Monday, December 8, 2008

Chili--It's What's For Dinner

We make chili...a lot...and we make a lot at a time...all winter long. Mmmmm.....

Let me try to persuade you to become chili cookers! Every day this week, I'll post a different chili recipe--these are the recipes I've made more than any other in my recipe arsenal, believe it or not. (That includes all types of recipes, not just chili/soup ones!) To entice you to check back each day, here are some reasons to include more chili in your diet:

1. Chili can be supremely economical: because of the strong taste of chili powder, chili can often be made with a different meat than originally called for or no meat at all! Our chili recipes also feature beans prominently: a cheap, healthy addition that helps stretch more costly meat even further.

2. Chili can be quite healthy: we have one killer vegetarian recipe (Black Bean Chili will be posted Wednesday!) that is very low in fat, high in fiber (and taste), and packs a nice nutritional wallop. In addition, White Chicken Chili (coming Thursday) and our Famous Chili (coming Friday) both use poultry instead of beef. Chili is so filling, you simply need some fresh carrot sticks or a piece of fruit to round out the meal. Chili with beans also provides some unrefined carbs--good for those following low carb diets for weight-loss or diabetic reasons.

3. Chili is a comfort food: a big bowl of steaming chili warms you up on cold days! It keeps well in the fridge and can be warmed up quickly after a cold day out Christmas shopping or raking leaves.

4. Chili is flexible for different dietary preferences and tastes: vegetarian, red meat, white meat, spicy, faintly sweet--we have a recipe that will please everyone (except those, like my friend Bridgette, who can't abide the texture of beans... I'll leave it to her to find me a good bean-less chili recipe.).

5. Chili can be made in large batches with minimal extra effort (especially if you buy pre-chopped onions and bell peppers). Thus, it's a great option if you have a crowd of hungry folk coming over.

6. Chili freezes superbly!

7. Chili is just so tasty!

8. Chili can be adapted to different meals: chili over cornbread, chili with chips and cheese, leftover chili on hot dogs or baked potatoes, chili by itself,.....

Perfect Chili-for-a-Crowd Menu

Chili, at least two types (we usually serve one of the red varieties plus black bean or white chicken)
Chips (Fritos or Tostitos)
Cheese (or Velveeta/Rotel Dip)
Sour Cream
Brownies and Ice Cream for Dessert

Incidentally, this is an easy menu for guests to contribute to; simply assign a bag of chips or brownies or one of the toppings if a guest asks "What can I bring?"

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