Yet Another Quickie: Hormel Chili

In our constant effort to save time and money, my fiancé and I have come up with a few weekly staples that we like to rotate. Aside from the tortellinis and the always delicious burrito [which we had Monday, shh], we also have some Hormel chili on hand. Now, I’m not talking just your regular can of beans and/or meat, I’m talking gourmet style (well, for a can that is).

Hormel’s “Chili Master” line of chili comes in four variations; chipotle chicken, roasted tomato, white chicken, or three bean. Often times they’re on sale at the store, 3 for $5 or something of that nature. So, when they are, we stock up. I’ve had three of the four (no white chicken yet), and they are all really good. Clearly good enough that we keep buying them!

There’s a lot of great things about chili. It can be eaten alone, or on top of a starch; a potato, rice, pasta, or in tonight’s case, whole wheat couscous. I know, I know, it sounds totally weird. But it works! Typically we have the chili with just some long grain rice. Tonight, however, after I got back from my run and was waiting for the man to return from playing soccer, I decided to make it with couscous. Now, this isn’t any type of couscous – it’s whole wheat and from one of my favorite stores, Trader Joe’s! It takes about 8 minutes to make, from boiling a cup of water with butter to then letting it sit for 5 minutes.

Pairing the lightly spiced chili with it’s chunky pieces of black beans, corn and tomato on top of seriously fluffy and buttery couscous was a really great combination. Considering I’m not a huge rice fan, this was a really nice change of pace. My fiancé even made note that it wasn’t anything like he’d ever had before, but in a good way. I never seem to make couscous to serve with “normal” things. I’m a big fan of mixing chunky salsa into it, too.

I like to think I eat decently (most of the time) and I think the chili covers a lot of my dietary needs (served with a salad, of course)! Plus a little bit goes a long way. So whether you’re having it alone or as a topper to a starch, you’ll definitely be full quickly, and it isn’t that type of full that wears off in an hour – it sticks around.

I can’t recommend this enough for a quick and easy meal. Whether you’re in a hurry or just don’t feel like actually making anything, Hormel Chili is a super quick and easy way to enjoy something that would typically take hours. This way, you can let Hormel do all the work for you! It’s nice to take a night (or in my case, week) off from slaving in the kitchen every once in awhile.

Vegetarian Black Bean Chili w. Dark Ale

As I mentioned in yesterday’s Vegan post, I decided to go veggie two days in a row. Tonight’s selection is from one of Vegetarian Times‘ e-mails I get a few times a week.

As soon as I saw the recipe, I knew I had to make it. I love chili; so much so that my fiancé and I often buy Hormel’s  canned chili just to have on hand in case we run out of dinner ideas. Seeing that this recipe didn’t have too many ingredients and was pretty straight forward, I thought I’d give it a shot.

My thought to make Tuesday night’s dinner on Monday really paid off. For whatever reason, my body has been fighting some sort of cold that comes and goes as it pleases, and yesterday and today was one of those days it decided to come out and play. So, after suffering through Monday, I decided to stay home Tuesday and relax. No point in pushing myself through work when I’ve got a marathon to run in a month!

Most of the ingredients were canned, but you could of course go for the more natural route if you’re willing to spend the time slicing and dicing. Plus, since there weren’t too many ingredients, it was cost effective. I often times hear people complain that eating vegetarian is too expensive. Well, here it is folks! An affordable and filling vegetarian meal! Another draw was the use of beer in the recipe. I knew it’d be a quick sell for my fiancé, and I was all about it too.

Since buying chipotles in adobo for the Chocolate Cinnamon Chipotle Cupcakes and then also using them in my Chilaquiles Fritatta, I had one left, which was exactly what I needed for this recipe! Throw in some corn, garlic, onion, pepper, and black beans which are always on-hand, and you’ve got yourself some vegetarian chili!

The recipe called for a gluten free dark ale, but I went with just a regular dark ale; Flying Fish ESB Amber Ale, to be specific. I enjoy Flying Fish beer on it’s own, so I figured it would definitely work in the chili.

I was a little worried while it was simmering, since all of the beer was soaked up by the vegetables, not leaving any type of broth/sauce. I’m used to at least a little bit of liquid in my chili. But once I tasted the final product, all my worries dissipated! I’m not a huge meat fan, but I definitely don’t think it’s missed in this dish. It was hearty and flavorful, and everything you would expect from chili. Each of the ingredients can be tasted individually, but the combination is really what makes the meal. Everything from the chipotles to the black beans to the beer work perfectly together.

I decided to serve the chili just with two small Pillsbury crescent rolls, and as always, a simple green salad with balsamic vinegar. No, not vinaigrette, just vinegar. Weird? Maybe. Delicious? Definitely.

If you have an hour to devote to a meal, and are in the mood for something hearty without the calories, I definitely suggest this. If you’re a total meat junkie, I’m sure you could add in some ground beef, but if you’re willing to try it meatless, go for it – you’ll be glad you did!

Black Bean Chili w. Dark Ale
(Serves 8)

2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, drained and minced
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 Tbs. ground cumin
1 large onion, finely chopped (1 1/2 cups)
1 medium red bell pepper, diced (1 cup)
5 cloves garlic, minced (5 tsp.)
2 14-oz. cans black beans, rinsed and drained
24 oz. gluten-free dark beer
1 14-oz. can diced tomatoes
1 cup fresh or frozen corn

1. Heat oil in 3-qt. pot over medium heat. Add chipotles and cumin; season with salt, if desired. Cook 1 minute, or until fragrant.
2. Stir in onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Sauté 5 to 7 minutes, or until vegetables are soft. Stir in beans, beer, tomatoes, and corn.
3. Bring chili to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, uncovered, 45 minutes, or until thick.

Each serving is under 200 calories with only 5g of fat, 8g of protein, and 10g of fiber!

Happy healthy nomzing!