Ladies and Gentleman... I Jennifer have entered the world of online dating. I wish I was some celebrity so that people could comment down below stating how amazing I am and I don't need to stoop to such levels. But the seven subscribers I have (6 including my family) probably think it's about time I "put myself out there." "Put Yourself Out There." I can't count the times my Mother has said that. "You Just Need to Put Yourself Out There." Call me old fashioned but my hopes is that a man would stop me in the meat aisle to comment on my A+ selection of beef. I mean, I do "put myself out there" in the meat aisle... But alas, us women are forced to display ourselves online, hoping a suitor will bite our bait. These days putting yourself out there requires a decent headshot and wifi connection.
As of a few weeks ago, my well earned money has gone to a little site you may have heard of called Match.com. In the few weeks that I have been live on this site I literally have so much to comment about, I really need to break this up into series.
Series 1. How to attract a lady on Match.com.
1. Please have at least one photo that isn't a selfie (bonus points if you can dig up a photo that actually includes another individual).
2. If I clearly state that God is an important, crucial, and flat out necessity in my life, you probably are wasting your time sending me lewd messages.
3. No I will not "come over." That's how girls end up dead.
4. Asking for my Snap Chat username (because it would be a better way to get to know each other) doesn't give you too much credibility in the creep department.
5. Sending over a message that solely says "I'm Mark" gives me little to work with in the response department...."I'm Jen?"
Ahh these few weeks have been so much fun. All of this talking about myself to other gentleman callers makes me realize that the whole cooking thing...it's kind of a good talent to have when presenting yourself to the opposite sex. My most often asked question is "What's your favorite thing to cook?" and honestly, it really has got me thinking. It's a really hard question. I love the technique of French cooking, the ingredients of Italian cuisine. I love making meatballs, lentils, chicken piccata and heck one of my favorite things to make is meat loaf. But one common denominator in my passions is...lots of ingredients. I love simple, don't get me wrong, but I also love perfecting a dish with dashes of spices. Seeing my creation come alive with ingredients that mesh perfectly well with each other. It allows you to make dishes your own. This is why I will always favor cooking over baking because guess what? It's hard to fail in terms of ingredients. One of my favorite meals to make, and a meal that I have been perfecting along the way is chili. Here is where I stand now.
2 tbs olive oil
1 red onion diced
4 cloves minced garlic
1 14 oz can black beans
1 14 oz can red kidney beans
1 14 oz can cannellini beans (not crucial, I just love my chili to be hearty)
1 medium red bell pepper diced
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn
1 pound ground beef (I use lean because the chili itself is so flavorful)
1 tbs ground cumin
1 tbs dried oregano
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tbs chili powder
1 tbs garlic powder
1 tbs onion powder
1 4oz can tomato paste
1/4 cup corn starch
diced red onion
sour cream/greek yogurt
Add olive oil to a large dutch oven over medium high heat. Sautee onions, garlic, and bell peppers until soft, about 4 minutes. Stir in the ground beef, making sure to use a wooden spoon to break up all of the large chunks. Cook until the beef is fully browned, about 6 - 8 minutes. Drain the beef mixture through a strainer to remove excess fat. Return to the pan. Add cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, oregano, onion powder, and smoked paprika to the ground beef mixture. Stir to combine. Spread the beef mixture to the sides of the pan creating a gap in the center. Place the tomato paste in the center and let it "toast" for roughly 3 minutes. Stir to combine with the rest of the meat mixture. Add the diced tomatoes, along with their liquid and the crushed tomatoes and stir to release any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Cover and simmer for 30 - 45 minutes. After the chili has simmered take 1/4 cup corn starch and mix it with 1/3 cup water until all chunks are combined. This well help thicken the chili. Add the corn starch mixture to the chili and stir in the beans and the corn. Cook for an additional ten minutes. Add more water or cornstarch if the mixture is too thick. Serve with desire toppings immediately.
Note: I wanted to pretend to be "healthy" and added some sweet potato to my chili, which is the giant orange things in my photos. If you desire to do so, which is totally a great Autumn idea, add one diced sweet potato to the mixture when you add in the diced and crushed tomatoes.