Looking for something to eat with your cornbread? I have just the ticket!

I have a confession when it comes to chili. I never, ever, ever use a recipe. Not even my own recipe. I just throw everything together, taste test, and season according to my tastebuds’ liking.

I used to think that chili was very time consuming and complicated. It doesn’t have to be. Delicious chili can be made easy!

Step 1: Chop your veggies. For super simple chili, I usually go with one medium onion, 2-3 cloves of garlic, and one small red pepper. You don’t need the peppers, but make sure you use the onion and garlic.

Step 2: Saute your veggies in a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt. This only takes about 5 minutes. You want the onions and garlic to be soft and fragrant.

Step 3: Add your meat, if any. This can easily be made into 4 step chili if you leave out the beef. We continually change it up, using ground beef or turkey, buffalo, or even chicken. Just depends on how we are feeling. Or how hangry Mr. How Sweet is.

Step 4: Add your canned goods. This is another step where I normally grab what I have and throw it in the pot. My favorite combination includes tomato sauce, tomato puree, tomato paste, and light red kidney beans.

Step 5: Add your seasonings. I wish I could tell you to add a pinch of this and a dash of that, but I rarely measure when it comes to chili. I will give you approximations in the recipe below, but feel free to change/include/exclude depending on your personal tastes. It is YOUR chili after all.

As the story goes, your chili is going to taste better the longer it cooks. I have been known to cook a pot of chili overnight. But since I live with that guy that must eat every 7 minutes on the dot, sometimes allowing my chili to simmer just isn’t in the cards. It is almost as delicious with just a few minutes of cooking. If you let it simmer for about 20-30 minutes, you should be good. You can also let it cook all day in a crockpot.

Oh, and I did forget a step. Perhaps the most important one…

…DEVOUR. My favorite toppings are smoked gouda, avocado and chopped red onion.

Easy 5 Step Chili

1 medium onion, chopped

2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 lbs ground beef (or meat of your choice)

1 29 oz can tomato sauce

1 29 oz can tomato puree

1 29 oz can of diced tomatoes in juice

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 15 oz cans of kidney beans, drained and rinsed

2 tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoon cocoa chili powder

1 tablespoons cumin

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

salt & pepper to taste

Chop onions and garlic (and any other vegetables). In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add chopped veggies and sprinkle with salt. Cook for 5-8 minutes, or until soft.

Add in ground beef (or meat) and cook until meat it heated through and no longer pink. Add sauces, tomato paste, and beans. Add spices and seasonings and stir. Let cook for at least 20-30 minutes, or up to 8 hours.

Note: This recipe makes a very chunky chili. Feel free to add more/less sauce depending on your preferences.

Don’t forget to throw a big hunk of cornbread, slathered in butter, on top for good measure.

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69 Responses to “Easy 5 Step Chili.”

  1. #
    chelsey @ clean eating chelsey — October 18, 2010 @ 4:08 am

    I usually dno’t have a recipe when it comes to chili either – I just throw everything in and cross my fingers!


  2. #
    Wei-Wei — October 18, 2010 @ 4:19 am

    I’ve never made chili before – for some reason, it’s so intimidating with all the spices it requires! I’m not good with spices. :P


  3. #
    Katrina — October 18, 2010 @ 4:31 am

    Easy anything makes me happy, but easy chili makes me feel warm all over as well as happy. What a comfort food.


  4. #
    Estela @ Weekly Bite — October 18, 2010 @ 4:34 am

    Looks great! I’ve never thought to put smoked gouda on top. I always go with cheddar.. that’s going to have to change ;)


  5. #
    Joanna Sutter (Fitness & Spice) — October 18, 2010 @ 4:43 am

    Mmmmm! The perfect fall feast! Thanks for breaking it down for us!


  6. #
    Erica — October 18, 2010 @ 4:45 am

    I’m the same way. I just don’t like measuring stuff. Plus its fun to toss in what you have on hand. Great topping choices. I like greek yogurt and tortilla chips


  7. #
    Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine — October 18, 2010 @ 4:49 am

    I love chili for fall…I just wish I had a slow-cooker so it was easier to make and forget about for a few hours!!


  8. #
    Heather — October 18, 2010 @ 4:55 am

    i’ll take easy any day these days! this looks perfect…and i love the last shot with the cheese on top!

    cheese makes the world go ’round :)


  9. #
    Kim in MD — October 18, 2010 @ 5:06 am

    I love chili! Your recipe looks scrumptious!


  10. #
    Tabitha (From Single to Married) — October 18, 2010 @ 5:06 am

    Easy is right up my alley! This would be perfect to go along with the chilly weather we’re having now!


  11. #
    Madeline - Greens and Jeans — October 18, 2010 @ 5:16 am

    I will take any excuse to drown something in gouda!


  12. #
    Lauren at KeepItSweet — October 18, 2010 @ 5:25 am

    chili and cornbread is one of my all-time favorite meals….definitely need to make chili asap


  13. #
    Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg — October 18, 2010 @ 5:27 am

    I’m like you– never really use a recipe, just throw stuff in and watch the magic happen ;-)


  14. #
    Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat — October 18, 2010 @ 5:30 am

    My chili is usually a mish-mash of whatever I have on hand. No matter what though, I ALWAYS throw in chipotle chili powder because it gives it an amazing smoky taste. Such a great fall/winter meal! :)


  15. #
    Liz @ Blog is the New Black — October 18, 2010 @ 5:30 am

    I do the same thing- no measurements, etc. I like your recipe though, I loosely do the same ingredients, etc.! :)


  16. #
    Talia @ Texas Gunslinger — October 18, 2010 @ 5:34 am

    How can this be that I’ve NEVER even thought of avocado with chili? This is preposterous! That sounds like a brilliant combo- brilliant, I tell ya! My Hubbs mentioned just last night that I out to make “Santa Fe Stew” since it’s getting colder. That would be perfect together…hmmm….yum!


  17. #
    MelissaNibbles — October 18, 2010 @ 5:42 am

    My bf would love this. Emailing this to him now :)


  18. #
    Matt — October 18, 2010 @ 5:49 am

    Totally making your cornbread tonight ;)


  19. #
    Kristina @ spabettie — October 18, 2010 @ 5:50 am

    Jason usually makes our chili around here… he never makes it the same and I think this is why… he doesn’t really follow a recipe either :D


  20. #
    Cara — October 18, 2010 @ 5:52 am

    I am totally with on the no-recipe-chili thing…
    I like to just go with the flow.


  21. #
    Sues — October 18, 2010 @ 5:54 am

    Wow, this does look super easy!! And delicious-looking. Is it weird I’m now craving chili before 9 a.m.??? I’d totally be eating it if I had some in my fridge right now!


  22. #
    Emily — October 18, 2010 @ 6:05 am

    I never use my recipe either :) Chili is truly an improvisational dish and never fails to be yummy!


  23. #
    Holly @ couchpotatoathlete — October 18, 2010 @ 6:06 am

    Chili is super easy to make — and I love how I really can’t mess it up. I use most of the ingredients you use here!


  24. #
    Joslyn @ missfitbliss — October 18, 2010 @ 6:10 am

    That chili looks fantastic. I like the addition of red onions, avocado, and cheese to the top. Seriously wonderful combination on top of anything!


  25. #
    rhonda — October 18, 2010 @ 6:32 am

    Never a recipe and yummy all week long….I always add a small can or two of spicy V-8 juice.


  26. #
    Noelle @Opera Singer in Kitchen — October 18, 2010 @ 6:38 am

    Fun! I made 2 types of chili yesterday! It was a good day for it!


  27. #
    Camille — October 18, 2010 @ 7:21 am

    I’ve been eating homemade chili all week and it has been amazing!


  28. #
    Caitlin — October 18, 2010 @ 7:28 am

    Glad to know I’m not the only one who doesn’t have a “recipe” for chili.

    That’s why it’s one of the 5 things I can cook.


  29. #
    Megan — October 18, 2010 @ 7:46 am

    I am so ready for chili weather!


  30. #
    Kate @ Cozydelicious — October 18, 2010 @ 7:55 am

    This looks like perfect chili-dog chili – or nacho chili, or chili fries chili. I think a thick, chunky version without too many added veggies is the best for combining with other foods, and my usual chili just doesn’t work! So I’m keeping this one! Thanks Jess!


  31. #
    Naomi(onefitfoodie) — October 18, 2010 @ 8:18 am

    omg I am the same way when it comes to chili AND soup! i never follow a recipe unless something looks complicated and So good! i usually throw things in and see what happens! yours looks delicious! esp with teh fluffy cornbread!!! (just emailed you!)


  32. #
    Barbara Bakes — October 18, 2010 @ 8:27 am

    Can’t believe I’ve never made chili. With all the chili contests out there, for some reason I thought it was complicated. You make it sound so easy! Love how it looks in your beautiful dish!


    • Jessica — October 18th, 2010 @ 11:34 am

      You’ve never made it?! I’m shocked! You make so many wonderful dishes!


  33. #
    Lora @cakeduchess — October 18, 2010 @ 8:34 am

    This chili looks fantastic. I could use a bowl right now with a chunk of cornbread. I love the idea of gouda and avocado as a topper! Thank you for sharing this yumminess!:)


  34. #
    Lisa @ I'm an Oie — October 18, 2010 @ 8:58 am

    I didn’t have any cornbread last night for my chili—that wouldve made it perfect!


  35. #
    Rachel @ The Avid Appetite — October 18, 2010 @ 9:19 am

    There’s nothing more comforting on a cool evening than homemade chili. I make mine very similarly – Red Pack, cumin, etc. I do find that cooking it on low (or in a crock pot) for 2-3 hours really makes it thick and oh-so-wonderful!


    • Jessica — October 18th, 2010 @ 11:33 am

      I’ve actually never made it in a crockpot! I need to try.


  36. #
    Courtney F — October 18, 2010 @ 9:58 am

    Our chili is never the same! We are ok with that!


  37. #
    Jenny — October 18, 2010 @ 10:13 am

    This looks amazing!


  38. #
    Blond Duck — October 18, 2010 @ 10:14 am

    I use red beans in my chili too, though as a Texan I know it’s total blasphemy.


  39. #
    the country cook @ Delightful Country Cookin — October 18, 2010 @ 10:55 am

    I love the idea of topping with a smoked cheese! Oh boy, am I going to have to do that. We love chili. :-)


  40. #
    Jenna — October 18, 2010 @ 11:02 am

    Living in the north, we all need our fair share of stick to your ribs chili and cornbread. It is a fall/winter staple!


  41. #
    Kylie @ A Hungry Spoon — October 18, 2010 @ 11:17 am

    I’m so with you on the recipe-less chili! I NEVER follow a recipe! I posted a great chili recipe on my blog last month, but my husband had to make it because I knew I couldn’t hold myself to using the proper amounts and measurements if I made it myself :)

    Great looking recipe!


  42. #
    Jessica@tastyandtrim — October 18, 2010 @ 11:26 am

    I just made chili-filled mini pumpkins last night. I’ll have to make them again using this chili recipe! I never realized what an asset cumin is to chili. I added it to mine yesterday and noticed such a difference in flavor. Can’t wait to try this one out – I seriously can never get enough chili, especially during the Fall. It has to be one of my favorite Autumn meals :)


  43. #
    Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) — October 18, 2010 @ 11:59 am

    the chili looks great…i have just gotten into crockpot soups/chili..just dump sh*t in, and pray for the best outcome 5 hrs later LOL

    hope life has been good for you…the trip to DC looked awesome!!!


  44. #
    Mary (What's Cookin' with Mary) — October 18, 2010 @ 12:29 pm

    I think everyone is making chili this week! I decided to re-make my turkey chili yesterday afternoon for some family and friends. Such a hearty, warming dinner for all this drizzly, chilly weather we’ve been having! Your chili recipe sounds YUMMY! Here’s a link to some new pictures of my chili if you wanna take a gander ;) -m



  45. #
    homecookedem — October 18, 2010 @ 2:30 pm

    LOVE your choice of toppings for chili! I have got to try out the smoked gouda and avocado next time we have chili!! :)


  46. #
    Ellen@FirednFabulous — October 18, 2010 @ 2:39 pm

    Mmm mmm mmm I love chili! And cornbread. Slathered in butter. HOT food is probably my favorite thing about the cold months!


  47. #
    Leah @ Why Deprive? — October 18, 2010 @ 3:48 pm

    I have never made my own chili before. Its always kind of scared me, so I just wait until my mom makes a batch and then I steal some. :) This looks pretty simple though . . . I may actually give it a shot!


  48. #
    Moni'sMeals — October 18, 2010 @ 5:08 pm

    What a great chili recipe. Fast, easy, and Healthy! I will have to check this out and pair it with your fancy cornbread. :)


  49. #
    Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction — October 18, 2010 @ 7:34 pm

    Great tips for chili… Nothing beats chili and cornbread on a cool fall night!


  50. #
    Savannah P — October 18, 2010 @ 8:15 pm

    I’m new to blogging, but I’ve been an avid reader for ages. I don’t know how I skipped over yours. You had me at your header, but then this phrase: “a big hunk of cornbread, slathered in butter, on top for good measure.”
    … There are no other words. I’m so happy I found How Sweet!!! Looking forward to making some cornbread sometime -very- soon.



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