Monday, September 27, 2010

Fall food!

I woke up this morning and quickly noticed that it's not summer anymore.  I actually had to wear a jacket to work today, brrr!  While I love the crisp, cool fall weather, I'm not a huge fan of the gray clouds and drizzly rain. Plus, it's Monday...that alone is enough to put anyone in a funk.  To cheer me up, my lunch today consisted of one of my favorite foods for a cold, rainy Monday.  I present to you:

On Saturday, after my crazy home improvement projects were done, I made a huge pot of chili in the crockpot.  Not just any chili, mind you.  This is my mom's famous chili, that I've made for years.  Its's Cincinnati-style, but better because it's thick and hearty like Texas chili, but still has that distinguishable Cincinnati-style flavor.  My friends who've had it refer to it as "crack" because you really just cannot stop eating it.  Really, it's an addiction.

With my commitment to eating healthier came a few tweaks to my chili recipe.  My mom still makes it the "old" way, and when I see the half-inch thick layer of grease that forms atop the pot while it simmers, I shudder a little at the probable fat content. The major change that I make to mom's recipe is that I've substituted ground chuck for very lean ground turkey.  You really don't notice much of a difference, except for aforementioned lack of grease.  The recipe is very simple... here's how it's made:

1 can tomato paste
2 lbs ground turkey
2 cans hot chili beans
1 packet chili seasoning (I use the Cincinnati Chili blue packet - although most grocery stores locally have Skyline and Gold Star packets too.)

First, dump the can of tomato paste into the crockpot, then use the empty can and fill it up four times with water and dump it into the crockpot. Add the chili seasoning and give it a stir.  Tear up the ground turkey into little pieces and add to the mix.  Then drain the beans and add them in.  Stir it up again and cover.  Simmer for 3-4 hours and wait patiently for it to cook:

Once your whole house smells of heavenly chili goodness, it's probably ready to be consumed.  I top mine with mild cheddar and Frank's Red Hot (I put that BLEEP on everything!) and eat it as a dip with tortilla chips.  You may notice in the pic above that these are blue corn chips.  One thing I've been trying to do lately is to eat less processed foods that are loaded with preservatives.  When I am comparing packaged foods, I try to choose items that have very short ingredient lists:

As you can see, with only 3 ingredients, none of which contain chemicals, these blue corn tortilla chips were an excellent choice.  With my chili and chips, I enjoyed a glass of 3/4 water with 1/4 apple cider:

It's interesting to note that when I was first losing weight, I paid careful attention to calorie content, and because of that fact, I ate a lot of processed foods.  Lots of Lean Cuisine, Smart Ones, Healthy Choice.  Today, while I do have an occasional processed meal, due to time constraints, mostly I just watch my portions as opposed to actual calories. I find not only that I continue to successfully manage my weight doing this, but I feel a lot better. Today's lunch took me no longer to prepare than it would to make a packaged entree, and I found it much more hearty and filling.  Best of all: I have servings to last me at least another few days!

Readers:  How often do you cook as opposed to just popping in a packaged meal and nuking it?  What are your favorite fall foods?


mthorn2000 said...

buffalo chicken dip loaded with Franks (that $#&@ is good on everything)

I usually settle for nuking most of my meals

tissygoalie1 said...

Gabs!! I LOVE your idea of 3/4 water and 1/4 apple cider. I love love love hot apple cider in the evening under a blanket...but i know it's not the best for me...I have held out so much while that gallon stares at me from the fridge. Guess what I will be drinking this evening?? :) This is why I love you!