Friday, 3 February 2012

Change4Life Supermeals Challenge Day 5

I cooked the best chilli con carne on Day 5 of my Change4Life Supermeals Challenge. Change4Life is a movement that’s aiming to help families eat better, move more and live longer. Their Supermeals booklet features 14 quick, easy and healthy recipes that can be prepared for around £1.25 a head.

The 'the best chilli con carne' recipe has rather an extensive list of ingredients (see below) compared to others in the booklet, and is not too far from how I normally cook a chilli con carne. I did add one extra ingredient: a chopped green chilli pepper. I served bowls of chilli with tortilla chips.

My tip for chilli peppers: pick them up when you see them reduced in price and put them in the freezer (where we always keep a supply) - they take up little room and thaw quickly. We also grow chilli pepper plants in pots on a windowsill during the summer, which look pretty and yield a good crop that can also be frozen.

Other home-grown ingredients I used in this dish: tomatoes (boiled down during the summer glut and frozen in tin-equivalent amounts in reused Chinese take-away containers) and the garlic.

The main way my chilli differs from today's recipe is that I prefer a drier crumblier texture and don't add stock. For me, there's too much stock added here (I usually find there’s enough liquid with the tomatoes). So, if you also like a drier chilli con carne, cut down on the stock. I also cook mine for a little longer and get a richer sauce; although the point of the Supermeals recipes, of course, are they're quick, easy and cheap.
This Chilli Con Carne tasted good and got the thumbs up (the family is scoring each of the 14 meals out of ten and I’ll let you know our favourite at the end of the challenge). The kids are enjoying these meals.

Nine out of ten kids risk growing up with dangerous levels of fat in their bodies, according to Change4Life. This can cause life-threatening diseases like cancer, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Change4Life produce a free Action Plan for kids:

the best chilli con carne
The ingredients: 300g extra lean minced beef, 1 large onion (finely chopped), 2 garlic cloves (finely chopped), 400g tin tomatoes, 2 tbsp tomato puree, 1-2 tsp chilli powder, half-tsp ground cumin, 1 red pepper (deseeded and chopped), 150g mushrooms, 410g tin kidney beans, 150ml reduced-salt vegetable or beef stock, 300g dried basmati or long-grain rice, ground black pepper.

The method: Brown mince. Add onion and garlic. Add chopped tomatoes, puree, spices, pepper, mushrooms, kidney beans and stock. Boil and simmer gently (20 mins). Cook rice.

The booklet notes that this recipe supplies you with 488 kcals a portion.


Register with Change4Life online before Friday 10 February and you can get your own free Supermeals booklet.

Day 1

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