September 16, 2011

Beef and Vegetable Chili

It feels like fall!!  Today's weather was absolutely gorgeous and left me wanting to make something warm, comforting and tasty for dinner.  After scouring my refrigerator and pantry for ingredients I could throw together to make such a meal, I decided to make some chili.  Chili is wonderfully versatile- there are so many different ways to make it, that you really can't go wrong.  I don't think I've ever made the same chili twice... and today was no exception.  The great thing is, I made a healthy, comforting meal out of things I already had, so I had more time to go outside and enjoy the weather!!

Beef and Vegetable Chili

1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, or enough to thinly coat bottom of pot
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 cup chopped carrots
2 bay leaves
1.5lbs. 93% lean ground beef
1/4 cup roasted red peppers, chopped
2 15.5 oz cans dark red no sodium added kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup low sodium, fat free beef broth
1 15.25oz can no salt added kernel corn, drained
1 tbsp. tomato paste
1 28oz can chefs cut tomatoes with juices

1 tbsp. + 1 tsp. hot sauce, (I used Frank's Red Hot)
2 tbsp. chili powder
2 tbsp. dried oregano
2 tbsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. cumin
2 tsp. coriander
1 tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. sage
1 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. black pepper

2 medium zucchini, chopped
2 small yellow squash, chopped

Optional Garnishes: chopped scallions, shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream... Whatever you like!

In a large, heavy bottomed pot, (I used my cast-iron pot), heat 1 tbsp. olive oil.  Add chopped onion, celery, carrots along with 2 bay leaves, 1/4 tsp. each of salt and pepper- saute until onion is translucent.  Add ground beef and saute until beef is browned, breaking into small pieces.  (I did not drain the fat at this point because the meat I used was so low-fat, if using a fattier meat, I would suggest draining the fat at this point).  Add chopped roasted red peppers, kidney beans, broth, corn, tomatoes, tomato paste, hot sauce, spices, and remaining salt and pepper.  Stir together and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.  Stir in chopped zucchini and squash.  Cover, and keep on low heat until ready to serve.  (I allowed mine to simmer for about 2 hours to let the flavors really combine).

We enjoyed our chili over rice, with homemade corn muffins on the side.  Yum!!

If you are looking for a spicy chili, you will need to add some heat to this recipe.  Also, if you have it on hand, (I didn't), I would recommend adding some chopped fresh garlic to the onion mixture when sauteing.

Overall, this was a very good pot of chili.  It was just what I wanted to enjoy on a cool evening!

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