Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Chili & Cinnamon Carrots

When fall finally peeks through the hot summer temps, I'm ready to cook something chili:)  This is also when I tend to take a look at my spice cabinet to see what is lacking which would result in a highly enjoyable activity: placing a Penzeys order!  Few things seem to excite me as much as ordering spices, especially when there's always a free surprise in the box:)

So, this afternoon, as Jonah napped and Livy played quietly (Hallelujah!) I placed my coveted Penzeys order including yummy things like: Bouquet Garni, French Thyme, Whole Nutmeg, Lemon Extract & a free jar of 'Raspberry Enlightenment'...hungry already.

A great recipe for using lots of wonderful spices is chili- here's my recipe which we enjoyed last night and see what I like to pair it with too:)

Basic Beef Chili
2 tbsp veg oil
2 medium onions, minced
1 medium red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded & diced
6 medium garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tbsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 pounds 85% ground beef
2 (15 oz) cans kidney beans, rinsed & drained
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (28 oz) can tomato puree
table salt

1. Heat the oil in a large heave bottomed nonreactive Dutch oven until shimmering.  Add onions, bell pepper, garlic, chili powder, cumin, coriander, red pepper flakes, oregano and cayenne and cook, stirring often, until onion is softened and beginning to brown, approx 10 mins.
2. Increase heat to medium high and add 1/2 the beef.  Cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink  and beginning to brown 3-4 mins.  Repeat for second 1/2 of beef.
3. Add the beans, tomatoes with juice, tomato puree and 1/2-1 tsp salt.  Bring to boil then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally for 1 hour.  TIP: If the chili is sticking to the bottom of the pan, add 1/2 cup water.
4. Remove the lid and simmer for an additional hour until beef is tender and chili is dark, rich & slightly thickened.  Season with salt & serve with condiments.

Recommended condiments:
Sliced avocado, lime wedges, diced fresh tomato, shredded cheddar or Monteray Jack cheese, sliced scallions, sour cream & cilantro.

Since I'm a wuss when it comes to heat in my food, I don't use the full amount of chili powder etc... and like to pile my cooked chili on Cinnamon Carrots- the added sweetness from the carrots is delish!

Cinnamon Carrots
1lb carrots, sliced thick
1/4 cup sugar
3 tbsp butter, melted
1/4 tsp cinnamon
3 tbsp boiling water
salt to taste

Place carrots in casserole dish.  Combine other ingredients and pour over carrots, coating well.  Cover & bake at 350 for 1 hour or until carrots are tender.
TIP: this is a really old recipe and since I end up with a large amount of 'carrot juice' afterwards, I'm working on tweaking this since I love them so much...maybe subbing Stevia for the sugar:)

Both of these recipes are very easy to tweak to personal taste & preference- I made the chili with just 1 lb of ground beef and no one was the wiser!

Have fun with your spices and cook something yummy for your family:)


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