Friday, November 20, 2015

Nutrition Packed, Kid Friendly Chili

   Those of you have read my blog before probably know how incredibly picky my family, and especially my 5 year old boy, can be with their food. Picky eaters are one of my biggest pet peeves and sometimes it seems like I'm surrounded by them! I'm sure most of you moms out there can relate to the struggle of trying to get your kids eat the delicious, healthy food you make. I'm sure many of my fellow moms sometimes feel like giving up and just serving chicken nuggets and pizza to avoid the fight. I know I do sometimes. However, I try my best to not give in and get creative instead.

   The weather is getting colder now, and what could be more comforting than a nice bowl of spicy chili? Well, if it has "stuff" in it like beans and pieces of tomato, a picky child might say a lot of things would be better. Challenge accepted and won! I was able to come up with a chili recipe that packs in the nutrition of beans and other vegetables while still giving the kids the simplicity of meat and sauce that they want. No "stuff," (that they can see anyway.)

 As you can see from the decorations and garnishes, the first time we made it was around Halloween. We had just seen the chefs on "The Kitchen" top chili with tortillas that were cut into fun shapes with cookie cutters and fried. Of course we already know that fried tortillas are delicious, (have you tried making tostadas on Tuesday instead of tacos?), and my five year old really wanted to give it a try. It was a lot of fun and he is already talking about how we could use different cookie cutters during different times of the year whenever we have chili. Just heat up a little oil on in a frying pan on the stove, and fry your tortillas until golden brown and delicious. Make sure that you season them while they are still hot.

Break out the blender, it's time to trick children into eating things that are good for them!

Nutrition Packed, Kid Friendly Chili
1 to 2 lbs ground beef or turkey
1 can red kidney beans
1 12 oz can tomato paste
1 cup pumpkin puree
4 cups vegetable, chicken, or beef stock
1/4 of an onion
2 tsp. minced garlic
1 jalepeno
2 Tbsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cinnamon

1. Brown the beef or turkey in a pan, set aside. (Drain fat if using beef.)

2. Chop the onion and jalepeno, and saute together until the onion is translucent.

3. Place the onion, jalepeno, and red kidney beans, (including the liquid from the can), in a blender, and blend until smooth.

4. Place meat, bean puree, and all remaining ingredients in a slow cooker, stir to combine, and cook on low for 4 to 6 hours. You can also place ingredients in a regular pot and cook on low heat until everything is heated through.

5. Serve with your favorite chili toppings: cheese, sour cream, green onions, fried tortillas in the shape of a bat, etc. Enjoy!

 - Of course feel free to adjust to your own tastes! I only used one pound of meat the first time I made it and there was a request that it be meatier, so I increased the amount. If you don't like things spicy, leave out the jalepeno and cayenne, if you like things really spicy, add more! As my dad would say, "If you want to put something else in, go ahead, ain't no big deal. As long as no one starts poking it with a fork and mumbling, 'Had a failed science experiment look like  this once, only it smelled better,' you're doing just fine."

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