Monday, December 6, 2010

Chili Mac

I know all of you north of Florida have been experiencing cold weather and even snow for a few months now. But here in good ole’ sunny Florida, this week is the first week of consistently chilly temperatures; and when I say “chilly” I mean the highs are just at or below 70 degrees, with nights in the 40’s or 50’s. So what did I make to celebrate these chilly temperatures? Chili! I thought about following a recipe but that seemed boring. So I looked at a few different recipes and then I just winged it. Turns out, chili is pretty hard to mess up. I love to serve mine over some macaroni with a sprinkling of cheese, but feel free to serve yours straight up. Here is my version. Feel free to add or subtract whatever you like.

Basic Vegetarian Chili:

  • 1 package veggie crumbles (optional)
  • 1 large can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can Rotel tomatoes (diced tomatoes with green chilies)
  • 3 cans beans, any variety, drained and rinsed (I usually do a dark/light kidney bean combination)
  • 1 can vegetable broth
  • Olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 4 oz. frozen butternut squash, defrosted
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

In a large soup pot, bring to medium/medium high heat, coat with olive oil. Sauté onions, bell pepper, and carrot until soft, about five minutes. Add garlic, sauté for one minute. Stir in the squash. Add beans, tomatoes and rotel tomatoes with liquid. Stir in spices. Add vegetable broth. Cover and bring to a boil. Uncover, reduce heat, and simmer for one hour or until ready to serve. Serve over macaroni, sprinkle with cheese.

A few tips about this recipe:

  • The veggie crumbles are completely optional. They are really tasty, but if you don’t have them on hand I wouldn’t run to the store to get some just for this recipe. I’ve made this recipe with or without them and it is equally delicious.
  • The squash is also optional, but highly recommended. It gives this chili some added veggie power and makes it somewhat silky and smooth.
  • Feel free to adjust the heat level of the chili to your liking.

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