Saturday, November 23, 2013

Things to be thankful for

In Southern Indiana, Fall brings beloved "sweater weather" alternating with shorts and t-shirt weather. It's good times. Except when those alternating weather patterns bring tornadoes, like they did last week. Some of the little towns in Illinois where my mother-in-law grew up were hard hit by the killer storms, as were some Southern Indiana towns. It was a similar situation to November 5, 2005, when a twister cut a path through my hometown and many smaller towns, taking lives and destroying scores of homes - like that of my current next-door neighbors, who are blessed to have lived through it. I'm thankful that this time our city was spared, and I pray for those who were affected by this November's tornadoes.

I'm thankful for so many things that it would be hard to list them all. We are blessed beyond belief. But one thing I've been particularly thankful for recently is my friends. As you grow up and grow older, friends come and go. Those you thought would be with you til the end of time fade gently away; those you've been with through thick and thin suddenly decide there is no room for you in their lives anymore; those you quickly bonded with and shared laughs with in adulthood just as quickly move back out of the picture through physical distance or busy schedules; those you thought you'd lost in growing up come back into your life and bring a new and different joy; and those you've simply been acquainted with - sometimes for years - you wake up one day to realize have slowly, quietly become the ones you hold closest to your heart.

One of those old school friends (should I say imaginary high school nemesis?) helped make this freezer cooking adventure a reality. I'm thankful for my friend Christina and for her being back in my life. She's smart, witty, caring (no matter what she says), giving, a good cook, and a helluva mom and wife. And I have her to thank for introducing me to her neighbor and fellow freezer cook Kathi.

A fellow animal lover and all-around super-nice person, Kathi has been fun to cook and plan with, and I've enjoyed getting to know her. She was even nice enough to share her dad's chili recipe with me - which was used in last weekend's freezer cooking adventure. And even better - she's letting me share it with y'all. Enjoy!

My Dad's Chili
Courtesy of Kathi F.

1 lb ground chuck
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 large can condensed tomato soup
1 15.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1 medium can Brooks chili beans
Chili powder to taste
5 handfuls of elbow macaroni (optional)

In large pot, saute onion in oil until caramelized (fancy for browned). In a separate skillet, brown the ground chuck; drain. Add drained beef to onions. Add tomato soup, diced tomatoes, chili beans and chili powder. Fill tomato soup and Brooks cans with water and add to pot. Stir well.

Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce to simmer for at least an hour, stirring periodically. (I do not cover because I like my chili thicker and not so runny.)

OPTIONAL: Add macaroni about 10 minutes before ready to serve. Chili is done when pasta is al dente.

TIP: For thicker chili, cook uncovered; turn heat off when done and let sit for a bit.

photo credit: Vox Efx via photopin cc

1 comment:

  1. I am thankful for you (and that other person that lives in your house too, I guess). You are a light in my dark world. I appreciate the rescue cookies when needed. You are loved.