Food Friday: Can’t Get Any Easier Than This Chili

This recipe is simple, but oh so good! I made it this week with lentils and store-bought sauce, but a few weeks ago (the day these photos came into existence) I was using up the last of my 2013 tomato sauce. I know, I know, it’s three years old. I probably SHOULD have thrown it away, but I found it in the bottom of the deep freeze and 2013 just happened to be an amazing year for tomato sauce, so I took the chance, thawed it, and madly boiled it before beginning the recipe, just in case! Ah! Perfect! As delicious as I remembered.

That summer was my first year of canning. I’m still traumatized by exploding a couple jars of beets and burning—I mean charring, scorching, cooking into destruction—my first batch of tomato sauce. Is was horrible. I couldn’t even salvage the pan, though I tried and tried and shed a few tears in the process! I ended up using the pan as a temporary compost bin for my kitchen, but cooking in it was out of the question. I almost gave up on tomatoes that year, but fortunately I held strong and my luck changed, as luck tends to do if you give it enough time! My second batch was superb, due completely to a cinnamon basil plant which secretly aspired to be a tree. I had more basil than I knew what to do with, and more garlic, too, so I kept adding more. The flavor was exquisite.

I don’t know for sure that this recipe qualifies as chili (it doesn’t include chili powder at all! No legumes either!), but this is the sort of dish I grew up calling chili, and it is so tasty with crackers, with fried eggs, with cheese and sour cream, or cold straight out of the fridge. Did I mention that it’s easy to make? It’s also a snap to scale the recipe up and easy to add more ingredients if you have something around the kitchen that you need to use up before it sprouts legs and walks away.

The Ingredients:

1 large onion, diced
1 TBSP, olive oil
1 lb ground beef
1 quart of tomato sauce
1/2 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup corn
1/2 cup peas
salt, pepper, crushed red pepper to taste
1/4 cup sour cream
shredded cheese, to garnish
fresh green onion or basil, to garnish


The Drill:

  1. Add oil, onion, and beef to a large pot. Cook until beef is browned and onion is soft and translucent.
  2. Add tomato sauce and vegetables, reduce to a simmer and let cook for 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Season to taste.
  4.  Garnish with sour cream, cheese, and herbs. Voila! Ready to serve!

Thoughts? Ideas? Suggestions? I’d love to know what you think! Happy munching!


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