One of the easiest ways to stay on a clean diet is by cooking meals at home instead of being the slave to the drive through. With fast food, we all know most of it is crap…good tasting crap which is the whole point of feeding America’s addictions…and should be used sparingly. But who has time to cook elaborate meals? Not many people. But you would be surprised how quick you can get a meal on the table that looks good and tastes even better. You don’t need fancy equipment or gadgets. And if you have a slow-cooker, a whole new world of quick cooking is open for discussion.
With the colder weather coming in, I firmly believe in the versatility of soups and stews. I believe there is an infinite way to make vegetable soup. Or potato soup. Even chili has a way about it that begs for variety. But the common thread of all these is that you can make them quickly! And of course it is true that all of these taste better the second day after they have had time to comingle and get all jazzed up together. However, the first night, when you’re late coming in from work and it’s dark and cold outside, the kids are screaming, the adults are grouchy, the pets are misbehaving, all you want is something quick and good for you.
Tonight’s chili took a total of 30-40 minutes and I spent extra time (2 minutes) making a small bowl of cilantro lime sour cream for a topping. That little dollop of sour cream made a nice change to the chili. All I did was brown my beef and vegetables (together), pour in cans and spices, and let it cook for 20 minutes. I didn’t have to stand over it. A secret ingredient gave it a deeper richer flavor without the all day cooking time. This can also be made in the crock pot and it WILL have that all day flavor.
Beef and Bean Chili with cilantro lime sour cream.
- 1.5-2 lbs of lean ground beef or ground sirloin. Any other beef will need to be drained after browning.
- 1 can of light red kidney beans, drained
- 1 can of red beans, drained
- 1 can of crushed tomatoes or tomato puree DO NOT DRAIN
- 1 can of diced tomatoes, drained
- 1/2 cup of celery
- 1 cup of onions (red or white, whatever you have)
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 4 cups of beef broth
- Spices: I do not measure. My family likes a spicy smoky flavor so I go heavy on chipotle, cayenne, and cumin.
- Chipotle—about 1 Tablespoon
- Cayenne—very stout, only 2 TEAspoons
- Cumin—2 Tablespoons
- Ancho chili powder—1 Tablespoon
- Smoked Paprika—2 Tablespoons
- half a bottle of dark beer
*******1 cup of Sour cream, one lime, 1/8 cup of chopped cilantro*******
1. In a large 5qt stockpot, brown beef, garlic, onions, celery together. Do not need to drain unless using a fattier beef.
2. Keeping heat on med-high, add the cans, water, beer, spices, salt to taste.
3. Bring back to a low boil, reduce heat to med-low and let simmer uncovered for as long as you can let it go. I was in a hurry, so mine simmered 20 minutes. Stir occasionally. It should be a very low simmer. Since the beef is done, the rest is just mixing and getting happy.
4. While the chili is cooking, prepare the sour cream. Zest most of the lime into the sour cream. Cut lime in half. Squeeze juice into sour cream. Add cilantro. Stir. Be amazed. It’s an amazing cooling topping for the hot chili.