Put Down the Can of Chili and Try This Instead

All right so it might not be cold yet, but that doesn’t mean a bowl of something hot wouldn’t hit the spot. If you’re too broke to swing by the nearest deli every time you get a massive craving for a soup and sandwich, try this recipe for chili. It’s super easy, great for dorm rooms (assuming you can use a crock-pot there…or can hide it from your R.A.) and it makes enough to last a lot longer than one of those eensy bowls of Broccoli Cheddar soup (still, mmmm broccoli cheddar soup…).

Chili is extremely customizable. For instance, depending on whether you like yours really hot or not so much, it isn’t hard to adjust the spice of this recipe. Chili is kind of a free-for-all dish, meaning, throw whatever the hell you want into a pot as long as it sounds good. (Caution: do not try this when inebriated. I did and quickly realized that frosting does not go well in chili.)

So, for my perfect chili, here’s what you need:

1 lb. ground beef

Cumin to taste

1 can of chunky tomatoes

1 can Rotel

2 cans red kidney beans

1 can black beans

1 small onion, cut into chunks

1 can jalapeno peppers (for extra spice if you want it)

Chili seasoning (totally optional, by the way)

1. First, brown a pound of ground beef (or turkey, or hell, even chicken) in a skillet (or microwave). I typically like to add some cumin to it because it gives it a great smoky flavor.

2. Here’s where it gets easy: Take the ground beef and drain it. Then throw it in the crock pot. And then add all the cans. You may want to drain some of them, depending on how soupy you like your chili, but don’t drain the beans. The natural starch helps to thicken the chili a little. Add the onions and the jalapeno peppers (if you opt to use them) and any chili seasoning you wish.

3. Turn the crock-pot to high and cook for about an hour, just to get it nice and hot. Then turn it down to low and let it simmer for a while. I usually let it simmer at least two hours but the longer the better–the flavors totally come together the more time you give ’em.

4. After you’re ready to chow down, serve up some hot chili with some shredded cheese and any other essentials you might need. My personal favorite way is to top it off with some monterey jack cheese with grilled cheese on the side. Talk about comfort food. So tasty.

(Photo courtesy of flickr via SuzanneR)
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