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Hunger Challenge Day 3: Basic Hungry Chili

Posted Sep 20 2011 7:37am

(Just FYI: meal photos will also be posted on my facebook page ! Also, Hunger Challenge Day 1 can be found here .)

It’s the dawn of day three of the Hunger Challenge and things are going well! Our two dinners so far have been outstanding – on the other hand, lunches and snacks have been quite underwhelming. I really miss having snacks throughout the day and a variety of food in my lunchbox. I also miss sparkling water that I drink during the day (I know, cry me a river right?).  That said, it hasn’t been horrible by any means.

I have cheated once. I was offered a small piece of pie at work yesterday and I took it. I felt guilty about it but the craving for sweetness to end my meal was overwhelming. I realize that many people on limited budgets and food stamps don’t have access to these kinds of freebies – it was my own weakness that pushed me to take it.

Breakfast: Small bowl of cereal and a hard-boiled egg.  This does the trick until at least mid-morning - it mimics what I typically have, though the cereal I eat is more filling (more fiber and protein).


Lunch: Yesterday, leftovers (chili and cornbread…and pie). Today, PB&J, slice of cheese, leftover cornbread.


Snack: 1/2 cup cottage cheese, though I haven’t eaten it yet because it’s on the goopy side. Evening snack has been popcorn with a little salt and butter. I’ve also had a spoonful of peanut butter and peanut butter toast with milk.

Dinner on Sunday night (and Monday’s lunch) was a very basic chili recipe – I say basic but there’s a little twist that hit this chili out of the park. It starts with a P and ends with “oblano.”


Hungry Chili (adapted from All Recipes )
(makes 5 servings)

  • 1/4 lb grass-fed ground beef (totally optional!)
  • 3 cups cooked pinto beans (1/2 lb dry or 2 cans)
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes, with their juices
  • 1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 Poblano pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 Jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp cumin (if you have it; if not, it’s not needed!)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Shredded cheese, for topping


You can usually get miscellaneous peppers for a decent price at the grocery store or the farmer’s market. My market has jalapeno’s for a quarter! Also, keep the seeds in if you want plenty of spice! Even without the seeds, the chili had quite a bite to it.

I used dry beans so I got to soaking early in the day. I did the “quick soak” method, which involved putting the beans in a large pot with enough water to cover by a couple inches, bringing the pot to boil, then cover, take off heat, and let sit for two hours.

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After soaking the beans, rinse with clean water, then add back to the pan with fresh water (3 cups water to every 1 cup beans). Bring the new bean/water mix to a boil then simmer, partially covered, for 60-90 minutes. Mine only took 60! You can also boil in broth with spices for extra tasty beans. There are a lot of fun ways to cook beans and I’m a bean newb so check around for great recipes!

Enough about beans – brown any meat you’re using and chop veggies.

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Add the whole lot to a slow cooker and cook on high for 4 hours, low for 6-8. Top with shredded cheese, more onion, and cornbread!


This chili was excellent. I honestly think it was the absence of chili powder and the addition of the jalapeno and poblano peppers! If you don’t have spices in your cabinet, use spices that occur in nature – hot peppers, garlic, onion!

Our dinner last night was a pepper, onion, and pepperjack frittata, potatoes, and toast ( photos on my Facebook page !). It was delicious and something we have often, actually. I used 5 eggs for the frittata, meaning we have 7 left for one more “breakfast-for-dinner” night, plus one weekend breakfast (egg sammies!). Tonight I’m making baked pasta, tomorrow quinoa-stuffed peppers. Black bean soup is thrown in there somewhere as well!

Have a great Tuesday!

Question: Does your local farmer’s market accept food stamps?

(Not all of ours do, but I wanted to show what you could get at the market . Many around the country do!)

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