Chili was my mom’s go-to supper, when we were pressed for time and had somewhere to be. Most likely, as we were the pastor’s family, that somewhere was a church service. My sisters and brother were less than thrilled to have chili on Christmas Eve, but they had Christmas cookies and other goodies to look forward to when we came home. Unlike my siblings, I always looked forward to eating chili. We would also eat chili on Wednesday nights before Lenten services, or other times Mom needed to throw together a quick and easy supper.
As a mom myself, I make chili on ballet and choir nights. My sister-in-law will request my chili because I make it like her own mom used to. Her children don’t like chili, so she doesn’t make it at home. Neither do mine, but that doesn’t stop me! I mix together cornbread batter and throw it in the oven to make my children happy. I serve chili with lots of shredded sharp cheddar cheese, diced raw onion, and oyster crackers. Ed will chop up a fresh jalapeno for some extra heat in his bowl.
Chili is so versatile; make it in the crock pot in the morning or an hour before you eat. Throw in some chopped green peppers or leave them out. Add the rest of that jar of salsa when the tortilla chip bag is empty. Use tender, shredded boneless chicken breasts for a different flavor. Chili always tastes even better the next day–leftovers I actually like to eat. A friend from MOPS and I agree…when making chili at home, use very lean ground beef. When bringing chili to a new mother or a grieving family, use the less lean beef! She was kind enough to bring her own version of chili to our home when my mom died.
Mom’s Chili1 lb. lean ground beef 1 large can chili beans in sauce 1 large can petite diced tomatoes 1 medium white or yellow onion, diced chili powder 2 whole bay leaves
Brown ground beef and drain well. Add the cans of chili beans and tomatoes. Add the onion, keeping some in reserve for serving the chili. Stir in chili powder (I don’t measure it, so sprinkle it to your taste) along with two whole bay leaves. Simmer for at least an hour on the stove, or cook on low in the crock pot all day. Remove bay leaves before serving. Serve with shredded cheddar cheese, raw onions and oyster crackers.