FEBRUARY 4, 2013


Yesterday was the “big game”. It’s was also Sunday, the day that I spend my morning prepping for the week ahead. Knowing what needs to get done allows me to not stress over the double batch of chili that simmered on my stove. Because I am organized, it didn’t throw me off my normal game.

This chili recipe calls for 3 cups of finely diced onions. As I chopped the onions for this recipe, at the same time I chopped an additional two onions and stored them for the week ahead. It also calls for 2 peppers. Again, I chopped extra just to have on hand. Once the chili was all prepped and simmering, I got down to business. Leeks were cleaned and washed, chard was trimmed and chopped(a good addition to soups and grain cakes), string beans(we like them roasted-I also throw them into vegetable soups) were washed and trimmed, eggs were hard boiled for an easy week day lunch, rice cooked in the rice cooker, and my citrus was zested and juiced. Today I am making granola bars for their lunch box sweet treat and a batch of cookie dough is resting in the fridge. Frozen in parchment logs makes slicing and baking off at a later date, simple.

One of my favorite tips to share is before juicing any of your citrus, regardless if you need it or not, zest your fruit and freeze the zest in 1 tablespoon increments. Once frozen, store them in small glass containers. After about 3 days, any juice that hasn’t been consumed, freeze in ice cube trays. One ice cube equals about 1 -1 /2 tablespoons. It’s the perfect portion for marinades, vinaigrette’s, and sauces. Plus, it’s a huge time saver.

5 Key Tips to taking the stress out of weeknight meals:
• Marinate poultry and beef. Place in a freezer safe container or plastic bag and freeze for a mid week meal. When ready to use defrost in the fridge the night before.
• When washing and cleaning leeks, don’t discard the green part. These are a delicious side dish when sauteed in a bit of olive oil. Sprinkle with Celtic sea salt, fresh ground pepper, and a bit of shaved Parmesan. Toss the raw greens into your next batch of homemade stock, they add so much flavor.
• When cleaning out the vegetable bin, don’t throw your almost yucky vegetables away. Make soup! I will soon share my  most favorite puree of vegetable soup using bits and scraps.
• Ice cube trays are a must have kitchen tool. The day your buttermilk expires, pour into ice cube trays and freeze. Store in freezer bags and use in future doughnuts, frostings, cakes, and waffles.
• Don’t throw fruit and vegetable waste down the garbage disposal. Save for your composte (to use with your edible garden) or throw in your green trash bin.

All Beef Chili

3 1/2 pounds ground sirloin (I use the lowest in fat)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 cups yellow onion, finely diced
1 red bell pepper, core and seeds removed, finely diced
1 yellow bell pepper, core and seeds removed, finely diced
2 tablespoons grape seed oil
3 garlic cloves, chopped or pressed through a garlic press
1/2 cup Italian parsley, chopped
1/3 cup chili powder (I use Gebhardt)
1 tablespoon Celtic sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground, black pepper
pinch of cayenne (optional)
1 (28 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes, don’t drain

• melt butter in a large dutch oven over medium heat. add meat and saute until you no longer see the color pink (I use a potato masher to finely grind the meat). when done, remove with a slotted spoon, place in a clean bowl and set aside.
• add grape seed oil to the same pan. add onions and peppers. saute over medium heat until translucent, about 12 minutes.
• add garlic and cook for one minute.
• add parsley, chili powder, Celtic sea salt, cumin, pepper, and cayenne (if using). mix to combine.
• toss meat back into pan and mix thoroughly.
• add tomatoes and and about 2 cups of filtered water.
• bring to a boil. once boiling, turn down to simmer, cover and simmer for 1 hour.
• after an hour, stir and turn off heat.
• I like to make this the day before. If making the day before, cool to room temperature. Refrigerate overnight. When ready to serve, remove from the fridge, skim fat off the top and re-heat over medium heat.
• serve with all the fixins!
• yield: about 4 quarts (if not serving to a crowd, this freezes beautifully).
• This recipe was adapted from the Original Chasen’s Chili recipe – one that I remember fondly from my childhood.