I am unashamedly as nostalgic as they come, and a serious traditions keeper. Okay… stickler. I don’t like for things to change, because why change things up that seem to be working just fine? If it were up to me, I would happily be running out of the back bedroom of my parent’s home on Christmas morning with my siblings where we all crashed together in our sleeping bags the night before (and, of course, we would let our spouses join in now…) to see what was left for us in the living room from Santa. What can I say? I am a hopeless romantic and I love family traditions. I love Saturday mornings with bacon, eggs, and biscuits with gravy made by my daddy because that’s what Mamma made every Saturday morning for him, and Sunday mornings getting ready for church together and piling into the truck. Ahhh, and quite possibly my favorite tradition- the ceremonious pot of chili when the first cold front of the year pushed through the stickiness of summer and brought hope for the holiday season just around the corner. It was like a sigh of relief that blew in, replacing the lingering heat that with it came the giddiness of what was to come over the next couple of months. Cooler Friday night lights, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and the absolutely perfect and special Christmas season my parents provided us with year after year. We didn’t make chili until that cold front came each year, and it was anticipated. Mom’s chili tasted like comfort, cozy blankets by the fire and a bowl of goodness and cheddar cheese on top while watching something on television all together at night before bedtime. Likely to be some Saturday night movie on ABC or a special movie we rented from Blockbuster that was on our “must watch” list. Now, with that same giddiness and excitement, I still make chili when fall rolls in. Although, I will say, I married a chili loving fool who wants chili year-round, so I have had to compromise a bit on “chili can only be eaten when it’s 60 degrees or less outside.” I remember I was legitimately appalled the first time he asked me to make chili for dinner in the dead of summer. Marriage is all about compromise, right? But, for the most part, I really do try to keep chili special- for fall and winter only unless very specially requested by Paul.
So my chili recipe? It’s really simple, and to be completely honest… I don’t measure anything out. I just toss seasonings in until it tastes like mom’s. But, for sharing a recipe’s sake… I will attempt to give you some measurements for a massive pot of chili that will last you all weekend long.
1 lb lean ground beef (or turkey- but, beef if you’re going all in)
1 can of red kidney beans
1 can of black beans
1 can of Rotel (momma’s secret game changer!)
2 cans of tomato sauce
1 can yellow corn (drained)
1 Green bell pepper chopped
2tbsp Chili Powder
Finely diced onion to taste
Garlic, salt, pepper to taste (I say to taste… because… well, I toss and taste)
You can seriously add just about anything into a pot of chili, and it’s good. But this is a classic red chili recipe that never fails. If you’re a pumpkin fan… add some pumpkin puree for an extra taste of fall. My hubby, however, is not a pumpkin fan so I have to make my own pot when I do that. 😉 Or… just not tell him. SHHH- he literally never knows when I sneak it in.
Love y’all and happy fall!
All photos by Cottonwood Road Photography for The Cake by Hannah