I Love a good bowl of chili with a good chunk of fresh baked cornbread. Heaven.
I've been really cutting down on the amount of red meat that we eat, not just because it's not that good for you and not to mention this whole "pink slime" crap they've been talking about on the news (although, eww and yea, that's surely preventing me from buying ground beef now!) but it's expensive and my food budget is $50/week regardless.
I've found a new friend in lentils. I wouldn't touch lentils when I was a kid, my Italian grandma was the only one that even ate lentils and I thought they 1, looked gross and 2, smelled weird. So I wasn't going near them. yuck. That was until I learned how truly great they are for you. They're inexpensive, easy to prepare and full of protein.
I have found that I can make chili, wonderful meaty chili with just half the meat or even with hardly any meat at all by substituting Lentils and it comes out amazing and the best part is it's really, really healthy not to mention delicious!
Here's my basic chili recipe with the addition of lentils
In the morning or the night before soak 1 cup lentils in 2 cups of water and set aside, covered until ready to use.
Cook and drain:
1/2 - 1 lbs ground beef or turkey
1 large onion, diced
Add to dutch oven or slow cooker with the following:
Lentils that have been soaked
1 28oz can stewed tomatoes
1 15 oz can tomato puree
2 15 1/2 oz drained kidney beans
3 tbsp each Worcestershire sauce and aromatic bitters(optional)
1 12 oc can beer or 1 1/2 c water
3 cloves garlic
1 beef bullion cube
1 tsp crushed red pepper
2 bay leaves (remove before serving)
1 T chili powder
1 tsp EACH coriander, cumin, thyme, oregano, and basil
Simmer uncovered for a couple hours on stove top or in the slow cooker for a few hours... Top with sour cream, grated cheddar cheese, or sliced green onions if you like.
Yea, it's really that easy.. you can adjust it to your tastes.. really easy, really good and it makes enough for a crowd!