Saturday, July 24, 2010

Cook once, four meals: Chili, chili salad, bean burritos, and enchiladas

For those days when you need something quick, I have a tasty recipe that lets you cook once and then making three or four different meals out of it. And you can make it in the crockpot if you wanted to cook it while you're gone/busy. (That how-to follows the first recipe)

First a disclaimer. ANY chili recipe would work for these recipes. I just don't have a chili recipe that I love. At least not one that doesn't require a can of "Chili Magic". I know it's only about 69 cents a can. True, I'd rather make my own. It just that none of the recipes I've tried tastes like I'd like it too. Spicy, but not too hot as the kids wouldn't have eaten it. And perhaps the "old" recipe that I concocted years ago would fill the bill, but I quit using that recipe because it had "chunks" in it and none of my kids likes "chunks" (read: chopped tomatoes, onions, garlic or mushrooms) in their food. I guess I need to go dig that recipe out and try it again.

Second: Beans are beans. In whatever form you have them, whatever kind you have. I've made this with all types of beans - canned from store, canned from home, frozen and straight from dried beans. I've used all kinds of beans - pinto, black, navy and kidney beans. Shoot, one time I even put in a can of lima beans and another time I added in a can of PORK & BEANS - cause that was all I had and I wasn't making a trip to the store to BUY the "right" kind of beans. The only beans I don't really much care for are Kidney beans. That's because to me, they are a "tough" bean. It seems like no matter how carefully you prepare them (as in Do NOT boil beans, it MAKES them tough and breaks the skins on them), the skins of kidney beans seems tough to me. Just my taste buds/texture issues. YMMV

On to the Chili: The can of "Chili Magic" says to just add tomatoes and meat. I "doctor" it so that it goes farther. When I was feeding kids, I've added as much as 2 quarts of cooked dried beans. I've added as much as 28oz can of tomato puree. Obviously, the more you add to the little can of Chili, the more diluted the taste of the canned "Chili Magic". So then we'd add more cumin and chili powder to the batch or add a second can of "Chili Magic". Since it's now just me, I add less beans and tomatoes to the little can. Add more or less "extras" as suits your family.

You can freeze leftovers or can them in a pressure CANNER. (not a pressure COOKER!)

Chili (meal one): (this recipe can be doubled or more. Just use one can of "Chili Magic" for each additional recipe you're making) . This is just how I made it yesterday. It will change tomorrow as I add what I have/leave out what I don't have.

It should take less than 30 mins to grab the ingredients, chop the onion and cook it with the meat, toss in the rest of the ingredients then let it simmer on the stove.

One can of "Chili Magic" (found near the chili and baked beans or by the canned veggies in my local marts)

4 cups of cooked beans, any type

1 1/2 cups (14 oz can) of tomatoes (diced, paste, sauce, puree, home canned..whatever ya got)

1 diced onion

1/4 lb of hamburger (opt. Sometimes I use meat, sometimes I don't)

1 tsp adobo

1 tsp garlic powder (or a clove of minced garlic)

1 tsp ground cumin (opt)

Shredded cheese, tortilla chips or Fritos or popped pop corn, sour cream, guacuamole (opt)

Brown meat and onion in pan over medium heat. Sprinkle the spices over the hamburger and onions while they are browning. It's done when the meat is cooked and the onions translucent ("see through" instead of white.) and soft. I don't drain the meat - I use a low fat hamburger that I've had ground from lean meat that I bought on sale, so there's not much fat in it.

Add the can of Chili Magic, beans and tomatoes. (ok, you DO know to OPEN the cans first?!? Right? Just thought I'd ask in case Amelia Bedelia is reading this.) Stir together can contents with cooked meat/onion mixture. Over med. heat, bring chili almost to a boil and then lower heat to simmer. STIR FREQUENTLY! Any food containing beans and tomatoes likes to stick to the bottom of the pot, so stir it every 5 mins or so to make sure the food isn't sticking to the bottom of the pot so you're not burning the food on the bottom of the pan. (been there, done that; tastes bad; can't be fixed!).

Let it simmer for at least 10 minutes - again STIRRING frequently. (The longer is simmers, the more chili taste the beans will pick up. That's why things like chili taste better the second day. The flavors have had time to "marry".)

Serve plain or with opt ingredients


This should only take about 7 minutes to gather the ingredients, chop the onion and put it in the crockpot.

You can put this in the crockpot and let it cook for about 4 hrs on high or 8 on low. Then you don't have to worry about browning meat/onions or stuff sticking to the bottom of the pot. Just dump it all in, stir it around, put the lid on it and walk away. I can double this size recipe and it fits into a VERY full crockpot. I think mine is 4 qts.

Chili salad (meal two):
This recipe came about because I only had about 1/2 cup of chili left, a little bit of ranch dressing left, a half head of lettuce sitting there and I was hungry, didn't feel like cooking nor did I want to toss the little bit of leftover chili nor the 2 Tbs of ranch dressing that was left in the bottle. As you can see, I made a nice meal out of what others would have just thrown away!

This should take about 5 minutes to make.

Lettuce in bite size pieces
chili, cold (I didn't drain the "juice" off of it.)
ranch dressing
red wine vinegar

There are no amounts. This is according to how much you want to eat or how many people you need to feed. Today when I made it the second time, I used about 1/2 of a head of lettuce, 1 cup of chili and enough ranch to cover the lettuce (normal amount I would put on my salad) and then a couple of "chugs" of vinegar - probably about 1 tbs, on top of it all. That made one lunch/dinner for me.

You can also use this salad "recipe" from the burritos with the "doctored" chili. Either way, it makes for a tasty salad topping!

Chili burritos (meal three):

This should take about 7 mins to gather ingredients, pop tops on cans and heat it up, unless you're cooking meat, onions or mushrooms.

1-2 cups chili, any recipe. If the one you're using doesn't have meat & onions, you may want to add some to it before adding rest of ingredients.

1 can black olives, sliced or broken up into pieces

1 can mushrooms (or fresh ones you've sliced and fried up)

1-2 cups shredded cheese - any kind you like

Flour Tortillas

Opt: sour cream, guacamole

Heat the ingredients, minus the cheese and opt ingredients, together. Heat tortillas briefly in microwave or hot skillet. Fill with mixture, top with opt items if you're using them and then sprinkle cheese on top. Roll up and eat.

Yesterday evening, I made a batch of chili using the above recipe. I fed my daughter and son-in-love for dinner (I had already eaten earlier, but made more chili for them.) I made a salad for me today and have enough left to make a second salad for me and still have 2 cups left over to make the burritos for another day. This should easily make about 8+ burritos. I haven't made burritos this way in a long time and forget how many burritos I could make. But since you only use about 1/8 - 1/4 of a cup of filling, I seem to remember that this made a LOT of burritos! And if I remember correctly, 1/4 cup of filling was too much in a "Burrito size" tortilla, it escaped the burrito and made a mess.

Make your burritos all up at once, flash freeze what you don't eat, then roll up in plastic or whatever you use instead of plastic. Place individually wrapped burritos into a plastic container/bag (0r whatever you use instead of plastic) and place in freezer. Instant snack/dinner. Just take however many you want from the freezer, unwrap from plastic, wrap in napkin, paper towel, etc and nuke for 1 minute on high. Do each one individually. Just like the store bought burritos.


Enchiladas (meal four):

This should take about 8 minutes to gather gather ingredients, unwrap burritos and put into oven. It will take about 45 mins - 1 hr to bake, but you can be doing other things while it bakes.

Take frozen burritos, unwrap, place in a baking pan, cover with enchilada sauce and top with shredded cheese. Cover with foil. Bake for 45 mins - 1 hr at 350 until insides are hot and cheese is melted. Test with thermometer to make sure insides are at least 160 degrees.

You can also do this with individual burritos in the microwave. Take a frozen burrito, unwrap, place on plate and cover with sauce and cheese. Nuke for a minute. Only thing is, microwaved burritos are "chewy" from the tortilla being overheated.

Still have some leftover chili? Make Chili dip!

Chili dip:
This takes less than 5 minutes to gather ingredients and heat it up.

Chili, heated until it's warm (if cold/frozen). Don't have to preheat if from a can.

Shredded cheese or 1" cubes of Velveta

Mix together well, chili and shredded/cubed cheese in a microwavable bowl. Nuke for 1 minute and stir well. Serve with tortilla chips, Fritos, Dorritos, pita chips or veggies.

A tip to avoid complaints. Don't feed your family (or YOURSELF!) this 3, 4, 5, 6 meals in a row!

Have the chili one day. Divide whatever is left over into two parts. One part for the salad and one part for the Burritos. Freeze one part and put the other part in the fridge. Several days later, have the next meal with the chili in it. (Unless you need something for your lunch - then save some "salad"fixings out for you.) Then several days after that, make the next meal. That way they don't "burn out" on chili and refuse to eat it or complain about how often they're eating it.


LizBeth said...

THANK YOU!!!!!! ~Liz

Darlene said...

You're welcome!

These recipes turn out so tasty - at least to me they do.

Add in I "cook" once (if you can call chopping onions and frying them with meat, then popping the tops on some cans "cooking" and then just heat and eat for the rest of it. Yeah, what's not to like? lol

stephanie said...

Just found you through Liz! sounds yummy!!! Thanks!

Darlene said...

I hope you and your family enjoys these recipes!

Gill - That British Woman said...

popped by via Liz's to say hello!

Gill in Canada

Gill - That British Woman said...

Darlene, the book does have the odd swear word in it, but is worth while reading,

Gill in Canada

Steve Bruce said...

I'm a huge Mexican food fan and all of these recipes sound delicious. I would probably add some organic sprouts to the salad and burrito thought to liven it up a little.

Darlene said...

Yum! That does sound good!