Cindy's Chili

I kinda disappeared on you guys, with no explanation, sorry about that!  I went to Puerto Rico for a week!  It was amazing.  I skipped a lot of the snowstorms here, and got to relax on many different beaches.  I ate all the plantains, and took so many pictures.  I promise to blog about the trip soon!
But now there's somehow another snowstorm here in Maryland!  I'm actually thrilled, because I keep missing out on lazy snow days, and it was actually kind of awesome to go from beach time yesterday to snowed-in today.  Luckily I made it to the grocery store this morning to re-stock my fridge with some essentials.  It got me thinking about some wonderful hearty meals to make on these cold days.  All of these recipes make big pots of food and the leftovers are just as amazing as the first portion.

First and foremost, there's Pioneer Woman pot roast, which I've gotten quite good at and love to have cooking away in the oven while I focus on other things.  It's one of my favorite things to make for Eric and I on fall and winter weekends.

Chicken noodle soup is another great one to make on cold days.  Feel free to add more veggies, or different flavors into this one if you don't have everything on hand.  Mostly you need chicken, noodles, and broth.  Done!

Big bowls of pasta always make me happy.  This butternut squash pasta, or breakfast pasta both sound delicious right now.

Or get all your veggies blended together into a thick soup, and make this zucchini vichyssoise.  And put an egg on it, obvs.

But one of my favorite "big pot" meals is this chili.  I've posted about it before, but I wanted to bring it to the forefront again.  It's a lot of cans of things, and it could not be easier to make.  It might as well be called "dump-it chili", because mostly you dump everything into a pot and let it simmer away for 30-45 minutes.  Easy peasy!
You definitely need the Frito's, but if you want sour cream, cheese, avocado, diced onions, or any other toppings you can think of, throw them on there!  This chili is also amazing over pasta, macaroni and cheese, or lettuce (for a healthy option).
I hope you'll make this easy chili soon!

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb ground beef (I use the leanest I can find, but whatever you regularly buy works)
1 15 oz. can corn, rinsed and drained
2 15 oz. cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 15 oz. can navy beans or great northern beans, rinsed and drained
1 jar salsa
1 28 oz.  can diced tomatoes
1 15 oz. can beef broth

I love using a jar of salsa as a secret ingredient.  You get a ton of flavor and don't need to have a bunch of spices on hand.  Use your favorite brand, and whatever heat level you like.

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat.  When ready, add the onion and garlic and saute until fragrant, about 2 minutes, keep stirring so they don't burn!  Add the ground beef and cook fully so that no pink remains, breaking it up as it cooks.

While the ground beef is cooking, put a colander in the sink and pour in the corn and beans.  Rinse under water and mix around until the water coming out of the colander is clear.  When the beef is fully cooked, pour into the large pot on the stove and stir together.  Add the salsa, tomatoes, and beef broth.  The salsa is really where we're getting a lot of the flavors for this, so don't be shy in picking your favorite!

At this point, it will look like soup.  So let the whole thing start bubbling, then reduce the heat to low and allow it to simmer for at least 30 minutes.  The flavors will meld, and the liquid will reduce to a more chili-like consistency.  I've served this chili right at the 30 minute mark, or I've let it go for a bit longer.  Whenever it seems like the right consistency for you, go for it!
I hope this chili warms you from the inside out on these cold winter days.  Enjoy!

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