Chili – the comfort food you can make your way. Even firefighters have been known to hold a chili cook-off for fundraising. Find out when you’re city is having theirs and head on over to taste all the different kinds of chili that people make.

My dad used to make chili during the winter months. He never used a written recipe but it was always so good. I’ve tried to recreate his chili over the years but have never fully succeeded. Then I realized I could make it my way. Here are some suggestions on how to make a warm fulfilling meal during the cold winter months.

You’ll want to start off with a some meat, veggies, and spices. Take your pick from the list below and then brown the meat with the ingredients. If not using meat, just sautée your onion and peppers before adding to pot.

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  • 1 pound ground beef, ground turkey -or even a game meat like elk or deer –  you don’t have to use meat, just add more beans
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 green pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 3 tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp celery salt
  • 1 tsp seasoning salt
  • 1 tbsp red pepper flakes

Add your beans and tomato base:

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  • Equal amounts of canned tomatoes and tomato sauce – 48 ounces of each will fill your crockpot after everything is added.
  • Red dark or light kidney beans (I think the dark have a little more flavor)
  • Cannelloni beans
  • Garbanzo beans
  • Even green beans if you want

Start with 15 ounce cans of the beans. The liquids can handle about 4 cans, more if you don’t use meat.

I have used both a stock pot on the stove and a crockpot. Both work equally well, however, the crock pot tends to make it more watery, so adjust your liquids by adding less of the canned tomatoes.

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Put everything together and let simmer. The longer it simmers, the more the flavors mix together. Try to let it simmer for at least 4 hours. Keep tasting it and add more spices if desired. My husband and I are garlic-and-spice people so we like lots of seasonings. Add any kind of seasoning you like – this is your creation. You can add a little brown sugar to cut the acidity of the tomatoes if you would like.

Serve your chili with a French baguette or other type of bread with some butter and a salad ( I have salads with almost every meal). And for dessert, how about some apple crisp?  Made the easy way.

Apple Crisp Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 apples (Granny Smith are best for baking) – peeled and sliced thinly
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 oatmeal
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup butter (melted or softened)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Using a little butter or oil, lightly grease a 8×8 or 11×7.5 inch baking pan.
  3. Evenly lay the applies in the pan.
  4. Mix the rest of the ingredients and evely spread the mixture over the apples.
  5. Bake for 30-35 minutes.

Enjoy!