smoky corn & bean “chili”

"Feeling scattered from the neck up but an inner
peace in my heart."

That my dear friends was my facebook update today. After a week or so of heavy heart and self-doubt, I'm emerging, head held high and ready to tackle the tasks at hand.  Rather than fear the dark, lonely moments life throws at me, I think it's much healthier to accept they are happening, then seek love and comfort from friends—and oh, am I a lucky girl in this department.

I'm so grateful for two very special ladies in my life—and they're not my girls, though they do provide another sort of inspiration. I'm talking about the women who shore me up and cheer me on when I'm feeling lack luster.

Ilana and Erin, thank you. Your love, support and encouragement make my days eternally brighter.

And, with that, this recipe is for you, ladies. A dinner you can get on the table in less than 20 minutes. A gift from me to you, that will hopefully lighten your load a bit, much like you have done for me countless times. It takes a village gals, and gosh am I glad you live in mine.


smoky corn & bean "chili"

serves 4 to 6

A few things to know about this dish. First—it's quick cooking at it's finest. So, you can get this on the table in less than 30 minutes. Vegetarians, don't fret. Just skip the bacon and add some chipotle powder for an extra kick of spice and smoky flavor. My family loves it served over rice, and frankly, I'm in agreement too. It'll also stretch the chili into an extra serving or two. And if you're using homecanned salsa that already has corn, then use 1 cup frozen corn instead of the 1 1/2 cups called for in this recipe.

2.25 ounces smoked bacon, diced

1 small onion (about 3 ounces), diced

1 to 2 teaspoons olive oil, or as needed

1 1/2 cups (7 ounces) frozen corn kernels, not thawed

1 cup homecanned or jarred salsa (do not use fresh salsa)

One 15.5 ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed

2 teaspoons fresh chopped cilantro

Shredded cheddar cheese, optional

Heat a 3-quart pot over medium heat. Add bacon and saute until crisp. Add onions and saute 1 to 2 minutes, until tender. If the bacon was lean and the pan seems dry, add 1 to 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Add frozen corn and salsa, stirring to mix well. Bring to a gentle boil, add beans and reduce heat to simmer. Cook for 10 more minutes. Serve garnished with cilantro and cheddar cheese.