There are so many things in this life for which to be thankful!
Personally, I like to start giving thanks the weekend before Turkey Day! I am thankful that I have an entire weekend to prepare myself and my home for the friends and family who will gather together to celebrate all of the blessings in our lives. We all have different things for which we are thankful, but we are all thankful, nonetheless!
Guest bedrooms and bathrooms are clean and ready with fluffy towels and warm blankets to boot! Fresh flowers will be cut tonight from the garden so that the last lingering blooms of the 2015 gerber daisies add a festive touch to our celebration! (Lucky for me, they are a beautiful shade of deep orange — perfect for fall! )
Once the linens are pressed and on the table, the menu plan is printed, and my aprons are on stand by…it’s time to prep ahead! But I am not talking turkey just yet! Today I am prepping for chili!
Whaaaaaatt??? I heard you! Like most people, my company will arrive before Thursday (yay!) so it’s not just the turkey I’m working on today. My family will start arriving on Tuesday, with everyone else arriving on Wednesday. My Tuesday folks are being treated to my favorite restaurant (more on that soon!) and Wednesday we’re all going to be working (and laughing) together in the kitchen, so we need an easy meal for Wednesday night! Why not chili?! This is Texas, after all!
To make it quick to prepare on Wednesday, today I cooked 2 pounds of ground beef with one chopped yellow onion. I drained it well, and placed it into a freezer container. I’ll freeze it until Tuesday, and place it into the refrigerator overnight to thaw, so it’s ready for Wednesday!
While it was cooking, I gathered all of the canned goods I need to make the chili, and also measured and mixed the necessary spices and put them into a container. I even washed the top of my cans, and put everything into a bag in my pantry. I know, I know…get a life, ha! But I like organization!!
On Wednesday I can just pull out the bag, place the meat into my crock pot, dump everything else in and be done! I may even have one of my ‘kitchen helpers’ do that for me, while I’m chopping vegetables for dressing, etc. It’s so easy! My chili will cook on low most of the day until we are ready to eat. For serving, I’ll set out bowls of chopped onion, shredded sharp cheddar cheese, Fritos, and let everyone customize their own bowl of chili. Easy, peasy!
During the coming week of Thanksgiving I would like to challenge you to pause and take a few moments *at least* to look around you and be grateful for all that you consider to be blessings in your life. Whether it’s family, friends, your health, a roof over your head, food on your table…blessings can be found if you just look!
Chili is a blessing, so here’s the recipe! It’s from my cookbook, Fabulous Foodie Favorites: Cook, Eat, Smile, Repeat!
Buffalo or Beef Chili
2 lbs. ground buffalo or beef
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 (31 oz.) can chili beans
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained
1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 1/2 tbsp. paprika
3 tbsp. chili powder
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
- In a large skillet, brown ground meat with chopped onion until meat is no longer pink. Drain, if desired.
- Stir in garlic, cook and stir one additional minute.
- Transfer meat mixture to a 6-quart crock pot. Add all remaining ingredients; stir to combine well.
- Cover and cook on low heat for 2 to 3 hours, or longer if desired.