Mom’s Chili

Chili is absolutely one of my favorite winter foods.  It is just so warm and comforting.  Now, I am NOT a picky eater, at all…except when it comes to chili.  I have to have it this exact way.  Because of this, I’ll never order chili in a restaurant.  It is always too thick, full of beans, and just not good enough.  The only place thick chili has a home is on top of a hot dog.

I had to change this recipe a little bit because we like things quite a bit spicier than my parents.  But you can slowly add the seasonings, tasting as you go, until it reaches your desired heat level.

Chili (source: my Mom)


1 pound ground beef or turkey

2 or 3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed thru a garlic press

1 medium red or white onion, finely chopped

1/2 of a large green bell pepper

1 (14.5 oz) can Hormel Chili No Beans (I used “with beans” this time, original recipe uses 2 cans)

1 (6 oz) can tomato paste

1 (46 oz) can tomato juice

1 (10 0z) can Ro-tel diced tomatoes and chilies OR stewed tomatoes, lightly drained ( plain diced tomatoes work)

2 heaping tsp cumin

3 heaping tsp chili powder

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 heaping tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp onion salt

fresh cracked black pepper to taste

Optional Toppings

shredded cheddar cheese, oyster crackers, croutons, sour cream, finely chopped chives, chopped scallions, chopped jalapenos, crushed tortilla chips, etc…

THIS IS ALSO AMAZING ON SPAGHETTI. AMAZING. PERIOD. (Sorry for shouting.)  I think they call that Cincinnati style?  I think its called Chili Mac at Steak ‘n Shake? Maybe? I don’t know, I haven’t been to Steak ‘n Shake in years, but its good!  I didn’t serve it over spaghetti this time because we had spaghetti the night before.


Brown the crumbled ground meat in a large skillet for 10 minutes or until no longer pink with garlic, bell pepper, and onion.  Drain.  Return to skillet over medium heat, add tomato paste, chili, diced tomatoes and chilies.  Stir everything together.

Next, slowly add seasonings until you reach the level of spiciness that you like.  But, keep in mind that adding the tomato juice will make the spice less concentrated.  So, either make it slightly more spicy than you normally would like.  Or, to be safe, keep it mild and then taste and adjust seasoning one final time after the tomato juice is added.

Transfer the chili mixture to a large stock pot or dutch oven and slowly pour the tomato juice over.  Simmer for at least 20 minutes to thicken and allow the flavors to meld.  The longer it simmers, the better and thicker it will get. (It is supposed be on the runny side though.)  I’ve also noticed it gets spicier the longer it simmers too.  I don’t really know why…


In a large skillet, brown meat with onion, bell pepper, and garlic until no longer pink, like before.  Drain.  Place in large slow cooker.  Add all other ingredients and mix together.  Cook on low for 1-4 hours, ideally.  Leaving it for 8 hours is fine, but the sides tend to burn/blacken.  The taste doesn’t seem to be affected though.


5 Comments (+add yours?)

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