mama’s chili.

We recently had a chili cook-off with some of our friends. We had 6 different pots of chili – some were hot, some were sweet, some had meat, some were vegan. It was quite the spread! And a TON of fun 🙂

I whipped up my “Old Faithful” – my mama’s chili. This has been a family favorite for a long time. The most notable memory of eating this chili occurred when I was about 8 years old. My dad messed up this completely easy recipe. My mom was out of town for the week, and just like the perfect mama that she is, she had meals prepared ahead of time for every day of the week. She had chili all ready to go – my dad just had to put the ingredients together. I don’t remember the details, but the story that has lived on is that my dad mixed the meat with some spaghetti sauce. Yum. Good meal, Dad.

It’s become a great family joke. But it has also been the recipe that we all use in each of our households for a good, “old faithful” chili. It’s a simple recipe and easily adaptable. And while it officially got last place in the chili cook-off (no hard feelings), my sweet sweet husband said in the car ride home, “So, I know your chili didn’t win or anything, but it is REALLY good.” We determined that in a “cook-off” scenario, the more unique chili’s took home the prize, but mine is really a good go-to chili – not necessarily notable but consistently delicious (at least this is what I’m telling myself to ease the blow of a loss).

Base: 1 pound of ground beef (turkey or any meat would do just fine!)
1 can tomato soup (with water added)
1 can diced tomatoes
1 red onion
Your choice: 1 green pepper
1 can corn
1 can black beans
1 can red kidney beans
whatever else you think would be good!
Salt and pepper to taste
Chili powder to taste
a pinch of Cayenne pepper
Cinnamon (this is my addition but I use it every time)

-I really make this differently every time. This particular time I used the base ingredients, plus a can of corn, a can of black beans, and a can of tomatoes with green chilis that I just had in the cupboard

only the best – homegrown Iowa beef (thankful to be married to farmers!)



Mama’s Homemade Chili
1. Brown the meat in a pan. Drain the fat.
2. In a large pot, saute the meat with the onion (and green pepper or other fresh veggies).
3. Once the onions are translucent, add in all your canned goods!
4. Add your spices to taste. (I continue to taste-test and add more spices as needed!)
5. Let it simmer for at least an hour.
6. Serve and enjoy!

Tip: I usually make this a day prior to serving. I like to let it sit over night, let the flavors marinate a bit, and it thickens up as well. Everyone knows that second-day chili is the best! 🙂



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