Thursday, July 28, 2011

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What a Wonderful World.

So I couldn't think of a clever title, so since good ol' Louis was playing in the background, I decided he was appropriate enough. I have made quite a few recipes since my last post, but my computer is in an out of commission on a daily basis, so I haven't found the time where it decided to work to post any. What a wonderful world.

Here's the recipe for the Black Bean and Barley Chili I threw together, appropriately named "Black N' Barley Chili". I thought it was a little salty for my tastes, but others thought it was delicious as is. If you are not one for a lot of salt, I would suggest buying low sodium tomato juice, or replacing half with water. Also, you could buy no salt added beans or diced tomatoes to cut the salt back as well.

Black N' Barley Chili - Serves 9 (1 cup per serving)
2 medium red bell peppers, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 summer squash, chopped (you could swap an ear of corn, or any other veggie you have)
1 1/2 cups black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup quick-cooking barley
1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cups Tomato juice
2 cups water
1 Tablespoon canola oil
1 Tablespoon ground cumin
2 Tablespoon chili powder
1 Tablespoon Paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

First off, you wanna chop all your veggies. I highly suggest getting all the ingredients ready to go before you start cooking. It makes the process and clean up MUCH easier and faster. So while you're at it, open up the beans, drain and rinse, open up the tomatoes, and measure out the barley

Heat the oil in a large stock pot over medium heat, then add the veggies. Add the spices, and stir together. If I were to make this again, I would add more cayenne, since it wasn't hot enough for my tastes. That's another thing, taste, taste, taste! Taste as you go, and adjust the flavor according to what YOU like. I always think recipes are guidelines, where you get to fill it in or take out what you don't like. PLEASE experiment and tell me about it! This is how new and delicious recipes are formed. Anyway, back tom cooking. Cook until the veggies start to soften. I found it took about 5 minutes.

Next, add the can of tomatoes, and tomato juice.
Then, add the barley, and bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Once it starts to boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for about 10 minutes, or barley is tender. I added barley to replace ground beef, to make it vegetarian as well as adding some heart healthy grains! It makes the chili more hearty and filling as opposed to just adding beans,
Now you can add the beans. I wait to add them so they don't turn into mush, since they are already pretty soft. Feel free to add more beans, I only had black beans on hand, but kidney or red beans make for a great chili as well. As far as cooking goes you're about done! I found that the barley soaked up a lot of the tomato juice during cooking, so i opted to add additional water. If you like a thick, hearty chili, you could probably go without it, but it all depends on your likes.
Now just simmer until ready to serve, or transfer to a serving dish and store. I did make some healthy cornbread muffins to accompany the chili, since I find it hard to eat chili any other way, but I was not satisfied with the results, so I decided not to post the recipe, but one day I will find one to meet my standards!

I hope you enjoy, and as always experiment. I know summer isn't exactly the setting for a hot bowl of chili, but I'll find any excuse to eat chili! Each serving has about 150 calories, and not sure how much, but since the only fat added is a tablespoon of oil, I can assure it is low in fat. I kinda wish I had more chili now, but it didn't last long in my house.

What's your favorite thing to have with chili?

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