Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Quick Chili

Yesterday was a lovely and sunny 65F outside.  Overnight the wind kicked up again and blew in the next storm front.  I awoke to a cloudy day where we hit the day's high temp before 10:00 a.m.  The radio announcer this morning said rain would be moving in during the afternoon turning to snow overnight.  That's just the kind of day that calls for a big pot of chili.  And with my Quick Chili recipe, I can have one ready to eat in under 30 minutes!

In a large skillet or dutch oven I combine the following:
2/3 -3/4 lb cooked, crumbled and then frozen hamburger   (see comments following recipe)
3 17.5 oz cans of kidney beans
2 packages of frozen chopped tomatoes  (see comments)
2 packets of mild chili seasoning  (see comments)
1 package of frozen chopped zucchini (optional - see comments)
1/2 cup catsup
Salt and pepper to taste

Simmer until thick.  Let sit 5 minutes before serving.

Photo via Pinterest
I was too hungry and ate mine
before I could take a picture!
Hamburger - Even as a single person, I buy hamburger 5 pounds at a time.  I cook the whole package, then after it has cooled portion it out into ziplok bags and freeze.  The bigger packages of meat are cheaper per pound so this works out to be very cost efficient for  me.

Tomatoes - When there is an abundance of fresh tomatoes in the garden every August, I cut them into rough 1-inch dices and freeze them in ziplok bags to use during the coming winter in soups, chili, spaghetti and casseroles.  It doesn't take any special preparation... just wash them and cut them and scoop into the bags.  It's frugal, yes.  But it's also a matter of flavor.  Frozen tomatoes keep that really bright fresh tomato flavor that canned ones do not have.  For purposes of this recipe, you can substitute 2 cans of diced tomatoes with or without peppers.

Zucchini - I also cube and partially saute zucchini to freeze in 2 cup quantities.  It makes a good filler in dishes like chili or meatloaf where there is a strong flavor to cover it.  This coming summer I'm thinking about putting the tomatoes, zucchini and some chopped and sauted onions together in a larger ziplock so all the vegetables are in one package.

Chili Seasoning - I often make my own using this Taco Seasoning recipe.  The spices are so similar that I've started using this one pretty universally in Southwestern-themed cooking.  2 Tbl is equivalent to a commercially prepared package.

Taco Seasoning Mix

¼ cup dried minced onions
2 Tbl chili powder
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp crushed dried red pepper flakes
1 ½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp dried marjoram
1 Tbl salt
¼ tsp black pepper
2 Tbl corn starch
1 Tbl dried minced garlic
1 tsp cumin

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl using a wire whisk until well incorporated.  Store airtight in a cool dry place for up to 6 months.  2 Tbl = 1 packet of commercial Taco Seasoning.

To use:  Brown 1 lb ground beef, drain fat.  Add ½ cup water and 2 Tbl Taco Seasoning.  Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.   Makes enough meat filling for 8-10 tacos.

I also use this to season hamburger for Chili.

 I've linked this post to the Made From Scratch Blog Hop # 9 at The Way Grandmama Does It.

1 comment:

Lisa said...

I am cooking chili for supper tonight and your post reminded me that my mom 30 years ago would toss cut up zucchini in the chili and spaghetti sauce. We had a huge garden and so much zucchini to eat! But it was good in the sauces. Love your seasoning recipe mix and i will definitely make it.
Thanks so much for linking up with the "Made From Scratch" blog hop. Hope to see more from you the first Saturday of each month!

The Way Grandmama Does It.