In the Martin & Sylvia: Saturdays! story “Snow That Sticks”, it's almost officially winter and there is still no snow. Brother and sister think about ways they can encourage the snow to come, and—in addition to a snow dance and song—they decide to make lots of paper snowflakes. When they bring the paper flakes outside, they are dazzled by what happens.
I've found that another good way to bring on the snow is to prepare for it by making something warm, like a big pot of chili.
If you're a grand-champion chili cook-off purist look away, but I've found that my favorite chili is chili that I don't have to run out in the cold to get ingredients for. As such, my go-to recipe involves lots of canned goods, which are so much easier to keep on hand. It's also nearly vegetarian, with a butternut squash standing in admirably for the typical beef. (And if you want to make it completely vegetarian, just sub vegetable broth for the chicken stock—easy, peasy!) Lastly, I use a pre-packaged spice mix—I've tried creating my own over the years, but “William's” just does it better.
Pop these ingredients into a pot, give it a stir, and go make s'more paper snowflakes as you enjoy the warm smell of it bubbling away!
Butternut Squash Chili
½ medium-sized butternut squash (about 3 ½ cups), cut into 1-inch cubes
2 10-ounce cans “Ro-Tel” original tomatoes and chilies (undrained)
2 cups canned tomatoes (undrained)
¾ cup chopped bell peppers
15-ounce can kidney beans
15-ounce can black beans
15-ounce can chickpeas
1 packet William's chili seasoning
4 cups chicken stock
Your favorite chili toppings (we like, cheese, tortilla chips, avocado, and Greek yogurt)
Put all of the ingredients except the chicken stock into a large dutch oven or crockpot. Give everything a good stir to evenly distribute the spices, then add the stock. Again, give everything a good stir.
If you're using a crockpot, set it to high. For the dutch oven, put it over medium-low heat on the stove. In both cases, let the chili gently simmer for about an hour and a half, or until it starts to thicken just a little and make your house smell amazing.
Ladle out big bowlfuls, and serve with your favorite chili toppings.
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About the Author
The Sparkle Kitchen Series is created by Meryl Carver-Allmond.
Meryl lives in a hundred-year-old house near the prairie with her sweet husband, two preschoolers, one puppy, one gecko, and about ten chickens. While she's been writing since she could pick up a pen, in recent years she's discovered the joy of photography, too. She feels lucky to be able to combine those skills, along with a third passion — showing people that cooking for themselves can be healthy and fun — in her Sparkle Kitchen posts.