January is very much a laid back, catch-up month for us rounding up the end of our winter vacation in December, the holidays and entertaining, as well as re-adjusting to the cold weather and getting the house up and running smoothly. The first week of January I started a batch of yogurt, sour cream, sour dough starter and turned my attention to grocery shopping for produce and dairy. My husband came down with a cold so I focused on home-made comfort meals. The down time gave me a bit of time to plan what food preservation needed to be done. Then by the second week of January I was sick and it hung on [I sure wish we would get a hard freeze to kill off all the germs!] so it was relying on the pantry and freezers.
January is very much a fresh start month so we are rather busy but that doesn't mean we can't eat well. I partially thawed a smaller container of chili con carne from the freezer. Freezing chile con carne is very easy. Once it is finished cooking, quick cool then ladle into freezer containers or freezer bags. It can be froze in a container then popped out into a vacuum bag and vacuum sealed if desired. If reheating on the stove top the chili need only be thawed enough to be able to get it out of the container. I put it in a saucepan with just a little water then heat through. If I am doing a larger amount for entertaining, I thaw the chili then reheat using a slow cooker.
Chili con carne is often served with soda crackers, tortilla or nacho chips, or corn bread. I like serving it with cheesy garlic bread. This is very easy to make and there are even ready to use, pre-made garlic bread loaves available, however home-made cheesy garlic bread is ever so easy to make. I like using a home made French baguette but other breads can be used.
Method: Use thick sliced home-made Italian style bread to make the cheesy garlic bread. Lightly toast the bread in the oven. Cut a garlic clove in half and rub over the surface of the toasted bread. An alternative method is to brush the bread with garlic butter (finely chopped garlic blended into soft butter with a bit of parsley). Top each slice generously with shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake at 400°F until cheese is bubbly and just lightly browning.