Apron Free Cooking ~ Prize Winning Chili
By Noel Lizotte
January is a month for watching the budget. For one thing, I’m trying to recover from all the holiday extravagance and excess. For another, I’m looking ahead to manage the yearly budget. It seems like every year, I plan to do better managing the money. I get a bit crazy with all kinds of money saving ideas.
Then my husband speaks up with his voice of reason and reminds me that our goal is to simply live on last month’s income. Last month’s income is money in hand, as opposed to living paycheck to paycheck. Working towards this small goal has helped us relieve some of the money stress that always threatens.
We try to set small goals and identify the steps to reach them. I try to do what I can to help, since balancing the check book isn’t my strong point; I save money in other ways. Fixing budget friendly soups that can stretch over several meals is one thing I am good at.
It also helps that during a cold month like January, a hearty bowl of soup is a welcome suppertime item! Not only are we eating a budget friendly food, but it’s one we like. Last fall, I entered this chili recipe in a local chili cook off. I was surprised to win the top honor!
Prize Winning Chili
1 jar (8 oz) medium salsa
1 cup diced green peppers
1 can (14 oz) yellow corn, drained
1 jar (12 oz) enchilada sauce
1 lb ground hamburger, browned
1 can (14 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cans (14 oz) red chili beans
1 can (14 oz) baked beans
2 cans (14 oz) diced tomatoes
Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker and heat on low for 6 hours or high for 3 hours.
Approximate Nutritional Values: Servings 24, Calories 117, Total Fat 3g, Saturated Fat 1g, Cholesterol 12mg, Sodium 552mg, Total Carbohydrates 17g, Dietary Fiber 5g, Sugars 3g, Protein 8g. Note that these values are approximate and will vary based on the ingredients you select.
Make it a meal: Serve with a sandwich for a full meal. A popular sandwich with chili seems to be simple peanut butter on white bread. If you’re looking to make a bowl of chili the meal, add a variety of toppings, banana or jalapeno pepper slices, shredded cheese, sour cream, diced onion or a dash of hot sauce alongside some cornbread, biscuits, or crackers.
Since this makes a large crock-pot full of chili, we’re usually able to make it last for a few days worth of lunches after our initial supper. I’ve also started freezing some of the leftovers for future use. The easiest way I’ve found is by placing two cup servings in zip top bags and lying them flat to freeze. I mark on the bag with a black felt tip pen the name and date. These flat bags stack neatly in the freezer and the two cup size makes a perfect single serving.
My parents have been the recipients of these frozen leftovers and my dad likes having an option in the freezer for a quick supper on those nights that mom has to work late. This prize winning chili not only helps me stretch my grocery budget over the week, it helps my folks too. This is a budget friendly recipe that I’m happy to share.
Noel Lizotte is breaking free of corporate stress with convenience cooking! www.apronfreecooking.com.