Friday, February 18, 2011

Comfort Foods: Winter Warm-ups

The saying goes "If you don't like Wisconsin weather, wait a day." Last week we were dressing in several layers and wearing our boots for the warmth, not the snow. This week temperatures rose above freezing, and I joined the line at the car wash. I walked to the polls on Tuesday with an umbrella, thinking "It's warm enough for rain, wow!" Comfort foods are still on the table, though. Mother Nature is just teasing. I know we could still get another blizzard or two.

When the weather outside is frightful, I go with the standards: chili and homemade bread. This is chili Wisconsin style, with beans and noodles. Trust me; it warms physically and emotionally.

Daisy's Wisconsin Chili (slow cooker style)

1 can dark red kidney beans
1 can light red kidney beans
1 can diced tomatoes
1 lb. browned ground beef
1/4 cup diced onion
1/4 cup diced peppers (green & red bell peppers are my favorites)
1 jalepeno pepper, seeded and diced
1 Tablespoon chili powder
1 can tomato sauce

1 cup noodles; elbow mac or shells are my favorites.

Brown ground beef in a skillet with the onion and peppers. Drain and rinse.
Add ingredients to slow cooker in this order:
  1. beans
  2. tomatoes
  3. ground beef & onion & pepper mix
  4. chili powder
  5. tomato sauce

Simmer on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-5 hours. An hour before serving, add noodles and turn to high. Stir.

Serve with with glorious toppings from America's Dairyland:
  • a teaspoon of sour cream with diced green onions or chives
  • grated cheese: basic cheddar or for the adventurous, pepper jack
I've had good luck with dried beans as well. Measure out 1 cup of each kind, soak overnight, and rinse before adding to slow cooker. Black beans also work well; they add a different flavor and color to the mix.
I've also used home-canned tomatoes and home grown peppers. If you can tomatoes from your own garden, it's such a great flavor! The home grown peppers may be smaller, but the taste will be strong and you'll dispense with the waxy covering on many store tomatoes.
As for the beef, no, I don't raise my own cattle. Sorry.

As for bread, I use my bread machine. You can find my basic bread recipes in these posts.

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Blogger Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

It is the season for comfort food. Spicy, hot, filling.

2/18/2011 8:37 AM  

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