Chili is a go-to staple dish in my house during the winter months. I think back to when I was a kid and used to heat store-bought chili out of a can, melt American “cheese” on it, crumble about a sleeve’s worth of saltine crackers in it, and devour it. I’m betting now if I cracked open a can of that stuff, it would be as appealing as eating a can of dog food. I looked up the ingredients for a very popular brand of chili and it’s scarier than I thought:
Beef and Pork, Textured Soy Flour, Oatmeal, Corn Flour, Chili Powder (Chili Peppers, Flavoring), Sugar, Salt, Modified Cornstarch, Hydrolyzed Soy, Corn, and Wheat Protein, Tomato Paste, Flavoring, Yeast Extract, Spices.
When I read that, my first thought is “yuck” followed by “why,” as in “Why do they use things, why and what exactly is “flavoring,” and why was I ever dumb enough to ingest this horror show? Even without beans, this stuff has 29 grams of very questionable carbs per serving, and there are 2 servings in a can, and I never just ate half the can. If there’s anything I hope you take away from these columns it’s read what they use for ingredients, the nutrition label, and how many servings are in it. You owe it to your body to get hip to those facts before shoving things down your face hole like a crazed seagull at the landfill.
Later in life as an adult, I moved away from the canned chili, unless I was making chili dogs, because I guess I wanted my hot dogs to taste like I had dropped them in the dog bowl first. So then came the chili mixes, which again have crazy ingredients and unneeded chemicals, and the real kicker was I already had any actual spices in the mix in my pantry just sitting there waiting to be used. Such a tragic situation that just did not need to happen. Speaking of tragic… of course I’d make the boxed cornbread mix to go with it. Without fail, I present the ingredients:
Wheat flour, degerminated yellow corn meal, sugar, animal shortening (lard, hydrogenated lard, tocopherols preservative, BHT preservative, citric acid preservative), baking soda, sodium acid pyrophosphate, monocalcium phosphate, salt, wheat starch, niacin, reduced iron, tricalcium phosphate, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid, silicon dioxide.
I can’t tell if that’s food or some advanced college student’s chemistry thesis for a concoction that soaks up toxic sludge. Later I graduated to Alton Brown’s homemade cornbread recipe, which was both a blessing and a curse. It was a blessing because it was the most incredible cornbread I had ever had, not even on the same planet as the boxed mix, and compared to the mix, it uses only natural ingredients. The curse was that when I had to eliminate simple carbs and sugars from my diet, I had to find an alternative “low carb” recipe that would hold up to Alton Brown, and that was not easy. In fact, I almost gave up.
But, boys and girls, I am happy to announce it has been accomplished through much trial and error and cursing and the throwing away of pan-fulls of disappointment. I liked it so much I made it the first article in this series. If you missed that or didn’t try it, I’m including it again here, because only an insane person would make chili and not make cornbread to go along with it. What are we, monsters? This is what homemade chili and low carb cornbread should be:
I include beans in my chili, and I know, I know… that’s not going to fly with any keto folks out there. Just leave them out, maybe double up on the mushrooms to fill it out or something. I prefer the beans because of the high fiber and protein content, and the taste. You can find a million different articles that say do eat beans, don’t eat beans, tomatoes are great, tomatoes are bad… I find that we are all different and foods affect us all in different ways. If you find you don’t react well to nightshades, beans, or peppers, then by all means, avoid them. I have done periods of eliminating foods and slowly adding them back in to find what makes me feel good and what makes me feel bad. I was eating beans and all those other so-called “bad foods” in this before and in this after picture:
I’ve found that removing all the store-bought prepared foods with their science fiction ingredients and simple sugars/carbs is what did the trick for the changes I’ve made in body composition. I eat a wide range of nightshade family and legume family foods, and only have positive results. So, don’t listen to anyone that says you must avoid certain foods. Find out what works for you specifically and what does not, and adjust accordingly.
I have a no beans chili recipe for hot dogs, but that’s another article for another time. Here’s my take on chili and cornbread for healthy eating, and I hope you enjoy.
Slow Cooker Chili:
- 1 carton beef bone broth (16.9 oz)
- 2 lb grass fed chuck or round beef stew steak
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 package organic baby bella mushrooms, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cans Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 cans fire roasted diced tomatoes, not drained
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste
- 2 Tbsp chili powder
- 1 Tbsp cumin
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 to 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (depending on personal taste)
- 2 Tbsp garbanzo bean flour (optional, for thickening)
Pour the bone broth in a slow cooker, set on low. Whisk in tomato paste and spices ,then add drained beans and tomatoes, cover. Saute the onions and mushrooms until soft and starting to brown, then add garlic and cook a minute more.
Drain the excess moisture and then add to the slow cooker:
Heat the same pan again and then add the stew beef for a quick sear on both sides, one to two minutes. Season with a sprinkle of salt and pepper while cooking.
Once it is seared, add to the slow cooker and cook on low 6 to 8 hours. If you want to thicken the chili, take 2 Tbsp of garbanzo bean flour, slowly add water and mix until smooth and lump free, then add to the slow cooker and stir in. Turn to high and cook another 15 – 30 minutes, then turn to warm and serve. I like to add shredded grass fed cheddar, plain greek yogurt, and black bean chips to my chili for add-ins.
Low carb cornbread:
- 2 Tbsp avocado oil
- 2 cups almond flour
- 1/4 cup coconut flour
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp sea salt
- Fresh ground pepper to taste
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 cup grass fed butter, melted
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 25 drops Liquid Stevia
- 1 cup shredded grass fed cheddar cheese
- 2/3 can baby corn, roughly chopped
- 1 – 2 Tbsp of diced jarred jalapenos
Gently melt the butter in a saucepan and set aside to cool.
Add the two Tbsp of avocado oil to the cast iron skillet and place in the oven, then set the oven to 400 degrees to preheat the pan.
Whisk all the dry ingredients together in a bowl.
Whisk the 3 eggs in a separate bowl, then add the sour cream and Stevia, and whisk together.
Slowly add the cooled butter to the egg mixture, whisking as you add.
Pour the wet team into the dry team and mix well with a spatula until completely integrated.
Then stir in the cheese, baby corn, and jalapenos.
Carefully remove the hot skillet from the oven, then use the spatula to transfer the mixture into the skillet.
It will be thicker than normal cornbread mix, so use the spatula to press the mix into the pan evenly and level it off.
Top the cornbread with more fresh cracked pepper to taste, then bake for 25 minutes. Cover the cornbread with foil and bake another 5 minutes.
Once top is brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, set on the stove top and let cool in the pan for 30 minutes before serving.
See the list of the Shirtless Chef columns/recipes at www.mysaline.com/shirtless.