Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Dark Days Week 10: Easy Chili & Biscuits

As I was cooking dinner this evening, I realized it would make a great candidate for my Dark Days meal this week. I call this “Easy Chili” since I don’t bother with a recipe. For the chili, I sourced only some of the ingredients locally, although it would be easy to find them all with a little planning. The biscuits and spice mix did not include local ingredients, but they were made from scratch, so that should count for something. :)

Normally, I would bake corn bread to accompany the chili, but I was out of corn meal so I made “Easy Biscuits.” My family prefers them to cornbread anyway. “Easy,” to me, means that I can combine all ingredients into a bowl in one step, stir and bake without ever having to get out a mixer or rolling pin. Here’s tonight’s recipes. One of these weeks I’ll remember to take a picture before we eat it all up.

Easy Chili
(serves 3-4)

¼ to 1/3 lb ground beef (fresh from our cow in the freezer)
1 onion, diced (Farmers’ market)
1/3 cup bell pepper, diced (frozen from last summer’s CSA)
1 can diced tomatoes (grocery store for me)
1 cup water, local :)
1 cup red beans, cooked (I have local beans in the pantry, but I forgot to cook them in advance, so these also came from a can)
4 tsp taco seasoning mix (homemade, recipe to follow)

About 45 minutes before dinner, brown ground beef and onions until beef is no longer pink and onions are transparent. Stir in the rest of the ingredients and simmer until time to eat. Pour into bowls and top each bowl with:

Dollop of sour cream (local Tillamook)
Small handful grated cheddar (Tillamook)
3-4 black olives, sliced (from far away unless you live in California)

Easy Biscuits
(makes 6-8 large biscuits)

1-¾ cups flour (I use part white, part whole wheat)
2-½ tsp baking powder
1-¼ tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
¼ cup vegetable oil
¾ cup milk

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl until moistened. Drop by large spoonful on lightly greased baking sheet. Bake 450 degrees, 12 minutes.

Taco Seasoning Mix
(I use this for chili, tacos, enchiladas, fajitas, etc.)

2 Tbsp chili powder
5 tsp paprika
4-½ tsp ground cumin
3 tsp onion powder
3 tsp salt
2-½ tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (I omit because I don‘t like it so spicy)

Combine all ingredients and store in an airtight container. To season 1 lb ground meat, cook meat until no longer pink then add 8 tsp seasoning and 2/3 cup water. Simmer uncovered 10 minutes.

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