Time is flying - we're nearly halfway through January! What a weird week it has been...sub-zero temperatures one day, then an ice storm. As I'm writing this, it's in the mid 50s at my house and it feels more like springtime outside than the middle of winter! Mother Nature is confused.
Every January, my husband and daughter look forward to watching the NFL playoffs. They're not the biggest football fans you'll ever meet, but they do enjoy watching the games (go Patriots!) and making small bets with each other about the potential Superbowl teams. When I think about these football-filled weekends, I naturally think about the food that goes hand-in-hand with football watching. Chips & dip, popcorn, and other munchie snack foods are typical, but at my house, we don't compromise our health by eating some of these snacks. Air-popped popcorn replaces microwaved popcorn, and homemade kale chips stand-in for greasy potato chips. My kale chips are delicious and easy to prepare, and I promise that they disappear just as quickly as store-bought chips. They're that good.
Other than delicious snacks, chili is a requirement for cold-weather football watching at our house. My quinoa chili is a favorite, especially since I can make a big pot ahead of time and serve it whenever we're ready for a more substantial meal. Earlier this week, I made a double-batch of my quinoa chili recipe and froze half of it. The other half will be served this weekend, topped with lots of diced avocado and hot sauce (my favorite toppings)! I'll be able to relax and spend time with my family, rather than slaving over a complex recipe in my kitchen. Take my advice and do the same. Make a big pot of quinoa chili, it's quick and simple. You may have all of the ingredients on-hand in your pantry, which makes the cooking even easier!
Regardless of what you eat during this long holiday weekend, enjoy your time with your family and friends. Make relaxation and connection a priority. Get outside and move your body before sitting down for hours of football watching. Have fun, eat well and be well.
Ingredients: (note - use organic whenever possible)
2 T sunflower seed oil
1 large yellow onion, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 large carrots, finely chopped
3 T chili powder
1 t ground cumin
1/2 t ground cinnamon
1 t dried oregano
2 28oz cans fire-roasted crushed tomatoes (such as Muir Glen) 1/2-1 C water
4 14oz cans beans, rinsed & drained (use a variety of types)
1 C cooked quinoa
1/2 t sea salt, or more, to taste
optional toppings: sliced scallions, diced avocado, chopped red onion, hot sauce
Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the onions and sauté until softened, approximately 8 minutes. Add the garlic and carrots, continue to sauté for an additional 10 minutes, stirring often.
Sprinkle chili powder, cumin, cinnamon and oregano over the sautéed vegetable mixture and stir to coat, allowing the spices to warm and toast for 2 minutes.
Pour the crushed tomatoes and 1/2 C water into the pot. Stir to mix ingredients and bring to a bowl. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes to allow flavors to blend.
Add the drained beans and cooked quinoa to the pot and stir to combine. Simmer for an additional 10 minutes. If mixture is too thick, add additional water. Taste for seasoning, adding salt, if needed, or additional spices.
To serve, place desired portion in a bowl and add your favorite toppings.
recipe yields 8-10 generous portions
substitute dried beans, cooked to al dente, for canned beans
leftovers keep well, frozen in a sealed container, for up to 6 weeks
make a double-batch of chili, eat some now and freeze the rest for later