Weeknight Chili

Weeknight Chili

This was one of the first meals I learned to make as a child. It's very simple and assembly is pretty quick. This recipe is very flexible! You can make it more or less beany, meaty, or veggie-y as it appeals to your taste. My husband tells me that taste in Chili is very divisive on the internet, but please don't write me off entirely if this style of chili is blasphemy in your family/city/state. 


1 to 2 T olive oil

1 to 2 green peppers

1 vidalia onion

1 to 3 lbs of ground beef or ground turkey

2-15 oz cans of diced tomatoes

1-28 oz cans of crushed tomatoes

2-15 oz cans of dark red kidney beans

1 to 2 15oz cans of black beans

5 to 8 T of chilli powder (add slowly, simmer, taste and stop at desired level of spiciness)

1/2 to 1 tsp of cumin

1/4 tsp garlic powder (honestly, sometimes I leave this out, but it definitely adds something when it's there)

at least 1/2  tsp salt (then add to desired taste)

red pepper flakes if desired


Chop up green peppers and onion. Add 1 to 2T of olive oil in the bottom of a skillet. 

Saute peppers and onions on medium heat until onions are translucent and peppers have darkened. Set aside.

Brown ground meat in large pot. (If I'm using a cheaper higher-fat-content ground beef I will sometimes drain and rinse it in the sink with really hot water even though I know this breaks a lot of cooking rules about flavor.) Add peppers and onions to the pot. 

Add canned tomatoes. Rinse and drain beans in colander. Add to pot. Add garlic powder, and cumin. Add 5 T of chili powder. Bring to barely a boil, stirring frequently. Let simmer a few minutes then taste. Add salt and more chili powder until it tastes right to you! Simmer a minute or so between additions of chill powder.

Let simmer covered for 20 minutes on low stirring regularly.

Add salt to taste and red pepper flakes if desired, We eat it served over sticky jasmine rice and topped with Mexican cheese. My husband adds hot sauce for a greater kick.

Brighter Tip: In the fall and winter add a few cups of cubed butternut squash at the same time as the tomatoes for a more seasonal taste. This adds about 15-20 minutes to simmering time.

For Crockpot: Brown meat and saute veggies--put in slow cooker. Add all other ingredients except half of chili powder, salt, and red pepper flakes. Cook on low 6-8 hrs. Taste test. Add remaining three ingredients then cook 30 min more.

For Freezer Meal: Prepare either way above. Put in slider gallon-sized zipper bag then a gallon-sized freezer bag for best results. Freeze flat. This recipe makes 2-3 freezer meal bagged portions. I usually thaw in refrigerator overnight and then put in the crockpot on low or cook on the stove right before dinner. 

Playroom Spotlight: The Brighter Busy Board

Playroom Spotlight: The Brighter Busy Board

Raising a Risk-Taker: Watching the Olympics with my Daughter

Raising a Risk-Taker: Watching the Olympics with my Daughter