Three Bean Chili Super Bowl LV

chili madness

Before we get to this year’s chili recipe I’ve decided my Three Bean Chili Madness was a pain in the rump to make because I cooked the beans and meat/veggie mixture separately. This year’s version is more of “everyone in the pool” which truly becomes less of a pain in the rump. So here we go.

  • This chili cooks all day long but I didn’t use a slow cooker.  I was hunkered down in the house and the chili got the stove top treatment. You could easily use a slow cooker but you would still need to brown the meat and veggies before everyone goes in the pool
  • The beans get an overnight soak and a quick rinse before adding to the pot. Don’t make the same mistake I made. I soaked six cups of dried beans and had way too much beans. So approximately 3-4 cups of soaked beans went into the chili while the remainder is being turned into Sopa de Frijol con Vegetal – Updated 11.10.20
  •  This is a mild chili and you can add heat to your liking. Always easier to add the spice than to put too much in and figure out later how to tame the flame.

So now that you know this is not a pain in the rump recipe…

1 T extra virgin olive and 1 T grape seed oil
1 large sweet onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 large green pepper, diced
2 tsp garlic powder or several cloves fresh garlic, chopped (or both)
1 tsp each oregano, paprika, chili powder, cumin, dried cilantro
1 can (15 oz) stewed tomatoes
1 can (15 oz) no sodium chicken broth1 small can mild green chilies
3 T tomato paste
1 C each dry Mayocoba beans, pinto beans, and cranberry beans
1 lb ground turkey 85/15
Salt & pepper to taste
Cayenne pepper to taste

  1. Place the dried beans into a bowl large enough to hold the beans when fully plumped up.  Rinse the beans with water several times.  Fill the bowl with fresh water and soak overnight.
  2. In the morning drain then rinse beans.  Drain again and set aside.
  3. In a large stock pot heat the oils and saute the onion, celery, and green pepper until softened. Add the chopped garlic and saute for another minute.
  4. Add the meat and brown.
  5. Time to toss everyone else into the pool.  Spices, tomatoes, paste, chilies, broth, beans.
  6. Simmer for several hours.  Stir occasionally.  Add more water or broth if the chili gets too thick. Adjust your seasonings.
  7. Serve with grated cheese, sour cream, and your favorite hot sauce.
  8. Yum.

More odd tips

Don’t add salt until the end.  The Mayocobo beans will break apart and make this chili creamy and thick (unless you add more broth or water).  The recipe will make approximately eight servings.  I used chicken broth and as the chili cooked down and got too thick I added vegetable broth.  Note you can use either fresh or dried garlic. I used both. You can never have too much garlic.

Don’t forget to make Texas Corn Bread because if you forget it, you’ll regret it.

Black Eyed Peas – Pandemic Version 2021

Aliens wearing headlamps skinning up a mountain somewhere Aspen CO

I make black eyed peas once a year for New Year’s Day.  For good luck and good leftovers. 

I was at the grocery store yesterday and a lot of the shelves were bare. New Years plus an upcoming Oklahoma ice storm with predictions of up to 8 inches of snow sent a lot of people to the stores to clean out the shelves. I didn’t realize at the time that this year there would be no Badass Black Eyed Peas for the New Year. Not a single package of ground turkey. The only ground beef in the meat section were 10 pound rolls. I was fortunate to find some 80/20 in the butcher case. This too was almost gone. I forgot the bacon. The celery looked bad (but I knew I had one stalk left at the house). This year’s black eyed peas was definitely a Pandemic Pantry version.

Before we get to this year’s throw together recipe here are a few odd tips and tricks for this year’s version.

  • The beans still need to simmer for several hours.
  • The beans get an overnight soak in filtered water and you will change the water several times before preparation
  • Everyone in the pool? No, not this year.
  • Unlike other chili recipes this recipe has hints of chili.  But due to limited ingredients this year’s black eyed peas will be more chili-like.

So now that you know this isn’t Badass here’s what I had to do.

1 medium sweet onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 large green pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp each smoked paprika, chili powder
1 T Mexican oregano
1 T cumin

1 14 oz can tomatoes with chilies
1 qt no sodium chicken broth (or more, see odd tips)
2 T tomato paste
1 lb black eyed peas
1 lb ground beef 80/20
Salt & pepper to taste
Cayenne pepper to taste

  1. Place the dried beans into a stock pot large enough to hold the beans when fully plumped up.  Rinse the beans with water several times.  Fill the pot with fresh water and soak overnight.
  2. In the morning drain then add fresh water to the beans. Change the soaking water at least twice.
  3. Turn burner up to high and heat up a large stock pot. When the pot is hot brown the beef and break up well. Don’t add any oil to the pot because you’ll have plenty of fat in the 80/20.
  4. When the meat is browned take off the burner and drain well.
  5. Bring the pot back to the burner and turn heat up to medium. Add the onion, celery, green pepper, garlic and saute until softened about five minutes. 
  6. Add the spices and saute another five minutes.
  7. Drain the beans (it’s OK if there’s a little water left).
  8. Now toss everything else into the pool.  Tomato paste, broth, tomatoes with chilies and the beans.
  9. The chicken broth needs to barely cover all of the ingredients.
  10. Bring to a boil then simmer for several hours with the pot partially covered.
  11. Check the pot and stir occasionally.  Add more broth as the peas cook and the dish thickens.
  12. Serve with grated cheese, sour cream, and your favorite hot sauce.
  13. Yum.  Makes about 10-12 servings.

More odd tips

Don’t add salt until the beans are cooked through and soft.  There is plenty of salt in the chili powder and broth so salt last.  As you adjust the seasonings you may want to add more chili powder and/or oregano.  I tend to use garlic powder (my less than top secret favorite flavor enhancer). I also added dried cilantro. I would have used beef broth but I didn’t have any. As the dish thickens add more broth (I had an open container of organic vegetable broth so this is what I used).

This dish might taste better on day two but I haven’t even tasted it on day one yet.

Texas Corn Bread of course.

Genetically Modified Pig OK to Eat

“It shouldn’t have been approved until they had adequately addressed the allergenicity of the product,” said Jaydee Hanson, policy director for the Center for Food Safety.

FDA approved its first GM pig for consumption, potentially safe for red meat allergy sufferers — https://thecounter.org/fda-approves-first-gm-pig-galsafe-red-meat-allergy/

What’s in that sausage?

Frankenpig. This too shall be placed on my Never to Eat List along with…

Genetically engineered salmon goes on sale for the first time – New Scientist

Pandemic Pantry One Bean Chili

chili madness

See Three Bean Chili Madness for my odd tips and tricks for making chili. Or not. Up to you.

It’s snowing today so clearly chili had to be made. I made a trip to the grocery store yesterday but didn’t have chili on the brain so I was missing some ingredients. I know I had two green peppers in the fridge but somehow I used them both yesterday. No worries because part of the Pandemic Pantry mindset is to use whatever is on hand, improvise, and try not to waste any food. So if you don’t have two cups of leftover sauteed onions and peppers sitting in the fridge, it’s OK. Use a fresh pepper. No stewed tomatoes? No problem, use what you have on the shelf. Sub ground beef for ground turkey. Let your provisions and imagination be your guide.

1 T extra virgin olive or grapeseed oil
1 /2 medium sweet onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 cups leftover sauteed onions and green pepper from last night’s dinner of faux fajitas OR 1 large green pepper
2 tsp garlic powder OR 2 cloves fresh garlic chopped
1 tsp each oregano, paprika, chili powder, cumin
1 can (15 oz) stewed tomatoes
1 cup low sodium beef broth

1 small can mild green chilies
3 T tomato paste
1 cup red wine
1 pound dried pinto beans
1 lb ground turkey
Salt & pepper to taste
Cayenne pepper to taste

  1. Place the dried beans into a stock pot large enough to hold the beans when fully plumped up.  Rinse the beans with water several times.  Fill the pot with fresh water and soak overnight OR use the quick soak method of bringing to a boil, cover and let sit for one hour.
  2. Drain then add fresh water to the beans.  Bring to a boil, add your soup recipe seasonings, then lower the heat down to a simmer.  The seasoning for the beans is based off my Sopa de Frijol con Vegetal soup recipe.  Leave out the tomatoes until later.  (No salt and no chili powder yet).
  3. Allow the beans to simmer for several hours.
  4. In a different large stock pot heat the oil and saute the onion, celery, and green pepper (if using fresh) until softened. Add the garlic (fresh or powder) and saute for another minute.
  5. Add the meat and brown.
  6. Add red wine and cook off the alcohol.
  7. Add the stewed tomatoes and break up the tomato chunks into smaller chunks. Add tomato paste, stir well and simmer until mixture thickens.
  8. Time to toss everyone else into the pool.  Spices, tomatoes, chilies, broth, cooked beans.
  9. Simmer for several hours.  Stir occasionally.  Add more broth if the chili gets too thick.
  10. Serve with grated cheese, sour cream, and your favorite hot sauce.
  11. Yum.

More odd tips

Don’t add salt until the beans are cooked through and soft.  If your chili powder has salt in it I would add after the beans have softened. The recipe will make approximately eight servings. You need Texas Corn Bread with this or ANY chili. I’m not kidding. As always this chili is mild because you can always add the heat but if you make the chili too spicy to begin with…good luck. I had some kidney beans but decided not to put them in this chili.

This recipe is not in the book pictured.  But I always flip through the book to see what other cooks put in their chili. Besides, I love the cover.

Mid-afternoon seasoning adjustments

You’ll need more than one cup of broth. I’ll end up using between one and two cups to get the consistency where I want it to be. I might change the OR for garlic powder and fresh garlic to AND. Added more onion powder, chili power, dried cilantro, salt and pepper. The beans are soft and will get softer because I’m letting the chili go another two hours on the stove.

More Random Thoughts on Sunday After Thanksgiving 2020

Sunday 11/29

Never get too high, never get too low. Trust the Process which has been developed and refined for nearly 45 years of weight loss followed by weight gain followed again with weight loss… The Truth Machine today displayed 177 and I am both pleased and relieved. I survived another Thanksgiving feast! Reading this you might think I’m compulsive about my weight. Guilty as charged. You get kind of obsessed with your weight when you never want to be 370 pounds again, ever. I am 70 inches tall. In high school I was the shortest (and heaviest) power forward on the hardwood. I had a decent shot but was better at rebounding because I took up so much space. I was also Captain of the tennis team but that’s a whole other story.

The roller coaster of shifting weights has been the story of my life. A constant struggle. A battle between the food within reach and my brain, one saying yes, the other saying well, here we go again. Part of the problem of losing a lot of weight is complacency. Knowing what works and what to do is not the same thing as doing that thing. I got lazy and allowed myself to balloon back up to 200-205. The Truth Machine had lost its policing effect. My brain started rationalizing, hey it’s a hell of a lot better than 370! Besides most people gain weight as they age…

I’m old enough now to remember what life was like before unsocial media. One (of the many) things I dislike about unsocial media are those dumb ass reminders in your online photo collections: One Year Ago Today…Two Years Ago This Week, etc. Well, at Thanksgiving this year for me, this unsocial media feature got a bit less unsavory.

“I saw a Memory on my photo timeline the other day. We were on the beach in Rhode Island and you looked heavier than you do now.”

“You mean fatter.”

“Not fatter, just heavier. You look really good now.”

And this ends the story of the best Thanksgiving ever observing Covid-19 pandemic guidelines while preparing turkey in a way you’ve never done before. Random Thoughts the Day After Thanksgiving 2020. The turkey turned out great and I got validation my weight loss efforts were working (again). The Mojo is back. I’ll be working on my book for a few hours today.

Random Thoughts the Day After Thanksgiving 2020

Friday 11/27

Remember the Mantra: never get too high, never get too low. The Truth Machine this morning stared back at me with the number 179. Yes, we had a very good Thanksgiving how did you know? Too much sugar, too many calories, too much of a good time. But remember the mantra. I’m convinced my number will come down again. Maybe not today or tomorrow but the number will come back down.

A random encounter at the grocery store may have changed my Thanksgiving turkey buying habits forever. As I was mindlessly staring at the frozen birds another shopper came over, excused himself and reached for what appeared to be a very small turkey breast. He already had one in his other hand so I just had to ask,

“What is that?”

“Boneless breast. My wife doesn’t want any other type of turkey for Thanksgiving and told me to get two.”

I picked up one of these from the freezer section and examined it. I’d never seen a boneless turkey breast roast before. Bone in yes, boneless no. What the hell why not? I bought one only to be told by MY wife when I got home to go get another one so we can have leftovers. Which I did. The only picture I snapped was the pre-roasting picture. I didn’t take a picture when the turkey came out of the oven because the turkey skin didn’t brown but the veggies in the pan did.

Uncooked and not recommended to be consumed without cooking first.
  1. Defrost for two days in the fridge.
  2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  3. Remove the outer wrapping, pat dry with paper towels and do not remove the string webbing holding the breast meat together in a roast shape.
  4. In a roasting pan scatter chunks of onion, celery and carrots (peeled or unpeeled, up to you).
  5. Season the veggies well. I used salt, pepper, garlic powder, thyme, and parsley ( I couldn’t find any rosemary or that would have gone into the mix). Sprinkle the veggies with some olive oil.
  6. Place the roasting rack in the pan, spreading the veggies enough so that the rack sits firmly in the pan. Position your breasts so that they don’t fall through the rack.
  7. Rub olive oil (or melted butter, your choice) on the breasts. Season well. I used the same seasonings as in Step #5 with the addition of onion powder. No rosemary unfortunately.
  8. Tent the pan with aluminum foil and roast for 1.5 hours. Remove the foil at this point and continue roasting for another 30 minutes. (broil for five minutes if you want to try and get the skin brown for pictures).
  9. Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 15 minutes, foil tent back on to keep the meat warm. Using a pair of kitchen scissors carefully cut and remove the string webbing.
  10. Slice and serve.

Each boneless breast is approximately 3 pounds and will provide 4-6 servings. Since our Pandemic Inspired gathering was 4 adults and 2 Tiny Humans we had plenty of turkey for leftovers. Two of the four adults are dark meat aficionados and we sacrificed our personal preferences for ease of preparation. Everyone was quite pleased with how the boneless roasts delivered very moist and flavorful turkey.

Mmmm…good turkey!
Just avocado for me please.

One of the Tenderest Steaks

The duo compare the flat iron to a famously tender and expensive steak: the filet. “The flat iron is the second most tender muscle on the animal but it has so much more flavor, and is a fraction of the price,” Turley says. “The customers that come in for the first time…they think ‘I gotta get the most expensive thing, that’s going to be the best thing.’ You don’t have to…this is a better value and you’ll be super happy with it,” says Young.

Meat Experts Butcher One of the Tenderest Steaks — https://www.eater.com/21547837/meat-experts-butcher-flat-iron-steak-beef-chuck

There isn’t a home cook alive who doesn’t appreciate a good value at the grocery store. In fact I was at the store today and couldn’t help but notice shoppers routinely ignore the flat iron steaks and head straight to tenderloins. I had some already in the freezer but I picked up some more.

Source: https://www.certifiedangusbeef.com/

Note this cut is also known as Top Blade Steak.

Source: https://www.certifiedangusbeef.com/

Due to the strip of cartilage in Top Blade you’ll do better low and slow with moist heat. Flat Iron Steaks are cut to remove the cartilage and is the better cut for grilling. But none of this really matters in our house because these are two of my favorite cuts for pot roast, stew, stroganoff, etc. Tri-tip is another good choice for low and slow treatment as in my Tri-Tip Beef Stew.

This post is prelude to my Beef Stroganoff post which I’ll get around to writing one of these days. Promise.

Sloppy Turkey Joes

It’s been four months since Covid-19 changed our lives. For most of us fortunate enough to stay healthy we have adjusted to spending more time at home. More time at home for me has meant more cooking. Breakfast is typically a simple no cook meal. Sometimes I’ll cook lunch. Most nights we’ll sit down to a home cooked meal. But after four months you try not to repeat too many dishes and vow to find/make something different. I’ve bought more cookbooks than I care to admit. I’ve spent a lot of time on food blogs looking for something tasty to try. But despite the plethora of recipes on the planet sometimes you just can’t decide what to make.

“Why don’t you make Sloppy Joes?”

Why do I make life so hard on myself sometimes?

The sheer beauty of a dish like Sloppy Joes is its simplicity. This was one of the first recipes our sons learned how to cook when they were kids. Ground meat, ketchup, mustard, done. The kid recipe came from a cookbook for kids that has long since disappeared from my collection. Any Sloppy Joe recipe is simple, easy to fix, and tasty. It’s the perfect recipe to get your kids on a cooking path.

I haven’t written much on the Pandemic Pantry lately. The stores around me are well stocked and my pantry is well stocked. The trick is to pick up a few things at the store every time you shop as potential pantry items. If you use them during the week great but if not,  just toss them in the pantry or freezer for later use. I always pick up a package of ground turkey when shopping. There was an entire package of onion buns in the freezer (if you don’t freeze your bread you should). I like to have bell peppers in the vegetable drawer and I always have onions.

And there you have it. Turkey Joes. Psychologists say it’s important for people to recall and share memories. Recalling and sharing helps us find meaning and connect with others. I believe I’ve found true meaning and can connect with others by remembering and sharing my Sloppy Joe story. If you’re interested in making the original kid version use ground beef, ketchup, and mustard. Leave the rest of the ingredients out. I’m not kidding.

Inspiration: The Chunky Chef (because her SEO consultant is doing a great job).

Turkey Joes

  • 1 pat butter
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, small dice
  • 1/2 large sweet onion, small dice
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 T brown sugar
  • 1 T yellow mustard
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper
    several dashes of hot sauce

Instructions

  1. Heat butter and oil in large skillet over high heat.
  2. Add the onion and bell pepper, reduce heat to medium and saute for a few minutes until the vegetables have sweated.
  3. Turn the heat back up to high and add turkey. Break apart into crumbles and saute until the meat is no longer pink. Do not drain the meat/veggie mixture.
  4. Everything else in the pool. Mix well and simmer over low heat for around 15 minutes.
  5. I hope you remembered to defrost some buns.

Makes enough for 4 large or 6 smaller sandwiches if you know what I mean and I think you do.

Update 07.29.20

During a recent conversation with my favorite nephew in the United States I happened to mention the kid cookbook that went missing.  The Boss picked up on my error and was rather quick to correct me.

“Is this the book we don’t have anymore?”

img_2073

As a matter of fact yes it is.  Naturally I had to find the Joe recipe.

img_2074

So there you have it.  Proof of the original Joe recipe that I used to start the kids on their own lifelong love of cooking.  Next Gen up will make recipes from this cookbook too.

And yet another reason why my wife of way too many years is The Boss.

 

The Pandemic Pantry – Shopping Day 07.02.20

The original Household Executive order from an earlier Pandemic Pantry post has now been amended twice.  The following is the Amended Household Executive Order for grocery shopping:

You are now allowed to go to more than one store per week so long as I need or want something that you cannot find at a single store.  You no longer have to shop with the old people and are permitted to go at times when store traffic isn’t busy. You will always wear a mask and keep your distance from everyone else in the store. You may wander up and down the aisles like you usually do (but do it quickly).  You no longer have to abide by the original “do not shower before going and decontaminate immediately upon return” section of the original decree.  The decontamination protocol is suspended for the time being but may be reinstated at any time in the future without advance notice.

When you return from the store you will wash your hands for 20 seconds then put the groceries away.  Place the bags of grocery items on top of the newspaper on top of the kitchen island.  Any and all paper and plastic bags will not be recycled.  They will go into the garbage along with the newspaper that covered the island surface.  Disinfect the items you think need disinfecting.  If you choose not to disinfect an item I must be informed of these items and agree not to touch them for 72 hours.

Don’t buy any more tuna.

The grocery store was not busy at 3:00 pm but busier than I expected.  I managed to find everything on my list.

  • Toilet paper and paper towels were well stocked.
  • Cleaners and disinfectants aisle was not.
  • Meat was plentiful.
  • Fresh fruits, vegetables, bagged salads all in ample supply.
  • Dairy, cheeses, eggs were well stocked.

But the best part of my shopping trip had nothing to do with food.  I estimated around 90% of the customers were wearing masks.  I only wish more of us would care more about the health of others and wear masks.  The number of grocery stores I shop at now is a short list.  The behavior of both store management and the customers pretty much determine where I shop.  As an example at the liquor store I’ve been shopping at for over 16 years  all of the employees wear masks.  If you decide to shop indoors you must wear a mask.  Despite the fact this store offers curbside minimal contact purchasing I like shopping in store.  Plus the times I’ve entered the store I’m typically the only customer there.  Apparently most of the other customers prefer curbside or delivery.

Stay safe.  Wear a mask.  Don’t go to these places or events:

Serious7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Pandemic Pantry – Shopping Day 05.02.20

The Household Executive order from an earlier Pandemic Pantry post has not been allowed to expire.   The order however was amended.  The following is the Amended Household Executive Order for grocery shopping:

“You are now allowed to go to more than one store per week so long as I need or want something that you cannot find at a single store.  You no longer have to shop with the old people and are permitted to go at times when store traffic isn’t busy. You will continue to wear a mask and keep your distance from everyone else in the store. You may wander up and down the aisles like you usually do. You will not shower before going. When you come back you will wash your hands for 20 seconds then put the groceries away. Disinfect the items you think need disinfecting. The plastic bags will not be recycled. They will go into the garbage. You will then go into the laundry room where you will strip down and put your clothes into the washing machine. Then and only then you go to our bathroom to decontaminate (and don’t use my bar of soap, use your body wash).”

The grocery store was less of a scavenger hunt this week.  There were still some empty shelves but I managed to buy most of the items on my list.  With all of the supply chain issues still ongoing I didn’t know what to expect.  Here are my observations from this morning.  Bear in mind your specific locale may be a lot different.

  • Toilet paper and paper towels were back in stock (limited brand choices and limited supply).
  • Cleaners and disinfectants aisle was empty.
  • Meat was plentiful.  Those creepy scary pictures of empty meat cases you see online?  That was not a problem here.
  • Fresh fruits, vegetables, bagged salads all in good supply (except zucchini and I wanted some zucchini).
  • Frozen french fries were available (another internet horror story of shortages).
  • Dairy, cheeses, eggs absolutely well stocked.

Retails prices on meat are creeping upwards.  So while the supplies are plentiful I picked up a few extra items for the freezer.  Last week I found frozen turkeys for $0.49 a pound so I have a ten pound bird in the freezer.  Here is my Pandemic Pantry Freezer Supply:

  • The turkey
  • Three or four loaves of garlic bread (one might be five cheese bread)
  • Rolls
  • Several loaves of whole grain bread
  • Two deep dish pie shells
  • Spinach and potato pirogies
  • Spinach and cheese ravioli
  • Cheese tortellini
  • Corn, peas, spinach, butternut squash
  • Two packages ground turkey
  • Chicken breasts
  • Two packages top blade beef
  • Two small sirloin steaks

So now between the canned/dried pantry items, freezer items, and fresh finds when found we should be OK even if the excrement hits the rotating blades.  I can shop at two stores a week.  I had already bought some items at my first allowed grocery stop two days ago (because someone in the house tosses dairy on the expiration date and we needed ice cream).

I’ve been even more diligent about keeping my food waste low since the pandemic started, since our visits to the grocery store are few and far between. So when I was taking stock of what was on hand the other day, the puzzle pieces started to move into place in my head…

Beth at https://www.budgetbytes.com/about/

It’s comforting to know your thoughts are shared by others during the Greater Depression.   I have definitely reduced the amount of food waste in our household.  Shopping trips for grocery items are definitely reduced in number and some trips will be bountiful while other trips less so.  Nice to know I’m not the only cook who stares at “the puzzle pieces” to figure out what to make.

IMG_1966