Child Friendly Chilli Con Carne!

Prep Time:15 mins, Cook Time: 40 mins, Total Time: 55 mins

October 12, 2015

Eat Your Veg | Child Friendly Chilli RecipeBefore Jacques started school I used to cook practically every day with him, soups, stews, cakes, muffins, bread, absolutely anything and everything. He was even more obsessed than me, loving nothing more than cutting up a courgette with his big plastic ‘lettuce’ knife or stirring a pot on the hob, my diddy budding chef. Happy days. Occasionally Frannie would join in too, if I could catch her before she’d scarper off yelling behind her “You and Jacques are the cookers Mummy, not me”. Well sadly school and work curtailed many of Jac and my cook sessions, plus the ever increasing distractions of bikes, footballs, lego, tractors, cars, bugs, plus of course the odd bit of homework.

Just recently I’ve been making a concerted effort to make that time again. And interestingly it’s been Frannie that’s enthusiastically hung around for the duration and Jacques wrangling off his apron and attempting a runner half way in. Funny eh, though I’m guessing he’ll rekindle his interest when he’s good and ready and I’m just pleased for now Frannie’s developing a passion. Even if for now she’s less interested in the actual eating part!.

We made this chilli together last Friday and for once I had two willing participants. I was trialing the recipe for my Lottery funded after-school ‘Healthy Dinners Club’. My current group of 7 to 10 year olds unanimously requested we make a Chilli con Carne in replacement for the Chicken Tikka Masala I’ve made with the last couple of groups.  I was after a really tasty chilli recipe with bags of flavour but devoid of much heat, budget friendly, easy and quick to make and of course most importantly, healthily containing oodles of veggies.

I’m pretty pleased my recipe ticks all requirements plus had the seasonal (and colourful) inclusion of pumpkin and the fun element of a smidgen of dark chocolate for a little Mexican authenticity.  An added bonus being on taste testing 50% of my offspring loved it, the other contingent (Frannie) did have a solid attempt but wasn’t quite so keen. No change there then. Recipe cards have now been designed and ordered and I’m very much looking forward to cooking this recipe next week at the after school club. Just hope the kids and their families like it!Eat Your Veg | Chilli Con Carne

The Good Stuff:

Red Pepper, Pumpkin or Squash, Lean Minced Beef, Tomatoes, Kidney Beans

Great For:

Toddlers, Pre-Schoolers, Kids, Making with Kids, Learning to Cook, Family Meals, Autumn, Winter


* Optional, but it’s good to sneak in extra veggies to your chilli, carrots are good too but cut into smaller pieces.
** If you like a little heat add ordinary chilli powder OR an additional tsp of mild chilli powder.

Child Friendly Chilli Con Carne!

Ingredients Prep Time:15 mins, Cook Time: 40 mins, Total Time: 55 mins

1 tbsp sunflower or olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 red pepper, diced into 1 cm pieces
½ small pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed and flesh cut into 2cm pieces*
1 heaped tsp mild chilli powder**
1 heaped tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
400g lean minced beef
1 beef stock cube or stock pot dissolved in 300ml hot water
1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
2 tbsps tomato puree
1 heaped tsp oregano
1 x 400g can kidney beans
1 square dark chocolate (10 to 15g)

1. Assemble all your equipment and prepare all your veggies according to the ingredients list.
2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan on a medium heat, add the onions and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Add the garlic, pepper and pumpkin to the onions along with the chilli powder, ground cumin and coriander. Cook for 2 minutes stirring continuously.
4. Turn the heat up a little and add the minced beef to the pan. Stir and prod the meat until it’s all broken up and browned, at least 5 minutes.
5. Pour in the hot stock, chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, oregano and a pinch of pepper. Give everything a very good stir. Bring to a simmer then turn the heat down to very low. Cover with the pan lid and leave to gently bubble for 20 minutes. If the sauce looks a little dry add a couple of tablespoons of water.
6. Drain the beans into a colander and rinse under running water. Stir the beans into the chilli along with the chocolate square. Cook for a final 10 minutes with the lid off.
7. Serve with rice (preferably brown!) or make into burritos with tortilla wraps, avocado & tomato slices, sour cream & cheese: YUMMY!

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