OK, it’s not just brisk or chilly outside, it’s down right cold, freezing—let’s try frigid. I put on another sweater; that doesn’t work. I turn up the heat in my office; that doesn’t work either. I even pour myself a mug of hot chocolate. This helps temporarily…until I need to excuse myself from a meeting for the ladies room only to catch another chill you know where.
Home from work, I start a pot of Chili-Stew, a great dish my mom would make on cold winter days like this. But, I need more. I need something to warm my soul, rev my engine, and really create some deep energy that lasts so I resort to listening to my husband’s suggestions.
You see, I use the word ‘resort’ because his suggestions typically incorporate some sort of exercise. Now don’t get me wrong; I love exercise and am very much aware of the physical and mental benefits, but his suggestions are at times a bit too much for me.
A leisurely bike ride becomes a distance race, a 5K fun run becomes ‘bringing home some hardware’, and shoveling the driveway becomes an aerobic workout with 100 sit-ups afterward.
I was pleasantly surprised by his suggestion, “let’s go sledding, that will warm you up!”
I knew there would be a catch, but I go along with it. We load up the sleds and head for the giant sledding hill 1.5 miles from our house. Here is the catch…we don’t walk up the hill…we run up the hill, sled down and do it again, and again and again.
Much to my surprise and pleasure my chill goes and stays away. My blood is moving, we laugh a lot, and burn quite a few calories.
After an hour of this crazy fun, we head home for a hot bowl of Chili-Stew. I guess I should listen to my husband more often. His suggestions are winners, but I take the prize with my pot of Chili-Stew.
This month try some outdoor winter activities with your kids coupled with my Chili-Stew for dinner. I’m convinced your dinner conversation will be filled with laughter, warmth and bowls of good hot food.
This dish is a cross between chili and stew. Fabulous served over noodles or soupy enough to sop up the gravy with a chunk of bread. Pair with a green salad and your meal is complete.
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3 medium onions, roughly chopped
- 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
- 1 stalk celery, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 3-4 pounds beef tip roast, cut into 1” pieces
- 3 tablespoons chili powder
- 32 oz. can crushed tomatoes
- 1 cup water
- 1 can corn, drained or 1 cup frozen corn
- 1 15 oz. can dark red kidney beans
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Optional additions: mushrooms, potatoes, peas, sweet potatoes, or green beans
1. Warm vegetable oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat; add onion, carrot, celery, and garlic; sauté for approximately 8 minutes or until onions look soft and limp; stir occasionally.
2. Add chili powder and sauté for 30 seconds, stirring continuously. Add meat; stir to coat. Continue to stir meat and vegetable mixture occasionally for 15 minutes. Juices will release and create a sauce.
3. Add crushed tomato and water to the saucepan; stir. Bring to a simmer, and reduce heat and cover with lid to maintain simmer. Simmer for 2-3 hours or until meat is tender. Taste Chili-Stew 1/2 hour before serving – season with salt and pepper at this time.
4. If you desire a thicker sauce – simmer Chili-Stew the last 1/2 hour before serving without the lid on.
Kathleen Cannata Hanna is an architect and public speaker. She has also run a successful baking and catering business. Hanna is the mother of two busy teenagers, who were enthusiastic testers for Got2Go: Feeding Families Fast, her popular cookbook.