Football season is officially here, and with it comes all the great food! I love football season…not football, just the season. I don’t really understand the game, but I sure get the food! Wings, appetizers, subs, and CHILI!
So why is my chili “Award Winning”? Funny story…a few years ago the youth group in our church hosted a chili cook-off and my chili won. That’s not very funny. Oh wait… there’s more. My son was one of the judges. However, he is one of the judges that did NOT vote for me. He recognized my chili right off the bat, but said he eats it all the time, so it wasn’t anything special. That little punk! See if I vote for him when he runs for president! Instead, my eldest voted for my friend Brian’s chili – a worthy opponent, but still not his mother! Anyway, I have never forgiven my son, and Brian has never stopped whining about the judging being rigged (he doesn’t believe that Nathan didn’t vote for me.) So, I call this recipe “Award Winning” not to brag about a prize awarded by my church. I call it that to get under Brian’s skin…because annoying him is just so much fun to do! So Brian, this recipe is for you!
Let’s look at the ingredients…in general NQMotY style, there aren’t very many: ground beef, canned diced tomatoes, chili beans, diced tomatoes with green chilies, and taco seasoning. I will often add onions and green peppers (they are really good in this) but I run them through the food processor first so my kids don’t see them in there!
For years, I never had a “recipe” for my chili. Since I made it in varying amounts, I kind of just eyeballed it. However, I have been asked for it many times over the years, so eventually I kept track of how much of each item I was using and wrote down a recipe. In essence, the recipe is actually a ratio: 1:1:1:1:1/4. For every 1 pound of ground beef, you use 1 can of tomatoes, 1 can of chili beans, 1 package of taco seasoning and 1/4 can of spicy tomatoes. (Note: 10 ounces of diced tomatoes is about one cup, so 1/4 of a can is about 1/4 of a cup.) So depending on how many people you want to feed, you can adjust the ratio accordingly. For today, I wanted to fill Ol’ Reliable (my 6 quart slow cooker) so I used 4 pounds of ground beef…and the recipe below reflects that.
First, brown your ground beef. I’m not a fan of crock pot recipes that require any precooking – one of the joys of slow cookers is the one pot cooking and clean up! However, this recipe is so good, I’ll make an exception!
Once browned, add meat and remaining ingredients to the slow cooker (if you are using onions and green peppers, add them as well. Do not pre-cook them.) Give ‘er a stir and it should look something like the picture below. I know it looks really thick, but don’t give in to the temptation to add any liquid. You want your chili to be thick, and when the tomatoes break down in the cooking, you will have plenty of juice.
Here is the finished chili. See! Plenty of juice! The below picture is what it looks like after six hours or so. You want to cook it for a minimum of four hours, but my best chili cooks in the slow cooker for eight hours or more. Low and slow wins the race in this recipe. However, if you have to serve chili in four hours or less, I suggest cooking on high for part or all of the cooking time to get the proper breakdown of the tomatoes.
Now comes the fun part…the toppings! We top ours with sour cream and FRESHLY SHREDDED cheese, usually cheddar or Colby jack. Always shred your own cheese. NEVER use that stuff in the bags!
Look how much better this looks than the bagged stuff. And it only took me about 60 seconds to shred an entire 8 ounce cube of cheese. I know you can find 60 seconds to shred cheese. I just sacrificed 60 seconds of Food Network to shred cheese for my family…I hope they appreciate all I do for them!
And there you have it…my “Award Winning” Chili Recipe. Wasn’t that simple? But you will never know what little effort this recipe takes by tasting it. It is AH-Mazing!
Now, I mentioned earlier that this is a great football season food. But with all of the wings and subs, who wants a giant bowl of chili? For parties, just pull out your tea cups. They are the perfect size for a party…and are easily refillable with seconds!
Now here’s the money shot…spoon? What spoon? Forget your manners and just jump in with a chip! If you are still eating chili with crackers, you are so missing out on the fun!
It’s also good with fresh diced tomatoes and scallions on top. So yummy! I have to go…my chili is getting cold!
- 4 lbs of lean ground beef
- 4 - 14.5 oz cans of diced (or crushed) tomatoes (undrained)
- 4 - 15.5 oz cans of chili beans (undrained)
- 4 packages of taco seasoning
- 1 - 10 oz can of diced tomatoes with green chilies
- Brown the ground beef in a skillet. Drain grease and put beef in slow cooker.
- Add remaining ingredients. Stir.
- Cook on low for a minimum of 4 hours.
- Top with sour cream and shredded cheese. Serve with tortilla chips.