Cooking when you have a police officer in the family can be difficult! Even if you are fortunate enough to have your officer on a day time schedule the chances that he will actually get to eat dinner with you and the family are rare. My officer, Officer Hottie, works day shift but still doesn't get home until about two hours after we've eaten dinner so the meals I make need to taste good cold (as he is usually starving the second he walks in the door) and reheated (since I try to make enough to send with him to work the next day).

I hope you can find some meals here that your family will enjoy as much as ours.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Beef and Black Bean Chili

My family loves chili. And by loves chili I mean would eat chili every day if they could. And by every day I mean every meal. I have a few chili recipes in my box that I go back to over and over and this one is a slightly modified Weight Watchers recipe. Officer Hottie actually modified it, since he was the first one to make it. I'm glad he did. When I looked back over the original recipe it looked fairly blah but after the modification it's more like "Shazam!" Good stuff. 
This recipe makes 14 1-cup servings. If you are watching what you eat the original recipe has 4 WW points per serving, but with our added extras this version is probably closer to 5. And if a one cup serving doesn't sound like much, don't be fooled. This is hearty so one cup goes a long way!
Oh, and this is the doubled recipe. We always double this one because otherwise, there wouldn't be leftovers!

You will need ...

1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 lb ground beef  (the leaner the better)
4 (15 oz) cans low sodium black beans, undrained
2 c medium chunky salsa
15 oz can tomato sauce
2 packets chili seasoning (that's cheating, isn't it? Oh well.)
1/4-1/2 c pickled peppers, chopped

Sorry. I forgot to start taking pictures until I got to this stage ... 

Cook the onions and garlic over medium heat in some olive oil (1 or 2 Tablespoons) until they are soft about 3 to 5 minutes. This part always gets me. Onions and garlic cooking are a happy smell to me. I can't be angry with that smell going on.

Add the ground beef and cook until it is browned. Drain if necessary. I have found that I like to cook the meat until all the fat has cooked back into the meat. I buy our ground beef at Costco so is is only 12% fat (at most) so there really isn't a lot of fat to cook out, but when the beef is browned and starts to get a little bit crispy - oh boy. I love love love that! I think I love it because then all the "meaty" flavor is gone. I realize, meat should taste like meat, but meat should not taste like raw meat when it is cooked. Yes, I get grief for feeling that way. I don't really care.

While the meat in browning, drain and mash two cans of beans.

My mother-in-law buys these for Officer Hottie when she visits family in Canada. He loves them and puts them on just about everything. For some reason we cannot find them here in the states - at least this brand. I'm pretty sure any brand of pickled hot pepper will do, even a can of diced jalepeƱos would be good.

Chop the peppers up

Then add everything to the pan. The undrained beans, the mashed up beans, the tomato sauce and salsa, the seasoning mix and the chopped peppers. And YES. I think chili seasoning mix is cheating. This is the only recipe I have that calls for it. I'm pretty sure it's because it's from a 5 ingredient cookbook. One of these evenings when I've thought it through a little bit better I will just mix up my own chili powder and cumin and whatever else in in there. Until then ... I'm taking the easy road.

What a mess. Trust me though; the mess is worth it.

Mix everything up and let it simmer for as little as 10 minutes or as long as you want.

Serve it up. Top it with cheese or sour cream or whatever you like on your chili. We eat it naked - it's that good. Ok, wait. We aren't naked when we eat it, the chili is naked. Whew ... that could have been embarrassing.

See how good it is Mom? See how I'm taking a giant bit? See how my bowl is almost empty? See? See? See how I'm the first kid finished? Did you see? Take a picture Mom!

Time to get a cookie for Lil' J. He did a great job.

For a printable recipe click HERE

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