us vs. hunger

this is me. this is what i eat.

  • these are the foods.

  • these are the meals.

  • these are my friends.

this just in…dinner.

Posted by ernie on February 20, 2008

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well it’s dinner time. i know what you’re thinking. “he skipped lunch!” you’re half right. my eating habits are terrible, this much i admit. sometimes i skip breakfast and go straight to lunch, sometimes it’s dinner all day long. in this particular case it’s skipping lunch and heading straight for dinner, most undoubtedly followed by a late-night second dinner. but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. first dinner comes first.

it’s dinner for two tonight. sarah got home around 5:30 (on the early side for her) so i was able to stave off hunger long enough to join her for a meal. it’s leftovers again, but in a good way. some of my chili accompanied by a mac and cheese that i threw together the other night. i happen to think chili and mac and cheese make a perfect pairing, so this was definitely an easy victory over the forces of hunger.

and the recipes:

mmmmm… chili

  • 1 jumbo can whole peeled tomatoes in juice
  • 1 jumbo can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 peppers, chopped – your choice of colors
  • 1 fresh serrano chili pepper, diced
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 1/2 to 3/4 lb london broil, bite sized cubes
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 2 cans kidney beans, drained
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper
  • lots of minced garlic
  • olive oil – for sautéing

this is crockpot chili. get it on low and set it for 6 hours. i like to throw the tomatoes in there before i do anything else so they have time to get comfortable while everything else is going on. and while they are getting comfortable, get the peppers and onions into a frying pan with some olive oil. add some salt to get them sweating. when they start to get soft, add the spices (cumin, chili, cayenne, black pepper and garlic). once the onions start to brown, toss it all in the crockpot.

return the fry pan to medium heat and add some more olive oil. once that heats up, add the meat. toss in some salt and pepper and cover, stirring occasionally until fully cooked. use a spider or slotted spoon to add it to the crockpot to avoid adding all the oil and fat.

add beans.

let it simmer for a little while (10 minutes) before tasting. once all the flavors start to mingle, taste often and add spices accordingly. you’ll probably ending up adding a lot or a little of everything.

incidentally, you can most assuredly do this on the stove in a stock pot rather than a slow cooker. just keep it coveredon very low heat – barely a simmer. the time frame is about the same. i prefer the crockpot because it doesn’t take up stove space and you can leave it unattended – i.e. leave the house and come home to fully cooked chili.

this is my take on my father’s chili. i grew up on this stuff. mine ups the ante with fresh peppers – including the serrano – and lots of garlic. but that’s the beauty. you can do whatever you want. i usually use ground beef, but this time all i had was cubed london broil. it turned out in our favor. the cubes end up extremely tender after 5 or 6 hours in the pot and melt like butter on your tongue. feel free to make it vegetarian, which i have done with much success. add more or less of of anything or add new ingredients to make it your own. it’s delicious and easy: deliciously easy.

the mac and cheese is much simpler. this is not to say that the chili is complicated, but rather that the mac and cheese is that simple. mostly a last minute side dish, i threw it together with things i found in the pantry.

last minute mac and chee

  • some elbow macaroni
  • half a block of gouda, grated
  • half a block of cheddar, grated
  • a handful of bread crumbs
  • salt and pepper

cook up the macaroni while you grate the cheese. keep the macaroni al dente by rinsing with cold water after removing from the boil. add all ingredients to a casserole dish and mix it up good. top with a little more cheese and breadcrumbs. bake at 350 for 10-20 minutes and then broil for a minute or two to brown the top.

it comes out quite delicious. sarah is especially fond. in my opinion, it could have used more cheese and a little butter for gooeyness. nevertheless it makes a great side dish.

see you next time.

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