In case you didn't get enough soup recipes in last month's edition of Things in Bowls, I've got plenty more for you this time around! As always, you can find all of the past Things in Bowls posts in one place HERE. Bookmark that page if you need a place to go when planning meals! As a side note, I'll be glad when it is no longer incredibly dark at dinner time and these pictures can have a little daylight in them again! 🙂
We often make cornbread to go along with chili, so I knew we had to make this when I saw it. It has quickly become a favorite! I use my go-to cornbread recipe for this, which usually fills an 8x8 inch baking pan. We've decided that the ideal amount for adding on the chili is about 1/2 of that cornbread recipe. We just bake the rest of the batter separately but you could also make a 1/2 batch. When we tried to fit the full amount of batter on top, we had a lot of spilling in the oven and it seemed like too much of the liquid in the chili got absorbed (see picture). The chili calls for zucchini but, because Aldi only sells that in packs of three, I don't add it if we don't already need to buy it for something else that week.
This is great when you want to add in some more vegetables but want a little more substance than a traditional vegetable soup offers. I actually don't love the flavor of Italian sausage so I tried making this once with just ground beef. Even though I added some extra seasonings to make up for the missing sausage, it still could've used more. I'll have to do a little more experimenting if I try that substitution again! I also added more orzo than the recipe called for - somewhere between a 1/2 and a full box of cooked orzo.
Polenta Burrito Bowls
No formal recipe here, this is just one of our favorite easy go-to meals. Have you used polenta before? We love it when we're feeling bored with rice and want a change of texture and/or flavor. It's also much quicker to make! Typically, you use 1 part corn meal to 4 parts liquid to prepare it. I use 1 cup of corn meal + 4 cups of water, but broth works great too. This amount makes enough for 2-3 adults at dinner and 1-2 lunches the next day. To the cornmeal, I add whatever spices we have around, usually chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper. I don't measure but I'd say between 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of each spice. Basically, bring the liquid to a boil, then remove from the heat as you add the corn meal/spice mixture and whisk until all of the lumps are gone. I also often stir in a handful or so of cheese at this point. It's pretty runny at first but thickens up as it sits. We top this with our favorite homemade lime black bean dip, cheese, salsa, avocado or guacamole if we have it, and sauteed corn + bell peppers.
When we want a pretty standard chili these days, this is what we make. I've also made it with ground beef but ground turkey is often cheaper, so we usually use ground turkey. The recipe calls for 2 pounds of meat but I've only ever used 1 pound and it comes out perfect. I almost never use the bay leaves because I almost never have bay leaves 🙂
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