Mom was the best cook, and she had lots of specialties. Decadent lasagna, complex compote, gargantuan burritos. You name it, she made it. Perfectly. I, on the other hand, never quite found my niche in the kitchen.
When Mom passed she left behind a beautiful legacy and an almost empty recipe box. The few recipes she had bothered to write down rather than commit to memory offered no guidance in terms of ingredient amounts. They were simply shopping lists for meal prep. So, I was left in a rough spot. I wanted to taste the foods that Mom had fed me throughout my childhood, to be reminded of a somewhat simpler time. But how was I to cook like Mom if she hadn’t equipped me properly? The answer to that, my friends, is trial and error. And lots of Ajax for the burnt pans.
With that said, and since Mother’s Day just passed, I felt the need to reconnect with Mom and her food. I made one of my personal favorites from her repertoire – her chili. Well, I sort of made her chili. Just as her cards boast a casual approach to cooking, I also follow a laissez-faire philosophy. I often allow her lists to guide me, and end up in a different direction than she would take. And that’s OK. And sometimes, it’s better than OK. Like last night. So, here it goes:
(Not Exactly) Momma’s Chili
1 can of chopped, stewed tomatoes
1 can of kidney beans
1 pound of 96% lean beef
1 yellow onion, chopped
Mom would have called for 1 packet of Lawry’s chili seasoning, but I ended up using:
2 tbsps of chili seasoning
1 tsp of oregano
1 tsp of fennel
1 tbsp coconut oil
salt to taste
lemon pepper to taste
Directions: Saute onions in pan with a coconut oil, allow to soften. Throw in meat, crumble and brown it. Meanwhile, dump contents of kidney bean and tomato cans into pot and simmer. After meat is brown, place in pot after draining excess fat. Allow to simmer for a few, then toss in seasonings. Turn to medium heat to boil, then back down to simmer with top on for half an hour. Take off top and continue to simmer until juices have reduced enough to serve.
Light and Crunchy Wilted Spinach
On my instagram I showed the chili over a bed of spinach. This was just the tang and crunch this meal needed! All you need is the following:
1 cup of baby spinach
1 tbsp of shredded parmesan cheese
1 tbsp coconut oil
salt and pepper to taste
Melt coconut oil over medium-low, throw in spinach. Wilt just slightly then spray with lemon juice and add salt/pepper. Mix and allow to continue to wilt. Allow for a bright green color rather than a dark green to keep spinach from getting too soggy. Top with parmesan and serve!
Hope you all enjoy. Let me know what you think, and be sure to follow my blog for more recipe ideas!