On Our Own Chili

My kitchen sink is glistening white. My carpets are vacuumed, the books are all lined up on their bookshelves, all the laundry is clean, folded and put away. In the fridge is a big container full of chili; in the freezer are turkey meatballs and breaded halibut fingers (yes, fish sticks). This is the way I prepare for a week on my own with the children. My husband is taking this opportunity, while he has no work obligations, to go on a retreat of sorts, and I am holding down the fort.

Also, quick meals that take no more than 20 minutes to pull together. This chili will be a good start:

First I browned about a pound of ground beef in a deep skillet. Then I added half a diced red onion and a small, diced red pepper. When they were beginning to soften, I added dried oregano, cumin, chili powder, salt and a cinnamon stick. I used very mild chili powder and that, combined with the sweetness of the cinnamon, makes the flavor very appealing to my kids. After the spices have a moment to heat, I added some chopped tomatoes that I had slow-roasted earlier this week (usually I use canned diced tomatoes, but these added even more sweetness). Poured in a regular-sized can tomato sauce and some black beans with their cooking liquid. (Ooh, the beans. I should show you how I cooked these beans. 90 minutes from package to finish. [link href="http://thepauperedchef.com/2009/06/90-minute-no-soak-beans.html" link_updater_label="external" target="_blank"]Check it out.

) Let it simmer about 10 to 15 minutes more and it was done.

More easy kid-pleasers:

Grilled Sweet Onion and Cheddar Pizza

Orange-Spinach Pasta

Honey Ham and Cheese Sandwiches

Crunchy Chicken Fingers with Coleslaw

Kim Walker

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