Cooking at Home and Eating Out
Cooking At Home
When you’re trying to reverse heart disease, you’ll pretty much need to become comfortable cooking and eating at home, at least in the beginning. When you cook and eat at home, you have so much more control over your portion sizes, the amount of sugar, salt, and fat you consume, and over all, you’re going to save money.
Cooking at home can be either fun or a chore. If you like to cook, then you’re in luck. It will be easy for you to follow a heart-healthy recipe and whip up a quick meal. If cooking is a chore for you, I’ll help you find some quick and easy ways to make cooking easier and more convenient.
Let’s assume cooking is not your most favorite thing to do after a long day at work. Resist the temptation to stop by your local fast food chain or order pizza once you get home. That’s the kind of choices that got you into trouble with your heart-health in the first place.
Instead, let’s head to the refrigerator and freezer and see what’s in there.
Hmmmm, so do you have some fresh veggies, or maybe some frozen veggies? And maybe a jar of pickled jalapenos or other such pickled pepper? It would be nice if you had an onion and some garlic, too. And over in the cupboard do you have a can of beans, and some canned tomatoes (even better would be some Rotel tomatoes, the ones with the green chilies in them)? If you have some rice, then pull that out, too. Now over to the spice cabinet; do you have some chili powder? Some smoked paprika and some cumin would be helpful, too. And of course, salt and pepper.
If you have some or most of these ingredients, then you have the beginnings of a great pot of chili.
It doesn’t have to be like the regular chili that you’ve always had growing up at your mom’s house. Chili can be made with almost anything if you have some beans and some chili powder!
You don’t even need to put any meat in it; and going meat-less a few nights a week is a good thing. We’ll talk more about going meat-less in a future post, but for now, try to cut back or completely leave out the animal from your evening meal at least 2 times per week. It will be hard at first, but you’ll get used to it. After all, you’re trying to reverse years of damage to your heart from all that fattening food that has clogged up your arteries. Eating excessive amounts of meat is right at the top of the list of artery clogging foods.
So, let’s whip up that pot of chili.
I find it easiest if I pull everything out that I need and place it on the kitchen counter. Grab your cutting board and your best cutting knife. If you have a vegetable chopper, grab that, too. Get the measuring spoons, unless you just like to “eyeball” the amount of spices that you put in. I do recommend measuring out your salt with a measuring spoon though, until you are sure you know how much ½ teaspoon of salt looks like.
Here’s your Basic Red Chili Recipe:
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 green pepper, stemmed, seeded and chopped (optional, but fresh or frozen if you have it)
- ½ – 1 jalapeno chile, stemmed, seeded and finely diced (add more or less to taste)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups cooked brown rice (I like Success rice; it’s quick and easy)
- 1½ cup diced tomatoes (fresh or a 15-ounce can, preferably fire-roasted)
- 1½ cup canned beans (a 15-ounce can)
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika (the smoked type really helps the flavor)
- ½ teaspoon salt and black pepper to taste
- Heat a deep, non-stick pot over medium high heat. Add the onion and garlic and a splash of water or white vinegar to help prevent sticking; stir while cooking, until they begin to brown. Add the green pepper, and jalapeno; cook for another 2 minutes, taking care not to burn the garlic. Add all the remaining ingredients, stir, and cook, stirring frequently, for about 15 minutes. If it becomes too dry, add a little water (or vegetable broth if you have it). Check the flavor; add additional seasonings, chili powder, or cumin if needed.
Note: You can add almost anything else to this basic recipe: broccoli, peas, carrots, spinach, mushrooms, or just about any other vegetable you may have in the freezer.
For best results, put some fresh greens such as spinach, in the bottom of a big bowl and ladle the chili on top. Resist the urge to add sour cream or cheese. These will only clog up your arteries. We’re trying to clear them up, so give them a chance here.
You can top your bowl of chili with diced green onions, or fresh cilantro if you have it.
Preparation time: 5 minute(s) | Cooking time: 25 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 6
If you would like to try some additional recipes, click here on the Fearless-Eating Recipes link where I have several yummy ideas and some extra cooking tips that I’ve learned along the way.