On Monday I promised I would share my easy, budget-friendly chili recipe with you…and today I am making good on that promise! Note: It does not need to be made in a crock pot…and usually I don’t! But when I made this recipe Sunday afternoon, Zach and I were getting ready to head out for a few hours. So I decided the crock pot was the better option.
When I was growing up, my Dad was in the Marine Corp. Which meant two things: 1) he was frequently stationed over seas for months or years at a time, and 2) we didn’t have a lot of money. Shockingly, military employees don’t get paid much. So my mom worked two, sometimes three, jobs at a time when my dad was gone (we never went with him when he left the country). (One of which involved making arrows. She both loved and hated this job. On the one hand, she got to do it from home. On the other hand, our living was constantly filled with arrows, she would sometimes inadvertently super glue herself to the arrows, and she had to travel an hour or so to deliver them each week. And my brother and I desperately wanted to play with them, which she had to keep finding ways of preventing.)
So dinner had to happen on a budget and time restraint. Chili, whether done in a crock pot or on the stove, fits both criteria.
What you’ll need:
- 1 (40 oz) can tomato juice
- 4 (15 oz) cans chili beans
- 1 lb ground meat
- 1 box Carrol Shelby’s Chili Kit (usually found with the gravy mixes, not the spices)
- 1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes (optional)
- 1 jar jalapenos, with juice (optional)
Step 01: Brown and drain the meat. Dump everything into a crock pot OR stock pot. (Warning: The jalapenos will make the chili really spicy. Use with caution.) The chili kit comes with four things: chili seasoning, salt, cayenne pepper, and masa. Do not add the bag labeled “Masa.” It’s a thickener. Wait until the very end to see if you even need it and then add it a little bit at a time. At most, I only ever use half the packet.
Step 02: If using a crock pot, cook for 2-3 hours on low. If using a stock pot, cook for about 20 minutes, or until it’s boiling. Serve with preferred toppings and enjoy!
I made this on Sunday and we still have leftovers (to be fair, there are only two of us), so this is pretty budget-friendly. If you want to be more conscious of your budget, then I would suggest making the chili seasoning yourself. I’ve done that a couple times, but I generally prefer the kit.