Easy Chili (Large Family Meal)

With a large family, I needed recipes that were easy (often from a can), could stay warm through our crazy dinner schedule, and would fill up the bellies of hungry athletes and dancers.

My guys loved chili. It is filling and a great crockpot meal. I could have it ready as early as 4:00 and they could grab a bowl between sports practices, work, or theater rehearsals.

I use canned beans. It’s much easier but a bit more expensive than dry beans. If you use dry beans, plan on 2 cups of each type of cooked bean. You can substitute other types of bean or add things like Lentils.


Easy Chili (Large Family Meal)

2 Pounds Extra Lean Ground Beef (not pictured)

1 Package Sausage. (I use regular. If you like your chili spicy you could add Hot Sausage.)

1 Large Onion – chopped

1 Clove Garlic – or use a couple of teaspoons of Garlic Powder

In a large skillet, brown the meats and the onion.

I add a few pinches of salt and coarse black pepper.

Once the meat is browned, drain the Meat Mixture well. (I put my strainer over a mixing bowl to catch the grease.) Let it set while you finish the rest of the prep.

Set the bowl of grease aside to cool. It may solidify. Then you can throw it in the trash rather than down the drain. Never pour grease down the drain it will clog pipes!

Note: You can stop here and freeze the Meat Mixture to use later. When we had a gaggle of kids at home, I’d cook 6-10 pounds at once and freeze for use in recipes later.

In a large pot or bowl mix the following while the Meat Mixture drains:

2 cans each (Do not drain):

Dark Red Kidney Beans

Black Beans

Navy Beans

Garbanzo Beans

Fire Roaster Tomatoes (chopped)

2 Packages of Chili Seasoning. (I use Regular but with younger children you may want to use mild.)

Stir in the Meat Mixture.

I add optional seasoning, depending on how spicy we want our chili:

Crushed Red Peppers



Smoked Paprika

Green Onions – chopped

No need for more salt. Canned beans have plenty!

Cook until thoroughly heated.

You can cook over the stove on very low, stirring frequently, for an hour or so. Be careful! You may need to add some water to keep it from burning if cooking on the stove.

Or you can put in a crockpot on low all day.

Serve with cornbread and a simple salad.

When serving for a party, have chopped green onions, sour cream, and shredded cheese available as condiments. Yum!!!

Optional Cooking Instructions

If using frozen Meat Mixture: put it in the crockpot first thing in the morning. Let it cook on low for a couple of hours to thaw completely. Stir periodically. Then add the beans and seasoning. Cook on low for 4-6 hours.

If preparing for use later in the week, after you’ve mixed the beans, Meat Mixture, and all the spices, don’t heat it! Simply pour into 1 gallon zipper bags and put in the refrigerator. The morning you plan to serve chili, pour into your crockpot, set on low, and let it cook all day.

Shopping List

2 Pounds Extra Lean Ground Beef
1 Package Sausage

2 cans each:
Dark Red Kidney Beans
Black Beans
Navy Beans
Garbanzo Beans
Fire Roaster Tomatoes (chopped)

2 Packages of Chili Seasoning.

1 Large Onion
2 Bunches Green Onion

Shredded Cheese
Sour Cream

From Your Spice Cabinet

Crushed Red Peppers
Smoked Paprika
Garlic – powder or fresh
Coarse Black Pepper

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