crunchimomma- Heather Spergel

Author, Mom, and Creative Nut!

You CAN make a basic Chili! Now get cookin’!


How the heck do you make chili?  It’s FREEZING out, you yearn for something warm to heat you up from head to toe.  You haven’t make chili before and don’t quite know how to do it.  Well never fear, Joe Mom is here!  haha!

Now seriously, I’m NOT NOT NOT a chef.  However, I do cook full meals for my family almost every night.  Nobody has died yet and complaining is mostly from my 3 year old, and isn’t that normal?  Let it be said however, I jump at the night for takeout as a break!

Back to the chili!  I was freezing my butt off the other day and wanted something warm.  The choice I offered my husband was chili or chicken soup- both could be eaten day one and day two.  Leftovers make night two a joy, right?  He said, as usual, WHATEVER YOU WANT TO MAKE.  …… oooooook!

Off to the store I went.  I used to make a FANTASTIC Vegetarian chili from a recipe- but didn’t have it with me and with a child in tow, didn’t want to search on the phone.  I wanted meat and decided on organic, grass fed beef.   My belief about chili is- anything goes! (I say this as I duck because chefs would probably shun me haha!)  If I don’t say, “organic” in my list, trust me, I mean it….

Ingredients I chose on this cold cold cold day

2 pounds ground beef (You can omit meat and add tons of vegetables, or use a different meat)

4 organic juicy looking fat tomatoes

2 carrots chopped small (I know, not typical, but was hoping to lure my daughter to the table here)

2 stalks celery chopped small

1/2 red onion diced very small (I thought it’s sweetness might be nice over white and they looked better)

2 garlic cloves (if you have them- or powder) diced small

2 cans tomato sauce organic (I know this isn’t great- check for bpa free canned tomatoes since that is the acid product you don’t want in a can unless it is bpa free)

1 can black beans (I chose black beans because my son likes them at Quidoba!)

1 Tbsp chili powder

1 Tbsp cumin

salt to taste

Grind of fresh black pepper

Rice (choose sushi, brown, white)

Olive oil (1 Tbsp)

What did I do with it all?  In other words, directions for dummies?  haha!

1.  Brown the ground beef in a large pot and drain, set it aside.

2.  Pour 1 Tbsp oil into the large pot on medium heat.

3.  Add 1/2 onion chopped small and sauté’ until softened (few minutes).

4.  Add chopped carrots and celery and cook for maybe 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5.  Season with pinch of salt.

6.  Add Chopped garlic and stir (burned garlic is gross, so I add it last).  Cook for a few minutes.

7.  Add meat back, all seasonings (cumin, chili powder, pepper, salt).  Stir.  Duh, right?

8.  Here’s the fun part.  I pureed the can of (rinsed) beans with a touch of olive oil for moisture- except for a few tables spoons (those I put into the pot.  Toss the mixture into the pot and nobody will ever know.  (if your littles ones love beans, rinse the can and throw them right in!).

9.  Chop the tomatoes and puree (my son hates tomato chunks- so this way, he never sees them.  I love chunks of vegetables, but I flex here.  Toss this into the pot!  Because this is so watery, I didn’t add any water to the pot).

10.  Pour in your canned tomato sauce (previous recipes called for tomato juice, and you probably could just use lots of chopped tomatoes and even ketchup- but I was looking to get back to the kids here).  Stir!  (Did I need to say that?)

11. I cooked this on low for an hour and then realized dinner wasn’t for a few hours, so I threw it into the crock pot on low for the next few hours until dinner.  Now I probably could have done the entire dish in the crock pot, but being a regular mom, I’m telling you exactly what I did! 🙂  Oh, and TASTE it!  Need more salt? More spice?  Make it your own and add Paprika perhaps?

12.  Service over cooked rice in bowls like I did, add any toppings you enjoy, and dig in!  We each ate 3 bowls.

13. Safely store the rest for tomorrow!


We are not a super spicy family, and I know my son isn’t super fond of cumin, so add more or less spice according to your family’s tastes.




1 Comment

  1. Susan Schiff

    Sounds very good. I hope to try this recipe.

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