What’s Cooking–homemade chili

I’m on a mission, to find good, nutritious, filling meals that don’t break my bank.  I cannot believe how much more expensive food is here on the Island.  I am easily paying twice what I would be paying for the same products in Idaho.  Combine that with the fact that we are making about half what we were there, and you know why I’m on the hunt.

Last night I covered a lb. of kidney beans with cold water (I cannot find my favorite pinto beans anywhere here, I’m seriously contemplating buying from an online source and having them shipped here, otherwise, how am I going to make authentic Mexican food without pinto beans…I ask you!?) in my medium sized pot to soak overnight.  Today, I drained and rinsed the beans, then covered again with fresh cold water and am currently cooking on medium-low heat.  They are starting to smell DELICIOUS!  Note:  I learned years ago that you don’t want to add salt until they are completely cooked, for some reason, salt keeps them from getting good and soft if you add it too soon.  I’ll salt them later.

In another pot, I am browning 2lbs ground beef, two chopped onions (not too fine, I like the taste and consistency they add to my chili), salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  I hardly ever measure when I do this, I just add it till it looks right, then add a little more garlic.  I’ll separate this into four parts, use one for my chili, and place the other three parts in the freezer for subsequent meals.

To the pan with my seasoned hamburger, I add a large can of crushed tomatoes and a packet of taco seasoning mix.  Eventually, I plan to be making my own spice mixes again, but for now, I can’t afford to purchase all my spices needed at once, so I make do with pre-made mixes.  I also add crushed red chilis, for a little heat.  When the beans are soft, I’ll add half of the pot to my chili mix, and use the other half for bean and ham soup.  Both meals are high in protein, taste great, and most importantly, are budget friendly.  The chili can be served as a meal in itself, served over rice, french fries, or used to make chili macaroni. 

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