I was sent several Mixes from the Heartland to try out and review. Although I make chili all the time, it's been interesting to taste another intensity altogether from mine. Where instructions say to add jalapenos I add chopped tomatoes and just about survive the heat! (But then, I've been told I'm a bit of a wimp in that area.)
What I love about these mixes is, of course, the time-saving aspect. This works better with the bean dishes than those with par-boiled rice, I've found. (The rice tends to overcook without a lot of watching which, to me, defeats the purpose of a timesaving food.) And needless to say, I ignore all advice to add beef chunks or beef stock or sausages or any of that. Here's what I do:
For 1 cup meat stock I use 1 tsp Better than Bouillon and 1 cup boiling water.
For meat, I use 1 cup TVP (textured vegetable protein) hydrated in 1 cup boiling water.
Even if the mix contains dehydrated onions, I sautee 1 large onion, roughly chopped, and one half green pepper, roughly chopped per envelope of mix.
If your taste runs to the Texas spicy rather than my pale east coast palate, then add jalapenos or other hot peppers as suggested on each envelope's instructions. Adding a 28oz can of crushed or diced tomatoes is another way to cool the heat, if it's still too much for you.
I have found that still-slightly-crunchy broccoli spears make a nice base for these bean stews. If you can find frozen diced butternut squash, that's another great alternative.
I like a bit of starch with chili so I serve it with either a tostada like Maizada, or a Trader Joe or Food for Life burrito wrap.
Quick meal in a bowl!