A Chili Cook-off: Beefy Beer Chili

Happy March! I can almost see the end of winter… almost.  Lets step back to last week for a second.  February.  Usually when people think February, they think Valentines Day (or, if you live where I live, “Holy crap how is it still winter? I am SO over this BS, I can’t believe I have to endure another three months of this!”).  However, if you are part of the mining group at the company I work for, you think “Annual Mining Group Chili Cook-off”.  And of course, being the Kitchen Queen that I am, I decided to submit a chili (plus I REALLY wanted to knock my co-worker Jon of the podium – as things stood he was a three time winner and this year would be his third time in a row as the Chili Cook-off Champ.  Now, let me just remind everyone that I have only ever made one chili in my entire life – my healthy Seven Bean Chili – which unfortunately placed second to last at last year’s chili cook-off.  It’s actually one of my favourite things to eat…. but apparently not everyone agreed.  I wasn’t going to let my chili come even close to last this year. Nope, not mine.  My chili was going to freaking DOMINATE all the other pathetic wannabe chilies.  I was going to massacre.  Clean house.  Annihilate the competition.  Those chilies would want to BE my chili.  My Chili was going to make the competition it’s bitch.  They didn’t stand a chance.  I researched for weeks* (*I actually only googled the day before).  I found a few unbeatable recipes, and then combined them to make one SUPER UNBEATABLE chili.  I slaved all night to get it right* (*that’s actually not true, I literally just threw all the ingredients in my slow cooker, set it to low and then pressed go…. but I’m just trying to make the story more interesting).  I knew I had it in the bag.  There is NO WAY it could be stopped.  Step 1: Win chili cook-off; Step 2: WORLD DOMINATION. Muhahaahahahah.

photo 2It was noon. Lunch room.  With bated breath, my fellow comrades and I patiently awaited as our co-workers dug into slow cooker after slow cooker, tasting each chili carefully.   I knew I would be victorious.  The votes were tallied, and I held onto my breath while the winners were announced* (*I actually did the tallying so I knew right away what the results were).  I unfortunately did not win, first, second, or even third.  Again, Kelsey’s chili, that she worked SO hard on, came next to last.  My co-worker Jon won for the fourth time, his third in a row, and I was left in the dust, cradling my slow cooker in the corner.  But in all seriousness my chili was no match for the others.  I’m a total rookie.  The taste was there, it just wasn’t good enough.  Heck my chili wasn’t even in MY top three, and the second I tasted it I knew that the coveted Chili Cook-off Trophy, the Cameron Cup, would not be mine this year.  Until we meet again Jon! Which, like is everyday, since we work together, so, I say, UNTIL OUR CHILIES MEET AGAIN JON!

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The Cameron Cup

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Four Time Chili Cook-off Winner

Now, say what you want about my chili, but it actually was pretty good.  It just needed a little more spice I think.  My secret ingredient was beer, and it gave the chili a very interesting flavour.  I think it was missing some sweet, so next time I will add a few tbsp of brown sugar to add to the taste a little bit.

Beefy Beer Chili

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs extra lean ground beef
  • 2 28 oz cans diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 6 oz. can of tomato paste
  • 2 19 oz cans of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can of green chilies
  • 1 fresh jalapeno, diced, seeds in
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 3 gloves garlic
  • 1 12 oz. bottle of beer
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp cilantro
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 1 tbsp (or more) red pepper flakes

Cooking Instructions

  1. Brown beef in a large skillet until no longer pink.  Doing this in bunches may help, since 3 lbs of beef is actually quite a bit of meat.
  2. While the beef is browning, combine tomatoes and paste to the slow cooker.  Add the beans, green chilies, onion and garlic, and all the spices.  Add beer and beef.  Mix all the ingredients together to insure they are evenly combined.  Set your slow cooker to low and cook for 8 to 10 hours.

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Pretty easy right?  Again, I recommend adding some brown sugar to the pot (2 tbsp should do) and adding more red pepper flakes.  My dad actually recommended cooking the beer with the beef, and said that more alcohol would be burned off, making the chili taste less like beer.  Next year I vow to make a prize-winning chili, but as of now, I will have to live with my fifth place recipe.  Here’s to next year!

I actually love eating chili in the winter and fall, it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, which is great considering we hit temperatures of -50 degrees Celsius this winter. Eek!  Be that as it may, I’ve tried to be a good sport.  Ken and I have visited camp a few times this winter, on weekends where it actually warmed up – which is lucky since we only have a wood stove to warm us up.  And of course there’s a sauna.  I wasn’t brave enough to cut a hole in the ice this year but I did just in the snow with nothing buy a towel and my bravery. Of course I immediately regretted it – nothing a little steam and a few shots of Amaretto can’t fix 😉 Happy Baking!

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Healthy Seven Bean Chili

104Hello! Happy Hump Day! I had a fantastic vacation.  It was literally a week of swimming, laying in the sun, snuggling, saunas, and…you guesses it… EATING. Why is it that camping and vacations so often revolve around food? They always do for me. It’s like all my inhibitions go out the window and I’m like, yes, let’s buy those super duper high calorie burgers, and that extra rack of ribs with the super delicious but salty sauce, oh and chips? well yes we NEVER buy these, but let’s get four bags and eat them all. Yikes. That was my week in a nut shell, and while I have no regrets, because I enjoyed every bite of that burger and every rib from that rack, it’s September, Summer is over and it’s time to start eating clean again…to an extent of course. I vow to make as many healthy bakes as humanly possible, but I found some pretty tasty recipes over the last few months and I will eventually have to make them, and they are NOT diet friendly. Oh well, I gotta live a little, right?  I officially started eating clean yesterday, and while I know I will have a little extra treat here and there, I have to stick to it.  I’m going to a wedding in the Dominican in May – huge motivator – and I also have a wedding in April, and one in September (assuming I’m invited to both my cousin’s wedding…which I mean, come on, I will be…).  So, my goal is to lose 32 pounds by Christmas Eve (that’s only 2 pounds a week) by eating clean and increasing my physical activity. I am PUMPED and after one day I am already feeling fantastic.

September means that Summer is pretty well over. Not like we had much of a Summer this year anyway.  It was quite cold aside from a few major heat waves.  But i’m fine with it.  I prefer the slightly cooler weather and I love, love LOVE fall. It’s my favourite season.  I love the fashion, the cool weather, the pretty leaves, Thanksgiving, Halloween, and, yes, the cooking.  Fall bakes are fun.  They are filled with pumpkin spice and cinnamon, apples and brown sugar, cranberries even.  But the cooking is great.  When I think fall, I think comfort. I think soup, and stew, and chili.
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So this recipe I’m sharing today is one that I received from a friend.  I believe this was borrowed from The Eat-Clean Diet, and you can find the original recipe here.  I am all about finding healthy, easy recipes. This one takes the cake.  So the biggest difference between my recipe and the one from the Eat Clean Diet, is that I used beef rather than turkey.  To me, chili means ground beef, not ground turkey.  Yes, you may use turkey. It will definitely cut the fat, but I really do not enjoy the taste of ground turkey, so I opted for the beef.  I upped the amount of onion, using an entire white onion rather than the 1/2 cup.  I omitted the salt and added a tbsp of red pepper flakes rather than the optional adobo sauce.  I love spicy, so sometimes I add more depending on my mood.  I often even omit the red pepper flakes altogether, especially if I am cooking for someone who does not or cannot eat spicy food.  In that case I’ll just top mine with little hot sauce.  One other thing I associate with fall? Slow cookers. I love mine.  It makes things super easy and taste amazing.  The original recipe is cooked stove top, but to me, Chili means a slow cooker.  So, its simple.  Brown Beef. Add to slow cooker.  Add rest of ingredients to slow cooker in no particular order.  Turn on slow cooker and cook for 10 hours on low. Bam. Done. I often eat this topped with a little cheese, and then make myself some homemade garlic toast as a side. There’s two easy ways you can do this: 1. mix 2 tsp. of margarine with garlic powder and dried basil flakes, butter bread of your choice (I use Ezekial Bread) on both sides, then broil until toasted, flip and toast other side, done; or 2. Butter your bread on both sides (i mix basil into the margarine), broil both sides until almost done, and then remove from oven, cut a garlic glove in half, and then rub the toast with the clove.  The second option makes for a less garlicy flavour, but still just as good.

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This chili has seven different types of beans! All protein packed and full of fiber.  Each batch contains bunches of black beans, chickpeas, dark red kidney beans, black-eyed peas, white kidney beans, romano beans and baby lima beans.  This recipe serves about 10, and is approximately 400 calories per serving.  A nice filling supper, full of protein and very little salt.  Again, if you want to cut calories, by using 2.5 lbs of turkey, you are cutting your calories in half.  The ezekial bread and margarine is about another 115 calories. Considering how light my breakfast and lunch are I enjoy having a hearty dinner. Yummy.

Healthy Seven Bean Chili

Serves 10. 400 calories per serving.

Ingedients

  • 2.5 lbs. (40 oz) extra lean ground beef or 2.5 lbs of ground turkey for a lower calorie option
  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 2 – 4 oz. cans of diced green chilies
  • 1 – 15 oz. can Six Bean Medley (low sodium), drained and rinsed
  • 1 – 15 oz. can Black Beans (low sodium), drained and rinsed
  • 1 – 28 oz. can Diced Tomatoes (low sodium) do not drain
  • 1 tbsp. Brown Sugar Blend (from Splenda or Stevia)
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder (I used 2 tsp.)
  • 2 tbsp. white vinegar
  • 3 tbsp. regular yellow mustard
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tbsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp. dried or fresh cilantro

Cooking Instructions

  1. Brown beef in a skillet on medium heat.  Drain all excess fat.
  2. Add all ingredients, including browned beef, into your slow cooker.  With a large stirring spoon, mix all ingredients together.
  3. Once all ingredients are well mixed, turn slow cooker to low and cook for 10 hours.  Serve hot and sprinkle with cheese if desired.

Pretty simple right? I am open to suggestions if anyone has any other great skinny slow cooker recipes. I am DYING to try more.  Next week’s healthy bake will be really really really good.  I have it narrowed down between two recipes: one involves chocolate and peanut butter, and the other involves raspberries and cheesecake.  I’m a total sucker for cheesecake, but there’s just something amazing about chocolate and peanut butter….it’s like they belong together. Anyways I hope you enjoyed this recipe. Remember to check out the Eat Clean Diet for more healthy, clean recipes.  Happy Baking!