This week has been atypical for me.
Wednesday night, I came home from work and tried to sleep. Unsuccessfully. But with a 10:15pm hockey game 45 minutes from home, it was worth a shot. After not being able to sleep, I got up and made brownies. A cookbook recipe. Because isn’t that what people do after work when they can’t sleep and have no motivation to cook an actual dinner?
Maybe that’s just me (8 recipes to go!).
(Dinner ended up being this killer stuffed acorn squash that was leftover…so good!)
Last night, I went straight from work to a restaurant with some friends. There’s something incredibly therapeutic about a long work week and kicking back to have dinner brought to you, dishes done by anyone other than yourself, and an ice cold adult beverage while you let off steam about the week and plan your next girl’s weekend getaway.
Mostly, I was glad for a night away from the kitchen. And, of course, the fact that we’ve been here long enough now that I can actually say I have friends. It always takes awhile after a cross-country move, but I’ve finally established friendships with women I trust and adore here in Michigan. Good friends are hard to come by!
But as the chili contest progresses, I’m happily stocking my fridge with leftover chili as the weeks go by and the chili contest continues on. I can’t believe I’m one-third of the way through the entries already! It’s been fun, as always.
Unlike last year, it has also been fun to see the Illini actually win a few games. I mean, we look like an actual football team. We can run plays and throw for good yardage. It’s impressive. I should probably knock on wood now. Bring on college football tomorrow!
What’s also impressive is how unique chili recipes can be. This one – truly unique! No meat, and lots of one of my favorite veggies – zucchini! I’m still not kale’s #1 fan, but in this recipe it definitely works. The only change I would make would be omitting the orange zest as the recipe below reflects. The rind made the chili slightly bitter and while I thoroughly enjoy a hoppy, bitter IPA, I want my chili on the less-bitter side 😉
- 2 medium dried ancho chilies (or 2 Tbsp dried ancho chili powder)
- 1 dried chipotle chili (or 1 Tbsp chipotle chili powder)
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- ⅛ tsp cinnamon
- ¾ tsp cumin
- ¾ tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 3 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into ½-inch pieces
- ¾ lb kale, stemmed and leaves coarsely chopped
- ⅛ tsp sugar
- 1 oz unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
- 1 (14 oz) can no-added-salt diced tomatoes
- 1¼ cup water
- 3 (15 oz) cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
- Slit the chiles lengthwise and remove the seeds and butterfly the chiles to lie flat. Heat a dry skillet on medium heat and toast the chilies, turning and pressing flat with tongs, until pliable and slightly changed in color, about 30 seconds. Allow to cool, transfer to a mini food processor or coffee grinder and blend into a powder. Transfer chilie powder to a small dish and mix in the oregano, cinnamon, cumin and salt.
- Heat the oil in a large pot on medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until softened, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute. Add the spices, stir and cook 30 seconds.
- Stir in the zucchini and kale, cook while covered, about 5 minutes. Add sugar, chocolate, tomatoes, and water. Simmer, while covered, until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in the beans and cook until it's warmed through, about 5 minutes.
It has been a loooong, busy week. Excited for the weekend! 😀 TGIF!