Wednesday, August 11, 2010


There are many legends and debates about where chili originated and it is generally thought, by most historians, that the earliest versions of chili were made by the very poorest people. And that is not where the controversy ends, chili ingredients are also debated, some say, "If you know beans about chili, you know chili ain't got no beans." - so for our Texas friends, no beans. Then some cooks choose to use stewing meat that is cut into bite-sized pieces while others use a coarse ground beef. Spices also vary depending on region, some use cinnamon, powdered coco, oregano amongst others. I'm sure Bobby Flay uses some sort of chipotle variation - seems he uses that with everything.
The only ingredient that everyone seems to agree on is tomatoes - chopped, stewed, sauce, fire roasted, paste- you see where I'm going with this - some type of tomato product.
Regardless of how you prepare your chili, I think its a winter time staple for most. I've always prepared an extra large pot of chili because it's so versatile and can lend itself to so many other dishes. If you have a well stocked kitchen, chili is simple to put together with your basic kitchen staples. My pantry is always stocked with several varieties of canned beans, tomatoes and chili seasonings. Also, when ground sirloin is on sale, I usually purchase a couple of pounds to store in the freezer. If you need some help figuring out what staples you should keep on hand, sign up for your FREE pantry staples guide.
It's my opinion that any dish containing large amounts of tomato sauce is best eaten the day after. Thus making chili left overs extra YUMMY.
From what you've read, there are several chili recipes out there, and I'm sure you have your favorite. For me, the spicier the better. I'm not going to tell you how to make chili because your I'm certain your family has their own version. What I am going to do, is give you some suggestions on how to make over your chili left overs. You can stretch out chili left overs by serving using the chili as a topping for hot dogs. Or you can also serve the left over chili as a topping for french fries.
Serve your chili on a bed of steamed basmati (my favorite) or long grain rice - in Hawaii this is known as chili rice; in southwest Texas, its called New Orleans-style chili. Chili Mac can also be prepared by combing you left over chili with macaroni or some other pasta. Chili mac is a standard dish in the U.S. military and is one of the varieties of Meal, Ready-to-Eat (MRE) - from what I hear.
An old Sonic favorite of mine was 'Chili Pie' a small serving bag of Fritos corn chips served with chili poured over the top, usually finished up with grated cheese or onions, jalapenos and sour cream. I'm not sure if this is still on their menu, but it's worth it on a day where your willing to splurge on extra calories.
A large baked potato can also be spruced up with the addition of other ingredients, such as chili, cheddar/Munster cheese, butter, jalapenos, sour cream or chopped onions.
Last night, I was too exhausted to make an elaborate dinner so I began rummaging through the fridge to see what I had on hand. Chicken salad--had that for lunch; eggs: no,, but it wasn't enough for dinner.
I had some corn tortillas, cheese, sour cream, and an avocado that needed to be used before it became unrecognizable. OK, I can make this into Chili Enchiladas. Here is what I had on hand:
  • Left over Chili
  • My famous home made salsa
  • Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • Corn Tortillas - 3
  • Sour Cream
  • Avocado
You will also need some type of baking vessel. Use what you have - I used an 8" baking dish.
Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.

Chili Enchiladas - Dinner Make Over

First start by placing a couple of tablespoons of your favorite salsa at the bottom of the baking dish.
Line baking dish with Salsa
Then take your first tortilla, fill with a couple of tablespoons of chili and top with shredded cheddar cheese.

Gently roll the tortilla and place in your baking dish seam side down. The corn tortillas can fall apart if your not careful. You may brush the tortilla with some olive oil - this will add moisture to the tortilla, thus keeping it from breaking apart -and allows the enchilada to crisp while in the oven. I couldn't be bothered by this step because well, I was being lazy.
Continue this process until all your chili and tortillas are used up.
Enchiladas in pan
Top with more salsa and a few ounces of cheese. You may also top with Crystals hot sauce, enchilada sauce, jalapeno slices olives (whatever you have on hand)

Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until the cheese and tortillas are warm and bubbly.
Before serving, I topped with a few avocado slices, salsa, and a dollop of sour cream.

Chili Enchilada served with avocado and sour cream
I made three enchiladas, two for dinner and one for breakfast - yes breakfast. That reminds me, I have an enchilada waiting for me.
I hope you will try out this recipe the next time you have some left over chili to use up.

Health Facts*:
Kidney beans are a very good source of folate (vitamin B9), dietary fiber and manganese. A cup of cooked kidney beans provides 45.3% of the recommended daily intake for fiber. Kidney beans' high fiber content prevents blood sugar levels from rising too rapidly after a meal, making these beans an especially good choice for individuals with diabetes, insulin resistance or hypoglycemia.

Tomatoes contain lycopene that is considered a potential agent for prevention of some types of cancers, particularly prostate cancer. Processed tomatoes (e.g. canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, paste) contain a higher amount of lycopene because cooking breaks down cell walls, releasing and concentrating carotenoids. Eating tomatoes with a small amount of fat enables lycopene to be better absorbed. The tomato is also an excellent source of vitamin C (one medium tomato provides 40% of the RDA) and a good source of vitamin A (20% of the RDA).
Avocados are one of the best sources of monounsaturated fat, the fat known to lower artery-clogging LDL cholesterol and raise heart-healthy HDL cholesterol. A few slices of avocado also contain a hefty serving of folate, one of the B vitamins that helps promote healthy cell and tissue development, as well as potassium, which helps maintain the electrical balance important for nerve conduction.
* facts provided by

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