Friday, September 28, 2012

Grandma's Chili

As I looked through the recipes on this blog trying to decide what to fix for dinner a couple weeks ago, I realized one of our favorite recipes was missing...Grandma's Chili. Since Oct. is just a few days away & that fall nip is once again in the air, I thought it would be the perfect time to introduce you to my family's favorite chili recipe.

The one thing I've learned about chili is that every family has their own "best" recipe. Some people say that chili isn't chili if you put pasta in it. (In fact, my Grandma also makes something called "Goolash" that always seemed a lot like a variation of chili to me...) Then there's those who say it HAS to have pasta or it has to have a little sweetness to it. And, of course, there are those who aren't happy unless it's so hot your nose is running, eyes running tears like 2 rivers & sweat is popping out on your forehead.

This is our favorite chili recipe. It's simple, inexpensive to make & easily adapts to feeding 4 or 40. For years, if I wanted good chili I always went to my Grandma Patton's (Livi's great-grandma). One day a few years ago, I was with her at the grocery store & she was looking for Campbell's Spaghetti in a can. Knowing she wasn't one for canned pastas like this I couldn't help but ask her what on earth she wanted that for. "I'm making chili," she said. I know I must have looked at her like she'd grown another head. My grandma, the one who makes the best chili in the world, uses canned pasta in it!?!?!? I knew right then, I HAD to know how she made her chili.

Right about now, you're thinking I've lost it. I know, I thought she had too :) Trust me, give it a try. You'll love it (& how easy it is to make).

Grandma's Chili

1 can of Campbell's Spaghetti in a can 
 (NO MEATBALLS...this is very important as it will NOT taste the same...even if you pick the meatballs out (Grandma has tried))
1 can of chili beans
We like the hot because we like a little kick to our chili, you should use whichever "hot" level suits your family
1# of hamburger, browned & drained
1 packet of Chili seasoning mix 
Sorry, Kroger. You dropped the ball here. Your chili mix use to be great, but the past 3 times I've used it my chili was BLAND :( And, yes, I know that Kroger doesn't read my blog, but it's my blog so I can gripe about their chili mix if I want :)
1 jar of home canned tomatoes (or you can use 1-2 cans of diced tomatoes from the store)
Tomato juice (or water) as needed to thin chili to the consistency your family prefers
Shredded cheese & Crackers :) 

Combine the 1st 5 ingredients in a pot on the stove or crock pot (oh, yes, this great recipe is crock pot friendly :-)  Add water or tomato juice or a combination to thin based on what your family prefers. I LOVE tomatoes so I could easily use the whole big can of tomato juice, but my family thinks that makes it too "tomato-y". So I usually use about 1 cup of water & maybe half of the can of juice. Just be warned that if you use too much water, you'll water down the flavors & the chili will be blander.

The above ingredients makes enough chili for about 5-6 adult servings. I usually double this so we have leftovers. I have also frozen it before & it freezes & reheats well too.  One time I multiplied the recipe by 5 or 6  & made HUGE stock pots full for a family gathering. It multiplied well.

We love ours topped with shredded cheese & served with Saltines & pickles on the side. :) ENJOY!