I know “chili”  isn’t really an ingredient, but, that’s what the Facebook Cooking Club came up with this month, and that’s what we’re making.  And it couldn’t have come at a better time, because it’s a high of 45°F in Orlando today!!! I know some of you northerners would call this a heat wave, but for us it’s BREAKING NEWS!!! Yes, I’m being serious, it even topped the Iowa Caucus story!!! Anyway…it is really cold here, relatively speaking, which means chili is definitely on the menu this week. This challenge is easy for me because I’ve already done a “Mom, There’s Nothing To Eat” chili recipe. YAY!!!! I also found some “Mom, There’s Nothing To Eat” recipes that actually do use chili as an ingredient…  Cincinnati ChiliChili NachosChili Dogs!! Check them out by clicking on the names… nothing like a little self promotion!!!!

I’ve also come up with a new way to present the vegetarian/meatetarian chili… A Chili Bar!!! No, I’m not talking about a icy place to get libations, although that may be fun too. My idea is to create a chili assembly line, so you can personalize your chili experience. Wow, sounds pretty impressive and a bit pretentious, huh? Yeah, even to me and I made it up!! But you’ll look so impressive to your family.

So, you make the soup and bean base… yes, beans… because beans are not negotiable in my chili.

  •  64 oz bottle of V8 juice
  • 1 30-ish oz can black beans
  • 1 30-ish oz can chili beans
  • 1 30-ish oz can kidney beans
  • 2 stems fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  1. Put all above ingredients in a stock pot and let simmer, and simmer, and simmer some more.
  2. Then, you fry up the meat, whether you use ground beef, turkey, sausage, fake meat or any combination of the aforementioned items. (yes, I used aforementioned in a sentence… 2012 resolution met… woohoo!!)
  3. Roast or steam some of your favorite veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, grape tomatoes, multi-colored sweet peppers, onion, squash, zucchini, etc. Now you can roast/steam these together or separately depending on your family’s likes or dislikes.
  4. Gather up your toppings, like shredded cheese, sour cream, tortilla strips, Fritos®, green onion, parmesan, fresh cilantro or rosemary, and of course oyster crackers.
  5. Ideally, you would have a large Lazy-Susan table that your sexy lumber-jack husband whipped up just for the chili bar. But if not, then set it up on the counter and let your family become chili artistes!!

This can be really fun, because each person’s bowl will be like a self-portrait or maybe even a personality tell-all!! Have fun!!!