My secret ingredients
I grew up eating home made meals. My mom cooked every day. I never saw a pre-packaged ready-to-eat meal until my early twenties and I moved to the UK. Other than salads and sandwiches while on the go I have never bought a ready-to-eat meal that just needs heating up in the microwave. With one exception that is. Lasagne. I tried ready-to-eat lasagne and didn’t like it. This stopped me from ever trying another pre-packaged meal again.
My mom is a great cook. Though I never wanted to learn all her recipes (she is a very traditional German cook using lots of potatoes, heavy meats and heavy sauces), I picked up how to change the taste of a meal easily through using different herbs and spices.
And I am not afraid to experiment with herbs and spices.
Yesterday I cooked one of my favorite easy meals: Texas Chili. It takes about 5 minutes of preparation, 10 minutes of cooking the meats and then just 45 minutes of mostly unsupervised simmering. To me that is E.A.S.Y.
In case you are interested in my recipe, you need to be open to experimentation as I use “eye” measurements rather than real ones. Meaning I can’t tell you exactly how much meat or canned tomatoes I use. I make sure they are in proportion.
- 1 red or green or yellow pepper
- minced meat
- canned tomatoes
- rapeseed oil
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- Texas Chili Seasoning Mix
Use a tablespoon of oil and heat up in a large pot, add diced onion. Once onion look “glassy”, add meat and cook until it’s done (I always make sure my meat is properly cooked, maybe I am a little OCD, but works for me). Then add diced pepper, diced tomatoes and spices. stir properly and then add canned tomatoes. Let simmer to reduce water for about 45 minutes. Voila!
The Texas Chili Seasoning Mix is my favorite. Might be because it brings back memories of living in Texas (smell triggers memories quite well). I am sure other chili mixes will work, too. 🙂
And since my mum taught me to experiment and use spices to alter taste, you can pretty much use the same recipe and exchange the chili seasoning for paprika, Italian herbs, oregano, basil, parsley, chives and you have a Sauce Bolognese.
Next, you leave out the minced meat and you have a basic tomato sauce. 3 recipes in one.
I usually end up cooking about 4-5 portions. I eat one, one goes in the fridge for the following day and the rest goes into the freezer. So, it might take an hour all in all, but per meal you are down to 10-15 minutes…
Don’t tell me cooking is hard! 😉