Warm Heart, Chili Recipe

After my mom got a diabetes diagnosis a few years back (she is mostly a-ok, thanks for asking), her quasi healthy living/eating lifestyle kicked in to "let's get serious" mode. Since she is an elementary school teacher who follows directions so absolutely to the T that my school science projects were tedious exercises in measuring rather than the one-off joke assignments they were supposed to be, it is no surprise that she is an excellent little patient, strict about what she eats but creative enough to find things that actually taste good. When I go home on weekends (which is happening more frequently now that I'm a brief 45 minutes away and boyfriend is an agonizing 4 1/2 hours), I can pretty much be sure that I will be force-fed the kind of sustenance that my grandmother says "[my] body is craving but [I] always deny!"

I try to come away with at least some of her cooking, usually soups which can be easily carried on NJTransit and are unlikely to burst open/stink me up. Now that we're in the winter months, her food is skewing towards stews, chowders, and chilies, a fact that makes me want to snuggle up with a down comforter and watch the commuters slip and slide on the sidewalk my landlord doesn't de-ice.

One of my favorite recipes is her chili. It is impossibly easy (the total recipe, which I got over the phone walking to grocery store, was jotted down on a piece of paper in less than 10 lines), impossibly healthy (mom says it is rich in protein, loaded with antioxidents and vitamins, and very low in carbs), and lasts for days. It's also one of those things you can refrigerate and defrost and it is magically 10x better than you remember. I like to get some fresh bread to go along with it


1 onion
1 tablespoon cooking oil
ground beef (however much you want to eat)
1 1.25ox packet of McCormic's original chili seasoning (because my little grocer is not big on recognizable names, I couldn't find this. They did sell packets of taco seasoning, which I used instead. It tasted sort of similar)
1 can (14 1/2 oz) stewed tomatoes
1 can (14 1/2 oz) DelMonte's diced tomatoes
cheese for grating (optional)

Saute onion in oil until translucent
Brown beef
Add the seasoning packet, stewed tomatoes, and diced tomatoes
Simmer on medium-low heat for at least 15 minutes
Serve, top with grated cheese

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