Passport for Your Palate-Chili for a Chilly Day

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I don’t know about you, but fall is one of my favorite times of the year. I love the cooler temperatures, the changing colors, and the leaves’ musty smell as they sink into the earth. On these cooler days, and always a tradition for Halloween, I make chili.

Who doesn’t love a good bowl of chili on a chili day?

Chili is so versatile, quick, and easy to make. A bowl of it on a rainy day curled up on the corner of the couch with your favorite game make for a perfect day. One of my favorites go-to recipes is found in The South Beach Diet Quick & Easy Cookbook. It is their Beef and Been Chili. Of course, I am one of those cooks who may try a recipe exactly as is the first time, but it gets creative after that. Sometimes for the fun of it and sometimes because you are missing an ingredient, you begin to make substitutions. In our house, we refer to that as “makeshift.”

During Halloween, when the kids were young, I got creative. First, I decided to make a double batch and then spice it up a bit. I also cut back on the tomatoes since they aren’t the kid’s favorite and diced the onions to make them less noticeable. Another, not so favorite, of the kids. If you click on the hyperlink above, you can see the original recipe. Below here, I’ve shared my most recent diversion. Note: I use many organic products and check all ingredients and seasonings because we have a daughter with Celiac Disease. You can substitute as you see fit. My recipe is Gluten-Free.

Chili Recipe

2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 pounds ground venison (the men in our house are hunters)….ground beef or ground turkey work as well.
5 teaspoons chili powder, divided
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground red pepper
1 tablespoon Hershey’s Cocoa Natural Unsweetened
1 large white onion, chopped
4 large garlic cloves, chopped
2-15oz cans Organic Pinto Beans rinsed and drained
2-15oz cans Organic Diced Tomatoes in Tomato Juice No Salt Added

Heat oil in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat. Add venison, 2 teaspoons of the chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, cocoa, and red pepper; saute until browned, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer venison to a plate.

Add onion, garlic, and remaining chili powder to the same pan; cook over medium heat, occasionally stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes with juice and beans; cover and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Uncover, add cooked venison, and cook an additional 5 minutes or so, until liquid thickens slightly—season to taste with salt and pepper and serve hot.

Makes 8 servings

I like to throw it in the crockpot from the saucepan and let it simmer a bit longer for more flavor. We serve with light sour cream and shredded cheese along with some tortilla chips. Of course, I always think it tastes best on the second day. That is why I like a double batch for leftovers! Let me know if you like this, and I would love for you to share your favorite chili recipe with me. Enjoy!

Lisa Rossmeissl is the owner of Boomerang Escapes, a home-based agency located in Old Bridge, New Jersey with agents in TN, MS, and WI. 

She has been a professional travel consultant since 2008 and specializes in Australia and the South Pacific. Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji, and Cook Islands are among the specialist certificates she holds.  Her agency’s focus is on creating custom itineraries with their client’s wants, desires, and budgets in mind.  She and her planners believe in getting to know the traveler to ensure they have a vacation to remember.  With each planner specializing in a different market area, Boomerang Escapes can offer a wide variety of leisure vacation planning.

Lisa RossmeisslPassport for Your Palate-Chili for a Chilly Day

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