Meatless Monday No. 9 - Hungry Girl's Cornbread-Topped Dan-Good Chili
By Laurel Regan on November 25, 2013
The temperature is steadily dropping, and the colder it gets the more I crave a hot, satisfying bowl of spicy chili, preferably accompanied by a side of warm cornbread... so I thought it was only logical that today's Meatless Monday experiment venture into warming chili territory.
Not only is today Meatless Monday, but it's also the day I officially (re)started my diet after completing two weeks' worth of tasks from The Beck Diet Solution (P.S. - my update on Week Two is coming tomorrow!). Today's recipe not only had to be meatless, but also needed to include nutrition information to make it easier for me to track my food intake on MyFitnessPal.
I followed the recipe fairly closely, with the following adjustments:
- US cans must be different from Canadian ones, as I am rarely able to find the exact size that US-sourced recipes call for. Annoying! In this case it was the tomato sauce, but I wasn't a problem as I bought an additional smaller can to make up the difference. We'll just have to find a way to use the leftover sauce in our cooking this week.
- I used regular diced tomatoes, not the kind with added green chili peppers.
- I had to make brand substitutions for both the cornbread mix and the liquid egg substitute, and cross my fingers that they would work just as well.
- For Peter's benefit, I didn't add any jalapeño slices to the cornbread as I figured the chili itself would be spicy enough for his tender palate!
The recipe was simple, but a little time-consuming as there was lots of chopping, can-opening, and measuring to be done. I didn't mind, though - I found it all to be rather relaxing and almost meditative. (Peter laughed when I shared that tidbit with him, and told me that I could do the vegetable chopping for him any time I wanted! Needless to say, I hastily toned down my enthusiasm.) Plus, since the recipe made eight servings, the investment of time would pay off in the future, as we'd be able to freeze the leftovers for another day.
Here's how the chili looked once everything had been added to the crock pot (but before it started to cook) - isn't it pretty?! I do love colourful dishes.
When it came time to make the cornbread, I actually had to do a bit of quick research, as I had no idea how big the "1 pouch" of prescribed mix might be! Thankfully, the internet came through and provided me with the relevant information.
As an aside... thanks to a mini crash course in Southern cooking from my blogging friends Becky and Marika, I have come to understand that "real" cornbread doesn't have any sugar in it (if the mix contains sugar, the end result is actually a corn muffin). Did you know that? This Canadian sure didn't! Both the brand of mix called for in the Hungry Girl recipe and the kind I had to buy (the only one I could find in our grocery stores) did contain sugar, so technically what I made wasn't actually cornbread by Southern standards.
Maybe next time.
I can't say the cornbread was an amazing success - it tasted ok, but never really seemed to finish cooking, so was rather doughy - but I'm assuming it's because I'd been forced to make a substitution due to the limitations of our grocery stores. Also, I'd cooked the chili on low rather than high... perhaps the recipe's 30 minute baking time for the cornbread assumed the crock pot was set on high?
In spite of the less than noteworthy cornbread topping, the chili itself was delicious... but by way of warning, depending on your taste for spicy food, you might well find it to be too hot. Personally, I thought it was about perfect, but Peter teared up while he was eating (and they weren't tears of happiness because he had the night off from cooking, either). Thank goodness I just used the regular diced tomatoes without added chili peppers, or he REALLY would have been on fire!
I will definitely make this chili again, as it was flavourful, filling, and low-calorie, but I think next time I'll leave out the jalapeño slices altogether and just count on the chili powder to provide the necessary heat.
In the meantime, I'll keep searching for a "real" cornbread mix!
Are you participating in Meatless Monday?
What did you make for dinner tonight?
(Original post in Alphabet Salad.)
Laurel Regan blogs about life as she lives it at Alphabet Salad - "an eclectic assortment of rants & ramblings."