Saturday, July 25, 2009

Pantry Chili

It's been an interesting week. TS returned home from camp a week early with a virus; DD returned from camp on time but was not thrilled to see TS camped out on the couch getting all of the attention.

So I divided my time this week working, attending to TS (from now on known as Virus Boy) and trying to get DD out of the house to do something fun. Some days were better than others, and I'll just leave it at that.

Anyhow, last night, VB's appetite returned from out of nowhere with a vengeance. At 5:30 he hoarsely announced from his spot on the couch, "I want spicy meat for dinner." Of course, I had a turkey breast in the oven, which didn't qualify as "spicy meat". I really wasn't in the mood for plain old turkey anyway. I decided to carve that up and freeze it for the future.

As I scrambled around looking for inspiration on the "spicy meat" front, DD put on a pout because I had promised her she could have her favorite vegetable, a baked potato, with the turkey breast, and she thought that plan was now ruined.

My choices were a bit limited, but I knew I had some ground turkey in the freezer. "How about some chili?" I asked the kids. To my great surprise and relief, DD answered, "I love chili" (how did I not know this after 12 years?) and VB said, "Can you make it extra spicy?" I assured him I could, and told her that chili is delicious on top of a baked potato, which made her happy.

I didn't have any tomato products in the pantry except for one can of diced tomatoes, which I ruled out because DD doesn't like any chunks of tomatoes in her sauces. I thought I'd wing it and use a jar of Newman's Own Marinara sauce, along with some chili spices, and see how it went. In the time it took the potatoes to bake in the oven, we had a respectable little pot of chili. Ole!

Pantry Chili
Serves 4

1 - 2 T. olive oil
One half onion, chopped fine
Two cloves garlic, chopped
1 lb. ground turkey (dark meat) or lean ground beef
1 can Chili Beans (essential ingredient - lots of flavor)
1/2 jar Newman's Own Marinara sauce (more or less)
1 cup water
1 T. regular chili powder
1 t. medium hot chili powder
1/2 t. ground cumin
shredded sharp cheddar cheese for topping

Heat oil in a Dutch Oven over medium-low heat. Add onion and garlic and slowly saute until soft, about 8 minutes. Add turkey, increase heat to medium, and brown completely. Drain off excess fat. Stir in one can of Chili Beans (undrained), sauce, water and seasonings. Simmer for 20 - 40 minutes. Ladle into bowls (or on top of baked potatoes) and top with shredded cheese.

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