Sunday, October 29, 2006


There is some coughing and sneezing going on at our house this weekend. A good time to boost the immune system by cooking up a big pot of chili. Garlic, onion, chili peppers and tomatoes are all known for their benefits to the immune system. When I was in China I knew people who would eat a whole, raw clove of garlic every day to ward off colds and keep strong and healthy. I prefer my tonics in the crockpot though. The key is to use very fresh ingredients, a tip I learned from Chinese cooking. It makes a huge difference in taste and impact and is worth the extra effort in chopping those veggies. Here’s my Crock Pot Chili recipe from Better Homes and Gardens All Time Favorite Crockery Cooker Meals:

Tex-Mex Chili

1 lb ground beef or sausage
2 cloves fresh garlic
3 to 4 tsp chili powder
½ tsp. ground cumin
1 15.5 oz. can red kidney beans, drained
1 c. chopped celery
1 c. chopped onion
½ c. chopped green sweet pepper
1 to 2 fresh jalapeno peppers, chopped
1 14 ½ oz can tomatoes, cut up
1 10 oz can chopped tomatoes with green chili peppers
1 c. hot-style vegetable juice or hot-style tomato juice
1 6 oz can tomato paste
¼ tsp. salt
Shredded cheddar cheese
Dairy sour cream

In a large skillet cook the sausage or beef and garlic until meat is brown. Drain off fat. Stir in chili powder and cumin; cook 2 minutes more.

Meanwhile, in a 3.5, 4 or 5 quart crockery cooker combine beans, celery, onion, sweet pepper, and jalapeno peppers. Add both cans of undrained tomatoes, vegetable juice or tomato juice, tomato paste, and salt. Stir in meat mixture.

Cover; cook on low-heat setting for 8 to 10 hours or on high-heat setting for 4 or 5 hours. Ladle chili into soup bowls. Pass shredded cheese and sour cream with chili. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

It’s been cooking here at our house since before we went to church this morning and the house smells great! My parents are coming over for supper. I always love to serve this chili with the Moosewood Cookbook cornbread. If you work with (germ-ridden) kids or share computers and telephones in a lab or office you need something like this chili. What’s your tonic to strengthen your immune system this fall?

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