What’s for dinner? A standard question I ask my husband almost daily. His usual reply is “What do you feel like?” To which I respond” Well if I knew that I would be telling you what’s for dinner rather than asking.” Then we go down the list of what we want vs. tangible ingredients and he comes up with a weird concoction that I’m not eating nor feeding to our children.
This particular day while I was asking I was also scrolling through my Instagram feed and a post for a paleo friendly chili came across. It looked scrumptious. I went to the site, noted the ingredients, directions, and realized that I only had maybe two of the ingredients and the spices. Well, there goes that.
Now I was drawn to this particular chili recipe because it included sweet potatoes. I know that sounds odd, but what you don’t know is that we have two full boxes of sweet potatoes sitting on our back porch due to a work snafu at my husband’s job. Maybe I’ll share that later, in private, inbox me, lol. So I had a reason to use them, but I didn’t have the recipe’s ground turkey nor any ground meat. Shoot, I didn’t have meat period. Well, I could do a vegetarian chili. I did have 2 cans of black beans and one can of tomatoes. Okay, I can start with that, cool.
Quinoa was the other ingredient that drew me in. I know I have some quinoa turned into where is the quinoa, which turned into I don’t have any quinoa. Deep sigh. Oh well, I scrapped that recipe. I peered through my Tupperware square round on the top shelf in the pantry and saw lentils. Small like quinoa, okay no, but could add some depth to a dish. Good, I’m back in business. I checked the refrigerator for my standard soup go to’s; celery, peppers, carrots. I also had some onions and whole garlic. Let’s create!
After mulling over this now vegetable chili, I sent my husband to the store for another can of tomatoes, and a can of kidney beans. You may be questioning why I didn’t tell him to get the turkey and quinoa. Well, for one I was up for a challenge now! I had to see if I could pull this off. Two, my new soup is clearing out some ingredients that needed to be used. Three, who am I kidding. This was not a pay week and it was after Christmas. I was already using the next paycheck for New Year’s dinner, so we were going to use up the loose change on these old gift cards I had to get the can of beans and tomatoes!
SIMPLIFY! I sautéed the onions, celery, red and green peppers, carrots, and garlic. I peeled and diced the sweet potatoes, and drained and rinsed the beans. The lentils were measured. The stock was poured and the spices selected. I pulled out the crock pot, set it and let it cook. Meanwhile, I enjoyed a cup of coffee, did a POUND workout (getting ready for my next class), and I flat ironed my hair. Five hours later the chili had simmered to perfection and was served over rice.
Time to eat! I was skeptical. My husband contemplated what he could add to the chili if it didn’t taste good. I use my children as food critiques. If they eat it without an ounce of complaining then I am on to something (three finger snaps). No complaints from my children, I had a second helping and my husband tried not to be gluttonous. I think I still hear his spoon clanking against the bowl.
In the end this was a tasty dish that I never knew I would like. I’m not a big chili eater and I’ve always preferred a hearty meal to have hearty meat, even though I’ve been telling myself that I wanted to eat more vegetarian like. How easy a mind can change when it focuses on making things simple. I simply used what I had to make simply good food that I will make again. No fuss, no added stress.
Oh by the way this is a vegetable dish, not a vegetarian one (let me know if you would like the recipe). Remember when I said I had to use up some ingredients. Well, there is some chicken stock and some salt pork drippings used (substitute as you so desire). My husband says that I am the most southern New Yorker he’s ever met!
PS. I can’t share what happened with my husband and the sweet potatoes. He won’t let me…yet.
What is something that you had to simplify to make it work for you?