A healthy, hearty, chunky, all-American chili filled with ground beef, turkey sausage, beans and vegetables.
Healthy Beef, Sausage and Bean Chili
A few years ago, I stumbled on a Cooking Light recipe for All-American Chili. I loved the hearty chunks and thick sauce and started making it. Through the years, I’ve adapted it to add more vegetables and make it even more of a family favorite. Now I am happy to present it to you. I’ve had this recipe on the calendar for a while but felt it was somewhat serendipitous as I had jury duty last week. What could be more “All-American” then completing my civic duty with jury duty? Do the words “jury duty” send shivers down your spine? I have to admit I was less than excited when I received the summons. I was moaning and groaning about who was going to do my work (no one), who was going to take care of my daughter after school and generally how I did not have the time. Does that sound familiar? I sat at jury duty being angry that they were blocking my website; so I could not even get work done while I sat and sat and sat waiting for the court to go through all of its legal hoops.
When it came time to be questioned by the attorneys, I had an ethical quandary. I could give the answers I knew that would disqualify me (but were not the truth), or I could simply honestly answer the questions and risk being picked to be on the jury. While I could tell a number of people were giving answers simply to be dismissed, I could not do it. While jury duty is an annoyance, I do believe it is part of my responsibility of being an American citizen. Of course, I was picked to be part of the jury. I had a little bit of a bad attitude about the whole thing and begrudgingly came the next day.
What a waste of energy that was! Once I was with my fellow jurors, the atmosphere changed to one of true pride for our country. The way hearing the National Anthem makes me feel. My fellow jurors had great senses of humor and at the same time took the job so seriously. Their attitude was contagious, and soon I was happy to be there. The case itself was a mess. Every witness had a different story, and I was pretty sure none were completely telling the truth. Actually there was only one witness, one of the police officers, that testified competently and what appeared to be fully accurately. The first officer on the scene, while seemingly perfectly honest, did not seem to have a good grasp on what actually happened. It was really frustrating and made me shake my head so many times.
Trying to deliberate was a challenge for us. We all seemed to share the same view of the witnesses and all knew that we probably did not have the truth of what happened that night. One of the victims and the defendant were friends since kindergarten. It was obvious the victim was trying to get his “friend” out of trouble. The other victim while more trustworthy, had changed her story from the initial police report. The question to me actually was did she change her story or did the police officer not ask the right questions? After some spirited but respectful debate we came to a unanimous decision, guilty to two misdemeanors rather than felonies. We left the jury room feeling like justice had been served. After the trial, the attorneys come to talk to the jury and ask what made you come to the decision you did. It was there we found out that the defendant had five prior felony charges! Ugh! Are you kidding me? Of course, his prior acts were not allowed to be part of the trial, and while I understand why, since this case simply came down to credibility of witnesses, that information put a much different light on the case. So now I find that my heart is slightly heavy with our verdict. While I understand we made the correct decision based on the evidence, or lack thereof, and according to the law, my heart of hearts tells me this defendant is going back in prison in the future. Even with that, I am really happy that I did serve and next time will go with the proper attitude.
Whether you ever have jury duty or not, you can still enjoy a taste of “America” with this chili made with “Food Done Light” flavor.
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Happy Healthy Eating,
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