Chili for a Rainy Week

Woke up on Monday to a gloomy and wet San Francisco. On my commute to work I was thinking to myself, “What I wouldn’t give for some hot soup- or better yet, some chili!…” The craving nagged me all day at work and I was looking up recipes by 4 o’clock.

The first time I ever attempted chili, I made a vegetarian tofu chili that was pretty yummy. I love chilis: it’s easy, usually one-pot, versatile, freezable, filling, keeps you warm, and can usually be “healthified”. This time I wanted to find a meat chili for my carnivorous boyfriend.

I found Simple Weeknight Chili on Fit Sugar website which looked good to me.


(What I substituted/took the liberty to change is italicized) 

1 yellow onion, minced
2 tablespoons coconut oil —- vegetable oil 
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 pounds ground beef —-2 pkgs Trader Joes 80% 20% ground beef
16 ounces diced tomatoes (you can also use 5-6 fresh tomatoes, skinned and chopped)
5 cups chicken stock
2 cups kidney beans, soaked the night before and drained  —-1 can of organic kidney beans
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt —-regular salt 

DSCN2800I am cheap and did not want to go out of my way to buy coconut oil just for this recipe, so I used vegetable oil to saute the onions. Ohhhh the minute the onions hit the oil, this amazing smell wafted through the kitchen- I wish I could share it with you!!

DSCN2801After the onions are sauteed for about 5-6 mins and are turning translucent, throw in the ground beef. Make sure to beak up the pieces while cooking and cook thoroughly.

DSCN2803After the beef is cooked, I added the rest of the ingredients: chicken broth/ stock, kidney beans, diced tomatoes and spices. The easy part was suppose to come- letting it simmer for 45 mins and have delicious hearty chili. However….

DSCN280445 mins later…..I discovered a pot of simmering chicken soup with chunks of beef and LOTS of oil floating at the top. I was horrified that the results did not look like chili at all. I tried to figure out what went wrong, I read the recipe instructions over and over again to see if I missed something. I referred back to my Tofu Chili I made nearly a year ago to see what I was missing. Other recipes rarely mentioned chicken stock and included a can of crushed tomato or tomato paste for the thickness and richness of chili.

I wanted to try to salvage it so I ladled all of it into a container. I wish I remembered to take some pictures but I suppose it would not look too appetizing anyways. Right after work the next day, I zipped to Safeway for a precious tiny can of 89 cent tomato paste.

I suspected I may have bought the “wrong” kind of ground beef (I really know nothing about buying meats- especially beef) because there was a disgusting amount of fat that solidified into a layer on top of the chili. On the bright side I scooped out all the solid fat.

I reheated what I had in a pot and stirred in the tomato paste and crossed my fingers.

My boyfriend saw the pot and he said, "Now THAT looks like chili!"

My boyfriend saw the pot and he said, “Now THAT looks like chili!”.

I took the liberty of adding some sweet corn (I love corn in almost anything). Then garnished with smooth avocado, refreshing (light) sour cream, and rich cheddar cheese.DSCN2813


When you Google chili recipes there are tons versions with so many different ingredients, one can argue that there is really no “traditional” chili recipe anymore. There’s vegetarian variations, ones made with different beans, “tomato-based”, and “non-tomato-based”. I even found one that uses chocolate. Have fun with your trials and errors- I know I did!

Ideas for Substitutes and Add-Ins:

  • quinoa
  • bell peppers
  • corn
  • black-beans
  • Italian spicy sausage
  • firm tofu
  • white beans
  • ground turkey

One thought on “Chili for a Rainy Week

  1. Pingback: Broccoli Bites « Sweet Therapy

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