Posts tagged spices

Mmm, Spicy Chili!

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Ingredients:

  • 2lbs. Ground Beef
  • 3 cans Rotel
  • 1 can Tomato Sauce
  • 2 cans low sodium red kidney beans
  • 2 cans low sodium white kidney beans
  • 1 can low sodium pinto beans
  • 1 can low sodium garbanzo beans
  • 2 cans light beer
  • 1 can beef broth
  • Garlic (fresh or Garlic Powder (I used refrigerated garlic from a jar)
  • Chili Powder(s) (I used regular from the store and Piri Piri from Cruelie)
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Cajun Seasoning (basically more chili powder)
  • Crushed Red Pepper
  • Cumin
  • Hot Sauce (I used my own Fire In Your Hole (Mango Habanero) and Tortuga Hellfire)
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Pinch of sugar
  • Fritos
  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • Sour Cream

Chili Ramblings:

You really can’t fuck up chili.  You just throw shit in a crock pot and leave it for a while, and it’s magically delicious in a few hours.  However, quality ingredients and a few tips I’ve learned over the years will certainly benefit any chili chef.  This recipe probably can’t be replicated, since you won’t be able to access the same ingredients (Cruelie’s Piri Piri chili powder, Tortuga Hellfire sauce, or my own Fire in Your Hole sauce (I don’t think I had a recipe… If I did, I can’t find it…))

So, some tips before I get into how I made this:

  1. Beer.  Always put beer in the crock pot.  Doesn’t matter what kind, just dump some in.
  2. Sugar.  It makes the ingredients blend together.  I always throw in a pinch or two.
  3. Cinnamon Stick.  It’s like chili chocolate.  I don’t know how, but cinnamon in chili is a fucking must.  Do it.  Trust me.  This was my first attempt using nutmeg as well.  I think it worked also, but it’s too soon to make a “tip” out of it.
  4. Beans.  Who says you have to use “chili” beans or even red kidney beans?  I always use them as a base, but include a variety.
  5. Beef.  Some argue to use ground chuck or other expensive beef.  Frankly: you won’t taste it with the other flavors.  Don’t waste your money.  If you want to waste money, get a more expensive beer and fancy spices. These will enhance your flavor better than expensive meat.
  6. Quality spices.  The things that make this chili fabulous are my Fire in Your Hole sauce and my Piri Piri Chili Powder.  There are fancy herb/spice shops you can get good, fresh spices at to include in your chili over the traditional store bought ones.  Invest in one for your chili!
  7. When you think you’ve put enough seasoning in…. double it.  😉  Kidding.  Sort of.  I didn’t give amounts of the spices I used, because it is always “to taste.”  But I dump a shit ton of seasoning in.

Directions: (You’ll put most of the seasonings into the meat while it cooks as well as the crock pot.  Everything except: cinnamon, sugar, and nutmeg only go into the crockpot.  Crushed red pepper and garlic only go into the meat.)

  1. Brown Ground Beef.
    • Season with: chili powder, cayenne pepper, onion powder, garlic, cajun seasoning, cumin, crushed red pepper, 1/2 can of beer.
    • Once beef is browned and beer has cooked off, add hot sauce(s) and cook another minute or so.  Remove from heat, toss into crockpot.
  2. Dump into crockpot:
    • beef
    • rotel
    • all the beans
    • tomato sauce
    • Season with: chili powders, cayenne pepper, onion powder, cajun seasoning, cumin, cinnamon stick(s), nutmeg, sugar.
    • the rest of the beer
    • beef broth
  3. Cook on low 6-8 hours.  If it’s watery, cook on high for a bit to boil off the liquids.
  4. Enjoy with fritos, cheese, and sour cream.

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Salads and Salad Dressings

Often when I “diet” or try to eat healthier, I find myself eating more produce.  More vegetables, more fruits, etc.  Salads are a natural option… but what if I only have two or three “salad” ingredients?  What if I don’t have lettuce?

And what about salad dressing?  That’s where the calories in a salad comes from, but it’s also where most of the flavor is as well.

Some things I’ve learned.

Salad: Even if you only have two ingredients, you can easily make a really awesome salad.  Even if one of the ingredients is not lettuce.

  • Spice up your salad with SPICES.  Rosemary, Dillweed, Garlic, Salt & Pepper, Sage, Thyme, etc.  Don’t go crazy–stick to one, maybe two spices, but it will add a ton of flavor and few (if any) calories to your salad.
  • Who needs lettuce?  One of my favorite salads is sliced Avocado in Balsamic Vinegar… Or avocado and tomatoes, tomatoes and cucumber, etc.  Once, I had *some* lettuce, but not enough for a “salad,” so I used basil leaves as flavorful filler lettuce leaves.  That turned out to be one of the best salads I’ve ever made.

Dressing:  A good dressing can make or break your salad, and also your caloric intake.  Do you know how incredibly easy it is to make your own salad dressing? And generally, they taste a whole lot better than store bought dressings… at least if you’re getting light dressing (nothing beats Ken’s Bleu Cheese in my world.)

I started making my own dressings when I had run out of balsamic viniagrette.  It’s just balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and spices right?  Pretty much.  You can make your own dressing by mixing anything acidic with anything oil-based.  Add herbs and spices for a twist.  Examples include:

  • balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt & pepper
  • lime juice, olive oil, cilantro
  • lemon juice, olive oil, and sage
  • red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt & pepper

Simple, right?  Well…  there are a lot of calories in Olive Oil…  and what if I’m craving a creamy dressing… like ranch… ?  Easy.  You could of course buy some light ranch at the store (*vomits* ever notice how disgusting those are.  Ew.)  Or…  use light sour cream instead of olive oil.  Most dressings are mayonnaise based.  I learned in making dips for parties that most of the good ones have a mayonnaise/cream cheese/sour cream base.  And usually… you can switch up which of the three you’re using.  Whenever I make spinach dip and it calls for mayo, I substitute sour cream.  It works wonderfully when making your own salad dressings.  A personal favorite…  Cilantro, lime, sour cream.  Nom nom nom.

Oh–and if you are craving ranch–I’d recommend a 16oz container of reduced fat sour cream and one of those Ranch Dressing packets.  Light, creamy, and delicious.

 

(Sorry, I forgot to take a pic until after I’d started eating…

This salad is:

  • Baby mixed greens & spinach
  • Cherry/Yellow cherry tomatoes from my garden
  • Cucumber from my garden
  • Red pepper
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Dillweed
  • Balsamic vinegar, reduced fat sour cream, salt & pepper dressing

(with a glass of ice water.)

 

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