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Make a safe and delicious Valentine's Day dinner

You have to be careful where you buy your meat nowadays, if you aren't doing so already. People who eat organic may also be vegetarians, but with the recall of nine million pounds of beef last week, under all their differing labels, I'm sure that there are quite a few more individuals considering whether they want to go on eating meat.

Last week was indeed a bad week for the beef industry, but if I were buying some I would go organic at Sprouts or Whole Foods. There is also a lot of organic meat available in Tucson's supermarkets such as Safeway and Basha's. If you have never tried it, organic beef can best be described as tasting the way I remember meat tasted back in the Fifties when I was a child. It has real flavor and makes a very good chili, or any meat dish.

There is an advantage to making the dish below, however, which I adapted from the AOL Food page. It contains bulgur, a precooked preparation of whole wheat that will add flavor and nutrition to chili. The substitution of bulgur is going to give you a perfectly tasty chili without the meat. Try it the next time you are up for a Meatless Monday.



1 Tablespoon canola oil
3 medium onions, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 Tablespoon finely-chopped jalapeno pepper in adobo sauce
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 Tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 28-ounce can plus one 14-ounce can diced tomatoes, chopped, with juices
1 teaspoon brown sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
30 oz red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup bulgur
½ cup nonfat plain yogurt for garnish
? cup chopped scallions for garnish
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro for garnish

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions, carrot, jalapeño, garlic, chili powder (to taste) and cumin. Cook, stirring often, until the onions and carrot are soft, 5 to 7 minutes.

Add the tomatoes with their juices, sugar and salt; cook for 5 minutes over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the beans and bulgur. Simmer until the chili is thickened, about 15 minutes. Taste before serving, both for flavor and because your bulgur should be tender little chunks, not little chunks that are as hard as sand.

Garnish with yogurt, scallions and cilantro, as desired.

AOL's Note: Bulgur is made by parboiling, drying and coarsely grinding or cracking wheat berries. Don’t confuse bulgur with cracked wheat, which is simply that: cracked wheat. Since the parboiling step is skipped, cracked wheat must be cooked for up to an hour whereas bulgur simply needs a quick soak in hot water for most uses.

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