This has been a fun and tasty day at our house. Our 9-year-old grandson, Derek spent the morning making a wonderful breakfast of French toast and at noon he made a wonderful grilled peanut butter, jam and marshmallow cream sandwich lunch.
Now, it was time to take a break. Our community sponsors a wonderful series of events that both educates and entertains our grandchildren each day during the month of July. Today Derek and I headed to the pavilion to attend an event called, “Silly Science”. Membership services director Kim Osburn did a wonderful job of demonstrating and teaching the children a series of fun science experiments using such everyday items like vegetable oil, water, vinegar, food coloring, salt, baking soda, soda, Mentos and soap.
Derek was amazed at the one experiment that turned several of these ingredients into a lava lamp. And what would a silly science day be without a volcano eruption? The last experiment they attempted was trying to make ice cream. It was beyond funny watching the children jumping up and down trying their best to shake the ingredients into ice cream.
Derek came home and went right to his computer to play yet another game of Minecraft, a game about placing blocks to build anything you can image, and watching a few cartoons. As dinner time rolled, I started to gather the ingredients we would need to prepare dinner. Derek chose Emeril’s “Some Real Good Chili” for dinner.
This meal was a little more complex for Derek, but as he did with breakfast and lunch, he went right to it and did very well. This recipe actually had two steps to complete. First, Derek had to put together a combination of spices called, “Baby Bam” to be used in the chili. Then, he had to prepare the chili.
Some Real Good Chili
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 ½ pounds lean ground beef
2 cups chopped yellow onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons Baby Bam
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 (15-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon sugar
2 cups water
3 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons dried parsley
2 teaspoon onion powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon celery salt
(Place all the ingredients in a mixing bowl. Stir well to combine, using a wooden spoon. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 months.)
Directions to make chili:
- Heat the oil in a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat.
- Add the meat and stir with a long-handled wooden spoon to break up the pieces. Cook, stirring, until the meat is brown and cooked through, about 5 minutes.
- Add the onion, garlic, chili powder, Baby Bam, salt, cumin, and pepper, and cook, stirring, until soft, about 4 minutes.
- Put the whole tomatoes in a large mixing bowl and squeeze them with your hands to break them into pieces.
- Add the squeezed tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, and water to the pot. Stir well and bring to a boil.
- Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent the chili from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
- Using oven mitts or pot holders, remove the pot from the heat, ladle the chili into bowls, and serve.
I helped a little with the chopping of the onions and, the tomatoes I put into a small food processor for a few moments. I was amazed at how easily Derek took to the stove, always careful, but unafraid. I had to laugh when he was putting the Baby Bam together. As he opened several of the spice containers he kept saying, “It looks like grass”.
I asked Derek earlier what he would like to serve with the chili and he said that all he wanted was Saltine crackers. Derek said, “I like to scoop the chili with the crackers”.
We all liked the chili. What I found nice was the mild taste of the chili which I thought was just perfect for children.
The next day we were on the road taking Derek back home to Virginia. About two hours before we arrived at his home, Derek asked if he could use the phone to call his mom. The first thing he said to his mom, “I cooked”. Derek told his mom about the three meals he made during his visit. We actually had a little left and packed it in an iced cooler so his family could taste one of the dishes Derek made.
I love it when our grandchildren come down for visits and I love it even more when I get to spend time with them in the kitchen. I wonder what recipes he will choose next year.