Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Quick Low Sodium Chili

In my last post I compared Mrs. Dash Chili seasoning mix to homemade Quick Chili, but I didn’t give a recipe for the DIY version. Homemade Quick Chili is one of those “Pull-Out” meals — Pull Out of Pantry, Fridge, or Freezer. If you’ve got the right stuff on hand, you can get this meal on the table in no time at all.

Quick Chili - What do you need?
(Printable Recipe)

1 pound ground meat: It can be ground beef, chicken, turkey, or pork. (If it’s frozen, thaw it in the microwave while you’re getting everything else ready to go.) It can even be chopped up leftovers like pot roast, meatloaf, hamburgers, roast chicken, etc. You get the idea.

Quick Chili in a Bread Bowl
(with leftover roast pork, corn, hominy, & no salt Rotel)
3 cups liquid: You can use all low sodium broth or any combination of broth and a low sodium tomato product (sauce, diced, whole). The broth can be homemade, canned, or even dry granules.

1½ cups chunky vegetables: Low sodium canned pinto or black beans (rinsed and drained), no-salt-added canned corn (drained), frozen corn, canned hominy (rinsed and drained), etc. Leftover chunks of sweet potato, butternut squash, or zucchini squash could also be added.

Seasonings: I like to use Penzeys or Spice House Chili con Carne seasoning blends because they include tomato powder, onion, and garlic along with the chili powder. I don’t have to juggle several jars of seasonings. I start with at least 2 teaspoons and add more if I think it’s needed.

Helpful Pantry Spices
If I’m not using a con Carne spice blend, I’ll put in 1 teaspoon each of regular chili powder and ground cumin to start with. I’ll also add a teaspoon of dried or freeze-dried onion (or ½ teaspoon of onion powder) and ¼ teaspoon of garlic powder.

Thickening: You can add a couple of tablespoons flour to the ground meat while it is browning. Then add the liquids and combine. You can also thicken at the end: flour slurry (2 tbsp. flour to ¼ cup water); cornstarch slurry (1 tbsp. cornstarch to 2 tbsp. water); or my favorite, masa slurry (1 tbsp. masa harina to 2 tbsp. water). Of course, you can choose not to thicken the chili at all. That’s the easiest and quickest option.

Toppings: Low sodium salsa. Pico de Gallo. Chopped cilantro. Avocado chunks. Low sodium ripe olives (rinsed and drained). 1-2 tablespoons shredded cheese. Dollop of sour cream. Chopped green onion. Crushed low sodium/ unsalted tortilla chips. Crumbled low sodium crackers. Chopped tomatoes. Just keep in mind that the whole point of Quick Chili is that prep work is kept to a minimum. So use what you’ve already got available and nix anything that requires too much fussing.

Quick Chili with Several Toppings
DIRECTIONS: Brown ground meat. Add liquid, vegetables, and seasonings. Bring to boil, lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Taste and add more seasoning or liquid if needed. Add thickener of choice if desired and adjust seasoning again. Add toppings of choice. Ready to serve!

What can you do with Quick Chili?
Serve it in a bowl with low sodium crackers. Ladle it over low sodium cornbread, toast, or biscuits. Spoon it over baked potatoes. Spoon it over low sodium/ unsalted tortilla chips. Use a slotted spoon to plop a hefty portion onto a bowl of greens for a quick “taco” salad. Use a slotted spoon to fill a burrito or taco. Spoon it onto an omelet. Poach a couple of eggs in it. Serve over rice. Add more liquid and turn it into a soup.

JUST A REMINDER: Quick Chili is NOT to be confused with any long simmered chili. There’s no comparison. Quick Chili has a definite chili flavor but doesn’t require long prep or cooking. It is what it is, but it’s pretty darn good when you need something fast and tasty.  

1 comment:

Stephanie Weaver said...

Love the suggestions about the specific spice blends and the quick dinner ideas. Thanks!