Unbelievable Chili

Today is the first day of fall. With the weather actually cooling down, I feel like I can use my oven and start making soups again! Chili has long been a family favorite, and one more dish I thought was gone forever once I found I couldn’t eat nightshades. For what is chili without tomatoes and peppers? Well, it’s pretty good, actually. Much to the surprise of my tasters (including me), this chili looks and tastes like, well, chili.

unbelievable_chiliUnbelievable Chili

1 lbs ground beef (450 g)
1 large onion, diced (140 g)
6 cloves garlic, minced (18 g)
2 T dried oregano leaves
1 T cumin
2 t ground coriander
2 t dried thyme leaves
1 t salt
½ t ground black pepper
pinch of ground cloves
1¾ c pureed pumpkin (425 g)
4 c Tomato-Free Tomato Sauce (click here for recipe)
2 c water

  1. Brown ground beef with onion and garlic
  2. Add spices and cook until onion is soft and translucent
  3. Stir in pumpkin, tomato-free sauce, and water
  4. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until thickened

Yield 2 qts chili


  • This is a rather mild chili recipe. For a hotter blend, try adding small amounts of one or more other spicy ingredients (such as wasabi, horseradish, or ground mustard) to taste.
  • Several people have asked what looks like tomatoes in the bowl–it’s onions, colored red by the beets and cranberries in the tomato-free sauce!

What do you like to start cooking up in fall?


Beef and Cranberry Bowl

I recently started following The Autoimmune Protocol (AIP), which begins with the elimination of major inflammatory food categories, including nuts, seeds, legumes, eggs, nightshades, dairy, soy, and grains. If you are interested in learning the science behind the protocol, I highly recommend The Paleo Approach by Sarah Ballantyne. Since I’ve cooked dairy-, grain-, and nightshade-free meals for years, I have been surprised by what a transition this still is for me. Apparently I was eating more eggs, seeds, legumes, and nuts than I realized.

Breakfast on the AIP diet is particularly challenging with all the major American breakfast staples off the menu. I’ve mostly been stir-frying meat with fruits and vegetables or cooking a vegetable porridge. A week or so ago, I was inspired to create this dish after seeing a recipe for Corned Beef and Cranberry Hash. This has been one my most popular concoctions to date. The last time I made it, the kids requested I double the recipe and serve it for lunch, too!

Beef and Cranberry Bowlbeef and cranberry bowl

1 lb raw ground beef (454 g)
2 c shredded carrots (227 g)
1 c diced onions (160 g)
1 c chopped spinach (142 g)
2 garlic cloves, minced (6 g)
1 T dried parsley
1 t ground turmeric
1 t salt
½ t dried thyme leaves
¼ t ground cinnamon
¼ t ground cloves
2 c cranberries (227 g)
1 c beef or chicken stock

  1. Brown ground beef with carrots and onions
  2. Add spinach, garlic, and spices, and cook an additional 1-2 min until fragrant
  3. Stir in cranberries and stock
  4. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until cranberries have popped and stock has been absorbed (about 20 min)

Yield 5 1-cup bowls

What is your favorite breakfast food?

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Monday Meatloaf

The weather has cooled, and something about the feel of autumn puts me in the mood for meatloaf. I would have guessed, once upon a time, something with “meat” in it’s name wouldn’t be too hard to make without grains. I would have been wrong. I used to make a great recipe with pork rinds and cheese in the binding. Then we went totally dairy free about three years ago and I hadn’t made a decent meatloaf in a while. Until last month, when my husband tossed together a loaf that was remarkably stable. I asked him how he got it not to fall apart when he cut it. His secret, it turns out, was garlic and onion powder. I’ve made this about once a week since then and the kids clean their plates and ask for more every time. (Please forgive the poor-quality photo. My daughter was anxious to eat and kept grabbing for the dish!)

Monday MeatloafMonday Meatloaf

2 lbs raw ground beef (900 g)
2 large eggs
1 T onion powder
1 T garlic powder
2 t salt
2 t crushed rosemary
1 t black pepper
½ t dried thyme leaves
¼ t dry mustard powder

¼ c Cranberry-Beet Ketchup (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Stir together all loaf ingredients until thoroughly combined
  3. Press mixture evenly into a 9×5 loaf pan
  4. Bake for one hour
  5. Remove loaf from oven and spread with ketchup, if using
  6. Increase oven temperature to 400°F and bake for an additional 15-20 min until internal temperature reaches 165°F

NOTE: This recipe is sugar-free with the optional topping omitted.

We usually serve meatloaf with baked squashed or a mashed root vegetable and some greens. What do you like with your meatloaf?