Taco Chili

I got to thinking today how many times have I shared my distaste for leftovers?  I have mentioned it just a few times.  No big. The thing is leftovers happen.  Admittedly, sometimes on purpose.  I mean who doesn’t want leftover fried rice or pizza?  Sometimes it’s because you make a meal and everyone in your house decides they “don’t want to eat that.”  Sometimes it’s lack of planning and portion control. This recipe kinda came out of the more on purpose leftovers. Let’s get to it.

Last Friday, pre Halloween movie night, I made tacos.  I had too much ground beef defrosted, but I thought what the heck, brown ground beef tonight, and I will just have leftovers.  That sounded like a super idea at the time, but come today, and I still hadn’t touched it.  So, I did a little reinventing.

I started out with a little bit of avocado oil in a large pot, adding a medium onion, red pepper, two carrots, and three gloves of garlic, sliced.

Once the veggies starting getting a little soft, I added one can of tomato sauce.

Quickly followed by a can of kidney beans.  (Drained, but not rinsed.)

Once that was all mixed, I added the leftover taco meat.

I turned the heat down to low, and covered it.  Thirty minutes later, spelling and math homework well on there way to completion, I came back.  I added about a quarter cup of water because it was a little to thick for my taste.

This is one reason this recipe works so well for a weeknight dinner.  There is about 7 mins of active cooking and then you can set and forget.  (Let’s say you didn’t have leftover taco meat – you could set this in the crockpot in the morning and chow down when you got home, or you can brown the meat as the veggies are cooking.)

Let’s be honest, one of the best parts of chili is the 800 ways you can serve it.  The easiest of course being right from the pot, over rice, with corn bread, on tortilla chips with cheese and jalapeños, with salad greens, in a taco shell, in a burrito.  Okay, 800 may have been a bit of exaggeration, but you can go so many different directions, that’s what makes it fun, and unless you have super picky eaters (insert my oldest child here) you can please just about everyone.

I wanted to use up Taco Friday’s leftovers, so it was salad greens, salsa, cheese and sour cream.  I added some cucumber and scallions too.  I don’t eat enough vegetables, but this was an easy recipe to get a lot of them.

Have leftovers of your leftovers?  Yeah, you can put an egg on that. A poached one to be exact.

Taco Chili
1 lb taco meat, leftover if you have it
1 T avocado oil, or any cooking oil you prefer
1 medium onion, small dice
1 red bell pepper, small dice
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
salt and pepper
1 8oz can tomato sauce
1 15 oz can kidney beans drained, but not rinsed, or your favorite, or whatever you happen to have in your pantry

In a large pot on medium high heat, heat the oil and add the onion, pepper, carrot, garlic, and salt and pepper. After a few minutes, and the onions are beginning to soften, add the tomato sauce, and beans. Turn the heat to low.  Add the taco meat and combine.  Cover for thirty minutes.  If too thick, add a quarter cup of water. Serve with your favorite chili toppings.  


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