There’s something about the feeling of fall. The cool breeze in the air… Well, relatively cool breeze. It’s still San Antonio, of course. But something about highs in the 80s and lows in the 60s have made this week feel decidedly different than the blazing weeks past of summer.
I don’t know about you, but I love the beginning of the last three months of the year. October, November and December literally feel like one big month of happiness – for me, anyway. I love the cool air, the fall flavors available at grocery stores and coffee shops, the sight of pumpkins on front porches, and the twinkle of lights in trees through windows as Christmas approaches. We’re on the eve of the end of the year and I. Am. Here. For. It.
Of course, now we find ourselves waving goodbye to September as the last few days wrap up, and what better way to see them go than with a cold front? Obviously, “cold front” is a relative term around here, but it’s still nice to see cloudy skies and somewhat cooler temperatures on the weather app. You can officially break out the (light) sweaters and denim jackets, especially if your office is kept at lower temperatures. Couple that with a warm pumpkin spice latte and you can start at least getting yourself in the fall mood, even if the Texas weather doesn’t quite follow suit.
One of my favorite parts of the autumn season cool down is coming home to a warm supper. Soups, chili and slow-cooker meals are my go-tos for the cooler months, and my fiancé agrees enthusiastically any time I ask him, “Do you want soup for dinner?” If you’re in need of a pumpkin pie or a butternut squash pasta sauce, I am your girl.
Here at the SA Woman office, we’re a small crew, and oftentimes we share family recipes or favorite tried-and-true dishes that make the evenings easier after long days at work. Nancy, the mastermind who handles all of the office’s administration, brought in a family chili recipe recorded in delicate handwriting on a faded piece of notebook paper, and y’all, none of us can wait to try this old-school, warm bowl of deliciousness.
We’re going to go ahead and call it Jack’s Chili, a Gaffney family recipe. Let us know what you think!
4 lbs chuck meat
2/3 cup chopped onion
1 8 oz can of tomato sauce
1 6 oz can of tomato paste
6 cloves of minced garlic
1 ½ tbsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
1/3 cup vinegar
5 chili pods
1 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper
Cover bottom of pan with cooking oil
Brown meant w/ onion
Add tomato sauce and paste
Combine and add spices (minced garlic, cumin, oregano and vinegar)
Seed chili pods and boil until tender
In blender, add pods and ¼ cup pod liquid
Combine this with other ingredients
Last, add salt, chili powder, sugar and cayenne pepper
Simmer at medium heat for 30 minutes
Serve with cheese
Of course, just because the cooler months are coming doesn’t mean we as humans need to, ahem, gain the extra poundage that bears do when they go into hibernation. I always find myself struggling during the fall and winter months to choose the healthy options when comfort food is just so good. Let’s just put it this way – you aren’t going to find me happily choosing a salad when warm chili and creamy soups are on the menu.
Last fall, as I was working through my last fall semester of college, I got into the habit of meal prepping, which saved my poor little bank account and helped me stay somewhat-healthy through all the late-night study sessions when it would have been easy to grab Whataburger instead. I found a delicious recipe for turkey and sweet potato chili, and while I haven’t converted my ground-beef-or-die fiancé yet, all my coworkers were huge fans.
If you’re craving something warm and cozy that you don’t have to feel guilty about tomorrow, try your own spin on this chili. It’s delicious, and full of ingredients that are just as good for your body as they are for your soul.
Haylee’s Turkey Chili:
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small sweet onion
1 lb ground turkey
4 c sweet potatoes
2 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
2 tsp salt
¾ tsp pepper
1/8 tsp cinnamon (feel free to add an extra shake – it gives it a sweet flavor)
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 cup chicken broth
1 15 oz can sweet whole kernel corn
1 15 oz can black beans
Worth adding: sour cream and a hand full of shredded Velveeta cheese (sooo good)
In a shallow pot, sauté onions in olive oil until translucent
Add ground turkey and cook over medium heat until turkey is almost cooked through
Add sweet potatoes and sauté another 2 minutes
In a small bowl combine chili powder, cumin, paprika, cinnamon, salt and pepper
Pour crushed tomatoes, chicken broth and seasoning into chili mixture
Combine and reduce heat to simmer
Cover pot and simmer 20-25 minutes
Add drained corn and black beans, cover, and simmer additional 5-10 minutes
Serve as is, or add sour cream and cheese because it’s delicious
Happy Fall, ya’ll!
XOXO – SA Woman