Yesterday she mentioned soups. Soups are good! Soups are delicious! Soups are easy to make, and they’re healthy too. Plus soups are perfect cool-weather food.
It’s been rather cool here lately, with temperatures generally in the 60s. Nights get downright chilly with temperatures dropping down into the 50s and even the 40s! It’s starting to feel like fall.
So when Kathy started mentioning soups, one thing came to mind immediately. And that, my friends, is my world-famous chili.
A freshly-ladled bowl of my famous chili, with made-from-scratch corn muffins in the background. We also had mixed-green salads to round out the meal. Yummy!
Karyl’s Famous Chili
(Makes 8 Servings)
2 Tbsp canola oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 to 3 jalapeño peppers, seeded and chopped
1 lb extra-lean ground beef or ground turkey
¼ cup chili powder
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1 28oz can whole tomatoes with liquid
1 16oz can kidney or pinto beans, drained
Salt and pepper
Heat oil in a Dutch oven or heavy pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, jalapeños, and ground meat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 6 minutes.
Stir in the chili powder, cumin, and oregano and cook for a minute, until the seasonings are aromatic. Add the tomatoes, breaking them up with a wooden spoon, along with drained beans.
Bring the chili to a boil; reduce the heat. Then simmer for 30 minutes, or until the chili is thick and the flavors are blended.
Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve.
The simmering time of the chili gives you just enough time to make up a batch of homemade corn muffins. By the time the muffins are baked, the chili is ready to eat! I use the recipe on the back of the Quaker Corn Meal container, except I only bake for 15 minutes. Try them — they’re delicious!
Aside: The best cornbread I have ever had is still, hands down, the cornbread that used to be served at Lockhart’s Seafood Restaurant in Norfolk, VA. They had sweet, moist, cranberry cornbread that was given to every patron, and it was absolutely to die for.
Another aside: My birth mom was good friends with the owners of Lockhart’s throughout my entire childhood. JT would bring my sister and me hot doughnuts from Krispy Kreme on the weekends when we were kids. Eventually my birth mom ended up working there when I was in my teens. I worked there as well when I visited her, bussing tables. When Kurt and I first got together in 2000, he found a nice restaurant to take me to one night in hopes of impressing me. What restauarant did we end up at? You guessed it — Lockhart’s. Unfortunately the place is now closed, but it had some seriously delicious good.
This time I used ground turkey instead of ground beef in my chili, though you could just as easily use soy crumbles or an extra can of beans to make it vegetarian. I ruined the healthy aspect of my chili slightly by adding several crumbled Ritz crackers to my bowl. I don’t know what it is, but a bowl of chili isn’t complete until it’s been garnished with Ritz crackers. Go figure.
One day I was discussing crackers with Kurt, and I asked him, “What is the only cracker in the world more delicious than Ritz crackers?” With him, that’s a trick question. He doesn’t even like Ritz crackers, so he answered, “saltines.” This man could eat saltines every day of the week! They are tasty, especially the mini saltines that they’ve come out with to go into soups and stews, but Ritz are better.
And what, pray tell, is the only cracker in the world more delicious than Ritz?? My friend Julie was over here last week and, without any kind of prompting or influence from me, answered the question correctly, “Why, it’s Club crackers!”
God, I love me some Club crackers. I remember when you’d always get a couple of packs of Club crackers with an order of soup at almost every restaurant. I could eat packet after packets of Club crackers. There is just something delicious and wholesome about them.
Kurt?? He thinks they’re vile and disgusting, even moreso than Ritz crackers.
Some days I wonder how I could possibly stay married to him!
It was my turn to pick Grace up from school today. Kurt usually takes her in on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, which causes him to be late. That’s what you get when your workday starts at 7:30 in the morning!
I walked into Grace’s room, and her teacher beckoned me over to her and told me she needed to talk to me. This is never good, when your kid’s teacher needs to talk to you! My heart started to pound, and my brain raced with all kinds of possibilities. She’s said a bad word, she’s punched a classmate, she’s not listening to her teachers. What could it be??
Betsy leans over to me, all conspiratorally, and whispers, “Ummm, Grace finishes her lunch before some kids have even sat down to eat. Do you think you could add more food to her lunch?”
That was it??? Just that Grace is a pig and scarfs her food?? This, I can handle. I asked Kurt later what he had packed in her lunch, and he told me there was a sandwich and a pack of fruit snacks. This obviously isn’t enough food for her, so hopefully he’ll add an apple to her lunch for next week. That should keep her in her seat for at least another ten minutes.
One can hope, anyhow.
I was surprised to hear how quickly Grace eats her lunch at school. Here at home, it can take her a good thirty to forty-five minutes to ingest her lunch or dinner. Frequently we end up losing our tempers and threaten her with some kind of punishment to motivate her to eat. Betsy looked at me when I told her this, and asked if we were talking about the same child.
I tend to wonder myself!