Recipe: Easy Weeknight Chili

27 Mar

The snow from a few days ago is now gone, but spring is taking its time getting here. The blustery weather means warm and comforting soups and stews are still on the menu, but I don’t usually get home from work until after 6 pm, so I need quick and easy options like this chili. I make other versions that require more ingredients, more prep time, and more cooking time and though they are well worth the effort, this is my go-to chili for busy weeknights. If you have ground beef or turkey on hand, and canned tomatoes and beans in your cupboards, then you are good to go. We like to top this chili with diced onions, shredded cheese, and crushed tortilla chips. It also goes very nicely with cornbread, which can be made while the various parts of the chili are cooking.

Easy Weeknight Chili
Serves 6

3 tbsp. olive oil, divided
1.25 lb. lean ground beef or turkey
1 large onion, diced
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. dried oregano
2 (14.5-oz.) cans diced tomatoes with jalapeno (or use plain diced tomatoes and add a 4-oz. can of diced green chilies)
1 (14.5-oz.) can crushed tomatoes
1 (15.5-oz.) can dark red kidney beans, drained (but reserve liquid in case it is needed)
1 (15.5-oz.) can light red kidney beans, drained
pinch sugar
salt and pepper to taste


1. Cook the ground beef or turkey in 1 tbsp. olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot until no longer pink; remove from pot, drain if needed, and set aside.
2. Add the remaining 2 tbsp. olive oil to the pot and cook the onion in the oil until it is translucent and beginning to turn golden at the edges. Add the garlic and cook for 2 more minutes. Add the chili powder, cumin, and oregano, and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
3. Add the diced and crushed tomatoes, the reserved ground beef or turkey, and the beans; stir to combine. Add a pinch of sugar, then salt and pepper to taste.
4. Simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring periodically. If the chili seems too thick, add some of the reserved bean liquid. Adjust seasonings as needed.
5. Serve with the accompaniments mentioned above, and perhaps a green salad and fruit.

2 Responses to “Recipe: Easy Weeknight Chili”

  1. Deborah V March 28, 2013 at 3:45 pm #

    Looks and sounds yummy! deb


    • perennialpastimes April 6, 2013 at 8:27 pm #

      Thanks; it is a pretty easy dish to throw together and it usually vanishes in a flash.


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