Chili is part of my two-week rotating menu planner. We love it! And now that #2, the bean-hater, is at college, we can enjoy it meatless, with LOTSA LEGUMES!! (See what I did there? :-) ) If you prefer chili con carne, read on anyway; at the end of the post are my suggestions for adding meat to this ridiculously comforting stuff.
For more easy dinner ideas, see 30+ Ridiculously Easy Dinners for Busy Families on a Budget.
Throw together in a soup kettle:
1 can each light red kidney beans (drained), great northern beans (drained), black beans (drained), and chili beans (NOT drained) –so that's a total of 4 cans, people. (If you don't have all the different kinds, just use whatever you have, as long as it makes 4 cans.)
1 can petite diced tomatoes
½ c. (or so) chopped green pepper
½ c. (or so) chopped onion
Whatever veggies are in the fridge, chopped – (if they're cooked leftovers, wait until a little closer to serving time, so they don't become mushy; but if they're raw, throw 'em right in at the beginning!) Today I used corn and zucchini, but literally ANYTHING will be great, like broccoli or green beans or cauliflower or peas… whatever you've got! Or you can omit the veggies, if you like.
Enough water to cover but not drown all of the above — usually it takes about 3-4 cups
Enough beef bouillion to make broth of the amount of water used (for example, if I used 3 cups water, then I will stir in 3 tsp. bouillion)
About a tablespoon Chili powder
About a teaspoon Garlic
Dash or two cumin
Salt & pepper to taste
Heat to boiling. Reduce heat; simmer for at least 30 minutes or so (although an hour or more is fine, too) until ready to serve. If it is too runny, heat back up to boiling for a few minutes to evaporate some of the liquid.
And that is it. Sometimes I am really lazy and just serve this with chips and sour cream. Other times I'll make cornbread and/or grate some cheese to put on top.
I do NOT stress about measurements when I am making chili – a little more or less of this or that will NOT adversely affect the outcome!
When I make it with meat, then I omit the white and black beans and instead add a pound of browned ground beef. Otherwise the rest is the same. Last time I made it I kept all the beans and added about 1 1/2 cups of cooked chopped chicken I had in the fridge. Easy easy easy! “That's my motto!” (Imagine that said in Meryl Streep doing Julia Child's voice—it's a favorite movie quote around here.)
Let me know if you make it and whether or not it was liked by all!