blog, Cooking Through The Cookbooks, my journey

Cooking Through The Cookbooks: Pearl’s Chili

Have you ever seen the movie Julie and Julia?  I love that movie- except maybe the part where she has to cook the lobsters- and it got me thinking!  How many recipes do I skip over because I simply don’t think I will like it, or it has ingredients that I have never heard of?  How many wonderful things have I missed out on because I just didn’t want to try?  I mean, I expect my kid try every thing I put in front of him at least once.  So why do I not hold myself to the same standard?  I have decided, I’m going to try my hand at cooking my way through the Trim Healthy Mama Cookbooks.  As I go, I will also add more ideas to my page One Meal, Three Ways because sometimes I just know that my kid is NOT going to eat what I’m making and I will pull deconstructed parts out for him.  It’s all about making sure everyone is fed a healthy meal.  I don’t really mind if his is separated verses a casserole, as long as he eats.  I think this will be a great way to expose my family to healthy recipes with new ingredients to broaden our palates!

But just a heads up, I will probably skip around sections and go back and forth between books as food cravings call my name because that’s how I roll.  I may pair two or three recipes for one meal as I will need sides and we kinda really love dessert- especially chocolate!  In the movie Julie and Julia, Julie accomplished the entire cookbook in a year.  I’m pretty sure that’s not going to happen here because as a small family, it may take us a while to get through all 8,923,846,139 recipes in the cookbooks because I’m sure we will be eating leftovers for all of eternity.  

Following Trim Healthy Mama has been so sustainable for me because I can almost always find a healthy way to make whatever it is I have been craving.  Sometimes, it’s as easy as flipping through the cookbooks.  Other times, I head over to Pinterest to scour all the wonderful recipes THM kitchen geniuses have put together.  Thank the Good Lord for them!

So, here we go!!  Coming from a a long line of Southern women, I like my comfort food to be thick and tasty.  Think hearty stews or gravy.  There is nothing light about anything coming out of a Southern kitchen, where everything is better with butter.  It is no where near chili weather here in Florida, but the mornings are starting to feel crisp and it always brings me cravings for stews and soups.  As soon as the temperature drops below 90, I hear chili calling my name.  Every single time.  So, I close all the blinds and light a Fall scented candle and hope the AC keeps the house cool for the day.  While chili, may not necessarily be a Southern food, I am accustomed to the way my Mama makes it.  The sauce is thick almost like gravy, not soupy.  Who even likes soupy chili?  So, I decided to scour the Trim Healthy Mama Cookbooks to find a chili recipe.  I decided that Pearl’s Chili was the closest to how my Mama makes it, so I went with that one.  It wasn’t just like my Mamas, but it was close and it was delicious!  My picky kid ate two large bowls!  Score!!

Pearl’s Chili, Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook p 101

Here’s what I learned:

  • Use lean meat, and only drain.  Don’t rinse so you can keep more beef flavor but less fat.
  • For thicker sauce, only use two cups of water.
  • Use your food processor to chop if you don’t like dicing up onions.
  • Add more chili powder if you like a lot of flavor. (I do!)
  • If using no salt added beans, you may want to add a little more salt to taste.  Don’t be afraid to taste test with a spoon.  If you reuse it, it just adds a little extra love to your pot 😉  Own it by adjusting your spices to your taste.  
  • Next time, I think I will use diced tomatoes instead of Rotel because I think it will taste more like my Mama’s chili.  I love Rotel, but there’s something about the sweetness of stewed tomatoes that really anchors the flavor.  If you use stewed tomatoes but will miss the spice of Rotel, you could add a little cayenne.
  • Simmer on low heat for an hour to thicken your sauce, I stirred every 15 minutes.
  • Top with cheese and a couple- like 3 or 4- Baked Tostitos crumbled (instead of Fritos like we used before trying to lose weight) for a delicious S meal that brings back fond memories.

This was a super easy meal!  Nothing special had to be done.  Just brown your meat, dump your ingredients in a big pot, and simmer!  Happy cooking, y’all!

I’m sorry I can’t share the recipes because they are copyrighted.  If you don’t have the cookbooks, I really encourage you to get them.  They have been wonderful to have in the kitchen and have really helped me stick to plan.  You can buy them directly from the sisters at trimhealthymama.com, at a bookstore, and even on Amazon!  If you don’t want to purchase them yet, you can check with your local library.

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