Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A "chili" fall evening...

Here is Carol at Michael's birthday dinner earlier this month!
Notice the camera in her right hand. The woman never leaves home without it!

My mom-in-law Carol has several "signature" recipes. Most of them she knows by heart and getting her to write them down is like pulling teeth! When Michael and I were dating, I ate "many a meal" at his house. Carol often cooked from scratch, and she made simple, hearty recipes.

One recipe that Carol still makes on a regular basis is her chili. She calls this her "hot dog" chili, but it's the only kind of chili she believes in. She doesn't believe in other "chilis", as in a stew with beans, tomatoes, meat, and spices.

We took Carol to one of our favorite restaurants last year. On the soup bar they were serving chili. Carol decided to try the chili to see if it was as good as hers (because you know, it doesn't get better than hers!) And of course, it didn't meet her standards. She said, "Well MY chili doesn't have all this other stuff in it!" Beans, tomatoes, etc... Carol said it didn't need that stuff. I grew up on chili made with those ingredients.

When I first tried Carol's chili, I actually thought it was kind of bland. No beans? No tomatoes? No spicy peppers? Yet her kids, including my husband, RAVED over the stuff. Just loved it! Still do. And now I do too. I still love that other kind of chili, and I make it often in cold weather (I love my ground turkey chili!)... but occasionally I just really want some of Carol's chili! It's especially good on a simple baked potato.

We don't get Carol's chili very often because she only makes it when ground beef goes on sale. Carol cooks in large quantities, so she only cooks this chili when she has 10 pounds of ground beef or more to make it!

This chili is great on hot dogs, hamburgers, baked potatoes, and sometimes Carol will cook pasta and use her chili as a "spaghetti" sauce of sorts. Carol believes in all-purpose recipes! ;-)

Right now is the season for chili folks! What do you put in your chili? I'd love to hear about your own chili recipes in the comments below!!

This chili would also be killer with that SWEET corn bread we made earlier this week! ;-P If you missed the "sweet vs. non-sweet" cornbread debate, I would love to hear your imput!!

We served this chili on top of fresh oven baked potatoes with sour cream, cheddar, and Italian parsley!

Carol's Chili

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 TBSP. chili powder
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. garlic granules
  • cornstarch (optional -- as desired for thickening)

In a medium saucepan, brown ground beef until cooked through. Add water, salt, chili powder, paprika, and garlic granules. Cook over medium heat for approximately 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add cornstarch as desired for thickening. (I added about 1 Tbsp. cornstarch and cooked chili down for approx. 40 minutes.) Serve over hot dogs, baked potatoes, hamburgers, rice and vegetables, etc... This is great as a base for a simple meal!

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