Tag Archives: vegetables

Eat plants and prosper

It’s been a long, cold winter here in our town. Since the New Year, really, we just haven’t felt much like eating cold food. You know, like fresh fruits and vegetables. Weird thing. Comfort food has tasted that much more comfortable in this weather. But spring will come, eventually, and with it the feeling that a green salad, fresh fruit for snacks, and crudities as appetizers will again feel comfortable…and healthy. Here’s some motivational reading from NPR. Have a green spring.

Eat Plants And Prosper: For Longevity, Go Easy On The Meat, Study Says : The Salt : NPR.

Chili as you like it

I’ve made a lot of chili and written about it here on DRB. I never make it the same way twice, usually because some ingredient or other is not in the pantry this time. Chili is an any time, any season food. It can be made in an hour or a day. Eaten fresh or from frozen, in a coffee mug or a fancy bowl. It can be endlessly customized from the get-go or just before eating. And it keeps getting better in the fridge for several days.

For Dads: Kids can help gathering ingredients, stirring, setting the timer and checking when it goes off, even slicing veggies if you dare. Can be a longer project that builds lots of good memories.

I’m no chili purist, as will become obvious. I know that for the pure in heart, chili is meat and, well, chilies. I don’t think I’ve ever had it that way, but keep thinking I will.

So, get out the Dutch oven and let’s go….

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Dad’s Chili As You Like It

A flavorful, straightforward approach for chili to personalize to your heart's content.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time2 hrs 30 mins
Total Time2 hrs 15 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chili, Keto, meat, vegetables
Servings: 8 hungry people
Author: dad

Equipment

  • Dutch oven
  • chef's knife

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp fat To sauté the meat and vegetables. Use bacon fat, EVOO, butter, or combination.
  • 2 lbs meat Ground beef, ground pork, ground lamb, ground Italian sausage even. Mix and match.
  • 1 large onion 1/4" dice
  • 2 stalks celery Thinly sliced
  • 1 large green bell pepper 1/4" dice. Any color bell pepper is fine.
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced I get mine out of a squeeze bottle—great invention.
  • 1/4 cup Dad's Spice Mix Shameless plug. Since American chili has its origins in Western Americana, use chili powder, taco spice mix, or similar. Dad's mix is mighty good, though.
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste Really enriches your sauce.
  • 16 oz salsa Use your fav. We like Rick Bayless's Frontera Roasted Tomato, but I also think Old El Paso brand is really good.
  • 14 oz diced tomatoes with juice I use canned unless I have some summertime fresh off the vine.
  • 12 oz beer If you need more liquid to cover, use water or broth (beef or chicken). Homemade is always best.
  • salt and pepper As you like them, to finish before serving.
  • sour cream Optional garnish when serving.
  • cheddar cheese, grated Optional garnish when serving.
  • green onions, chopped Optional garnish when serving.
  • cornbread or crushed tortilla chips Optional, except a no-no for low-carb folks. Serve the chili over any of these.

Instructions

  • Sauté meat in oil or fat in a pre-heated skillet over medium heat. Take your time. The idea is to cook off the water in the meat—yes, water in the meat—and develop lots of browning, aka flavor. I've made chili with ground turkey and chicken, back before we starting maxing out the fat, and these meats especially contain lots of water.
  • Reserve the meat in a bowl and sauté the veggies, adding more fat/oil if needed. Give this at least 5 minutes. I call for the onion-celery-green pepper "trinity" here, but have also used onion-celery-carrot (a mirepoix) and have subbed red pepper for green…even roasted reds out of the jar. I am particular to Mezzetta, being a longtime California guy. All good.
  • Add garlic to the sauté, stir in, and cook for a minute.
  • Add the spices and tomato paste, stir in well, and cook for two minutes.
  • Add the salsa, diced tomatoes, and beer. Up the heat to high and stir well.
  • Add back the cooked meat and stir in thoroughly.
  • Lower heat. Cover the pot and simmer for two hours, checking and stirring every 30 minutes or so, just to drink in the aroma.
  • After two hours, remove cover. If there's too much liquid, continue cooking at a bubble until the sauce is thickened to your liking. If this seems to be going too slowly, up the heat, or if there's just way too much liquid—or you just can't wait—remove some with a big spoon. You won't be sorry later.
  • Taste for richness. Add salt and pepper and sample until you're satisfied, starting with a teaspoon each. Careful with the salt—folks can always add more if they like.
  • Finally, serve in bowls with your favorite garnish(es) and starchy additions.

Notes

Make a big batch with two pounds of meat and freeze what you can’t finish in a day or two. Freezes well and also tastes better after sitting a day.
If you use Dad’s Spice Mix, you’ll get some heat at the back of your throat, but not too much, we don’t think. To spice things up, add diced jalapeños to the veggie mix or add you favorite hot sauce as you consume. 
The garnishing is very important to the eating. If you’re Keto-conscious, sour cream, green onions, bacon bits, and/or grated cheddar are all great. I used to love serving chili over crumbled cornbread or crushed tortilla chips, but don’t do this now as we’re low-carb’ers. And, of course, that’s why there are no beans in this recipe. I am getting along just fine without them…I suppose.
Hope you’ll enjoy crafting your own version of this favorite. Make it; enjoy it; freeze it. enjoy it later. It’s one of those dishes that gets better for several days after making.

Brussels sprouts are the new green beans

For holiday feasts, that is. I have nothing, exactly, against the standard green bean, mushroom soup, onion things casserole. But unless you make it from scratch, it just doesn’t compare, for flavor with this easy and candy-esque treatment for b’sprouts. One of the secrets, of course, is bacon. The other is to cook the heck out of the sprouts until they are the kind of candy you like. Continue reading

Easy Southern green beans

A friend, Betty Lou M., who grew up in Richmond, Virginia, says she has been making this recipe since before she was a young bride 60+ years ago. These beans are very easy to make and mighty good—a great side for any occasion. We think they would probably be even better with fresh, local green beans, but know it’s OK if you’re too lazy to try this, like us. We’re pretty sure these beans are close to the ones at Cracker Barrel.

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Attack of the Killer Tomatoes*

Attack, as in flavor attack! I still get excited when I try something new that should have known about or figured out all along. Case in point: tomato sauce comes in a jar or can, right? Guess again, Dad. It’s so easy and fast to make tomato sauce that is better than any canned sauce. I kicked myself all the way back to the farmers market for more tomatoes. Or, you can get them from a friend who’s been overwhelmed by their homegrown tomatoes—again—even thought this happens every year!

Picked up several pounds of homegrown Romas from a friend at work yesterday and made our own fresh tomato sauce and salsa (ole!). I’m warning you…you ‘ll never go back to the bottle after enjoying the killer flavor of fresh tomato sauce.

* Attack of the Killer Tomatoes (movie, 1978)

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