Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Schoolroom Chili Mole and Rice

Some days I despair when it comes to the meals at school.

"Chicken Finger Caesar" Sandwiches

That sandwich you see there? Yeah, this is what it was made from in a "case for frugality" (not my case, mind you).

"Ingredients"

That would be leftover chicken fingers and rice. Which I mixed with Caesar salad dressing, paprika, chives from the garden and Montreal steak spice. Yum, yum. Ironically, a few kids lapped it right up, and one of them took home the leftovers, so go figure. Actually, the mixture, once run through my food processor, took on the look and texture of a fast food "chicken burger", and I was kind of tempted to try pan frying a patty. But no... just, no.

Thankfully, I have more days than not when I am proud of the food I churn out on a daily basis, confident that I'm opening up the palates of youngsters even in a small way. One day when ground-chicken spaghetti sauce was on the docket, I got to introduce the flavours of thyme, rosemary and fennel to both the kids and teachers. When faced with dairy allergies on Mac n' Cheese day, olive oil and garlic noodles tossed with herbs and breadcrumbs was polished off without a second thought.

Yesterday was "chili" - which is an incredibly broad heading for all sorts of variations and nationalities. I tend to stick to the basic "tomatoes, meat and beans" as my base and add chili powder, but after that the game is on. I added just a slight "twist" to the staple this time and added a spoonful of cocoa, adding a rich, dark colour and flavour that helped tame the spice of the dish as well.

Schoolroom Chili Mole and Rice

For good measure (and to stretch the little meat and beans that we actually had on hand, pre-grocery day), I not only chucked in almost every other veggie we had in the building, but rounded out the works with nutty, filling brown rice. The kids are huge fans of rice in any form, and while I did have to rely on the 10-minute variety due to time constraints, leftover long-grain would do just as well in that role. The rice also tempers the sharper heat of the spices and garlic, as well as cutting the tomato acidity just enough for the sensitive tongues in the infant class. The spicy tomato sauce, fresh garlic chili powder and pepper were still a bit strong for some, but alongside their glasses of milk it went down like a dream!

Shared with Waste Not Want Not Wednesday and Allergy-Free Wednesdays
 

Schoolroom Chili Mole and Rice
Serves 16 adults or 35 kids
1 tbsp canola oil
1 lb ground turkey breast
1 large onion, minced
1 lb carrots, minced
10 cloves garlic, minced
2 large bell peppers, minced
1 large zucchini, minced
1 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tbsp black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp oregano
1 tbsp dried minced onion
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp tamari (or soy sauce)
2 cups water
2 cans (680 ml each) Hunt's® Thick & Rich Spicy Red Pepper & Chilies Premium Pasta Sauce, also called "Zesty & Spicy" (or your favourite spicy tomato sauce)
1 can (796 ml) no salt added diced tomatoes
2 cans (562 ml each) kidney beans, drained and rinsed
6 cups brown Minute Rice, cooked according to package directions (or about 7 1/4 cups leftover cooked brown rice)
  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the turkey and brown well, stirring.
  3. Add onion, carrots, garlic, peppers and zucchini and cook 5 minutes, until vegetables begin to soften.
  4. Add the chili powder, pepper, garlic powder, oregano, minced onion, cocoa and brown sugar, stir through.
  5. Add soy sauce, water, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes and beans and stir in.
  6. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook 45 minutes - 1 hour.
  7. Just before serving, stir in the cooked rice.
Amount Per (Adult) Serving 
Calories: 324.1
Total Fat: 6.3 g
Cholesterol: 20.0 mg
Sodium: 663.7 mg
Total Carbs: 54.3 g
Dietary Fiber: 8.9 g
Protein: 15.3 g