Beef and Bean Chili in a Bread Bowl

I’m one of those people who can vividly remember several moments from her childhood.  While most of these memories often just swim around in the archives of my brain waiting to give me a major shot of déjà vu when I’m least expecting it, some of them sit in a more fond spot.  Perhaps in the more exclusive brain archives section – the “Reserve” section, if you may…

Here is one of those memories: When I was young and living in Timmins, my dad and I always used to go out to Tim Hortons.  These trips came pretty often, since my dad was a huge fan of Timmie’s coffee (things have changed since we got our new coffee maker at home) and I always insisted on coming along in hopes of getting a doughnut.  Some of my fondest memories of these little Tim Hortons trips came when the shop was having its “chili in a bread bowl” promotion.  My dad and I would absolutely lose our minds for this.  I think I ate a record-breaking amount of chili when I was young, simply because I loved the combination of crusty bread and mouthwatering chili so much.  Anyways, for some reason Timmie’s stopped having this chili in a bread bowl promotion and the chili has since never tasted as good.  Mom, you get a lot of shout outs on this blog but dad, this one is for you.

Feeling nostalgic and craving chili, I knew that this was a completely necessary meal to make.  The recipe I used was pretty traditional in the chili sense, and came from Canadian Living.  The title they used for the chili had the words “really good” in it, so I figured I would give them the benefit of the doubt and whip myself up a batch.  Ugggghhhh, as I type I am so full of delicious chili that all I want to do is hibernate for the whole winter through.  This recipe was great, since the only thing I needed to buy at the grocery store was crushed tomatoes.  Don’t you just love having all the other ingredients on hand?  I even got to use up most of my pesky stalk of celery, a vegetable which looks cute slopped with peanut butter and raisins, but unfortunately lacks taste unless combined in something so delicious as this chili.  Since the recipe doesn’t call for too much celery and carrots, I just tripled the amount that they requested, to make a meal that was just as healthy as it was hearty.  I also added way more hot pepper sauce than requested, for an extra spicy kick.

Although the recipe says it only makes four servings, I discovered it made around six.  With these leftovers as well as leftover stew, I will guaranteed never go hungry again.  Such a shame since I want to try out a ratatouille recipe soon…

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Homemade Beef Stew

Hello everyone, remember me?  I know, its been awhile.  No, my blog is not dying, so for all you shaking your head’s out there, stop it right now!!  Rather, I’ve just been really busy with classes and such.  I had two huge assignments due today and yesterday, and we’ve now started newsroom days for radio, which complicate things a tad more

But enough with my complaints!  Lets get on to what you actually want to read about…

Okay, so at this point I’ve finally accepted that the cold fall weather is here to stay.  Ever since the Halloween blizzard, it’s like some signal went off in my brain making me crave only two things: chili and stew.  Not having made anything decently healthy for awhile, I thought making my mom’s homemade recipe for the latter would be a great way to get my protein and veggie intake.  A more important factor contributing to this decision was that I forgot my grocery list when I went to the store (never a good mistake), and stew is a very good improvisation “I don’t know what the hell I’m buying” dish.

My dear roommate Brittany also coincidentally decided to make stew last night.  Bubbling away on the stove, our stews brewed and sizzled – creating a symphony of smells in our cramped kitchen.  Though the cooking time on a recipe like this is rather long (see instructions below, don’t plan on making this in a rush!), it turned out to be worth it in the end.  My improvised recipe ended up making five servings of warmth and love.  It pains me a bit to type this post, since I’ve now had stew for two meals in a row and am kind of sick of the thing.  Perhaps I’ll move on to chili next and leave my leftovers in the freezer for a bit…

Cute little freezer leftovers

Homemade Beef Stew
– 2 tablespoons olive oil
– 500 g stewing beef (basically beef cut up in squares at the grocery store, it’s amazingly cheap)
– 1 onion, chopped
– 2 cups beef broth, water or a combination of the two
– 4 carrots, sliced
– 2 large potatoes, diced
– 1/4 cabbage, chopped
– 1 zucchini, sliced
– 1 teaspoon dried thyme

The instructions for this one are pretty simple: fry meat with oil until brown.  Once browned, add onion and pour 1 cup of the liquid over the meat.  Bring to boil and let sit simmering for 45 minutes, or until beef is tender.  Add carrots, potatoes, cabbage and remainder of liquid. Let cook for 20-30 minutes.  Within the last 5 minutes of cooking, add zucchini.  Sprinkle with thyme and serve.  Enjoy!