Food & Drink

Stir Crazy: Start your gingerbread creations now

How to build a gingerbread house, Part 1

Belleville, IL is again hosting its annual Gingerbread house making contest. A BND video series shows how to make your own gingerbread creation. This is the first of three lessons.
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Belleville, IL is again hosting its annual Gingerbread house making contest. A BND video series shows how to make your own gingerbread creation. This is the first of three lessons.

Get your baking creativity on and enter the 26th Annual Gingerbread Competition in Belleville.

The event takes place soon — Nov. 14 — and will be held at Fischer’s Restaurant, the Jubilee Room, 2100 W. Main St., Belleville. There is no entry fee and $4,000 in prize money.

Categories are Master’s, General, Gingerbread House, First-Time Entrant and Children’s. All creations entered will be displayed throughout the holiday season in the windows of the merchants in downtown Belleville.

Entry forms can be downloaded at Bellevilleparksandrec.com. Entry forms must be received by Nov. 13. For more information, contact Debbie Belleville at Belleville Parks and Recreation Dept., 618-233-1416. Other information can be found on Facebook on the Downtown Belleville Gingerbread festivities page.

This is the perfect time of year to make a big batch of chili. I like the idea of adding in the taste of mole, created by including cocoa and a few other ingredients in the chili.

Contact me at sboyle@bnd.com, 618-239-2664 or follow me on Twitter @BoyleSuzanne. Write to P.O. Box 427, 120 S. Illinois St., Belleville, IL 62222-0427.

Mexican Mole Chili

A mole sauce is made with cocoa. But there are so many complex seasonings in mole that the chocolate becomes transformed into a new, unique flavor.

2 pounds 10-percent fat ground beef

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 cups chopped onions

4 cloves garlic, minced

One 8-ounce can tomato sauce

2 cups cooked kidney beans, drained and rinsed

3 cups tomato juice

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 tablespoons ground chili powder

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste

2 teaspoons dried oregano

2 tablespoons cornmeal

1. Heat a large, heavy pot and cook the beef in it, stirring frequently, until the meat is cooked through. Drain. Remove the beef to a plate.

2. Put the oil in the pot and cook the onions and garlic over moderate-high heat until the onions begin to change color, about 5 minutes. Cover between stirrings.

3. Return the meat to the pot and stir in the remaining ingredients except the cornmeal. Bring to a boil and immediately reduce to a gentle simmer. Cover and cook 1 hour.

4. Stir in the cornmeal (this will thicken the chili) and cook uncovered for about 30 minutes longer.

Optional toppings: sliced avocado, cojita cheese or sour cream.

Makes 7 servings, minus toppings, each with 370 calories, 34 grams protein, 15 grams fat, 27 grams carbohydrates, 7 grams fiber, 1,074 mg sodium.

Note: Look for low-sodium tomato juice and sauce to cut the salt in this recipe.

“1,000 Low-Fat Recipes” by Terry Golson

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