Your New, Very Favorite Chili Recipe



Cooler temps, I just laaaaaaaahve you!!

The sappy, googly-eyed, all-in, head over heels, Taylor Swift meets Nicholas Sparks kind of LOVE.
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And after October 14th handed me 102 degrees – at 34 weeks pregnant – those feelings only deepened.
[We haven’t forgotten, so-called “Fall”…….]

It’s weird, too.  3 years ago, I was living in SE Minnesota, where for half the year I cursed winter’s name, cuddled a heating pad, and begged to thaw.

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Times, they have changed – and at least in the winter, that change is for the better. Thank you, Arizona!

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Even so… just *sometimes* I like to harken back to cozier days and whip up this very favorite, super easy chili recipe, passed down from my dear friend and yummy-food-maker-mama-of-4-extraordinaire Nicole. (Hi, Nicole!!)

Heeya go:

1 (16 oz) package Italian Ground Italian Sausage (mild or hot – you choose)
1 pound lean ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes
1/2 large bell pepper, chopped
2 (14.5 oz) cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14.5 oz) can beef broth
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Shredded Cheddar cheese
sour cream
chopped green and/or white onions

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Double all of that ^^^. Because this stuff freezes beauuuutifully and you’ll Elmo-fainting love me when you can handy-dandy-like pull a second batch out of the freezer in a few weeks.

Now, look. Ain’t nobody got time or patience to brown 4 lbs of meat and a whole haul of onions, celery and garlic when there is nap time to be had and TiVo to be watched.
So do yourself a favor: The evening before, toss those items into your slow cooker (with a liner, for the love of all that’s decent!) and cook on low all night.  Sure you’ll have the aroma of simmering meat intertwining with your morning coffee (okay, not the best……) but when you go to combine the rest of this super duper fast, you will Taylor + Nicholas love me for helping you skip that step.

So — okay:
Brown the meat and sausage, soften the onions/celery/garlic.
If you took my most brilliant advice and did this overnight, transfer to your biggest stove-top pot.
Add tomatoes, beans, broth, tomato paste, brown sugar, chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, cumin and red pepper flakes.

Bring to a simmer and let ‘er go for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve to your very impressed audience with cheese, sour cream and chopped onion, plus your favorite cornbread (duh.).

Bask in the rays of your family’s slow claps.
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**And — to freeze: just allow to cool completely, transfer to a freezer zippy bag, press out all the air and lay on its side (that way it will defrost faster and allow for better stacking in your freezer).  LABEL and DATE it because no one likes the Freezer Mystery Game, and use within 3 months.  Yum!


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