Thursday, May 19, 2011

Keepers at Home Don't Have to be Gourmet Chefs Every Day

One of the churches we have visited has a coffee break between Sunday School and church. A couple of weeks ago, I was talking to a group of women and one of them exclaimed, "You're so lucky you get to stay home! If I could do that, I'd be able to pull out my cookbooks and make multi-course dinners every night."

Hmmmm. I love to cook, and I've even been told I'm good at it. And on special occasions, when I make up something fancy, my husband appreciates it. However, I also know for a fact that I have days when I'm lucky to get soup and grilled cheese sandwiches on the table by dinnertime. Four-star restaurant, this is not. While I have some complicated recipes in my repertoire, I'm also glad to have learned more than a few ways to get dinner on the table in 30 minutes or less. Below is one of my favorite quickie chili recipes. It's great for busy days or for those summer days when your family craves chili, but you don't want get your kitchen baking hot while you simmer something all day.

Vegetarian Bean Chili
courtesy of America's Test Kitchen - Winter 2010

1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
2 T. vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped fine
3 T. chili powder
2 tsp. ground cumin
3 minced garlic cloves
2 16 oz. cans of beans (I usually use pintos or red kidney beans, but anything along this line will do.)
1 T. canned minced chipotle chiles in adobo
1 1/2 cups frozen corn
salt and pepper

1. Pulse tomatoes in food processor until coarsely ground.
2. Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium high heat until just smoking. Cook onion until softened, about 5 min. Stir chili powder, cumin and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, beans and chipotle and bring to boil. Reduce to medium and simmer uncovered until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Stir in corn and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Note #1: This chili is really good if you top it with sour cream, crushed tortilla chips, avocado and/or shredded cheese.

Note #2: This recipe is designed for 4, but it doubles and triples easily. I once used it when a family of 8 dropped in unexpectedly, and it worked just fine.

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