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Chili To Die For - Easy & Economical With Tons Of Variations On The Basic Recipe

Updated on October 10, 2013

START WITH MEAT

NO BOUNDARIES

The great thing about chili is that you do not need to make it the same way every time . You can change it up for a little variation. The first thing you need to know is how many people you are feeding and if you are serving this as a main course or if you are serving it as a side dish or potluck. The picture to the right is the most common chili starter; ground beef. Variations are listed near bottom of this hub.

PEOPLE SERVING & MAIN OR SIDE MEAT LBS

NUMBER OF PEOPLE
MAIN COURSE
POTLUCK
SIDE
4-5
1.5 LBS
1 LBS
3/4 LBS
6-9
2.5 LBS
2 LBS
1.5 LBS
10-15
3.5 LBS
3 LBS
2.25 LBS
16-25
6 LBS
4.5 LBS
4 LBS
Click thumbnail to view full-size
PETITE DICED TOMATOESPEELED OR DICED CHILI READYFIRE ROASTED DICED TOMATOESDICED SALSA STYLE TOMATOES FIRE ROASTED W/GREEN CHILIESLIGHT OR DARK KIDNEY BEANSCHILI HOT BEANS (more like spicy not hot)BLACK BEANSORIGINAL CHILI SEASONINGORIGINAL CHILI SEASONING 30% LOWER SODIUMPICANTE SAUCE
PETITE DICED TOMATOES
PETITE DICED TOMATOES | Source
PEELED OR DICED CHILI READY
PEELED OR DICED CHILI READY | Source
FIRE ROASTED DICED TOMATOES
FIRE ROASTED DICED TOMATOES | Source
DICED SALSA STYLE TOMATOES FIRE ROASTED W/GREEN CHILIES
DICED SALSA STYLE TOMATOES FIRE ROASTED W/GREEN CHILIES | Source
LIGHT OR DARK KIDNEY BEANS
LIGHT OR DARK KIDNEY BEANS | Source
CHILI HOT BEANS (more like spicy not hot)
CHILI HOT BEANS (more like spicy not hot) | Source
BLACK BEANS
BLACK BEANS | Source
ORIGINAL CHILI SEASONING
ORIGINAL CHILI SEASONING | Source
ORIGINAL CHILI SEASONING 30% LOWER SODIUM
ORIGINAL CHILI SEASONING 30% LOWER SODIUM | Source
PICANTE SAUCE
PICANTE SAUCE | Source

INGREDIENT CHOICES

I usually shop at Kroger near my home. I also usually use the store brand since it is generally less expensive. You may use any brand you wish and purchase them with the idea in mind that the more items you purchase as "chili ready" will have spices added to them.

If you are on a low sodium diet some of the items have similar versions in low sodium, lower sodium or no sodium. I highly recommend the 30% less sodium mix when preparing for any group that will have senior citizens or people with high blood pressure in the group. Alternatively you can substitute picante sauce or green chili salsa for the seasoning mix to eliminate even more salt.

If you prefer your chili mild there are usually mild versions of most chili seasoning mixes and you should only use tomatoes without chili seasoning or chiles included. Kroger has a mild version of their picante sauce if you prefer to try that instead of the seasoning mix.

INGREDIENTS FOR BASIC RECIPE - MAIN DISH

PEOPLE SERVED
SEASON MIX PACKETS
TOMATOES
BEANS
4-5
1 PACK
1 CAN
2 CANS
6-9
2 PACKS
2 CANS
2 CANS
10-15
3 PACKS
3 CANS
3 CANS
16-25
4 PACKS
4 CANS
4 CANS

INGREDIENTS FOR BASIC RECIPE - SIDE OR POTLUCK

PEOPLE SERVED
SEASON MIX
TOMATOES
BEANS
4-5
1 PACK
1 CAN
1 CAN
6-9
1.5 - 2 PACKS
2 CANS(+ 1 BEAN) OR
2 CANS (+1 TOMATO)
10-15
2 PACKS
2 CANS
2 CANS
16-25
3 PACKS
3 CANS
3 CANS

PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER

First you will need to cook the ground beef. It can be coarse or fine crumble. Cook it in the same pan you will be preparing the chili in to avoid extra cleaning (unless you will be using a crock pot ). Once you have cooked the meat you should pour off the fat.(I use old laundry soap bottles with a little water added to the bottom and a funnel to get it in there, but I usually turn the meat off and gather the other ingredients to let it cool a couple of minutes ) Once your grease container is filled you can freeze it till garbage day to avoid spoilage.

You may either use a crock pot or on the stove top - any pot large enough for the amount you will be preparing.

SLOW METHOD; CROCK POT: smaller crocks will only be able to accommodate the the smaller amounts listed.

  • put season packet mix in first
  • use only 1/4 of the water recommended & stir till mixed
  • add the beans, drained , and tomatoes, with juice , or salsa (if you suffer from gas you should rinse the beans in a colander to reduce that effect )
  • if the mixture is very dry after adding the tomatoes or salsa you may add 1/4 more of the water. Remember that with a crock pot none of the added moisture will evaporate and you added moisture with the tomatoes so you do not need as much as for the stove top method.
  • stir lightly then add the meat & stir again
  • put top on crock pot
  • cook on high for 4 hours; or low for 8 hours (older children can turn the crock pot on high when they get home from school or turn to warm if you left it on low during the day)

QUICK METHOD; STOVE TOP:

  • put the season packet mix and 3/4 of the water recommended in with the prepared meat
  • turn on stove to medium heat and stir the pot till incorporated.
  • add the beans, drained , and tomatoes, with juice , or salsa
  • cover and let mixture come to a simmer, simmering for about 5-10 minutes
  • check the chili to see if it is the consistency you like. If it seems too thick to you then add the rest of the water recommended. (usually the tomatoes will render some juice making up the difference)
  • turn down the stove to medium-low, cover the pot and let simmer for 15-20 minutes more.
  • it can remain on lowest setting on the stove top till you are ready to serve.

ADDITIONS & OPTIONS

MEAT
BEANS
VEGGIES
SERVE ON TOP OF
ADDITIONS
CHICKEN DICED OR GROUND
BLACK BEANS
CORN
RICE
SOUR CREAM
TURKEY DICED OR GROUND
PINTO BEANS
CARROTS **
CORN BREAD
GRATED CHEESE
LEFT OVER ROAST (PORK OR BEEF) DICED
RED BEANS
DICED ONION - SAUTED OR RAW
TORTILLA CHIPS
GOLDFISH OR SODA CRACKERS
1/2 GROUND VEAL & 1/2 GROUND PORK
PAINTED PONY OR ANAZAKI
DICED ZUCCHINI OR YELLOW SQUASH
LETTUCE OR SALAD GREENS
CRUSHED FRITOS OR CORN CHIPS

ADDITION INSTRUCTIONS

**When adding carrots you should finely dice them, or if trying to add them to disguise for children to eat then use canned or cooked carrots and mash them before adding to the pot.

Same for the zucchini or yellow squash, but use fresh, peel them and steam or boil if planning to mash them. Additionally, left over veggies can be pureed and added as well.

If you are having the children help prepare the meal have them grate the veggies you are adding so they will easily fall apart in the cooking process.

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    • lucybell21 profile image

      Bonny OBrien 5 years ago from Troy, N.Y.

      Thats why I love chili. There are so many ways to make it. Great hub!

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