Monday, September 05, 2011

Episode 56 - Pantry Chili

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Kristy logic says it's mandatory to plan some sort of outdoorsy activity for Labour Day weekend.  Like, non-negotiable, no ifs-ands-or-buts, mandatory.  I mean, if you don't celebrate summer's last days it may think you don't really appreciate all it does for you and decide never to come back.  Can you imagine?! Life without summer?  Ugh. So, anyway, I don't take any chances and generally do my best to spend the weekend outside.
Now, in my head the entire weekend is always sunny and 26 with a light breeze and zero humidity.  So, in my head, when I planned a 1-night camping getaway for Dawson and I, I envisioned myself floating in the lake in a bikini, umbrella drink in hand, while I became a blonde, bronzed goddess.  Yep, everything is perfect in my head. Stupid head - getting my hopes up like that.

In real, not inside my head, life this weekend was dark, stormy and really really cold!  Instead of getting bronzed in a bikini, I spent most of my time getting windburn and bundling myself in a seemingly impossible number of layers for the first weekend of September -a tank top, a long sleeve shirt, a hoodie, and last but not least, a rain jacket.  If I had thought ahead enough to pack a scarf, I probably would have worn that too.

Crappy weather aside, I actually somehow managed to have a lot of fun on my Labour Day adventure!  We invited some friends to join us for the trip and the four of us managed to keep each other entertained despite the fact that my brain had soooo set me up for disappointment with all it's sunshine and umbrella drinks. Who brings umbrella drinks camping anyways?

We all ate smores, Dawson and I were all gross and love-y and generally, a good time was had by all!

I love love.
Now, no matter how much fun one has, after spending a cold, slightly damp night on a lake named after a private part of the human anatomy, everyone looks forward to coming home, putting on a pair of dry pants and eating some comfort food.  I, personally, had my heart set on a giant bowl of Rachael Ray's Steakhouse Chili. I had it all planned out in my head - get home, shower, don my most socially acceptable sweatpants, go to grocery store for ingredients and make giant bowl of stick-to-your-ribs chili.  All of this was well and good until Dawson reminded me that it's Labour Day (duh) and you can't go to the grocery store on Labour Day - even if you're wearing your most socially acceptable sweatpants.  Damn - stupid brain setting me up for disappointment again.

I was forced to move on to plan B - scrap socially acceptable sweatpants and put on the most ridiculously socially unacceptable (but the warmest and comfiest) sweats I own and make some sort of adapted chili out of ingredients already in our pantry. Genius.  At least my brain got something right.

Pantry Chili - heavily adapted from Rachael Ray's Steakhouse Chili (i.e. no steak)

Chili - deliciously unphotogenic.
4 slices bacon, diced
1 onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 green pepper, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1/2 jalapeno diced
4 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cumin
black pepper, to taste
1 18-ounce can tomato sauce
1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tbsp Frank's Red Hot sauce
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, minced
2 tsp of adobo sauce from the jar
1.5 14-ounce cans of black beans, rinsed and drained

Heat a heavy bottomed pot over medium high heat and start cooking the bacon chunks.  After about 5 minutes, or when the bacon looks almost cooked, add the garlic, onion and peppers.  Cook, stirring often, for 5 more minutes - the veggies should start to soften and look wimpy.  Next, add the chili powder, cumin and black pepper and give the pot a stir to evenly coat everything.  Next, add the tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar and hot sauce and bring to a boil.  Once it boils add the beans and reduce the heat to low.  Let the whole thing simmer for about an hour and then revel in the deliciousness you just created from less delicious stuff you just had lying around.

All in all, I'd call my Labour Day weekend a success - I camped, I wore ugly sweatpants, I ate some food I really liked...yeah, it was pretty great.


Michelle said...

Can you do a post on salads? I would love to get some new salad ideas, if you have any!

- Michelle

Kristy said...

Hi Michelle!

There are a few already up on here, but the next time I make one I'll be sure to post it!

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