Fancy Chili with Little Effort

Over the years, I’ve started replacing beans in my chilis with different “meaty” veggies. Now, it’s to the point where my chili is mostly meat and veggies with a little bit of beans. I’m also a mom, and you know moms be trying to sneak veggies in their babies at any given chance.

I also like spice. Not necessarily heat, but I like creating flavor.

Enter – “fancy chili.”

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For whatever reason, my husband has dubbed my chili “fancy.” Maybe it’s the veggies. Maybe it’s the flavor. Who knows!

Moms also love “hands-off” meals, which is the inherent beauty in crockpot cooking. The crockpot creates a ton of depth and flavor in a relatively short amount of time. All without needing a human watching over it!

I normally enjoy my chili with a big chunk of sweet cornbread. In lieu of that, I pair it with some fluffy cloud bread. Cloud bread is an excellent canvas – you can make it go any which way you want. I have another few variations of it, and on this recipe I’ll show you two of those.

Beef and Bacon Chili with Roasted Green Chiles (THM S)

  • 1/2 large red onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 c white mushrooms, diced
  • 1 small zucchini, diced
  • 1 lb 80/20 grass-fed ground beef
  • 3 slices thick-sliced bacon
  • 1 28oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 c cooked black beans
  • 1 c fire roasted green chiles
  • 3 Tsp chili powder
  • 1 – 1 1/2 tsp chipotle chile powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 Tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • dash of liquid smoke
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • hefty pinch of red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper

Start by dicing all the fresh vegetables.

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The green chiles I added came from the frozen section of Trader Joe’s. And it’s a ton of green chiles! [This recipe served as an excuse to take some of that load off me, because I wanted them for green chicken enchiladas.] I slightly defrosted them in a little bit of water, just to loosen the giant brick of chiles, before adding them straight to the crock.

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Next, start to crisp the diced bacon in a cast iron skillet. When the bacon is almost done, push it to one side of the skillet and add the ground beef. Season the beef with salt and pepper, and brown it completely.

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When the beef is done, add it, the veggies, tomatoes, chiles, and spices to the crockpot. Set it on high for 4 hours, and fuggetabattit. [In my best yankee voice.]

For the last hour, leave it uncovered and add the black beans to let a little of the liquid cook off.

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Glorious!

Cloud Bread Two Ways (THM S)

  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp xanthan gum
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 Tsp ground flaxseed

This is the basic recipe for cloud bread. If you want to go savory, keep this skeleton and add any ground seasonings such as garlic powder, italian seasoning, etc. right into the batter. If you’re adding cheeses, stick to adding them on top.

If you want to go sweet with it, add 1 tsp of zero calorie sweetener (Truvia, Swerve, or equivalent) to the batter with cinnamon, pumpkin spice, vanilla bean paste, molasses, or other spices to your heart’s desire.

To start, separate your eggs into two small bowls – whites in one, yolks in the other. To the white bowl, add the xanthan gum and beat the whites to stiff peaks.

To the yolk bowl, add the cream cheese, salt, and flaxseed and beat to combine.

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Gently fold the egg whites into the yolk mixture with a spatula, being careful not to deflate the whites. Fold them until you have a homogeneous mixture.

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Using an ice cream scoop, or 1/4 c measure, plop the mixture onto a sheet pan lined with foil and greased with coconut oil.

Add the parm and black pepper to the tops. On the jalapeno cheddar, I added 2 tsp of pickled jalapenos to the batter and topped the blobs with cheese.

Bake these at 350 for 20-25 minutes, or until gold brown on top.

Wait until they cool completely before trying to peel them away from the foil.

NOTE* I have done these using parchment before, and it makes them easier to peel off. It’s not difficult with the foil, but you do have to have a gentle hand.

Enjoy!

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