As much as I have faith in myself as being a good baker, I have never prided myself on being the most amazing cook. People have frequently complimented my dinners, but if I didn't follow recipes exactly, I would be completely lost. I am not one to quickly throw amazing meals together with just a few ingredients and I am not very inventive when it comes to "real food" (as opposed to food that has a high percentage of sugar). That being said, there are two things I can generally always make well without a recipe: lasagna and chili. I think this is mainly due to the fact that I have made both of them more times than I can possibly count so I know the processes like the back of my hand.
Today was one of those days when the morning seemed to so quickly turn into the afternoon. Alice and I were meeting to discuss future plans for this site (food groups, side pages, features, ads, etc.) and time seemed to be passing by at a fast speed. Suddenly our stomachs were growling, but since the children were well-behaved and occupied, we wanted to continue to get our "work" done (I put work in parenthesis because some might argue using that term to discuss the process of blogging). So, I hurried through the kitchen and decided to throw together a pot of chili, something that generally only takes me a few minutes. It was done and on the table within thirty minutes, making our mouths happy and our bellies warm.
Please keep in mind, this is a very loose recipe. Chili is quite forgiving and can be made many different ways, so feel free to throw in whatever you would like (real meat, faux meat, sweet potatoes, carrots, peppers, grains, etc.)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large can (28 ounces) crushed or diced tomatoes
2 cans (15 ounces each) of beans, drained - black, garbanzos, kidney, and/or pinto
1 can (15 ounces) corn, drained or 1 cup frozen or fresh
2-3 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional- depends on how spicy you like it)
1/2-1 teaspoon salt
1/4-1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1-2 cups water or stock, depending on how liquidy/thick you like it
Heat olive oil over medium-high in a large pot or saucepan. Add onions and garlic and saute until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes, beans, and corn. Bring to a boil and add chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, if using, salt, and pepper, and water or stock. Stir well. Turn heat down and simmer for about 20 minutes.
Serve topped with your favorite chili toppings. My favorites are leeks or onions, grated cheese, sour cream, toasted pumpkin seeds, and, surprise, chocolate chips.