Sunday, January 10, 2010

18 Degrees and Chili (Vegetarian Chili, that is)

TBHITW and the 19, 17 and 16 year olds are skiing today.

I had to stay home because earlier this week I went out for a run, slipped on the ice and triggered my sciatica. Ouch. That's what I get for acting like a 40 year old (which I am not).

While I am disappointed that my family is off shooshing down snowy slopes without me I must admit to a bit of warm contentment as it is 18 degrees outside. 18 DEGREES. And I am inside in my nice warm kitchen.

I know when they get home this evening everyone will have had a great day, they'll be tired, cold AND hungry so I'm making a big pot of chili and a side of corn bread to welcome them in from the cold.

I am experimenting a bit with ingredients, trying to make some old tried and true recipes a bit more healthy. In today's chili I'm using soy-crumbles instead of hamburger and in the cornbread I'm using stone ground corn, 9-grain flour, olive oil, egg substitute and agave nectar (to replace the sugar).

Vegetarian Chili: (makes a big pot)

One onion, chopped
One small can whole green chiles, drained and chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
One package (12 ounces) soy-based crumbles
Two 28 ounce cans crushed tomatoes
Two 15 ounce cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed in cold water
One 15 ounce can pinto beans (we love beans) drained and rinsed in cold water
2 tablespoons olive oil
I like the following seasoning mix:
1 tablespoon ancho chili pepper powder
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon low sodium salt (I'm trying to cut back on sodium)
1 bay leaf
1 big pinch Chipotle pepper flakes

I like this brand of vegetable protein. (nobody paid me to say that)

In your favorite chili pot pour the olive oil and add the onions and chile peppers. Saute until soft, but not browned. Add the garlic and stir for a minute.

This is my favorite chili pot, it's cast iron

Add the soy crumbles and heat through. Add the tomatoes and beans and bring to a simmer. Now comes the fun part - seasoning. You can make the chili as spicy or mild as you like. The spices I have listed make a medium/mild chili (I'm a whimp when it comes to spicy food)

Simmer all of this with the lid off for a good hour, stirring every now and then.

Corn Bread (makes one 9X9 inch pan or one cast iron skillet full)

1 cup Yellow Corn Meal
1 cup sifted flour (I'm using Eagle Mills Unbleached Ultragrain flour. It bakes and acts like white flour, but has 9 grams of whole grain per serving)
2 tablespoons agave nectar (or 1/4 cup sugar)
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup olive oil (MUFA!)
1 cup skim milk
1/4 cup egg substitute (or 1 egg)
1/2 cup pecans, chopped (MUFA!) - optional

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Combine cornmeal, flour, sugar (if you are using sugar, if using agave, don't add) baking powder and salt in a bowl. Stir around to lighten. Mix egg, milk, oil and agave together, add all at once to cornmeal mixture. Give it a few swift strokes to combine. Stir in pecans (if using)

Grease a 9X9 pan and pour batter in. OR swirl about 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil in cast iron skillet and place inside oven for 2-3 minutes. Swirl again, pour out any excess and pour batter into pan and place in oven.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden and puffed.

A Cook's Notes: I am struggling with the calorie counts on this. Perhaps because I am sitting on an ice pack for my sciatica. I believe the chili, per cup is about 220 calories. The cornbread for a 3X3 piece is around 125.

Disclosure: I am not a nutritionist or a dietician. I am a cook who is always looking at new ways to prepare healthy food. I read labels for calorie counts and total everything up, dividing by servings. If calorie counting is part of your diet I suggest you do your own calculations and not rely on mine as they are at best, guesstimates. I do believe this relieves me of any diet sabotage or conspiracy theory problems - your thighs are your own!


  1. There's nothing like chili on a cold Sunday!

  2. Yum! When I make vegetarian chili, I just leave out the beef and throw in more beans - which is what I did yesterday! And I don't know why my family never did cornbread with chili, but it's just not our thing. And I have yet to develop a taste for it. Isn't that funny?

  3. Sciatica.... ouch! I have it from time to time and nothing is quite so miserable. Hope you are feeling better. We love cornbread..... a little too much!

  4. That cornbread looks perfect. :-) I would like a slice with butter and maple syrup!


  5. We love cornbread with chili; your recipe is very different from any we've tried. We use ground turkey instead of ground beef (my hubby the cook is not into soy crumbles but he makes a mean chili!). And chili sounds GREAT in this cold weather!

  6. I think there will be a happy family returning to that...and stop running - seriously exercise is dangerous!!


Wow. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I love feedback... what with being a cook and all. I will respond to your comments via email (if you do not have a "noreply" address or here, below your comment) As always, Bon Appetite!

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