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Tex Mex: Feed a Crowd Chilli Con Carne

Cooking for a crowd is great fun; the prospect of getting creative and offering up a huge variety of dishes that will really impress your friends and family excites me, but it often sends me into a whirlwind of energy and pressure. I’ve come to learn the secret of stress free entertaining, base many dishes around one recipe – a huge pot of smokin’ chilli con carne. It’s super easy to cook and oh so good to eat – serve it with jacket potatoes, rice, nachos or in a toasted pitta bread topped with cheese, sour cream, guacamole, fresh salsa and some fresh coriander, all washed down with an ice cold beer. Move over Chimichanga, I think I’ve died and gone to homemade Tex Mex heaven.

It’s great fun to base meals for a large number of people on a particular theme, you can simply throw together various dishes and people love getting stuck in to food they can eat with their hands. Nachos and stuffed pitta breads are great for this.

I won’t take all the credit for the scrummy looking food, Rich (the fiancé) made the loaded potato skins (look out for his guest recipe coming soon) and we kind of just threw the rest together whilst drinking with my brother Kelv and his girlfriend JoJo.

Now, i’m totally guilty of saying I can’t find the time to cook for myself, let alone to entertain, but if your guests happen to be relaxed family who also have a baby it’s all quite good fun. We managed to feed, entertain and put the babies to bed, have a drink and a laugh ourselves and we still managed to pull together this delicious feast and photograph it for the blog. A pretty successful evening all round.

The Recipe

I’ve included the recipe using my new recipe plug in below, so if you want to make this recipe for more or less people, just use the handy scroll bar and decide how many you want to cook for. The ingredient quantities will automatically update. Impressive I know! Also, don’t forget you can print the recipe using the small blue print icon. Happy cooking!

Chilli in PittaLoaded skinsChilli PotCold beerNachos

Print Recipe
Chilli Con Carne
This is a recipe for a rich smokey chilli con carne. This dish is so versatile it can be served with plain rice, on a jacket potato, in a pitta bread, or on top of nachos - however you choose to serve it though, be sure not to forget the essential condiments, grated cheese, sour cream, guacamole, salsa, freshly chopped coriander and most importantly an ice cold beer. This recipe is great for feeding a crowd and it freezes well, so don't worry about leftovers - all the more for you.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings
people
Ingredients
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings
people
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Heat the olive oil in a heavy based saucepan, add the mince and cook until browned.
  2. Remove the mince from the pan and set aside, leaving a little oil in the pan, then add the onion and cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes, or until translucent.
  3. Add the garlic, mushrooms, carrot, red pepper and then return the mince to the pan and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  4. Add the oregano and spices, chopped tomatoes and water. Stir well to combine and bring to a boil then immediately reduce the heat to a simmer.
  5. Cook on a medium to low heat for one hour. The chilli will thicken and become rich. Season to taste with the salt and pepper.
  6. 10 minutes before the chilli is cooked, add the kidney beans and freshly chopped coriander.
  7. Serve either straight away, or after sitting for up to 20 minutes (I prefer it when it's not piping hot).
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When life gets in the way

When life gets in the way of your hobbies it’s frustrating, but when it gets in the way of your passion it can be soul-destroying. Things have been a little tense lately and I’m discovering what long term sleep deprivation does to a person. I honestly believe it would turn even the sanest and most patient person into a ticking time bomb. Despite the lack of sleep, Jemima is the light of my life, she is the cutest little human being I’ve ever met, and she’s my little human, but finding time for your hobbies is also so important. Cooking and writing this blog are my hobbies and it’s often a wonderful escape from the pressures of everyday life.

Cooking has taken a back seat and has become about quick fixes, baby purees and baby led weaning – a rather joyful but messy task. I love making up her food from scratch to ensure she’s getting the healthiest most flavourful start in life. I can’t wait until she’s big enough to stand on a stall brandishing a wooden spoon, wearing a miniature apron and cover my kitchen with flour. I can see all the mums laughing and shaking their heads saying “just you wait”.

I’ve thought long and hard about whether, after all this time away from blogging, I should continue, but I have to. This blog is the thing I’m most proud of. I make myself feel guilty for not being one of those bloggers with a tight schedule posting three times a week – but the truth is, I have a life outside of my blog, one that consumes me. I’m a full time bid manager/proof reader, mother, fiancée and obsessive organiser – yet somehow I find time to see my friends and family. I guess blogging naturally takes a back seat, but time and again I come back to it, because it’s my passion.

I want to talk about meal planning and online food shopping and why it’s saved my sanity and allowed me to feel, and be, more organised. It’s a great way to save food and money. I’ve always been a super organised person, so meal planning makes me feel as though I’ve really got my shit together. I love having a plan for the week ahead and a stocked up freezer of batch cooked meals on hand, it’s essential these days.

I take a quiet hour and write a rough meal plan for the week, taking into consideration what I’ll be doing each evening – that way I can decide if I need a quick meal, or if I have the luxury of time to get creative. For instance, on the rare occasion I get the opportunity to dash out for a drink with friends, I plan to throw together a quick salad, rather than preparing something time-consuming.

I decided to try online food shopping for the first time, which at first was a horrific experience. I used ASDA online – never again. I don’t think I have ever experienced such awful customer service. They had to rearrange my delivery for a day later than I wanted and they were still late. Their customer service team seem to be non existent; either that or they had better things to do than answer the phone. When my shopping did finally arrive the delivery driver was rude and some of my items were missing. However, don’t let this put you off online shopping as I had an entirely different experience using Ocado – using the website was easy, it wasn’t anywhere near as expensive as I anticipated it would be, the service was brilliant, the food arrived on time with more than acceptable ‘use by dates’ and they even threw in a free tea towel.

Shopping online means I only buy what I need and can review my basket at the end and spend some time swapping brand named items for cheaper alternatives – I knocked about £15 off my total by doing this. So, if like me you’re an online food shopping virgin, go on, give it a go and remember to write that meal plan – you’ll save money and you’ll feel super organised.