Aria looooooves to pick out the veggies first in this, so I make sure to pack it full of a colorful variety, in nice toddler sized chunks, for her dining pleasure. As with any recipe that I come up with, it’s a bit of this, a bit of that, and the measurements are pure guestimates. In the end, each batch tastes pretty similar to those that came before it.
Very Veggie Beef Chili
A plethora and variety of healthy veggies, chopped into bite sized chunks. I used:
- 2 small sweet potatoes, peeled
- 1 green bell pepper
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 orange bell pepper
- 1 yellow bell pepper
- some white mushrooms.. like not a whole package, but a decent amount
- half a package of those little baby carrots
- half a yellow onion (all I had left.. I’m sure a whole onion might be even better)
It doesn’t really matter what veggies or how many, once all the flavors mingle it all tastes like chili. This made a heaping pile of veggies, and so made a lot of chili, which is good, because she eats a lot of chili.
- 1 lb lean ground beef
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1/2 tbsp minced garlic
- 2 15oz cans of beans (I used one Black and one Navy)
- 2 15oz cans of Del Monte Zesty Chili Style diced tomatoes
- 1 15oz can Del Monte with Green Chilies or Zesty Jalapenos, or something else spicy
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp chili powder
(I admit, I had the Del Monte on hand the first time, and really liked the flavor it brought, so make sure I keep using the same ones so I don’t have to try to recreate the spice and flavor myself – side note, swap out one or two of the Chili Style for Zesty Jalapeno to bring more heat).
Get out a great big pot. Pour the oil in, warm it up, then saute the onion until it caramelizes. Add in the garlic. Then add in the ground beef and brown it. If it’s lean enough you won’t need to drain it.
Start dumping in your mounds of vegetables. Add in the cans of stuff (drain the beans (and rinse if they’re slimy), but don’t drain the tomatoes).
Bring it to a boil, add in the seasonings, stir it all up really well, cover and let simmer on low heat for like 3 hours, stirring occasionally. It has to cook for a long time so the carrots get soft. If you don’t use carrots, it may not need to cook as long.
This is not a very soupy recipe, there is the little bit of juice with the tomatoes, and then as the veggies cook down they add a bit more liquid, but in the end it’s pretty thick and perfect for a toddler spoon.
From here we eat some of it, and freeze the rest. I love the muffin tin trick, which is to fill a muffin tin, freeze it, then transfer it to a ziploc bag. The super neat trick is to fill a mug with hot water, stick each muffin bump into it and the substance inside will loosen up and can be popped right out! And it all comes out that way so it’s easy clean up.
This batch of chili filled a whole muffin tin, plus a few 40z baby freezer containers, as well as a few heaping bowlfuls at dinner 🙂 Also, this is one of the few dishes that Aria will request seconds of, and sometimes thirds, and fourths. I think she likes it some.