This is my husband Benjy's chili recipe. Don't tell him that I'm sharing it with you! It's super easy, and one that you can customize with whatever kind of meat (ground beef, turkey, chuck roast, etc.) or beans that you like.
It's a meal that I look forward to every fall. The house smells amazing when it's cooking, which makes the anticipation nearly unbearable, so I regularly offer to stir and "check" the chili during the process. I'm so helpful!
Chili gets better as the days pass, so you'll notice how the leftovers (if there are any) taste better and better! After a couple of days, you can freeze single servings and you'll always have some chili on hand for a cozy, delicious dinner.
(See bottom for a slow cooker option.)
2 pounds lean meat of your choice (we use ground beef normally; we used a mix of beef and pork here because it was on sale)
1 large onion, diced
1 packet of chili seasoning (there are plenty to choose from, it doesn't matter which you pick; we like Williams)
2 cans of tomato sauce (whatever is on sale)
2 cans of chili-ready tomatoes (this just means they have diced tomatoes and green peppers already in them)
1 can MILD Rotel (this is diced tomatoes, onions and green chilis--it's not hot, just adds flavor, but again, decide for yourself about the spice level)
2 cans chili beans - you can use any kind of bean you like. The ones labeled chili beans are pinto beans with chili sauce in them. Not hot, just flavorful. I highly suggest adding beans, even if only one can.
Set your burner to medium heat. Cook your meat in a large chili/soup pot until brown (not overdone, since it will continue to cook). Add diced onion and cook until soft/translucent. Add seasoning pack and stir. Pour in the two cans of tomato sauce and stir. Cook for five minutes to combine sauce and seasoning. Add all remaining ingredients in any order (include all sauce/juice in cans; this will keep the chili juicy). Keep stirring. Cover with a vented lid to allow steam to escape. When you see it start to bubble, stir again and reduce heat to medium/low. Let chili cook on its own, stirring regularly. The minimum cook time is 15-20 minutes in order to allow the flavors to develop. After 15 minutes, you can turn the heat to low and let it simmer for another 30 minutes to really get the flavors going. Serve alone with a sprinkle of cheese and green onions, or on top of anything from burgers and hot dogs to rice and baked potatoes.
NOTE: If you prefer to use a slow cooker, brown the meat and onions on the stove and combine them with everything else inside your slow cooker. Allow everything to simmer for a few hours. Good luck smelling this cook all day in a slow cooker!