Hummus and Vegetables

Back during the summer, my best friend and I had an evening together. Most of the time, we get together as couples. I don’t remember why it was just the two of us, but it’s what made the evening memorable. We ate homemade hummus (Bryan’s least favourite snack), chatted, and made an impulse decision to go to Dairy Queen at about 10:30pm. I was really impressed with her homemade hummus and ate way too much of it. I was even more surprised when she told me that it was very easy to make. (Put all of the ingredients in a blender, combine, and enjoy!)

The next day, I got a call saying that the hummus tasted even better the next day. The flavours had a chance to meld.

This recipe is my attempt to re-create T’s hummus. I made it based off my memory if the ingredients she told me to use. Adding a bit of this and that until it tasted right. I even took some of the finished product to work and allowed my co-workers to taste test. I’m thrilled to report they thought it was pretty good!

I like to serve hummus with vegetables (carrots, radishes, celery, etc.), but it’s also great with pita  chips.

Hummus

Ingredients

  • 1 x 540 mL can of chickpeas, ¾ of the liquid drained – approximate cost $1.25
  • 5 tablespoons tahini – approximate cost $0.75
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice – approximate cost $0.50
  • 4 cloves of garlic – approximate cost $0.40
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt – approximate cost $0.10

Method

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor.
  2. Process until chickpeas are smooth in texture.
  3. Pour into a serving bowl.
  4. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours so the flavours meld together.
  5. Serve with a side of fresh vegetables such a mini carrots, radishes, celery slices, green pepper slices, etc, and/or pita chips.

Makes 2 lunch-sized servings (approximate cost: $1.50 per serving) or 6 servings  (approximate cost: $0.50 per serving) as a snack.

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Spicy, Slow-Cooked Beef Chili

Things have been crazy busy since I returned to school. Between readings, projects, group meetings, scholarship applications, and whatnot, I feel like I’ve barely had time to cook. To address this, I make big meals on Sunday evening and pack it up into portions that we enjoy throughout the week for lunch and dinner.

One of my go-to favourites is chili. I love chili because it’s hearty, because it’s so versatile, and because I can put it in the slow cooker and come home to a delicious warm meal. I can add just about everything in my pantry and it will still be a yummy chili. Last winter, I made what Bryan calls Texas-style chili. To me, it’s just chili. For the Improv Challenge in August, I made a soup with tomatoes and Anaheim chile peppers, this is more along the lines of what Bryan thinks of as chile. Despite our differing definitions, we both very much enjoy chili (despite that I always slip some chickpeas into the mix, one of Bryan’s least favourite foods, he never complains, what a great guy.).

I went a bit overboard when making chili the other week. I had forgotten just how many servings it makes and added wayyy more herbs and spices than usual. I wanted something different from my usual chili. Unfortunately, our freezer is very full, so there was no rooms to save the leftovers for later. So we ate chili, at least once per day, for nearly a week. Next time, I’ll cut this recipe in half. Or make sure I have plenty of freezer space to save some for another time.

What’s your favourite meal to make in the slow-cooker during the fall months?

Spicy, Slow-Cooked Beef Chili

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds stewing beef, cut into 1/2 inch cubes – approximate cost $8.00
  • 2 cups beef stock – approximate cost $1.50
  • 1 12 ounce can of tomato paste – approximate cost $1.25
  • 1 28 ounce can of whole tomatoes, diced and liquid reserved – approximate cost $1.25
  • 1 cup dried red kidney beans – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1 cup dried white kidney beans – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1 cup dried chickpeas beans – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1 large Spanish onion, diced – approximate cost $0.75
  • 400 grams crimini mushrooms, chopped – approximate cost $2.00
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced – approximate cost $0.40
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder – approximate cost $0.40
  • 1 tablespoon cumin – approximate cost $0.20
  • 1 tablespoon paprika – approximate cost $0.20
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper (less if you want to tone down the spiciness) – approximate cost $0.20
  • 1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning – approximate cost $0.20
  • 1 tablespoon dried cilantro – approximate cost $0.20
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper – approximate cost $0.20
  • 1 teaspoon grapeseed oil – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese (about 1/4 cup to top each serving) – approximate cost $1.50
  • Baguette (for serving) – approximate cost $2.00

Method

  1. Soak the dried beans.
    1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
    2. Add dried beans.
    3. Let cook for 5 minutes.
    4. Turn the stove off.
    5. Put a lid on the pot.
    6. Remove pot from the burner.
    7. Allow the beans soak for at least 1 hour.
  2. Prepare the beef, garlic, and onion.
    1. Heat the grapeseed oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat.
    2. Sautee the minced garlic for 1 minute.
    3. Add the onion to the frying pan and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes. or until the onion softens.
    4. Add the stewing beef and cook until browned.
  3. Putting it all together in the slow cooker.
    1. Add the tomato paste, diced tomatoes (and liquid), chili powder, cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, Italian Seasoning, cilantro, sea salt, black pepper to the slow cooker first.
    2. Stir well so the flavours mix well with the liquid.
    3. Add the browned stewing beef mixture, soaked beans, crimini mushrooms.
    4. Mix again.
    5. There should be enough liquid to cover the chili. If not, add more beef stock.
    6. Cook at low temperature for about 6 hours (or high temperature for about 4 hours).
  4. Serve topped with shredded cheese and baguette on the side.

Makes about 12 servings (approximate cost: $1.83 per serving).

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