The Romancing The Bee Diet – Day 12 – Chili Con Carne

chili

This dish is affectionately known at my house as “Meat Chili.” It’s been an integral part of every successful diet I’ve ever been on.

In my opinion, it’s close to the perfect diet meal.  It’s satisfying, it’s healthy, it’s tasty, it’s even better the next day, and, best of all, when I eat it I don’t feel like I’m dieting!

The most important thing to remember is DON’T ADD BEANS!  It won’t be a diet meal anymore.

Yield:  6-8 servings

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 large yellow onion, small diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 red pepper, diced

1 green pepper, diced

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 tablespoons chili powder

2 tablespoons cumin

1 teaspoon Mexican oregano

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper

1 tablespoon honey

1 pound lean ground beef

1 28 ounce can of whole peeled tomatoes

Shredded cheddar cheese for garnish only

Directions:

Preheat a 8-quart sauce pan or Dutch Oven over medium-high heat. Saute ground beef, onion, garlic, and peppers in canola oil with salt until beef is browned and vegetables are tender (about 10 minutes). Add spices and cook for 1 more minute. Add honey and canned tomatoes, including juice, and reduce the heat to low.  Simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking and to break up the tomatoes. Adjust seasonings. It may need additional salt.

Serve in soup bowls and top with no more than 2 tablespoons of cheddar cheese for garnish.

Spaghetti Bolognese

With the weather turning cooler, hot spaghetti sounds appetizing again!  This is one of my favorite recipes, improved with the addition of a little honey…

Makes 2 heaping cups sauce; 4 to 6 servings

– 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

– 4 tablespoons butter, divided

– ½ cup chopped onion

– 2/3 cup chopped celery

– 2/3 cup chopped carrot

– ¾ pound ground beef chuck

– Salt

– Fresh ground black pepper

– 1 cup whole milk

– Whole nutmeg

– 1 cup dry white wine

– 1-½ cups canned imported Italian plum tomatoes, torn into pieces, with juice

– 1 tablespoon honey

– 1-¼ to 1-½ pounds spaghetti, cooked al dente and drained

– Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese at the table

1. Put oil, 3 tablespoons butter and chopped onion in a heavy 3-½-quart pot and turn heat to medium. Cook and stir onion until it has become translucent, then add chopped celery and carrot. Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring vegetables to coat well.

2. Add ground beef, a large pinch of salt and a few grindings of pepper. Crumble meat with a fork, stir well and cook until beef has lost its raw, red color.

3. Add milk and let simmer gently, stirring frequently, until it has bubbled away completely. Add a tiny grating, about 1/8 teaspoon, fresh nutmeg and stir.

4. Add wine and let it simmer until it has evaporated. Add honey and tomatoes and stir thoroughly to coat all ingredients well. When tomatoes begin to bubble, turn heat down so that sauce cooks at the laziest of simmers, with just an intermittent bubble breaking through the surface.

5. Cook, uncovered, for 3 hours or more, stirring from time to time. While sauce is cooking, you are likely to find that it will begin to dry out and the fat will separate from the meat. To keep it from sticking, add ½ cup water as necessary. At the end of cooking, however, the water should be completely evaporated and the fat should separate from the sauce. Taste and correct for salt.

6. Add remaining tablespoon butter to the hot pasta and toss with the sauce. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan on the side.