Vegetarian 3-Bean Chili

March 9, 2014 19:17 by Suzy

JD has been "gettin healthy" in 2014 and so far the results are amazing...he's lost 20 pounds and his cholesterol dropped from over 200 to 134! We're basically going with a plant based, whole-foods diet. This recipe was a great find, and with our modifications, it's been a favorite for both of us.

The flavor in this chili is amazing...smoky and rich and with just the right amount of heat and bite. You won't even miss the meat!

Vegetarian 3-Bean Chili
adapted from

2 large onions, chopped
2 large bell peppers (red and yellow), chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 15-ounce can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 15-ounce can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
4-6 cups vegetable stock (preferably salt free)
2 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
a few dashes of Cholula sauce
2 15-ounce cans diced tomatoes, with juice
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn
1/3 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
salt and pepper to taste

Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and dry-saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Add diced bell peppers and continue to cook for 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 more minute.

Add beans, 4 cups broth, spices, and diced tomatoes. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Add more broth if chili seems too thick/dry for your tastes. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for at least 1 hour.

Taste and add salt, pepper, and more Cholula or chili powder if necessary. Add corn and quinoa, stir and cover.

Simmer for another 20-30 minutes. Enjoy!

Cajun-Style Red Beans and Rice

June 16, 2012 19:38 by Suzy

Another item I can cross off my Kitchen Bucket List!  For some reason last week, I got it in my head that I wanted some really good red beans and rice...and I was determined to finally conquer this yummy dish that has eluded me forever.  The result...a definite success!

I spent some time Googling recipes before I found one that I thought would be a good starting point.  I made some changes (brown the sausage and saute the veggies in the fat, used chicken broth) and we were very happy with how it turned out.  JD even said they were better than what you can get at Popeye's!

Cajun-Style Red Beans and Rice
adapted from

1 pound small red beans
12 ounces andouille sausage
1 large onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 tablespoons minced garlic
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups water
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon sage
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon Creole seasoning (I used Tony Chachere's)
hot cooked rice

Rinse and sort beans; drain.  Put in large pot with plenty of water to cover and bring to a boil.  Let boil for five minutes, then turn off heat, cover, and let soak for a few hours or overnight.  When ready to start cooking, drain and rinse the beans.

Slice the sausages in half lengthwise, then slice into half-moons.  Saute in large heavy pot over medium-high heat until nicely browned and some of the fat has rendered out.  Remove sausage with slotted spoon and set aside.  Reduce heat to medium and add the onion, green pepper, celery and garlic to the pot and saute until soft, about 5 minutes.

Add the drained, rinsed beans, the broth, water, and spices to the pot.  Don't add salt yet; wait until later after the flavors have mingled and the sausage has been added.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low.  Simmer, covered, for 2 1/2 hours.  Stir in the sausage and continue to simmer until the beans are tender.  Depending on your beans, this could take anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours.  My beans were definitely on the old side so it took them FOREVER before they were soft.  Be patient!

Taste beans and add salt to taste (I ended up using about a tablespoon).  If you like a more creamy consistency, mash some of the beans against the side of the pot.  To serve, spoon beans into serving bowls and top with a scoop of rice.

Cajun Style Red Beans and Rice

Chorizo, Beef and Bean Chili

October 10, 2010 15:25 by Suzy

Most cooks have a standard favorite recipe of a specific they always rely on for consistent quality and comments.  Those are great, but there is the danger of getting too comfortable, to the point where you don't make any other variations or even look at different recipes for that same dish.  Don't get stuck in a rut...branch out!  Do something different!  Take a leap!

Remember that episode of "Frasier" where he tells everyone to take advantage of the extra day and "Take a Leap" on February 29?  Daphne gets a disasterous new haircut, Roz makes a fool of herself on air trying to meet a guy, Martin takes a horrible Frasier chickens out of his own "leap" (singing a difficult aria instead of his usual "Buttons and Bows") and then forgets all of the words..."Hippity-bippity-boppity-bow, something and something buttons and bows!"

Anyway, my chili recipe is one of those "old standbys" for me.  It's always good and I get raves from JD so it's great for a stress-free meal.  So recently I decided to branch out and try a completely different recipe for chili, and I'm so glad I did.  YUMMY.

Chorizo, Beef and Bean Chili
recipe adapted from Cooking Light

2 links chorizo sausage
1 1/2 pounds stew meat, cubed
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon ground coriander (I didn't have this, so I left it out)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 cup dry red wine
1/4 cup lime juice
32 ounces reduced sodium beef broth
1 quart canned tomatoes, undrained and chopped
2 tablespoons masa harina or fine ground cornmeal
2 15-ounce cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained

You'll notice I rarely post a picture of a recipe's's the main reason.  I left out the following items from this picture:  the other can of pinto beans, tomato paste, red wine, sugar, and masa harina.  Oh well.

Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Brown chorizo in pan until browned; remove from pan and set aside.  Brown the stew meat in batches; remove from pan and set aside.

Add onion and garlic to pan; saute for 3 minutes, or until softened.  Remove 2-3 chipotle chiles from the can and chop.  Save the remaining chiles and sauce for another use (put in zip-top bag and freeze).  Add chorizo, beef, chopped chiles, tomato paste, sugar, salt, cocoa, coriander, oregano and cumin to the pot with the onions.  Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Add the wine, lime juice, beef broth, and tomatoes to the pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

After 1 hour, gradually add the masa harina, stirring well to avoid lumps.  Stir in the pinto beans and black beans.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.

Serve with grated cheese, sour cream, chopped green onions...or all on its own.

Red Beans with Sausage

June 6, 2010 20:34 by Suzy

This is another favorite of JD's.  Wonderful flavor.  Not glamourous, but sooooo good.

Red Beans with Sausage
recipe adapted from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything

1 pound pinto or kidney beans, rinsed and picked over
sliced ham hocks
1/2 pound Italian sausage (I use sweet, not hot)
1 large onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
5 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried)
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1 cup chopped tomatoes (canned or fresh)

Put beans in large pot and add water to cover.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Add the ham hock slices and reduce heat to simmer.  Cover loosely.  Add more water if necessary.

Meanwhile, put sausages in skillet over medium heat.  Turn occasionally until browned on all sides; remove from pan.  Sausages will not be done in the middle, but don't worry about that.  Cut sausages into chunks.

Add a little canola oil to the skillet and add onion, bell pepper and garlic.  Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened...about 10 minutes.  Remove from pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Return the sausage chunks to the pan and cook over medium heat until browned all over.

Add the onion/peppers, thyme, bay leaves, allspice and tomatoes to the pan.

Reduce heat to medium-low and cook 10-15 minutes.

Remove the ham hocks from the pot of beans, remove bones and chop. 

Return chopped ham to the pot of beans along with the sausage/vegetable mixture.

Cook at a simmer until the beans are very tender.  Remove and discard bay leaves and thyme sprigs.

Serve alone or over rice; sprinkle with chopped parsley.