Monday, October 18, 2010


Chili has always been thought of as the ultimate food storage meal. I’m not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing. Chili has definitely gotten more popular over the years and there are tons of different chili recipes. You can make almost anything in a pot and call it chili. Some recipes have beans, others don’t. I was once told that if you drink milk with your chili you have a complete protein. Not being a nutrition expert, I won’t expound on that except to say that beans are very healthy in any form.

Some people avoid them because they have an adverse affect on the digestive system. However one thing I have learned over the years is that the more often you eat beans, the more your system becomes used to them and the less they bother you. Beans are a great storage item and keep well if properly stored.

Here are several chili recipes for you to try. Maybe you already have a favorite go-to recipe of your own. The interesting thing about chili is that it is very easy to alter the taste and consistency and a few changes create a totally different recipe. You can choose the beans you use, any kind will work and some recipes use several different varieties. You can choose the meat you add or add no meat at all. The spices can be altered according to your taste and you can serve it over cornbread (my personal favorite), with crackers, topped with onions, sour cream, ranch dressing, grated cheese, crushed corn chips or just about anything you can think of.

One of my favorite things is Navajo Taco’s. These are great made with leftover chili. Just top a scone with chili, cheese, lettuce, onions, tomatoes and sour cream or any of your favorite toppings for a quick meal. Most chili recipes also freeze well so make a big batch and store in freezer containers you can pull out for several meals later on.

Just a couple of chili tips that I’ve learned. Don’t rush your chili. The longer the flavors blend the better it is and sometimes it’s even better the next day. Don’t add salt or tomatoes until your beans are cooked because it slows the cooking process. I personally like to puree my tomatoes before adding to chili because I don’t care for tomato chunks but if you do, leave the chunks. I also love all the new varieties of canned tomatoes such as the petite diced tomatoes with chipotle chilies. They are great in the chocolate chili. There are many varieties of tomatoes, see if you find a favorite flavor blend for your own chili recipe.

It seems everyone has a favorite chili recipe. Maybe you haven’t found yours yet. My favorite chili ever was my husband’s mother’s recipe. Unfortunately she never wrote it down. She always added large chunks of ground beef with the beans and she’d say, oh you just add some chili powder and a bottle of ketchup, a little brown sugar, some of this and that but I could never really pin her down on exactly how she did it. And now that she’s gone, I could kick myself that I wasn’t more persistent. I’d really love to be sharing it with you right now but I can’t. I don’t think I could ever recreate it. So if you find YOUR perfect recipe, write it down!

I must confess that one of my best chili varieties that I’ve ever had is the Bear Creek Darn Good Chili Mix. I sometimes tweak it a bit or eat it like it is. I’ve served it to friends who’ve said they had to have the recipe. It’s that good. I have several of the mixes in my storage because they are good and very convenient, as well as being easy to store and quick to make. Many of these recipes call for canned beans but don’t be afraid to substitute dry, soaked and cooked beans instead. It’s a good way to learn which beans you want add to your storage.

Here are several recipes for chili. The first is my mom’s recipe. It’s a pretty basic chili that isn’t too spicy but can be adjusted to your tastes. Also included are my daughter’s Honey Barbecue Chili recipe, chocolate chili, pumpkin chili, chili n’ noodles, and two recipes for white chicken chili, one creamy and one spicy (I like them both).

1 ½ c. uncooked small red beans
1 large onion, chopped
1 lb. ground beef
3 ½ c. tomato juice
1 ½ t. salt
1/8 t. paprika
1/8 t. cayenne pepper
3 whole cloves
1 bay leaf
1 T. chili powder
2 c. ketchup
Soak beans in water overnight. Cook in soaking water till beans are tender. Brown meat with onion & drain grease. Add tomato juice, ketchup and seasonings. Add to cooked and drained beans and simmer for 1 hour. Serve with crackers or serve over cornbread with cheese and sour cream on top.

Jody’s Honey BBQ Chili
1 lb. ground beef, browned
1 chopped onion
4 minced garlic cloves
1 c. BBQ sauce (or less)
2 cans chili beans in sauce
2 cans kidney beans
3 cans diced tomatoes
½ c. honey
1 T. Dijon mustard (or yellow)
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 T. chili powder
4 beef bouillon cubes
1 T. cocoa
1 ½ t. cumin
Dash of basil
Combine all ingredients together and simmer 1 hour.

Chocolate Chili
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 red or green pepper, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans petite diced tomatoes with chipotle chilies (blend if desired)
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/3 c. water
2 beef bouillon cubes (or 2 t. beef bouillon)
3 T. brown sugar
2 T. chili powder
1 t. ground cumin
1 T. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
¼ - ½ oz. unsweetened chocolate (1/2 unsweetened baking cube), chopped (to taste)
3-4 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
Sour cream
Chopped green onions
Shredded cheddar cheese
Brown beef, onion, garlic, and bell pepper, until meat is cooked through. Add salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, brown sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, tomatoes, beans, water and beef bouillon. Heat to boiling and then reduce to a simmer (uncovered), stirring occasionally, until thickened as desired about 30 minutes. Add 3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar and a little chopped chocolate at a time until desired richness is reached. If necessary, add more red wine vinegar to contrast the sweetness of the chili. Serve with chopped green onions, sour cream, and shredded cheddar cheese.

Pumpkin Chili with Black Beans
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium sweet yellow pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups Chicken Broth
2 cans (15 ounces each) black beans, rinsed and drained
2-1/2 cups cubed cooked chicken
1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
2 teaspoons chili powder
1-1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
In a large skillet, sauté the onion, yellow pepper in oil until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Transfer to a 5-qt. slow cooker; stir in the remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours or until heated through. Yield: 10 servings (2-1/2 quarts). To cook on the stove; put all ingredients, except chips, in large stock pot. Bring to a simmer and cook 20-25 minutes. Y: 10 servings. Freezes well.

Spicy White Chicken Chili
1 c. diced onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 -14 oz. can chicken broth
1 can white chicken or 2 c. cooked chicken
2-4 oz. cans green chilies, undrained
3 cans great northern beans, undrained
3 T. lime juice
1 t. lemon pepper
1 t. cumin seed
1 t. ground cumin
1 can (18 oz.) shoe peg corn, undrained
Grated cheese
Sour cream
Green onions
Cilantro, chopped
Tortilla chips
Sauté’ onion and garlic in oil; in large pot, add remaining ingredients and simmer on low 1 hour or put in Crock-pot for 3-4 hours. Garnish individual bowls as desired. Freezes well!

Creamy White Chicken Chili
1 can chicken
1 med. Chopped onion
1 ½ t. garlic powder
1 T. vegetable oil
2 cans great northern beans drained & rinsed
1 can (14 oz.) chicken broth
2 cans, (4 oz.) chopped green chilies
1 t. salt
1 t. cumin
1 t. oregano
½ t. pepper
¼ t. cayenne pepper
1 c. sour cream
½ c. whipping cream
Cook chicken, onion, garlic and oil until chicken is no longer pink. Add everything but the creams. Bring to a boil. Turn down and simmer, uncovered, 30 minutes. Remove from heat and add sour cream and whipping cream. Stir in until cream is mixed well. Serve immediately.

This recipe for noodles n’ chili was given to me by a friend and neighbor who just lost her husband last week. I will always cherish our friendship and the things she taught me, as well as this recipe and others she shared with me. She created this recipe as a way to get her non-bean-loving children to eat chili. Years later, it’s still their favorite.

Homemade Noodles n’ Chili
1 beaten egg
1 c. flour
½ t. salt
2 T. top milk
Mix together & roll out thin. Cut into 1” squares; let dry 20 minutes or longer. Y: 3 c. noodles.
2 c. dry pinto beans sort, wash & soaked overnight. Boil beans till tender & salt to taste.
1 lb. hamburger with 1 lb. onions, chopped.
Salt & pepper
½ t. chili powder
1 qt. home canned tomatoes (or 2 cans any variety, as desired)
Any seasoning you desire.
Bring to a boil. & add noodles. Cook till tender. Let stand a few hours. They get better after the flavors blend together.

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