Jan 5, 2006

Guest Blogger #3 - Plugged In Homeschool

I'm happy to welcome Barbara from Plugged In Homeschool as my third Guest Blogger for this week. She's got a great blog about homeschooling so if you homeschool or if you are considering it, take a look! She has some awesome resources.

I hope you all have been enjoying the posts from my guests! Barbara is my last guest this week and I will have a new guest each Monday from now on. I am always happy to hear from anyone interested in being one of my guests, so if you are interested, just drop me a line at chefmichele@gmail.com. I'll be back tomorrow with a recipe I think you'll really love and I have batteries for the camera now so I'll have pics too :)


Yes, We Can Can Chili
from Barbara at Plugged In Homeschool

Hi everyone! I'm guest blogging for Michele today. We both homeschool and write, so I guess we have quite a bit in common. I write a blog at http://www.pluggedinhomeschool.com. My goal at PIH is to help homeschoolers learn about tech topics, good websites, software, and the like. Like most homeschoolers, we live on a tight budget, and have learned some techniques for cheap cooking.

Personally, I like recipes that are cheap, easy, nutritious, taste good, don't require advance planning, and are liked by everyone. That's a tall order for a recipe, isn't it! One that fits the bill is what I call "Yes, We Can Can Chili". I always think of the old Pointer Sisters' song "Yes, We Can Can" when I make this because I basically just open cans!

Well, there's a little more to it than that. As far as advance prep goes, it's always nice if you have cooked ground beef and chopped green peppers ready to go in the freezer. Actually, I usually use ground turkey, costs less, less fat, and we all like the taste! Anyway, a nice make-ahead tip is to brown 4 or 5 pounds of meat all at once when your cooking, and store the extra in the freezer. (Four pounds is about all my skillet can handle.) If you garden, or get a chance to get some green peppers cheap when they're in season, be sure to chop them up and store them in a freezer bag in the freezer. You can take out as much as you need anytime.

If you don't have cooked meat on hand in the freezer, this recipe can be made with TVP, too. For anyone unfamiliar with TVP, it's a soy meat substitute that we buy in bulk from the health food store. It's dry, so you can keep it indefinitely. Just soak in an equal part of water and it reconstitutes, and can be used like ground meat crumbles. It's quite inexpensive, but not as tasty as real meat (IMHO.)

To make "Yes, We Can Can Chili," simply combine the following ingredients in a large pot. (Adjust the portions to fit the size of your family. We have 4 kids, ages 12 and up, so I tend to think in large portions.)

Equivalent of 1½ to 1 pound of ground beef, cooked

2- 15 oz. cans of chili beans

1 quart home canned tomatoes or the equivalent. This can be whatever you have on hand. I've used canned diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste with water, odds and ends of salsa that is getting old, etc. I suppose a can of spaghetti sauce could even be used (for an "international" dish).

½ cup chopped green peppers

1 can whole kernel corn (which results in another nickname for this dish, "Chili con Corny".

Seasonings to taste, including onion and garlic powder, chili powder (quite a bit, depending on the beans), cumin (nice taco-flavored touch), celery powder, salt and pepper.

Add water if it's too thick to heat up without scorching. Heat it up and eat it up!

You may notice I don't make a big deal about chopping up an onion for this. I must admit, I am not a big onion fan, but I like the flavor of dried onion, just not too much. Garlic, now there's another story! As for onions, I recently discovered that I like pot roast and beef stew much more if I don't put in any onion at all! (Many of you are probably aghast at that suggestion!)

Anyway, come on over and visit me at Plugged In Homeschool some time. I've been trying to feature a weekend tech how-to article every Saturday. Don't worry, if I write it, it'll be simple!

God bless you all!



Cyndi said...

I seldom go to the trouble to chop up onions every time I cook–I keep chopped onions stored in a ziploc bag in the freezer, and pull out whatever I need when I need it. If I need a bit of fresh onion, I chop up the remainder and add it to the bag. For recipes like this, I brown the onion in with the ground beef. Sounds like a tasty recipe.

Anonymous said...

This does sound like a tasty recipe. Thank you!