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Eating Well: Bring on the piping hot chili for quick warm-up

The cooler fall weather is the perfect excuse to serve piping hot soup or huge bowls of steaming chili right out of the crock pot, which also lends itself to convenience in preparation and serving.

This month I'm sharing a few 'strictly chili' recipes, all of which are a little bit different to pique every cooks tastes and interests.

The "White Bean Chili" calls for using ground turkey in addition to the hamburger, but if you'd rather use all hamburger or all turkey feel free to do so, the end result will still be utterly delicious.

The "Chili Soup with Melted Cheese" is also a wonderful variation utilizing good, old creamy Velveeta Cheese, always a favorite in my kitchen.

Double or triple the recipes for larger groups, serve with a variety of condiments and fresh sliced bread, and your meal is complete. On a related note, if you have not tried the Asiago cheese bread carried in the bakery of a locally popular store starting with the letter 'W,' you are missing out on a real treat. This fresh, chewy bread topped by whipped butter is a real chili lover's delight when served alongside the hearty soup. You better purchase a couple of loaves, because one slice definitely won't be enough. Oh, by the way, the pepperoni bread is awesome too.

Until next time, from my kitchen to yours, happy cooking.

Quick and Easy Chili

2 pounds ground beef

1 large onion, chopped

2 16-oz. cans stewed tomatoes

2 11 ½ oz. cans hot V-8 juice

3 15-oz. cans pinto beans

½ tsp. cayenne pepper

1 tsp. salt

2 tbsp. chili powder

Sour cream

Chopped green onions

Grated cheese

Sliced ripe olives

Brown ground beef in skillet with onion until browned. Combine beef and rest of ingredients in crockpot. Cook on low 4-5 hours. Put in bowls and garnish with variety of remaining ingredients. Makes 8 servings

Karen's Chili Soup

1 pound ground beef

1 onion, chopped

10 ¾ oz. can condensed tomato soup

16 oz. can kidney beans, drained

1 qt. tomato juice

1/8 tsp. garlic powder

1 tbsp. chili powder

½ tsp. pepper

½ tsp. ground cumin

½ tsp. salt

Brown hamburger and onion in skillet, drain. Combine all ingredients in slow cooker. Mix well. Cook on low 7-8 hours. Serves six.

White Bean Chili

1 pound ground beef, browned and drained

1 pound ground turkey, browned and drained

3 bell peppers

2 onions, chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 14 ½ oz. cans chicken broth

15 ½ ounce can butter beans, drained and rinsed

15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed

15 oz. can garbonzo beans, drained and rinsed

15 oz. can navy beans, drained and rinsed

4 oz. can chopped green chilies

2 tbsp. chili powder

3 tsp. ground cumin

2 tsp. dried oregano

2 tsp. paprika

2 tsp. salt

½ tsp. pepper

Combine all ingredients in slow cooker. Cook on low eight to 10 hours. Serves 10-12.

Chili Soup with

Melted Cheese

1 lb. Velveeta cheese, cubed

1 pound ground beef, browned and drained

15 oz. can hominy, undrained

15 oz. can kidney beans, undrained

14 ½ ounce can diced tomatoes with green chilies

14 ½ ounce can stewed tomatoes

2 Tbsp. dried taco seasoning mix

Corn chips or soft tortillas

Combine all ingredients in slow cooker except chips or tortillas. Cover and cook on high three hours. Serve with corn chips as a side, or dip soft tortillas in individual servings in soup bowl. Serves 8.