As promised, I will be sharing some healthy/easy/tasty recipes with you all – home cooking is much healthier (and much cheaper) than restaurant or store-bought food and, as I hope to show you, it is actually really easy and worth your time! For my first installment: a regular menu item for my table/lunchbox, a delicious chili con carne recipe (makes 4 portions) adapted from The Minimalist maestro Mark Bittman (his book ‘How to Cook Everything: The Basics’ is phenomenal and is how I learned to cook)!
All you need is:
- 1 pound of ground meat (I used ground turkey which is a bit lower in fat than ground beef),
- salt and pepper
- 1 chopped large onion,
- 3 cloves minced garlic,
- spices (1 teaspoon cumin, 2 teaspoons chili powder, 1 teaspoon dried oregano)
- 2 cups chopped tomatoes (I used canned chopped tomatoes for convenience),
- 2 (15 oz) cans of drained/rinsed beans (I used kidney beans, but you can any beans including pinto, black, or even garbanzo beans)
- a couple tablespoons of cooking oil (I used olive oil).
- Technically this recipe calls for 1 minced jalapeño for spice, but you can absolutely leave it out or use an alternative for spice (I use 1 teaspoon dried hot chili powder, because I can’t get jalapeños easily).
- Heat the cooking oil in a pot over the stove at medium-high heat, then when it’s heated up add the ground meat, season with salt and pepper to taste (remember to keep that salt under half a teaspoon per pound), and cook, stirring ocassionally, til the meat browns (about 10 minutes).
- Then add your chopped onion and keep cooking, stirring every few minutes, until the onions are soft and getting golden (about 5 minutes).
- Now throw in your minced garlic, jalapeño or chili, and spices; stir all this in for about 1 minute until the spices smell really delicious (this is around the time your family/roommates will poke their head into the kitchen to see what’s cooking).
- Next you toss in the beans, chopped tomato and combine — let that mixture come to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cover the pot.
- Let your chili simmer on the pot, stirring every once in a while until the beans are nice and tender and the chili starts to thicken (about 30 minutes). Then uncover and simmer for a couple more minutes to thicken, adjust seasoning if necessary, and that’s all folks!
Enjoy your chili with some whole grain rice or pasta or bread or tortillas, maybe top it off with a dollop of yogurt or sliced avocado or a small amount of grated cheese: this is comfort food at it’s finest! And, depending on which ingredients you use, this is a fairly healthy dish, with a little less than 500mg sodium per serving (so about 20-25% your daily allowance), only about 12g (if you use turkey) to 20g (if you use beef) of fat per serving (15-30% daily allowance), not to mention a good amount of protein and dietary fiber.