One of the things I love about fall is the food. Ok, honestly I like all food just about all the time. But I just LOVE soup and chili-somehow eating a nice hot bowl of soup when it is 80 out and you have no air conditioner doesn’t hold the same appeal.
Yesterday I whipped up a nice big batch of this Wendy’s Chili Clone. One of the great things about chili is it is easy to feed a crowd-I could have fed 4 or 5 more people from the one pot of chili, and still had plenty left for seconds!
As an added bonus-because this is made in the crockpot it is not only frugal and tasty-but it’s easy as well!
Wanna-be Wendy’s Chili
2 lbs ground beef
1 (29 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (29 ounce) can kidney beans (with liquid)
1 (29 ounce) can pinto beans (with liquid)
1 cup diced onions (approx 1 medium onion)
1/2 cup diced green chili peppers (approx 2 chilies)
1/4 cup diced celery (approx 1 stalk)
3 medium tomatoes chopped
2-3 teaspoons cumin powder
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups water
Brown ground beef and drain off fat.
Combine all ingredients in a large pot.
Bring to a simmer and cook, 2-3 hours, stirring frequently (although not constantly).
- Use Ground Turkey, Chicken, Pork or Venison in place of the Beef
- Use leftover cooked meat in place of the fresh-about 2C
- Substitute in any other kind of beans-just have them add up to around 3 1/2 cups
- Use dried beans you’ve either quick cooked or soaked the night before instead of canned.
- Use two small cans of diced chilis instead of fresh
- Use 2 cans of diced tomatoes (drained) in place of the fresh tomatoes
- Add in a drained can of corn.
- Cook on low in the crockpot for 6-8 hours instead of on the stove.
Of course, I didn’t necessarily have the exact ingredients in the exact proportions on hand. So did I run out to the store? NO!! I did what any good frugalite would, I improvised and substituted (and also cleaned a few things out of the cupboards and fridge).
Here is how I made it.
I soaked a couple of cups of various dried beans that were hanging out in my cupboard overnight, then I boiled them for about 30 min or so until they were soft. Then I used 1 c of browned ground beef that I had in the freezer, ½ of a large onion that was in a ziplock baggie in my crisper drawer, cut the kernels off of a single cob of corn left over from dinner, and sliced up about 10 black olives that were waiting to be used. I didn’t have any celery, so I snipped up some fresh Lovage from outside, and I substituted 1 of those tiny cans of diced mild green peppers that they sell next to the mexican food in the grocery store. By that time I could only fit in one can of water, so I called it good.
Otherwise I followed the recipe
(This is the kind of thing that drives my friend Lisa crazy. She needs a recipe and is very timid about improvising!)
This came out a little spicier than I remembered from last time-I guess that the summer had dulled my memory. I had to add generous dollops of sour cream to the kid’s portions in order to make it edible (although Princess kept telling me she liked it anyway as she gulped the water-that girl will be my halbenaro pepper girl I swear). The next time I’ll cut the chili powder down to 1 or 1 1/2 TBS instead of 3, and maybe halve the cumin. . . .
Although the traditional pairing for chili is cornbread, I seem to be the only one in my house who likes it. Even though I can easily eat an entire pan, that really isn’t good for my waistline. So I usually pair my chili with Apple Bread or Impossible Beer Bread instead! I’ve posted both of those recipes before-they are tasty fall recipe as well. . .
And if you really aren’t into a tomato-y beef-y chili, you should check out my Chicken Chili Blanco instead! Mmmm.
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*Note-that is not me!