Tag Archives: chili

Jar Lunch: Cornbread Topped Chili Leftovers

The Jar Lunch: It’s like a bag lunch or a bento lunch, but the next big thing is lunch packed in a good ol’ mason jar. I have to microwave my lunch at work, so metal containers won’t work and heating up plastic has me worried. We often simply fill mason jars with leftovers, but sometimes it is fun to come up with a clever jar lunch and make a big batch. Lunch for the whole family is already packed.

We make a pot of chili every two or three weeks. If I make a really big batch, Levi will sometimes complain about taking it as leftovers. This trick makes the leftovers a little more enticing for him, especially since we don’t eat a lot of bread around here. At dinnertime, vegetarian chili is usually served over quinoa or brown rice and comes with the works: a dollop of crema, chopped avocado, scallions, and cilantro. Here I’ve put some of the leftovers in a mason jar, topped it with cornbread batter, and baked it.

Use your favorite chili and cornbread recipes. Just put about a cup of chili in a wide mouth pint jar and top it with 1/3 cup plus 1 heaping tablespoon of cornbread batter. Use leftovers that are room temperature or still warm, as refrigerated chili could cause your batter not to bake throughout. As always, a jar funnel makes filling the jars easier. I found that baking time for these is about the same as baking a pan of cornbread. For the cornbread recipe shared below, that was 20-25 minutes at 425° F.

Our favorite online vegetarian chili recipes are Vegetarian Chili with Peanut Butter and Black Bean and Espresso Chili. I’ve included a cornbread recipe you can use below, which makes enough batter to top ten jars of chili. If you have too much batter for your leftovers, bake the rest in prepared muffin tins!

Jalapeño, Creamed Corn, & Cheddar Cornbread
adapted from Alton Brown

2 cups yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
1 cup creamed corn
1/3 cup grated onion
2 medium jalapeños, finely diced
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 425° F.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.

In a large bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, creamed corn, onion, and jalapeño. Once combined, add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and stir thoroughly. Finally, fold in the cheese.

Fill a wide mouth pint jar with about a cup of leftover chili (warm or room temperature). Scoop 1/3 cup plus 1 heaping tablespoon of cornbread batter on top of the chili. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Make sure to cool the jars completely before putting on the lid. Refrigerate enough leftovers to be used the next day. Freeze any additional leftovers to be used up later.


Please add your photos to the Jar Lunch Flickr pool for this or any other jar lunches you make!

See our other Jar Lunches here.


Filed under family

It’s peanut butter chili time

We didn’t mean to fall of the face of the, er, blogosphere. We’ve gone full speed ahead into our goals for February. I’m walking to work everyday while I’m on a humane work schedule for awhile. Jess is doing yoga again. We’re trying to fit in further exercise at the gym and so far mostly failing at that. We have, however, met our big goal of tracking our food on sparkpeople.com and that is going really well.

We’re also almost completely cooking healthy food at home. I bet you’re wondering what we ate for our first meal out. This Friday Jess worked in Seattle, and Levi and I met her there. Not before stopping in Ballard for some cupcakes and con pannas.

That is the only coffee that has been purchased at a coffee shop so far. We have been pretty content with drinking toddy and stove-top espresso at home.

Strawberry frosted cupcakes with chocolate ganache and some heart sprinkles! The perfect way to celebrate the somewhat stressful end of Levi’s first high school semester. He was doing non-stop homework for the last 3 weeks.

I don’t have pictures of our dinner out. We decided some good ol’ vegan Chinese from Bamboo Garden in Seattle was worthy of our money. We gorged ourselves on fried rice and noodles and deep fried faux chicken, and as always they commented on how tall Levi has gotten. Many of the same people are there that have known him since he was a baby. Perfect place for our first meal out!

We are no longer calculating the cost of everything, but we’re still making a lot of the same food:

We had to make those delicious broccoli quiches again.

And we’re really getting into our groove on meal planning. This weekend we easily plotted out an entire week’s worth of food. That is an improvement over our usual 3 or 4 day ahead plan. I think before too long we will have worked out a perfect spreadsheet for a week of meals. It still is time consuming when you add in making the grocery list and doing the shopping.

Here’s the first of the really successful new recipes we’ve tried since our $5 a day project ended:

vegetarian chili with peanut butter

If you remember the black bean espresso chili, AKA Baller’s Chili, you know we love secret ingredient chili recipes. Well, I now have two absolute favorite chili recipes. Once again I reduced the oil in the original recipe to keep the fat down a little. I figured 1/2 cup peanut butter was enough, so I just used a tablespoon of olive oil to sauté the onion and garlic. This recipe was TO DIE FOR.

If you were dying to know if we are still obsessed with peanut butter, you have your answer.


Filed under family, food

day twenty-one

(Click here for an explanation of the project.)

Here’s what we ate for $4.02 yesterday, January 22, 2011.


large multi-grain waffle $0.31
1/4 cup blueberry sauce (freebie – made with blueberries rescued from the bottom of the freezer)

1/6 honeydew melon $0.33


leftover peanut satay sandwich (minus the egg we added before) $0.74


butternut black bean chili $0.91

quinoa skillet bread $0.34


1/3 cup soy milk (with coffee) $0.09
organic lowfat plain yogurt $0.40
tablespoon of honey $0.06
1 ounce piece of leek & morel cheese $0.44
2 ounces grape tomatoes $0.04

total $4.02

Whoa, do I ever have a new favorite food blog. I already made Jess request her book from the library. I’ve had some recipes bookmarked from 101 Cookbooks for awhile. I’m not sure if I ever ended up making any. Today we randomly made two recipes (one Jess found when we were in search of multigrain waffles, another came highly recommended by a friend). Both were home runs.

I followed the Multigrain Waffles recipe almost exactly. The only substitution I made was canola oil in place of melted butter. I know, I know, butter is magical. We are trying really hard to not eat too much animal fat. Canola oil is a tiny bit cheaper than butter purchased on sale – about 2 cents per tablespoon.

These waffles were terrific – light and fluffy with a little crunch from the poppy seeds. If I hadn’t made them I would have guessed they were about half white flour, but there wasn’t even any wheat flour at all. It features barley, oat, and rye flour, all cheap when bought in bulk. If you’re looking to add more whole grains to your repertoire, this is a great start. We got 8 large (whole waffle maker sized) waffles from the recipe, making them 31 cents per giant waffle. I made extra and our freezer is now stocked.

And then we made the quinoa skillet bread. Oh lord. I can’t properly express to you how much we loved this recipe. It took all the restraint we had not to just sit and eat the entire pan of it for dinner. We would have gladly all eaten another piece for dessert. We may never eat cornbread again in this house. It could never be as creamy and custardy.

Modifications: if I were making this for a dinner party, I’d go all out and pour that cup of heavy cream in the middle. I am sure it is amazing. Again, we are trying really hard not to eat too much animal fat. I love me some cream. But I was having a hard time justifying it on this project of healthy food on a budget. So I looked into substituting light coconut milk.

1 cup heavy cream = 88 grams fat
1 cup coconut milk = 57 grams fat
1 cup Trader Joe’s light coconut milk = 15 grams fat

Now, I doubt light coconut milk would set up in the middle the way the cream is intended to in the recipe. I mixed it in. I would pretend I made an educated decision to do that, but I really just didn’t read the recipe all the way through before starting. I also used coconut oil in place of butter and non-dairy milk. I think the coconut really added a great flavor. Jess says it is hard to imagine the full fat dairy version is any better. I would have to guess that 70 more grams of fat would have to add something amazing, but this version works for us.

Here’s the nutrition info based on dividing into 9 servings with our modifications. The original version has about 80 more calories and 8 more grams of fat per piece. Oh, and I was a little surprised that despite using coconut milk and oil it was only 34 cents per piece.

– The honeydew melon was a produce happy hour find. Our local store has a deal every Tuesday. It actually lasts 3 hours, of course during peak dinner shopping time.

– The leek & morel cheese was from the mark-down cheese bin we have become very familiar with and also served as an excuse for me to feed it to Levi and then tell him he was eating mushrooms after he liked it.

– The chili was a recipe I made up, intended to use up some leftover butternut squash. It also had zucchini, carrot, onion, and hominy. Oh, and ancho chiles.


Filed under food