I’ll follow recipes pretty close the first few times, but then out of necessity more often than creativity I start to mix things up a bit. Plus I tend to guess a lot on measurements, even with a right tools. “Ehn, close enough,” is my motto when it comes to cooking. Pretty much everything I cook is different from the time before and likely from the time after. Keeps things interesting?
Modified from a ground turkey and beer chili recipe I started using ages ago, here’s a rough sketch of my recipe.
The Definite-ish Ingredients
1 lb. (give or take) of ground turkey–tends to be 93 or 94% depending on what’s cheaper when I order
1 large can (29 oz., I think?) of tomato sauce
1 to 2 cans (14.5 oz. each) of diced tomatoes–I lean toward the fire roasted but use whatever’s actually available when I order; the number of cans depends on other sundry I throw in (although I usually do both, I opted to use only one this time)
3 tbsp. (give or take) of chili powder
a vague amount of honey–I gave up on measuring it after the first few times because honey is sticky and it’s one more damn thing to wash up after, so better just to squeeze/drizzle direct from the container
a couple dashes of salt and pepper–because that’s what you do?
most of a 12 oz. bottle of beer–I add this last since I always tend to fill my small crockpot more than I should; type of beer varies based on what I have on hand (this time I used Yuengling’s Summer Wheatbeer; I used my homebrew brown ale when I was still doing that; IPAs tend to give a mixed result, so probably lean toward a lager or basic ale).
3 beef bullion cubes–that’s what the original recipe called for, so that’s what I use because I always seem to have them on hand
3-ish cloves of garlic–depends on the size and my mood
Additional Ingredients (This Time Around)
1 large chopped fresh green pepper
a few dashes of cayenne
1 tsp. (give or take) of cumin
maybe 1/2 cup of frozen corn
1 crumbled tiny pepper from my Christmas jar of dried peppers from Steph
1 crumbled habenero (I think) from same jar
Other Ingredients from the Past
1/2 cup (give or take) of dried lentils–I opted out this time based on room, although there’s still half a bag in my freezer
1/2 to a whole yellow (?) onion–while I don’t mind eating them so much these days, I really hate having to cut them up, so I tend not to bother
- Chop up whatever needs to be chopped and toss it in the crockpot. This is always the most time consuming part for me, so I do it first. I could do this while browning the meat, but I like to babysit the meat and tend to get messy when I chop veg, so it’s easier for me to keep things separate.
- Dump in the tomato sauce and diced tomatoes, followed by by everything except the meat and beer. Stir everything. Add some beer, stir, repeat until you realize it’s getting way too close to the edge. Sometimes I add the beer and stir after the meat, sometimes before. (Note from Saturday: even though I just did this half an hour ago, I couldn’t tell you which order I did it in.)
- Brown the ground meat. I usually put some olive oil in first. Salt and pepper and some Mrs. Dash or other mixed season to taste.
- Drain meat and add to crock pot. Stir. Add beer if you didn’t do this previously. Stir. (I’m a big proponent of stirring things).
- Turn crockpot to low and try to ignore for the next eight-ish hours. If I do this during the week, I’ll prep everything the night before and put it on before going to work, so it tends to be closer to ten hours. On the weekends, I’ve done as little as six because I’m impatient, and it smells good.
- Finish and serve however you like. Most times I make up some rice during the last half hour or so. I may or may not top with cheese, again, depending on my mood.
So, there you have it. As I write this on Saturday, I currently have around seven hours to go. Being summer with the windows open, I’m not completely forced to suffer with the super yummy smells for the duration.