Mom’s Quick Chili

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I’ve been very lucky that the weather here has been cooperating with my recipe posts.  Because chili isn’t really a summer food, is it? But I’ve had this recipe in the queue for a while now, and now that it’s gloomy, rainy, AND cold outside, it really is just perfect timing.  Plus, it was Mother’s Day on Sunday, so what better way to honor my own mother than by posting one my favorite recipes from her.

Brownsville, where my parents still live and where my brother and I grew up, at only 6 hours South of Austin, doesn’t ever really get a “winter” to speak of.  Once, in high school, it snowed. Just once. Luckily for a lot of people in Brownsville who had never seen snow before, it happened to fall on Christmas Eve and lasted throughout Christmas day.  It was actually quite magical to hear the entire neighborhood running around the streets at midnight. And it’s easy to understand why: it was the first time it snowed in over 100 years. 100!

But aside from the 100-year snow, it really doesn’t get that cold down there. You could get by without ever owning a heavy coat (although I heard this year there were a few more cold fronts), and even when I visited them in December, I was wearing jeans and a short sleeve shirt out on the water (Brownsville has the very lovely side benefit of being a 20 minute drive from South Padre, which used to be my point of reference when telling people where I was from). I wore boots that day, and I was hot.

But no matter the temperature, the one thing that always made me feel like it was wintertime was when mom would break out this chili. This is a no-fuss chili.  It has beans. It cooks in 30 minutes. It’s warm, comforting, and straightfoward–all qualities that remind me of my mom. She is all those things and more, and although I’ve changed the recipe to lighten it up a little bit, there’s no changing the memories of coming home to a house filled with the smells of a simmering pot of chili on the stove. And even though it’s totally May and not at all winter (global cooling, amirite?), there’s no day like today to fill your belly with the cozy warmth of chili.

Mom’s Quick Chili
Serves 6

 

Ingredients:

1 lb ground turkey or other meat
2 cans Rotel original
2 cans pinto beans, undrained
3 fresh tomatoes, diced
1 onion, diced
1 tbsp garlic powder or more, to taste
1 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp each chili powder, cumin, and paprika
Optional toppings: cheddar cheese, saltines, sour cream, green onions

Directions:

1. In a large pot, cook the ground meat and diced onions over medium heat until the meat is no longer pink, about 5-7 minutes (if you are using turkey, you may want to add about a tsp of oil so that the turkey doesn’t stick. You don’t need to do this for beef). Make sure to mix it around frequently so that the meat doesn’t get stuck to the pan.

2. Once the meat is cooked, add all other ingredients and mix well. If you like a more watery chili, add about half a cup of water. Simmer on medium/medium-low heat for 30-40 minutes. Stir frequently so that nothing gets stuck to the pan.

3. Serve with shredded cheese and sour cream on top!
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Mom's Quick Chili
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1 lb ground turkey or other meat
  • 2 cans Rotel original
  • 2 cans pinto beans, undrained
  • 3 fresh tomatoes, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder or more, to taste
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp each chili powder, cumin, and paprika
  • Optional toppings: cheddar cheese, saltines, sour cream, green onions
Directions
  1. In a large pot, cook the ground meat and diced onions over medium heat until the meat is no longer pink, about 5-7 minutes (if you are using turkey, you may want to add about a tsp of oil so that the turkey doesn't stick. You don't need to do this for beef). Make sure to mix it around frequently so that the meat doesn't get stuck to the pan.
  2. Once the meat is cooked, add all other ingredients and mix well. If you like a more watery chili, add about half a cup of water. Simmer on medium/medium-low heat for 30-40 minutes. Stir frequently so that nothing gets stuck to the pan.
  3. Serve with shredded cheese and sour cream on top!

Snowpocalypse Mexi-hot Chocolate

Today it snowed, maybe….1/4 of an inch in Austin.  So, naturally, the whole city shut down.  While I think this is a bit silly, what I don’t think is silly is that my office was one of those things that shut down.  Yay for two days off in one week (Thanks MLK!)!

I decided to watch the movie Frozen, which I had made Mr. Little Fish download for me for some future time when he wasn’t at home.  He doesn’t like cartoons.  I do.  Now I have a get-out-of-jail-out-free card next time he wants to watch conspiracy theory documentaries about aliens or 9/11.  Compromise.   I love Disney movies.  And Frozen, true to form, was very cute.

It also, however, made me want hot chocolate.  Of the Mexican variety.  Because I’m Mexican.  Well, I’m not.  But I’m half Nicaraguan, which to everyone else means Mexican.  And I’m spicy.  Like this drink.  I’m not sure why I’m writing like this.  I could be going a little stir crazy.

Anywho, I’m gonna write this recipe a little differently because it’s basically two steps, so I took detailed photographic evidence of it.

Step 1.  Assemble the following ingredients:

2 cups unsweetened almond milk, preferably homemade
2 tbsp cocoa powder, dutch-processed or otherwise
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
A dash of nutmeg, cayenne, and chipotle powder

But it doesn't have to look like this.

Step 2.  Pour all the ingredients into a medium saucepan over medium heat.
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Step 3.  Whisk everything together so it dissolves.

Frothy yumminess.

Step 4.  When the milk starts simmering, or when you can’t stand the delicious smells any longer, pour into your favorite mug and enjoy!

My mug says, "Hello"! Can you see it?
My mug says, “Hello”! Can you see it?  

Snowpocalypse Mexi-hot Chocolate
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Beverages
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder, dutch-processed or otherwise
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • A dash of nutmeg, cayenne, and chipotle powder
Directions
  1. Combine everything in a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Whisk together until the cocoa powder dissolves.
  3. When the mixture starts to come to a simmer, remove from heat, pour, and enjoy!