Sincerely Carolina

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Dinner = Easy and Easier.

by caroline

Sometimes, it's just a chili kind of night.

Last night's dinner plans called for two things: Easy and easier. Don't get me wrong, I love cooking up complicated recipes, but sometimes there is just no time for measuring and waiting for things to simmer, boil or rise.

Hands down one of my easiest go-to dishes is chili. Most of the ingredients can be found or kept in your pantry for nights when you need something quick to throw together. It's healthy, filling and doesn't judge you for eating more than two bowls.

My mom was the one-and-only chili queen for years before I started throwing together my own versions of the dish. (Sorry, mom, I'm going to go ahead and put mine up there with yours.) This is one of those "recipes" where people say, "Now, how did you make this?" and you're like, "Uhhhh….." That's because I really never make this dinner the same way twice. I am always throwing in different beans and spices, and changing up the tomato sauce ratio. The good news is — it's hard to mess it up. But a few words of caution: Go easy on the spices. It's easier to add more, and much harder to take away an overabundance. Trust me … I've learned the hard way. But as a side note, I always have extra cans of tomato sauce and beans on hand in the instance I would goof up the spices. Just add more and the only "problem" you'll have is extra chili. Just freeze it for another day!

This is the first time I've written down a chili recipe and, like I said, it's always changing. Feel free to have fun with it!

No-Hassle Vegan, Gluten-Free Chili

(Print me!)

  • 2 29-0z. cans of pure tomato sauce
  • 1 14.5-oz can of gluten-free petite diced tomatoes with jalapenos
  • 4 15.8-oz cans of a variety of beans, rinsed
  • 1 15.25-oz can of golden corn
  • 1 bag shelled edamame
  • 4 Tablespoons of chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • salt and pepper, as desired
  • cooked brown rice (to serve with chili)
  • shredded cheese (for topping)

NOTES: I used Seapoint Farms Shelled Edamame and Kraft Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese. Make the toppings vegan by using Daiya Deliciously Dairy Free Cheddar Style Shreds. I also used Del Monte Petite Diced tomatoes with Zesty Jalapenos. The reason I made the gf notation above is because some of these products with additions (like jalapenos) are not gluten-free. Del Monte confirms their diced tomatoes with jalapenos are in fact gluten-free. For the beans, I used 1 can of red kidney beans, 1 can of black beans and 2 cans of chickpeas — feel free to mix it up!



Put all ingredients into a large pot (with exception of brown rice and cheese). Cook on low to medium heat for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remember: Chili is like soup in the sense that the longer it sits, the better all of the ingredients will work together. So, if you want to put this on the stove early and let it heat on low for an hour (be sure to check occasionally and stir), then go for it! Serve over brown rice and top with shredded cheese.

The "hardest" thing I had to make all night was this Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Cornbread Mix. Again, it's lovely to bake bread and desserts from scratch, but sometimes a good old fashioned mix is just the way to go. I made this mix dairy free by using oil and SoDelicious Unsweetened Coconut Milk in place of the butter and milk.

This was the first gluten-free cornbread mix I have had and really enjoyed. It was crispy on the outside and moist on the inside — I ate way too much!


Note: This recipe (for chili) is gluten-free and vegan. (If you have allergies or food sensitivities, always check specific manufacturer’s products for allergens and/or cross-contamination issues.)


So, who has fun Memorial Day weekend plans? Dan and I are actually celebrating our 1-year anniversary on Monday (go us!), but we have decided to make a weekend event of it, starting with a trip to John Bryan State Park tomorrow and a picnic lunch. We're looking at rather toasty weather mid-80s to 90s) all weekend, so it should be a fun outdoor adventure.

Here's to long weekends — enjoy!