Cool Weather Calls for Chili

Just when I think I can’t HANDLE the truth regarding the change of seasons in Phoenix (cue Jack Nicholson voice); we get a cold front that upends us all and has us running from our cars into the already busy Starbucks to get some piping hot concoction that will make up 1/4 of our daily allotment of calories, (THANK YOU VERY MUCH EGG NOGG LATTE!). Wow, what a long sentence that was! I digress. It’s been cold here, and I actually kind of love it. I refuse to complain about it, I just wear more clothes on my morning runs. Every morning for the past week, the temp has started with a 3, as in 36, 38, 34, 33, etc. This morning, NYC and Phoenix were the same temperature, according to Syrie. Syrie is the new woman in my husband’s life. Syrie, if you don’t know and haven’t heard, is the voice of all authority and knowledge in the iphone, and lately, well she has been answering a lot of his questions. He kind of crushes on Syrie. I refuse to worry until she figures out how to make his favorite Penne alla Vodka, or until he starts wondering what she looks like “in real life.” Back off Syrie!

One of my favorite things to make, as it cools down, is an assortment of soups and chilis. I have some great white bean chili, some chicken chili and the like. But sometimes, nothing beats a good ole’ fashioned meat and bean chili with a little kick, and this one fits the bill. I also like to bake, pick up some fresh Sourdough bread for dipping, but you can go with whatever tickles your fancy, or just eat it plain. The kids will love it too. On a side note, it looks like you are adding a LOT of cayenne, but with the heartiness of the tomatoes and beans and meat, it doesn’t taste too spicy at all. I like to make mine with extra lean ground beef and turkey sausage, but again, whatever makes your skirt fly up is just fine. Start this chili early afternoon, let it simmer a bit, pop open some Zin or a hearty Cab, and voila! The stuff dreams are made of. Let’s get down to it.

ALL AMERICAN CHILI:

6 oz hot italian turkey sausage (I use 8)

2 cups chopped onion

1 cup chopped green bell pepper

8 garlic cloves (I know!! Yet it never tastes too garlicky)

1 lb lean ground beef

1 jalapeno, chopped

2 T Chili powder (large T is for Tablespoon, small t for teaspoon)

2 T Brown sugar

1 T ground Cumin

3 T Tomato paste

1 t dried oregano

1 t salt

1/2 t pepper

2 Bay leaves

1 and 1/4 cup Merlot or other fruity wine (See! Aren’t you glad you already have some open?)

2 28 oz cans diced tomatoes, undrained

2 15 oz cans kidney beans, drained

1/2 cup low fat or regular sharp cheddar cheese

Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over med high heat. Remove casings from sausage. Add sausage, onion, and the next 4 ingredients to pan; cook 8 mins or until sausage and beef are browned and crumbling. Add chili powder and the next 7 ingredients and cook for 1 min, stirring constantly. Stir in wine, tomatoes, and beans, bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer one hour, stirring occasionally. Uncover and cook for 30 mins, stirring occasionally. Discard bay leaves (if you can find them:)) Sprinkle each serving with some cheese, low fat sour cream, and green onions.

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About Jessica Grady

Jessica Grady is a Speech Pathologist specializing in Neuro-rehabilitation. She is also the mother of two fabulous boys and loves all things active. Learn more about her here.