If you are a single person, and you’re like me, you plan most of your meals around what you find in Trader Joe’s freezer section, supplemented with a few weekly meals at restaurants, and lunch procured from the office cafeteria. So, I don’t have to tell you that grocery shopping and meal planning for our new Covid lifestyle is challenging, and, frankly, it sucks. I’ve bought as many groceries in the past five weeks as I have for each preceding week of this year combined. Just being serious.
There is only one thing I can really cook, and that is Chili. When I first moved to NYC I was dirt poor, so I taught myself how to make a huge vat of chili, so I could freeze some it and thus enjoy multiple home-cooked meals that would stretch my budget. Once I started making decent money, I abandoned cooking from scratch almost entirely. But . . . everything is different now, and cooking is a skill that has value, even if you are sheltering-in-place on your own — which I think of as living on the prairie, but with indoor plumbing. A few weeks into isolation, I got a craving for chili, but it had been so long since I made any that I could not even recall my recipe. Dashing to the computer, I Googled “easy chili with beans,” and the first result that popped up was this recipe called The Best Classic Chili courtesy of Amanda Finks from her website The Wholesome Dish. This recipe is especially awesome because it can be made from ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry. Let me walk you through it.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 1 pound 90% lean ground beef
- 2 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper – optional
- 1 1/2 cups beef broth
- 1 (15 oz.) can petite diced tomatoes
- 1 (16 oz.) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
Add the olive oil to a large soup pot and place it over medium-high heat for two minutes. Add the onion. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the ground beef to the pot. Break it apart with a wooden spoon. Cook for 6-7 minutes, until the beef is browned, stirring occasionally.
I like to combine all of the dry ingredients in one bowl, as seen above, so I can blend them together thoroughly before adding to the meat. Once the meat is brown, add the chili powder, cumin, sugar, garlic powder, salt, pepper, tomato paste, and optional cayenne. Stir until well combined.
Add the broth, diced tomatoes (with their juice), drained beans, and tomato sauce. Stir well.
Bring the liquid to a low boil. Then, reduce the heat (low to medium-low) to gently simmer the chili, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove the pot from the heat. Let the chili rest for 5-10 minutes before serving. I like to serve mine on top of fluffy white rice!
In addition to the chili ingredients listed in this recipe, you may also want to have these things as toppings.
- shredded cheddar cheese
- sour cream
- sliced green onions or chopped white onions
- saltine crackers or oyster crackers
- diced avocado
You can also make cornbread or garlic bread to serve with this delicious meal! As you can, see the chili takes almost no time to prepare and the result is truly the best chili you have ever tasted. Just check out the hundreds of five star reviews on the site!
This recipe makes six generous servings, so you have enough to share with a friend or neighbor who might really be in need of a wholesome and super delicious home-cooked meal right about now. At any rate, you are going have leftovers for days!