I hope I don’t give anyone a heart attack with this post since I barely put more than one blog post out in a month, much less two in the same week! I know consistency is a major component to life. I’m working on that…
Anyway, back to the reason I’m typing this up today. The last few weeks have been some ugly weather up here in the middle of frozen Minnesota. Last week we had the horrible below zero temperatures. Now we are getting the snow followed by cold which will be followed by more snow. It’s a horrible cycle! Yesterday and the day before, we received close to 14 inches of snow total. Today we woke up to -20 degrees with the wind chill on top of that. It was not a nice morning. My poor truck was not impressed when I asked it to start this morning. And then, to top all that off, between now and Tuesday, we could get up to another 16 inches of snow. Pretty sure I wanted to cry when I heard that. We don’t have anywhere else for the snow to go! You can only plow so much. Snowbanks can only be so tall!
So, with all these wonderful Minnesota weather conditions, I was craving some hot comfort food. One of my all-time favorites is my Mom’s chili. The recipe is actually from my Grandma originally, and it’s been passed down from there. I think part of the reason I love this chili as an adult is because it’s so easy to make, it’s inexpensive to cook, and my kids will actually eat it!!
Do you see that picture above? That is all it takes to make this chili, other than the chili powder I forgot to put in the picture. I told you it was simple. If you haven’t noticed yet, I don’t have a lot of extra time, so I am all about things being simple. I thrive off simple. There you have it. Can’t get much easier than that. Four main ingredients and a seasoning. A single batch (which is what is made with the ingredients in the picture) usually will feed my family of seven, but just barely. I usually double it in hopes of ending up with leftovers. So, here’s how you do it.
Brown your burger in a big pot. I used my five quart cast iron pot, but probably should have used a bigger one for doubling. Note to self for next time! You’d think I would have learned that by now!
Once your burger is browned, drain off any grease and return the pan to the stove. Add your cans of soup and tomato sauce. I always use Campbell’s soup and Hunt’s tomato sauce. I think it tastes best with those brands, but you could use whatever brands you want. It probably tastes best to me with those because those are what my Mom used as I grew up. For the kidney beans, I always use dark red, but the brand doesn’t matter as much to me. That could be because I hate beans and don’t eat them anyway. I just put them in there because the recipe calls for them and for everyone else who does like them. I picked this brand of kidney bean because the top has an easy open lid. Very scientific, huh?!
Once you’ve rinsed your kidney beans, dump those into the pan with the other ingredients and stir to mix. I will usually put a little water into the tomato sauce can to rinse the rest of the sauce into the pan as well. Once the ingredients are mixed together, add your chili powder. I don’t measure the chili powder. You can put as much or as little into your chili as you like. It’s all based on your own taste buds. I usually put some in and taste test. If it’s not what I’m looking for, I add more. By then end of all my tasting, I have probably put about a couple Tablespoons or a little more, per batch, into the chili. Start small and you can add more as you go. You can adjust that to your own liking.
Once the ingredients and chili powder are into the pot, turn the heat on low and let it warm up and thicken. I usually add about a teaspoon or two of sugar into the chili as well at this stage. It helps to cut down some of the tart tomato flavor and add a little flavor. If the chili is too runny, you can also add a few Tablespoons of flour to thicken it up. I don’t always add the flour, but it does sometimes need to be thickened up a bit.
You are done! Once the chili is thickened and hot, grab your bowls and spoons and chow down! We usually eat ours with cornbread and saltine crackers. My husband also likes to use Fritos in the bottom of his bowl before he adds his chili. I don’t care for toppings in/on my chili, but my family is obsessed with cheddar and sour cream on top of their chili. I think they are slightly weird, but I’m guessing everyone else thinks I’m the weird one!
Enjoy your chili!
Now that we’ve had chili, I’m going to have to come up with some other hot comfort food for the next round of cold and snow storms. Grilled cheese and chicken noodle soup are always good options, right? I’m pretty sure I won’t be making homemade chicken noodle soup right now though. I need a whole lot more practice on that before I get brave and try to explain it to anyone else!
I hope this recipe is something useful for everyone. I know it’s not as fancy or veggie-filled as most chili recipes, but it’s simple and tasty. I think it’s a winner all the way around! Hopefully your winter is calming down some and starting to warm up a little bit. But, in the meantime, have some chili and brave the cold! It will be over before you know it! Have a great weekend, everyone!