Friday, October 17, 2014

Recipe: Homemade Chili Hot Beans

I didn't cook a lot growing up.  My dad pretty much owned the kitchen as far as cooking went.  I was only allowed in to clean up after him. ;)

But of the few things I cooked for myself, none have quite the power of Chili Hot Beans.

It was quite challenging.  Open the can of chili hot beans, add shredded cheese, cover and nuke for a couple minutes.  Occasionally I would add peanuts or crushed red pepper. Yum.

It was cheap, it was filling, it was delicious, and it was at least mildly nutritious.

Ah, the memories.

Fast forward *ahem* several years.  I'm more aware of the dangers of cans, canned tomato products, and mystery ingredients hiding in my food that through some loophole doesn't have to be listed on the label.  Some of those things can have a real deleterious effect on various members of my family.  But oh, how I missed the taste of those beans...  They became a splurge instead of a staple.

Then one day, I thought, Would it be so hard to make chili beans?  So I looked at a can just for the ingredients.  Seemed pretty simple.  So I bought the ingredients I needed and went home to experiment.

And I succeeded!  With very little tweaking, I managed to come up with chili beans that tasted just like the canned stuff I so admired... Only better!  And healthier to boot.

Now, there are various ways to adjust this to make it healthier or more convenient.  But making it at home will always be better than buying canned as far as taste goes, just because it's fresh. So come on, let's get cookin'!

Arienne's Homemade Chili Hot Beans

Yields 3-4 cups, serves up to 8 people (depending on size of people, meal, and servings!)

3-4 cups cooked pinto beans *See this post on beans
4 cups homemade tomato sauce (or about 2 15 oz cans)
2-4 Tbsp chili powder (McCormick is guaranteed gluten-free, and delicious too)
1 tsp garlic powder
Salt to taste
Water (optional, if you want the sauce to be thinner)

Put all of your ingredients in a large pot (or double the recipe and put it in a large crockpot set to low for a few hours).  Bring to a simmer, cover, turn to low, and prep the rest of your dinner, allowing about 30-60 minutes for the flavors to blend.  Serve it up and watch your clan devour it!

We like to have these with cheese and sour cream, kind of like a meatless chili.  We have also served it over rice, on tortillas, or with BBQ and cornbread.

My notes: It's possible to make this on a Storehouse Budget.  If you have a little money to spare, I just discovered that 5th Season spices are actually just old McCormick spices, and they cost a fraction of the original!  Now old means that the flavor isn't as strong, so you'll need to use more to make up the flavor difference. But that's what tasting is for!

This recipe can also be frozen! Just cook as directed, and allow to cool.  Put in freezer safe bags or containers, and you're set! 

What ways do you like to eat chili beans?  What food sparks your childhood memories you wish you could reinvent in a healthier way?

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