Stories of life on our farm in Northwest Georgia where every day is an adventure in this beautiful spot that God has entrusted to our stewardship.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Quick and Easy, Fool-Proof Chili

Company coming . . . what to fix?  Try my favorite cool-weather recipe:  Wick Fowler's 2 Alarm Chili turned into No-Alarm Chili for tender taste buds.  It only takes half an hour to make.  In fact, it will probably take you longer to read this post than it will to make the chili!  But read the post, anyway!  The way I make it, it pretty well fills up a 6-qt. crock pot and will feed 8-12 people, depending on their greediness!

Here's the package back showing ingredients and directions.  I change it up a bit, of course--I'm allergic to following any recipe!

For my version:

Break up 2-3 lbs. of ground grass-fed beef and pastured pork into pecan-sized bits and brown on medium-low heat.  The more meat you use, the milder-flavored your chili will be.

Use 1 28-oz. can of crushed tomatoes.  I like Cento brand best because they're thick, not runny.  You can opt to use tomato puree for less texture or you can crush canned whole tomatoes with your hands, but it's more work and the chili won't be as rich and tomato-y.

Instead of water (that's for ducks!) use 1 bottle (forget cans!) of good beer.  Negra Modelo or Dos Equis are good.  This time I used Guinness Stout.  
Very Important:  Taste the beer first to be sure it's good!  You do not want to ruin your chili with bad beer!  :)

Follow the Mild Chili directions.  More in a minute.

Stretch your chili with canned beans.  I usually add about 1 15.oz. can per pound of meat.   My favorite is dark red kidney beans, but I also use black beans, pinto beans, or light red kidney beans as the mood strikes.  Adding beans makes the chili perfect for "Make Your Own Taco Salad" or "Mexican Pile-Up."

Since this recipe is as easy as browning meat and opening cans, I didn't insult your intelligence by posting photos of that process.  I'll just give a quick run-down of the steps:

  1. Brown the meat in a skillet over medium-low heat.
  2. While periodically stirring the meat (too much manipulation or too-high heat can make it tough), I heat the crock pot on high.
  3. Drain and rinse the beans in a colander, then dump them into the crock pot.
  4. Add the tomatoes on top of the beans.
  5. Use the beer to rinse out the tomato can and pour the entire bottle (minus your taste test; don't worry--the chili is going to simmer and kill any germs the beer didn't kill) into the crock pot.
  6. Drain the browned meat in the same colander.  You can put a bowl of your dog's food under the crock pot, and he will thank you at supper time!
  7. Add the browned meat to the mixture in the crock pot and stir well.

In case you were wondering what the sign behind the crock pot says, here it is!

Now comes the fun part!  Open the Wick Fowler's 2 Alarm Chili Kit box and take out the goodies inside.  Separate them into three piles:

  1. Chili powder, salt, cumin/oregano, onion/garlic and paprika in front.
  2. Masa in the middle.
  3. Red pepper in back.
Now put the red pepper packet back into the box.  Save the box for the directions.  When you're done you will toss the box with the hot pepper inside!  This will ensure that you won't accidentally put the hot cayenne pepper into the chili, making it inedible.  Trust me, it will have plenty of flavor and a bit of heat without the cayenne!

Here's a look at the spices you're going to use right now in assembling your chili.  Note:  You could stock chili powder, cumin, oregano, onion flakes, garlic flakes and paprika.  You could try to figure out the right proportions.  Then you could open 6 jars, measure all the spices into your chili, close the jars and put them away.  Or you could just be smart and pick up a package of Wick Fowler's 2 Alarm Chili Kit at the grocery store.  You decide!

Grab a scissors, cut open the packets and dump them onto the chili.  It's that easy, and you're almost done.

Stir the chili and keep the crock pot on "High" until it simmers.

After the chili simmers, take 1/4 c. of warm water, dissolve the masa into it, then stir it into the chili.  You can then turn the crock pot to "Low" and leave it.  Contrary to what the directions say about simmering 15 minutes, there will be enough heat left in the crock pot to thicken the masa mixture.  This saves you from having to remember to come back and turn the crock pot down later, and it ensures your chili won't have a burned taste if you forget.

Now you just have to wait till supper time!  While you're waiting, briskly scratch this photo on your computer screen with your thumbnail to enjoy the odor of simmering chili.

We like to serve the chili on top of corn chips and top it with:

  • Grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • Chopped sweet bell peppers
  • Chopped tomatoes or cherry tomatoes
  • Lettuce
  • Sour cream
  • Salsa
  • Guacamole
We call this "Make Your Own Taco Salad," but I like our friends' name better:  "Mexican Pile-Up."

Be sure to have plenty of cold beer to serve with the chili.  Your guests will probably prefer if you don't taste test those bottles!

This recipe is so easy and the result is so delicious, it's almost a crime not to invite someone over for dinner!  If you're lucky and your guests aren't too greedy, you'll probably have enough leftovers for supper tomorrow.

Bon appetit!


  1. Yum! Now you have made me hungry!!! What time did you say supper will be? lol

    1. Leftovers Sunday night--what time can you be here? :)

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. This looks good, I will have to give this a try. Thanks for sharing this.

    1. You're welcome, Gordon. It's so easy, it's like fast food. You can keep everything in your pantry or freezer till the mood for chili strikes you, and it really is quicker than driving out for fast food!

  3. Replies
    1. Absolutely, Linda M! That's my favorite way to make it! :) It's SO easy, and it's ready when you get home!


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