Winter days can be cold and stormy with treacherous, ice-covered roads. The last thing I want to do on such a day is leave my house. Better to stay inside by the fire and leave the roads to the snowplow and salt truck drivers. Before winter rears its ugly head or — depending on your point of view — drops all of that beautiful, fluffy, white stuff, I always make sure my pantry is stocked with the ingredients needed to make this easy, cold weather meal.
Cupboard Chili is fast to fix. All you do is toss everything in a pot and turn on the stove. It is so forgiving that you can add or substitute ingredients as your cupboard staples or your taste buds (or those of fussy children) require. The only thing that you really must add is the tomato juice and the chili seasoning.
The chili can be made in a crock pot, but I like the stove top result better.
Fast Fix Cupboard Chili
- 3 different cans of beans, your choice (Kidney beans, butter beans, black, chili, pinto, navy… any 3 varieties of canned beans will work)
- 1 can tomatoes (stewed, diced, or whole — just chop them up a bit with a fork) or even a chopped fresh tomato or two from the garden.
- 1 can whole kernel corn (creamed corn works too)
- 1 large 46 oz. can or bottle of tomato juice
- 1 packet of Chili seasoning mix (mild or hot, your preference). I prefer McCormick Brand Mild. Or use your own special blend.
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup water
Other optional ingredients (add none, add one, or add them all!)
- one lb. browned ground beef or pre-cooked chicken, chopped
- one can of shredded beef or chicken
- 1 small onion, chopped or one Tbsp. dried onion
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 1 cup elbow macaroni, added to the pot in the last 10-15 minutes of cooking.
Pre-cook any fresh meat and saute onions and/or celery if using them.
Add all ingredients (except macaroni) to a soup pot.
Slowly simmer on top of the stove, uncovered, until the water in the tomato juice evaporates and the chili thickens (this will take about an hour). Add macaroni (if desired) in the last 10 minutes of cooking.
You may enjoy topping this chili with grated cheese, green onions, or sour cream.
Serve with corn muffins or a sour dough roll for a hearty winter meal!