04 April 2023

Snow with a Chance of Chili

We stopped at Wendy's on the way home from one of Lizard's recent medical appointments, and he decided to try the taco salad. Not quite the same as the taco salad I've made at home, but it got his imagination cooking.

Mad Greens taco salad isn't bad!

Wendy's taco salad comes with a tiny bag of corn chips and a little bowl of chili the customer can either eat straight from the bowl or douse on the salad. Lizard opted for both, as I downed my apple pecan salad.

We reminisced about the days when Wendy's offered a variety of baked potatoes, including my favorite... sweet potatoes. They could be ordered with broccoli and cheese, chili and cheese, sour cream and onions (which I think they actually may still offer) and just plain. Back then, the potatoes were large, too. One potato could be the perfect meal after climbing a 14er.

Now, the baked potatoes at Wendy's are so small, it likely would take three or four to fill a hungry man's stomach.

I doubt there will be many mountain summits or weeklong bicycle tours in our future, and I don't know if the annual Super Bowl chili cook-off at my office will ever be revived, now that some employees are not as terrified of eating food prepared by co-workers (although they had no problem eating McDonald's, Qdoba, Domino's and Chic-fil-A, etc., during the last three years...). Yet, I can still make a mean bowl of Tex Mex chili with roasted Hatch green chilies when I put my mind to it, and I chopped up two bushels of the hot stuff myself last fall! Most is still frozen, just itching to burn a hole in a tongue or tummy.

I think I've used my giant crockpot only once in the last three years. I think I used it to make a pot of chili. I think I froze a bunch of it, and I vaguely remember my neighbors graciously accepted a food storage container full of homemade spicy chili. (We often pass the same food storage container back and forth each month; they make homemade taco soup, and I make homemade tortilla soup, and we love sharing with each other.) I haven't used the crockpot that much because, generally speaking, for just the two of us, that pot literally makes a BUNCH of (yummy) food. My freezer isn't big enough to hold everything I could/would make if I just used the crockpot more often.

It was time to pull out the monster crockpot again! Lizard loves when I make homemade black beans, but I didn't have time. He wanted chili (in different concoctions) for our lunchtime meals for a whole week beginning the next day. (Black beans can take two or three days when made from scratch. So, so worth it, but, time was of the essence. Chili at our house typically is a autumn and winter dish, preferably during a really big storm.)

The beans all came from cans, as did the tomato puree. The chicken was already ground up into burger before I bought it, and the spices were not grown in my garden. The Hatch chiles were not grown by me, but I skinned and chopped those babies up right on my kitchen counter months ago. And the whole purple onion was chopped but not grown by me, and the bottom of the onion will produce one or two more onions in my garden this summer, now that I've planted it. Tears were shed! Boy, it had been quite a while since I'd chopped an onion that strong!!! Oh, is this going to be tasty!!!

Lizard wanted a variety of dishes. His favorite, of course, is atop a baked potato with sour cream and cheese.

My favorite is atop scrambled eggs. Lizard hates eggs, so I get to enjoy this by myself. He can't stand to even look at eggs!

Chili and eggs, which was a southwest tradition my mom brought to the family when I was about nine or ten, inspired me to try putting chili atop fresh whole grain waffles. Lizard approved. He also enjoyed a bowl of chili with Goldfish.

We decided to try our very own version of Wendy's taco salad, and we used greens from my very own winter indoor garden.

Of course, two giant scoops of homemade chili must to be added to a mixing bowl of macaroni and cheese.

I also love putting chili in the bottom of a casserole pan, then covering it with cornbread batter before baking the deliciousness in the oven. Oh, how wonderful the house smells when I do this! The neighbors love when I share this unique meal, too.

I couldn't resist trying chili lasagna this time around. Lizard approved...

When we get down to the bottom of the crockpot, we both like to mop up the final remnants with fresh tortillas. But chili also makes great burritos!

chili, cheese and tater burrito

1 comment :

  1. Wonderful world of chili! It's making my tummy rumble. :)


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