chili {perfected}

Holy snow Batman! I thought I’d have to wait until the fall to share this one with y’all, but round three of ‘the vortex’ begged me to reconsider.

Since the beginning of our journey to eliminate processed foods, I’ve had a vice. My ultimate comfort food is my mom’s chili and my mom’s chili is what it is because of the chili seasoning she uses. The chili seasoning she uses comes in a little yellow packet and along with the usual suspects there were lots of extra man-made chemicals and processed corn product in there as well. I pretended they weren’t there.

Of course we couldn’t get it in Germany, but my mom would supply me with packets regularly in the mail and it was like a little taste of home every time. I had to get honest. Deep down I knew that little packet was exactly what we were trying to vanquish from our house and if there was ever a time to learn to make my own it was then.

So we ate chili, lots and lots of chili, and eventually, I nailed it. I know that chili can be a heated topic of debate. Some folks might object to my bean-filled pot, and that is fine—I object to your bean-free concoction. To each his own. If you are in the chili-with-beans camp though, and even if you aren’t {come over to the dark side y’all}, I promise this rezept won’t disappoint.

Every family seems to have their own chili recipe. I’m curious, what kind of chili did you grow up eating? 

{perfected} Three Bean Chili from Kiwi and Peach

Three Bean Chili

{makes about 6 servings}

for the seasoning:
2 Tbsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp whole wheat flour
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/2 tsp cinnamon

for the chili:
1 lb grass-fed ground beef
1 medium white onion
1 clove of garlic
1 can black beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can pinto beans
1 (big) can diced tomatoes
1 can of tomato paste
2 cups of stock {Chicken, veggie, or beef will do. Beer works well too.}

{If you are a dried bean user, measure out about 1/4 cup of each type of bean. Go ahead and soak them overnight and cook them for about an hour before you add them to the chili.}

Mix up your seasoning in a small bowl. This recipe will make about 4 Tbsp of season and you will use all of it in the chili.

Start heating up your skillet on medium heat. While it’s getting hot, dice your onion and get the garlic ready to press. Once the skillet is hot, crumble your ground beef into it and give it a stir. Sprinkle a tablespoon of the seasoning over the meat and work it into the meat. Once a little of the fat has cooked out of the meat, add your onions and press the garlic into the mixture. Stir well and let it cook until the meat is no longer pink and the onions are soft, about 7-8 minutes.

Once the meat and onions are to your liking, transfer them to a 4 qt stock pot on medium heat. Add the beans, the whole can of tomatoes which you’ve crushed by hand—liquid and all, tomato paste, and the rest of the seasoning.

Stir everything in really well making sure that the tomato paste has dissolved and is completely incorporated. Add the stock and bring the whole shebang to a boil. At that point, reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for at least an hour but up to 3 hours. The longer you can leave it, the longer the flavors will have to get to know each other. If you want to leave it for longer than 3 hours, just add a bit more liquid.

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Sweet Potato Quinoa Chili

My soup repertoire is pretty limited. I’m not a fan of brothy soups and a while back, I sort of threw the baby out with the bath water. I just stopped making soup. Chili? Absolutely. But soup? Hardly ever.

Last year for our transition into an soup season, starting small I thought I’d try a new chili recipe I’d had my eye on for a while. Chili is a fall staple for us and I know we aren’t the only ones. In my completely biased opinion, I always thought my Mama’s chili was the best in the world. However, it’s magic comes in the form of a packet of seasoning that, apart from things like chili powder and cumin, also contains ingredients I can’t begin to pronounce and certainly don’t have in my kitchen.

Successfully making chili from scratch has been one of my proudest moments of this journey to eliminate processed foods.

And the fact that this delicious, healthy stew takes me back to curling up under a flannel blanket and watching football with my Daddy just like my Mama’s chili does makes it a winner. It’s a keeper y’all.

What about you? Is there a food that some of your favorite fall memories center around?

Quinoa Sweet Potato Chili from Kiwi and Peach

Sweet Potato Quinoa Chili

inspired by Milk Free Mom’s Vegan Chili
{I don’t make many changes because the recipe is a great one as is. Besides reducing the recipe to serve 2, I substituted chicken broth for the veggie broth because that’s what we usually have, and I used a batch of black beans I had soaked and cooked instead of using canned beans. The Kiwi prefers it served it with a dollop of sour cream and a grilled cheese sandwich. Definitely not dairy free or vegan at that point.}

olive oil
1/2 onion
2 cloves of garlic
3 oz can of tomato paste
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp fresh oregano, chopped
pinch of salt and pepper
2 cups of broth {veggie, chicken, whatever you have}
1 1/2 cups black beans {canned or soaked and cooked}
1/2 of a sweet potato
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed

Start heating a large pot on medium heat.

Adding your ingredients to the pot goes pretty quickly, so I find its best to have everything prepped beforehand. Dice the onions, peel the potatoes and cut them into 1 inch-ish cubes, and go ahead and rinse the quinoa.

Once the pot is hot add just enough olive oil to cook the onions and toss in the onions. Cook for about 5 minutes or until they are soft and translucent then add the garlic and cook for a couple more minutes.

Add the tomato paste, herbs, and spices and mix well. Let it cook for a couple of minutes and then add the broth. Give it all a stir and deglaze the bottom of the pan, then add the beans and sweet potatoes. Cook all of this for about 5 minutes.

Stir in the quinoa and let the whole thing stew away for 20 minutes.

We enjoy ours with a dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt and maybe a grilled cheese if the Kiwi is good.

Maple Baked Beans with Apple Salsa

I think it’s high time I share my favorite baked beans recipe with you. No Southern get together seems to be complete without baked beans and everyone has a slightly different way of making them. I think that the apple salsa really takes mine to a whole new level in terms of taste as well as nutrition. I might go as far as to call these beans…healthy. {Or maybe not, there is still a good bit of sugar!} I can easily say that these are the best baked beans I’ve ever had. {Sorry Mama.} Give them a try this July 4th, and let me know if you agree!

Kiwi+Peach: Maple Baked Beans with Apple Salsa

Maple Baked Beans with Apple Salsa

3-4 slices of bacon {depending on the size of the dish you’re cooking the beans in}

The Beans
1/2 cup kidney beans
1/2 cup black beans
1/2 cup BBQ sauce

The Apple Salsa {inspired by Tupelo Honey Cafe}
1 granny smith apple
1/2 of a red pepper
1/2 of a green chili
1/4 of a sweet onion
1 tbsp honey
a dash of salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 400°F/200°C.

Put your bacon in a cold pan start heating over medium heat. You’re just doing this to render the fat, so once the white bit has become shiny and a bit translucent remove it from the heat. The bacon will cook completely in the oven, don’t worry.

In a medium bowl, combine your beans and BBQ sauce. Peel and dice your apple and add it to the bowl. Remove the seeds from the pepper and the chili. {Be careful with the chili seeds. Wash your hands with hot water and soap afterwards and avoid touching your eyes–ouch!} Dice them up and add them to the bowl. Peel and dice your onion and add it to the bowl too. Add in the bit of honey and salt and pepper and give it all a big stir.

Pour it into a baking dish. I used a 6in pie pan, but a 9×9 should be fine too {plus you’ll have room for more bacon}. Make a layer of bacon over the top and put it in the oven. Bake for 20 minutes and you’re done!

{This post contains an Amazon affiliate link. That means that if you head over to Amazon from the link and choose to buy the book, a tiny bit of the money you spent on the book will come back to me for the referral.}