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Easy Homemade Beef or Bison Chili Recipe for Beginner Cooks

Updated on March 25, 2017
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This author has written several other food and tea recipes. See profile for list.

Year 2017 Update

I wrote this recipe many years ago. It still serves me well today. The original title just had the word, "Beef", a fact often referred to in the recipe. Since then I have discovered more and more grocery stores are selling bison hamburger. More than likely it's hidden away in some corner section, but it's there. It turns out that bison hamburger is absolutely delicious. So by all means, feel free to use bison in place of beef if so inclined. Be forewarned, if you think beef hamburger prices are ridiculous, wait until you see what they want for bison. If/When I run across some venison, I'll probably also give that a try; unless the prices are even more ridiculous.

As a side note: if you don't have a stove, here is how you can microwave your beef or bison hamburger meat. Or venison for that matter.

Best  Beginner Easy Homemade Chili Recipe - We have it here
Best Beginner Easy Homemade Chili Recipe - We have it here

Best and Easy Beef and Beans Chili Recipe

How to cook / make the best, home made,  ground beef and beans chili recipe.
How to cook / make the best, home made, ground beef and beans chili recipe.

The Non Messy Ground Beef and Beans Chili Recipe: Introduction

Although this chili recipe is entitled, "Beef and Bean", etc., there is so much more... This recipe includes other ingredients near and dear to many chili aficionado's hearts. This recipe believes in basic chili being the best chili; in fact, very much so, as you will see further on. The ingredients included beyond beef and beans are believed to be part of the "basic realm". Even better, obviously feel free to omit those ingredients that do not meet your specifications. Happy Chili Day!

Though this recipe is written for the beginner cook; the awesome chili itself is for the beginner, intermediate, advanced, expert, and aficionado chili connoisseur.

This is the how-to chili recipe that makes all other chili recipes a distant second. Its many secrets include the practice of not throwing everything, including the kitchen sink, into the chili; and the belief that chili does not always have to be spicy. The ingredients used for this chili recipe provide maximum flavor, variety, and lots and lots of meat. The spices used (or not used) are strictly up to you.

This how-to chili recipe is also designed to be made without turning the kitchen into a disaster area. This recipe is especially written for beginner cooks and will really spell everything out for you. If you are a single person, this chili recipe will provide lots of leftovers for you to freeze. The bad news is that you will keep going back for more every day until it is all gone. Then you will have to do it all over again...

Items and Utensils List

  • Cheap, throwaway paper plates for pressing the raw hamburger flat before cooking.
  • A spatula.
  • A skillet or whatever it is you use to cook hamburger.
  • Aluminum foil for optionally placing all around the skillet on the stove so that you don’t have to clean up a major mess afterwards. Using paper towels in place of foil is not recommended due to fire hazards. Besides, you can use the aluminum foil more than once.
  • A measuring cup (or you can just use a coffee cup to guesstimate your macaroni).
  • A pot to cook the macaroni.
  • A colander. There are inexpensive wire ones at your local grocery store. It is recommended that you get one; it will serve you well for many years. However, for desperate situations you can poke holes in aluminum foil or even use paper towels in certain situations.
  • Basic silverware.
  • The really big pot for mixing all the chili ingredients together.
  • A large serving spoon for stirring and scooping.
  • Containers that you previously saved from the deli for freezing the leftovers.
  • Kleenex and paper towels are always good general purpose items in the kitchen.

Ingredients List

Including what simple, easy, and optional ingredients can I add to basic beef and beans chili to make it better.

How to cook / make the best, home made,  ground beef and beans chili recipe. For beginners and pros alike.
How to cook / make the best, home made, ground beef and beans chili recipe. For beginners and pros alike.
  • 2 to 3 pounds of hamburger. Do closer to 2 if you want the average meat ratio. Do closer to 3 for the more intense meat ratio. Yes, 2-1/2 pounds would be a good first attempt. As to the meat-to-fat ratio; if you have a preference, then that is what you buy. Otherwise, the approximately 15% to 20% fat might be your best choice.
  • Macaroni. Cooking macaroni is kind of a pain-in-the-neck for the beginner, so this ingredient can be considered optional. However, adding macaroni does make the chili much better and increases the number of portions by 3 or 4. And it is required for the chili to attain the awesomeness category. Come to think of it; you can find canned, cooked macaroni in your store's bean section. The hard part is deciding whether to use one or two cans.
  • Tomato sauce, the ~16-ounce size. There are all sorts of varieties you can choose from, both canned and in jars. “~” means approximate.
  • Dark-red kidney beans, the ~16-ounce size can.
  • Sliced, black olives. The ~8-ounce size can.
  • Sliced mushrooms. The ~8-ounce size can.
  • Green onions from the produce section. The average small-size bundle.
  • Garlic salt for the chili. Regular salt for the macaroni.
  • Cooking oil for the skillet, though you can get away with using just a little water instead.
  • Spice packs. You will find all sorts of spice packs available. This chili recipe is nuanced for non-spiciness. The only spice added is some garlic salt. However, adding a small, mild, non-intense spice pack won’t necessarily kill it. But if you go adding too much spice, then the spice is all you will taste. If spiciness is all you are after then buy a can of Dennison’s Hot Chili con Carne and call it a day. If, however, you are after a chili concoction that you will keep going to the freezer everyday until you run out, then forget the jalapenos and other intense spices. Besides, you can always add them after-the-fact if it comes to that.

The Recipe...

The Beginning – Cooking the Hamburger Meat - How do you cook hamburger

1. Take half of the raw hamburger and smash it flat onto a paper plate so as to have a big, fat pancake. Speaking of E-coli, wash your hands.

2. Using a tissue, smear a very small amount of cooking oil on the skillet; or just add a little water to it.

3. Turn heat on to medium.

4. Slide the spatula between the meat and plate to separate them. Then use your spatula and paper plate to slide the meat into the skillet.

5. Use the spatula to divide your pancake into halves, and then into quarters.

6. Occasionally slide the spatula under the meat to prevent sticking.

7. After a couple minutes, less if you sense otherwise, flip the four pieces of meat over.

8. Keep doing the spatula sliding thing.

9. After a minute, use the spatula to break up the meat into little pieces.

10. Keep stirring and flipping over spatula’s full of meat until absolutely all the pink is gone.

11. Place colander over the drain on the garbage-disposal-side of the sink. The reason you don’t want to use the other side of the sink is to prevent grease buildup.

12. When all the pink is gone, but the meat is still completely moist, use the spatula to transfer all the meat into the colander to drain.

13. Now repeat steps 1 and 4-12 for the second half of the meat.This time, since you are now an expert, you can start implementing the steps below as you wait for the remaining meat to cook.

How to cook / make the best, home made,  ground beef and beans chili recipe.
How to cook / make the best, home made, ground beef and beans chili recipe.

Most of the Rest of It

1. Cooking macaroni can be somewhat pesky. The problem is finding that fine line between too much and too little water. Too much water and you end up pouring all the nutrients and flavor down the drain; too little water and you burn the macaroni. Follow the cooking instructions on the macaroni package precisely.

2. Start the pot of water for the macaroni boiling.

3. Pour the meat from the colander into the really big pot where you will be mixing all the chili ingredients together. Do not turn the heat on yet. Place colander back over drain.

4. Open the can of kidney beans. Drain top 10% of juice only. Pour the entire contents, including the remaining juice, into the chili pot. Stir it some.

5. Open the can of mushroom pieces. Drain all the water out of the can. Add the mushrooms to the chili pot.

6. Open the can of sliced olives. Drain all the water out of the can. Add the sliced olives to the chili pot. Stir it all some more.

7. Rinse the green onions and cut off the roots. Using a paper plate, dice (cut into small pieces) the white part of each onion stick up to near the green. Dump it into the chili pot. By now the macaroni water is boiling. Salt it. When back to boiling, add the 8-ounce cup of macaroni.

8. Time to add three-fourths of that can/jar of tomato sauce to the chili pot and turn on the heat to low. Stir it all really well. If the metal lid on the tomato jar decides to be obstructive, punching a hole in it with the appropriate tool to negate the vacuum will work every time. If you wish to save the remaining quarter, scotch tape the hole and put in refrigerator.

9. More than likely the macaroni and the meat will finish cooking at the same time. Turn the heat off for both.

10. Pour the contents of the macaroni pot into the colander and rinse the heck out of it with warm water. Let drain; shake it; let it drain some more. Add it to the chili pot and stir.

11. Pour the meat into the colander and let it drain. Add the meat to the chili pot. Stir it all up really well. Add more tomato sauce if needed. Sparingly add a little garlic salt; be advised that a very little garlic salt will go a long, long way. Stir some more. Adjust the heat to a little closer to medium. You do not want to simmer it too long. You do want all the ingredients mixed together very well; however, you don’t want all the flavors completely flowed together. In other words, you want a simmering time of maybe 15 minutes so that it is all completely hot, but nowhere near rampant boiling. You definitely do not want to do the 1-2 hours simmering that some recipes would have you do. Cover it if you wish; don’t cover it if you want one less item to clean.

Clean Up and Nearing Completion – While Waiting for the Chili to Finish Heating

1. Toss out the empty cans, meat-wrapping paper, dirty paper plates, etc.

2. Run hot water into the sink for a couple minutes to rinse out the pipes of whatever hamburger grease there is. Rinse out the Macaroni pot and use triple the dish washing fluid, that extra soap will help clean out the pipes of grease when you clean the pot; fill with hot water. set aside. If the colander fits in the macaroni pot, put it in there; otherwise, set it aside.

[2a. Here is a trick for cleaning hamburger skillets. First, let it sit overnight. Next day it will be a solid, white mass. It will take less than a minute to scoop it all out with the spatula into the trash. Then just add the dish washing fluid and fill with hot water. Add the spatula and the colander, if needed. Let soak.] Back to the recipe...

3. Break out those containers you saved from the deli.

4. Fold up the aluminum foil (dirty side in) from the stove. Ants absolutely love grease, so put the foil in the refrigerator.

5. Prep for your meal.

6. Give your chili one final stir. Taste it. If it is perfect, then it is ready. If not, then break out the garlic salt and/or the spice packet. Thoroughly re-stir as needed.

The Finale and Wrap Up

The first chili bite of your chili recipe.
The first chili bite of your chili recipe.

The Finale

1. You now have several pounds of awesome food. And your kitchen is not a shambles.

2. Use your serving spoon to fill the deli containers, leaving enough in the pot for your immediate meal. Set the containers aside for now.

3. Scoop/pour the remainder onto the plate and enjoy your well-deserved meal.

Wrap It Up

1. Put your chili containers in the freezer.

2. With the faucet water running, use your steel pad to clean the macaroni pot. Repeat rinse until soap bubbles no longer form. Will take maybe a minute. During this process run the garbage disposal for five seconds. Clean and rinse the colander as well. Be excessive with the water usage. You want any remaining grease from the drained hamburger to exit your pipes.

3. Clean the countertops and whatever else when so inclined.

Heating Chili Leftovers

The easy way...

1. Remove the top from the chili container and place the container upside-down on a paper plate or other microwave-safe dish. Zap for less than one minute. Lift the container; the food will easily separate and remain on the plate. Finish heating.

May all your chili meals be awesome!

Now these guys went a bit overboard... But since it is chili, that is perfectly ok.
Now these guys went a bit overboard... But since it is chili, that is perfectly ok.


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    • NateSean profile image

      NateSean 6 years ago from Salem, MA

      I think you may be my new object of affection. Congrats and thank you for this very useful hub.

    • profile image

      Teylina 6 years ago

      Oh, paradigm--if it wasn't great enough already, I knew it was when you added ".... when so inclined." Oh, how I love company after my own heart! Marking and using!

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 5 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      Thanks for the easy to follow chili recipe. Being a vegetarian 'tho - I';; pass on the meat. :-) Vote up!

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      This was a really interesting hub! I love the way you follow each and every step including cleaning up as you go along! Definitely something novel. The chili sounds good and something I think my family would enjoy.

      Voted up, useful, and interesting.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 2 years ago

      Well, I grease a pan with a paper towel, however, I agree with you. That's not chili, it's what we would call goulash. Nobody in the South puts macaroni in real chili. Sometimes, if they do, it's called "chili mac." This does sound like a good goulash, though.

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