1/13/2010

EASY CHILI

Once upon a time, I had cut out a recipe from a magazine or the coupon section of the newspaper.  The recipe was by Bush's Beans, trying to get one to buy more of their canned beans.  The recipe ruled!  It was super simple and a crowd-pleaser.

I don't know what I did with it, however, since I cannot find where I put it.  A rarity for me, indeed.  I swear it was called "Three Bean Chili".  They do have recipes on their web site, but Bush's current "Three Bean Chili" recipe is not the same as the one I used.

It's Winter and chili is a perfect meal for cold weather.  Also, it's easy to make a lot of it and save some for later.  This is why I wanted to make this chili - to freeze for when the baby arrives. So Hubby can make us a quick, easy, wholesome meal.

At any rate, the recipe is *that easy* and I remembered most of it.  I also tweaked it a little, at Hubby's suggestion.  So here it is.

Michelle's Easy Chili Recipe
Serves a lot!

Special equipment: Slow Cooker

Ingredients:
1 lb ground beef or turkey (or a little more, or a little less, or leave out completely for vegetarian)
3 cans of beans - mix and match.  I like black, dark kidney, and pinto
3 cans diced tomatoes
2 small cans tomato paste
1 small can diced green chilies
3 T Chili Powder
1 T Garlic Powder or Fresh Minced Garlic
1 onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1/2 of a yellow or red pepper, or a combination
Salt & Pepper & Hot Sauce, to taste

Optional garnishes: diced avocado, sour cream, tortilla chips, chopped scallions, cheddar cheese, sliced olives, diced tomatoes, saltine crackers

Directions:
Brown the ground meat in a skillet until cooked through and no pink remains.  If using fresh minced garlic, throw it in with the meat when the meat is almost cooked through.  Drain fat from the ground meat and place meat in the slow cooker.
Open and add to the slow cooker the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and diced green chilies.  Open and drain cans of beans and add to the slow cooker.
Add the Chili Powder, Garlic Powder (if using), diced onion and bell peppers.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  (Try starting with 1 T each and add more after done cooking).
Make it hot with the hot sauce.  If you like it really hot, add a lot.  If not, a couple shakes will add flavor but not too much heat.
Stir to combine all ingredients.

Cook on LOW for 8 hours or so.  Don't open the lid during cooking, this will only prolong cooking time.

When completed cooking, add more salt & pepper to taste.  Serve in bowls with garnishes of your choosing.

I like my chili with cheddar cheese, sour cream and avocado, with tortilla chips on the side.  My dad loves plain saltine crackers with his chili.

This recipe makes a large batch. But the great thing about it, is that it freezes really well!  Just place in quart size freezer bags and freeze flat.  Thaw and heat when you're ready to eat it again.  It's enough to serve 2.

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