Seriously, have I mentioned how much I love fall?? Nothing says fall to me quite like a big bowl of my mama’s chili on a crisp evening. I will usually make it once or twice during the fall/winter season. It’s so easy, delicious, and perfect for lots of leftovers…aka allows me not to cook for a few days! I have always, always used my mom’s recipe, and it never disappoints. I don’t think I could even try a different version, because I just love it so much. And now that she’s gone, it’s even more special to me and reminds me of how great of a cook she was. Hello, nostalgia.
In our house we use ground turkey for everything. I honestly don’t remember the last time I used ground beef. But, for this comfort food, the recipe calls for beef and I don’t substitute like in everything else. It has more flavor in my opinion, and it’s just what my mom always used. Well, after our South Haven incident with Noah, I have had a fear he’s allergic to beef. I know, I know, you people probably think I’m crazy in thinking he’s allergic to everything. But, if you saw how much his tongue and lips swelled, you’d understand. But, with this incident, we never knew if it was beef, something cross contaminated on the grill, the butter/oil they used to cook, etc. But, we’ve avoided it regardless (again, mainly because I just always use turkey anyways). Well at our last allergist appointment, Noah’s skin prick was negative for beef, which was encouraging. So, we decided to brave it out and give it a go.
As soon as he woke up from his nap, we gave him a few chunks of ground beef. I didn’t want to wait until dinner, which is just an hour or so before bedtime, in case of a delayed reaction. So, we gave him a bit and watched him like a hawk. The kid loved it. He wanted more and more. And guess what?! No reaction!! So, we were all able to enjoy the same dinner, which is always the goal. But, I still was nervous at dinner, and continued to watch every bite that went into his mouth. And check on him a few times after he was sound asleep. Oh the life of an allergy mom.
We did make one tweak for his chili – I did not give him beans. I pulled a few portions out for him, and then added the beans to the rest for David and I. I wasn’t sure if he had ever eaten beans before, and like all new foods, I was nervous. More than likely he’d be fine, but with braving the meat this time, that was enough stress for one night. Trying beans can wait!
So, for the recipe!!
3 lbs. ground chuck/beef
1 large yellow onion, diced
3 cans diced tomatoes (15 oz each) – chili ready, or whatever is on sale
1 can diced tomatoes with green chilies
2 or 3 cans chili ready beans (16 oz each), mild flavor
1 large can tomato sauce (29 oz)
1 small can tomato sauce (8 oz)
elbow macaroni, cooked (optional) – use gluten free pasta, if needed
shredded cheddar cheese (optional) – use vegan cheese, if needed
1. In a large stock pot, brown ground chuck and diced onion, until brown. Drain fat (I actually usually rinse the meat and onion under water too, just to get rid of most of the fat).
2. Return beef and onion to the stock pot, add all cans of tomatoes, tomato sauce, and sauce from the beans (reserve beans).
3. Stir to combine well, simmer over low-medium heat for 1-1.5 hours.
4. Add reserved beans, and heat through.
5. I usually with combine with cooked elbow noodles, and serve with shredded cheese and saltines!
Seriously easy, and seriously delicious! This will always be my tried and true chili recipe to enjoy throughout the colder months. Thank you, mama, for leaving behind some of my favorite recipes from growing up!!
NOTE: As with any recipe, you must check all labels to ensure they all meet your family’s dietary and allergy needs! I’m not a doctor, just a mom trying to make things as normal as possible with meals for my family!