look at this
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That’s a lot of vegetables, my friend.

And even though the meat was delicious, juicy, and tender, this photo makes it look completely unappealing.
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I’m sorry. Make it anyway.

I sauteed the meat and vegetables with coconut oil.
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I’ve mostly been using coconut oil as a moisturizer and deep conditioning treatment for my hair, but it’s meant for cooking, and I really liked it.

PS, I don’t like coconut. I know that makes me totally crazy, considering I’ve been slathering myself with coconut oil and using it for cooking. I have accepted myself.
You won’t notice a coconut flavor in this recipe, it just adds a tiny hint of sweetness.

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You’ll need a big wok or saute pan to fit everything in. Or you could halve the recipe.

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But you should know that this saucy goodness makes excellent leftovers.

Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry
Serves 6 hungry people
Adapted from Can You Stay for Dinner?

1 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 cup chicken or beef broth
2 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp Hoisin sauce (can be found in the Ethnic section of most supermarkets)
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp Sesame oil
1 tbsp freshly grated ginger (or 2 tsp ground ginger)
2 cloves garlic, pressed
Sesame or coconut oil to saute the beef and vegetables
1 lb beef top sirloin, sliced into strips
1 or 2 jalapeno peppers, sliced (reserve some of the seeds if you like it spicy, none if you would prefer a more mild spice)
1/4 tsp cayenne (Optional)
5 bell peppers, sliced
2 cups broccoli, chopped

Whisk the cornstarch, broth, soy sauce, Hoisin sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, and optional cayenne together in a bowl.
Heat a wok or large saute pan with either Sesame or coconut oil to medium high heat.
Add the beef and stir fry until brown, but not quite done all the way through. Then remove it to a plate.
Add a bit more Sesame or coconut oil to the wok, and stir fry the vegetables until just tender. Pour the sauce over the vegetables and bring that to a gentle boil before adding the beef back to the heat. Stir the mixture to make sure all the vegetables and beef get coated in the sauce.
When the beef is just brown all the way through, scoop this mixture over rice, quinoa, or couscous.

Dinner done right!

And by the way, I’ve used this sauce on tempeh and tofu, and I’m honestly not sure what protein I prefer.  It’s all so good!

Coffee Braised Beef

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Apparently we’ve been eating a lot of chicken lately. I hadn’t even thought about it, but then again, I can happily eat the same things over and over again. (Not a great quality for a food blogger, I realize.)

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I think beef is intimidating for me because it definitely has its own unique flavor. Chicken is just such a great blank canvas. Beef is already the whole painting.

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But then again, that’s kind of arguable, depending on who you ask. Like my husband. He would totally disagree with that. (And he did. Hence, the beef.)

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This recipe is a very welcome change from the pot roast recipes of my past. I hate pot roast (normally) because it was either too bland, too fatty, or too tough.

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This marinade does so much for pot roast! It gave it a great, bold flavor, kept things incredibly moist, and created a really hearty sauce for serving.  Waaaaaaay better than gravy!

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You might think that coffee and beef don’t go together (kind of like caramel and salt), but you’re wrong. They complement each other perfectly, bringing out the savory quality of the beef without tasting like bitter black coffee. And don’t even get me started on what it does to the vegetables in there! I could almost eat just those. The beef is like the icing on the cake. Or, the beef on the vegetables?

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Coffee Braised Beef
based on this recipe from Real Simple

1 pound small red potatoes, quartered
1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
1 pound turnips, chopped
2 1/2 pounds chuck roast
salt & pepper to taste
1 6oz can tomato paste
1 1/2 cups brewed black coffee
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp brown sugar
*optional: flat leaf parsley to garnish

Place chopped vegetables and 1/2 cup coffee in a large slow-cooker. Set the beef on top and season generously with salt and pepper. Whisk 1 cup coffee, brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce. Stir tomato paste into coffee mixture to combine. Pour the coffee mixture over the beef and vegetables, then cook (covered) on low in the slow cooker for 7 to 8 hours. We didn’t add any water throughout the day because we were at work, but if you’re home you can keep an eye on it and add as necessary. Serve with country bread (any whole grain, dense bread).

It was pretty exciting knowing that dinner would be done as soon as we got home. Very minimal effort, and very minimal dish washing! And our whole house smelled amazing. I got a knife to slice into the beef, and didn’t even need it. It literally fell apart. I only wish I would have known about this all winter long! C’est la vie. There’s always next year.

What foods could you eat over and over? Are there any foods that you just can’t eat any more?