We woke to a quiet and cold house this mid-October morning. Quiet because Jack left this weekend to go back to his life in China and cold because we slept with the windows and doors open and I'd not yet placed a winter quilt on our bed. Not only was it quiet and cold, but it was also Monday, which meant that I needed to figure out our meatless meals. I slipped on my favorite fuzzy robe and started taking stock of options for our Meatless Monday.
Our refrigerator was mostly empty; our pantry nearly bare; and our freezer was down to its last offerings (as I've been trying to eat our way through it). Hmmm...nothing like a good challenge.
Our neighbors had given us some purple eggplants and I still had a couple of white ones from our garden. I had sweet potatoes and butternut squash in abundance, along with a handful of end-of-the-season peppers.
I recalled a vegetarian chili that friend Karen would make and share with us when we were next-door neighbors. Inspiration was slowly coming. I kept looking.
I found one can of black beans and one of red ones, a can of green chopped green chiles and almost a cup of quinoa. No tomatoes, but then I remembered that I had some roasted tomato sauce in the basement freezer. While rooting around for the tomato sauce, I came upon a package of corn and one of diced onions. I grabbed a bulb of garlic from the basement basket. Once back upstairs, I pulled four canisters from the spice drawer: cumin, smoked paprika, chili pepper and coriander. For good measure, I plucked the last lime from our fruit bowl and an avocado that desperately needed eating today. I was in business.
Fifteen minutes later, my made-up vegetarian chili was bubbling away on the stove. Don't ask for the recipe – I just threw all the ingredients into the pot and hoped it would turn out edible.
It did. Not only was it edible, it was delicious. I topped each bowl with a last spoonful of sour cream, the avocado diced, and a few sprinkles of grated cheese.
The best part is that I froze three pint jars of it. So next time, I'm stumped on a Monday, I'll just head to the basement freezer and voila! Chili, ready as fast as one can say "Meatless Mondays" three times.