Saturday, November 08, 2008

Veggie Chili

I make vegetarian chili a lot at this time of year. It's comforting and healthy and easy and uses up whatever veggies I have in the refrigerator. I use a crock pot and that makes it even easier because it simmers all day. I make it just for me and it usually lasts 3 or 4 meals—depending on how hungry I am, whether or not I add some rice, how many veggies I have on hand, etc. You may want something very different but here's how I do it:

can of beans or dried beans
can of tomato sauce or paste or diced tomatoes (depending on my mood and what I have in the cupboard)
diced zucchini
diced onions or pepper or whatever other veggies I have handy
chili powder to taste
enough water to create a good consistency
optional: rice (added an hour or so before I want to eat along with extra water so it stays the right consistency)

If I'm using canned beans, everything goes into the crock pot at once. If I'm starting with dried beans, I start them 2 or 3 hours earlier. With canned beans I can start it around noon. If I'm using dried beans I try to start it by 10am at the latest. I start it on high for about half an hour (to heat up the water) then turn it down to low for the rest of the time. (My crock pot only has two settings—high and low.)

I top the chili in my bowl with shredded cheese and sometimes make biscuits or bread sticks to go with it.

I suspect true chili aficionados would be horrified by my chili but...I like it. As I said before, it's easy, warms me up, is filling and healthy.

What are some of your healthy comfort foods at this time of year?