Hearty and rich, this mildly spicy beef & bean chili is full of fresh veggies and light on the digestion, warming me from head to toe on cold nights. It's reminiscent of Wendy's Chili, but heartier and thicker, making it the perfect chili to top a chili-dog, or eat straight from a bowl. 

what's cool about this recipe

Super Easy to Make

I can overlook the 2.5 hour simmer time, because this recipe is so easy, that even in my sleepy morning stupor, I can throw it together and let it simmer until lunch. 

Where it Came From

Chili is one of those recipes I've battled with for over 25 years. Finally, though it's taken some time, I've finally found my feet in the kitchen, and came up with this heavenly concoction. There's something about time and wear that makes a cook worth her salt. 

The PERFECT Chili Flavor

Everything I ever wanted in a chili is here in this recipe. It's light and fresh, yet hearty and robust... a contradiction, I know. But it's true. Not too heavy on the chili powder, not too light on the flavor, and it sits easily on my stomach. Not many chilis sit easy. 

Chili Cravings = BULLSEYE

It scratches my every chili itch imaginable. This is my "IT" chili. Alone or embellished, it is the perfect base for all things chili. I fancy mine with 3 dollops of cottage cheese. Kinda crazy about that, actually.






  • 2 pounds 90/10 ground beef
  • 1 Cup celery, chopped
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 1 Cup green bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 14.5 ounce cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 10 ounce can rotel
  • 1 15 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 14 ounce can kidney beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1 14 ounce can black beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1 4oz candiced green chiles - mild, medium, or hot...you choose OR 2 fresh diced green chiles
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 3 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar


  1. Chop your peppers, onions, and celery and set aside. All together in the same bowl is fine, or just leave 'em on the cutting board. Get out all of your canned items and set aside.

  2. In a 6-quart dutch oven (massively huge pot to cook on the stove), break apart the ground beef and get it started on browning on high heat.  Once it starts to brown and is still a bit pink, add the chopped peppers, onions, and celery, and stir in well. Let that cook while you're opening your cans of tomatoes and beans, and rinsing the beans. Return every couple of minutes, to stir it.  Do not worry about breaking the ground beef into little pieces, as the long stewing will break them down for you in step 5 will do that for you. 

  3. To rinse the beans, dump the entire can contents into a wire sieve and rinse under warm water. Try to get as much as you can off of it, as much of the oligosaccharides are in the gooey water in the bean cans.  I used to like to add the liquid from the cans for extra flavor, but oh heavens... that's a mistake.

  4. Add all canned ingredients to the dutch oven, and then add the seasonings on top. Stir well. 

  5. Bring to a boil, stirring every few minutes, then drop the heat down JUST ABOVE the lowest simmer setting. Simmer for 2 1/2 hours. Whatever big chunks of beef remained will break down and mesh into the tomato base, creating a rich, tender stew.

  6. Turn off the heat, and let your stew rest an hour or so. You can serve it right away, or let the flavors settle and bind for an hour, but it'll be better after it sets for a bit, and even better the next day.

Top with:

  • finely-shredded cheddar cheese, or a nice Mexican cheese blend (without seasonings added)
  • sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • saltine or oyster crackers
  • cilantro
  • parsley

If it's too thick and spicy, just add a dribble of water to your bowl and it'll balance-out. Kind-of amazing that way.

Quick background about where this recipe came from, and how it's used 

I gave-up making chili years ago, when the gas would wake the dead. Or me. It woke me up. A lot. Too much, so I stopped eating it. I deemed my intestinal tract unworthy of the challenge, and stuck to simpler foods, like... simpler stuff. 

But whenever I'm out running around away from home, and I get really hungry... the kind of hungry that can't wait until I get home, much-less wait to fix a meal while I'm there...the spill out of the car, throw-up, and die kind of hungry... I stop at Wendy's to get a chili. It's one of the only things drive-thru offers to me that feels real food-ish. Everything else causes blow-back hunger of the Godzilla sort. I guess after eating highly dense nutritive foods and cutting out a lot of the binders and sauces that rack-up calories but offer no real nutritive substance, my digestive system cannot be fooled into thinking that 300 calories of drive thru is remotely equal to 300 calories of home cooking. The entire next day is extreme blowback hunger, as though my system is pitching a collossal fit over my trickery. How dare I trick it into thinking it actually ate yesterday?? So Wendy's Chili moves up my ranks into an esteemed position of actual food amongst the fakers. Since it's saved my hide several times now, I thought it might be fitting to go back to my chili roots and try again. Chili was one of my favorite things to make when you kids were small. So I dug-up a tamer version of my very potent chili of old, fiddled and tweaked, and came up with this. So... about the gas...

Why drain & rinse the beans? Because the liquid contains oligosaccharides that give you really bad gas. Unless you WANT gas, then use the whole dang can... and consider maybe becoming a flatologist. Seriously, it's a real job. Look into it. But for me, I'm a light sleeper...had to be to keep you kids safe at night when you were small... you two were such sleepwalkers. You kept me on my toes. So sleep was coveted, and gas had no business waking me up.  Thus, chili had to go.

But it's back. AND I'm determined to find a way to have my beans and my sleep too. So drain the can or not, it's your social life and your good... or not... night

Food Pairing Suggestions

  • homemade corn bread, Jiffy Cornbread mix, or my Corn Bake
  • over top of hotdogs with fresh finely-diced onions and finely shredded cheddar cheese
  • corndogs
  • over spaghetti noodles with some ricotta or cottage cheese
  • over a salad with a chipotle-ranch dressing and those wispy little tortilla strips
  • Saltine or oyster crackers


Drink Pairing Suggestions

  • water
  • soda
  • tea