29 October 2009

A Turkey Chili true story

This is all that was left as I was getting ready to devour it a few minutes ago, and then I remembered that I forgot to photograph the entire meal last night!  

My darling son had one of his monthly eye appointments after school yesterday and this usually means a 30-40 minute drive to the office, sit and wait for a long time (anywhere from 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hrs, sometimes more) and then the 30-40 minute trek back home.  From there we cram in homework, dinner, showers, cuddle-time, bedtime by .... 9:00 pm??   Not at all possible at times!   

My intent was to give them a leftover noodle chicken dish to save on time, but I am starting to realize that my children don't love having "pasta" as much as they once led me to believe.   This is a good and a bad thing.   I was getting sick of all the "pasta" requests and wanting to introduce them to other foods, but I also started to learn 200 ways to prepare "pasta" dishes!  Perhaps a cook book would have been in print by now written by "yours truly!"  Chapter 4,  "50 different Chicken Soup recipes !"  As I was driving back from the doctor appointment with them in tow, the inquiries started to ripple through the car (one of their school friends was with us too), "What's for dinner???" and the best remark of them all, "I'm hunnnnnnnnnnngry!"  Great, SUPERMOM to the rescue!  I shall create a masterpiece in ... in....40 minutes!  They can do homework while I cook! 

I had picked up some ground turkey the day before and so I quickly decided that I will make a Quick Turkey Chili, rice and a veggie.   As the cooking got underway, they ran back and forth into the kitchen wondering, "what are you cooking?"  The aromas were permeating their little tummies big time! 

I don't really measure when I cook since I have been cooking FOREVER --- so I don't have actual measurements here.   My advice --- add and taste as you go--- make adjustments.  Anyone cooking should do this anyway so that you know AHEAD of time if the food will taste good before you give it to someone else to eat :)!  

The recipe:

1 lb Turkey chili
Onions - chop

Garlic - chop
Medley of peppers (red, green, yellow) - chop
15 oz can organic black beans
Frontier Chili Powder seasoning

Bay leaf
Salt (or other seasoning salt)
Black pepper
Tomato sauce
Broth (chicken or veggie) -- or just plain water
If I forgot to mention something, I apologize!  

Saute the onions, garlic first in olive oil, add in the meat, stirring to break it apart.  Once heated through, add all the veggies and seasoning.    Add Broth just enough to create a nice consistency.  Simmer, stirring lots.  Sauce should be thickening as it cooks (so watch for need for dabs of water/broth).    I add Ketchup towards the end to add a nice "kid friendly" flavor to the chili. 

The Frontier seasoning(a salt free organic seasoning) is a bit spicy (not for me, since I had to add lots of hot sauce thereafter) but it was not too much for the children.   Along with the chili, I made some basmati rice and a stir-fried eggplant seasoned with some greek spices, olive oil and a bit of lemon.   It went lovely with the chili.  Why did I make the eggplant?  Because I had picked it up at a farmer's market last Friday and said, "hey, why don't I cook this eggplant?"  Cooking a lovely meal does not have to be a PRE-planned effort all the time.   Last minute throw togethers can produce some of the most amazing creations!  

You remember my lovely "picky eater" daughter right?  The one who only eats about 10 different things.   Well, she has maintained all the way up until last night (before I served dinner) that she does not like ground meat in any form.   Once or twice a year she will tackle a burger, but she would NEVER EVER ask for one voluntarily, and if you ask her, she will undoubtedly respond, "No ThankYou!"  I knew this was going to be a very agonizing moment for her, but I was determined to hold her hand and guide her to understanding that "Mommy's Turkey Chili" is not to be feared!  

As I set the plate before her,  her face sent forth some involuntary grimaces with mostly a look of, "OMG!  Mommy please don't make me do this!!"   For some reason though, she did not utter a word, and I think it was because her friend was sitting right beside her with a very bright happy look of anticipation on her face.  I believe she wanted to be "brave" in front of her friend.  Maybe I should invite someone over for every meal from now on ?  

The tears came flowing down and she cried as she ate, saying, "Mommy, I am so tired, can I go to bed when I am finished?"   I think she thought she was going to die while she was eating my delicious turkey chili!   My son, our friend Ally and I, all sat eating together with Nia, smiling at her and at each other, "oooo'ing and aaahhhh'ing" over the food, trying not to laugh as Nia cried, chewed and swallowed.    Everyone BUT Nia, asked for seconds.  

As she finished eating, she begged me to take her to her room and let her change into her pajamas.  Poor baby.   It was time to put her down.  This was it.  She was done.  I hugged her and kissed her and told her "take it easy, you should rest."   

She layed down on the couch in the living room because she did not want to abandon her friend who was over, and just when I thought we were going to lose her completely, she perked up when she remembered that her father had given her a big FAT CHOCOLATE cupcake to have after dinner!    There is something about sugar and chocolate... it's helps to soothe a "turkey chili" invaded tum-tum!  

10 minutes after she downed 2/3 of her cupcake, she was back to normal and over the trauma of dinner.   A while after dinner, Ally's mom came over too, and she was able to indulge in a lovely plate of the chili, rice and eggplant.  All SMILES and no tears from her, what a big girl!

Tonight we are having Moroccan Chicken and perhaps I will set Nia's  pjs now .... just in case!

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