Warm up with some chili today for pennies a pot…

Chili’s a standby for a cold winter day or a summer picnic. It’s the quintessential freeze-for-later meal savior and a good, solid, clean-out-the-fridge staple.

You can make chili out of nearly anything you have on hand–veggies or meats–as long as you have the Chili Triad on hand–tomatoes, cumin, and some type of chili pepper.

Chili can be spicy or mild, even slightly sweet.

I never measure ingredients for my chili, I just guess, taste, and simmer. It’s more like a work of art than a meal in the end.

The basic chili process

  1. Assemble your ingredients. Some things I commonly use for meat chili: chicken, turkey, ground turkey, ground beef. Vegetarian chili: black beans, pinto beans, navy beans (any bean), onions, corn, chopped tomato, garlic, zucchini, carrots, celery, squash.
  2. Prepare the beans if doing from scratch.  If you’re using canned beans, add them in the “assemble the chili” stage.
  3. Chop veggies.  If you are making veggie chili, sauté veggies in a little butter and olive oil.  Salt as you go.
  4. Sauté ground meat if using.  Add some of those chopped onions and chopped garlic to the mix.  If you’re using a chicken or turkey, pre cook it and shred it up.
  5. Assemble the chili:  Add your cans of tomatoes, meat, veggies, and beans, and simmer for a couple hours.  I do this in my big crock pot, filled to the brim.
  6. Serve with grated cheddar, black olives, green onions, cilantro, sour cream, fresh chopped tomatoes, avocado.
  7. Store the rest in freezer bags or containers, ready to go for lunch.

Estimated quantities:

In my biggest crockpot, pictured above, I used the following:

  • Two zucchini, chopped
  • One bag of dried black beans, soaked according to the quick soak method and cooked in my pressure cooker.
  • Three carrots, diced.
  • Two large sweet onions, diced.
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic and a teaspoon or two of garlic powder.
  • 1.5 tablespoons (more or less) dried cumin.
  • 1 tablespoon (more or less) dried chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried, ground chipotle powder
  • salt to taste
  • one bag of frozen corn.  In season: 2-3 ears of raw corn, kernels cut off.