Any rotation of good freezer meals needs to include a fabulous chili recipe. So today I’m sharing Chili X. This isn’t the quickest chili recipe with the shortest ingredient list, but it is the tastiest chili recipe I’ve tried.
One of the staple cookbooks in my home growing up was the Ivory family Favorites cookbook. I have no idea who these Ivory folk are. I have no idea where or why my mom got this cookbook. And, as it turns out, the Favorites Cookbook Facebook page says this gem is out of print. But I know that every recipe in this cookbook that I’ve tried is fantastic. And the Favorites Chili Recipe is no exception.
In the Ivory cookbook, this chili is listed as Favorite Chili and is found on page 68. But this Chili came by its nickname, Chili X, when I entered it into a chili cookoff back in my college years. Everyone brought their pot of chili, and each one was labeled with a letter of the alphabet instead of with the name of the person who made it (since, you know, people are probably going to vote for the coolest kid in the dorm’s chili or whatever. Haha). Mine happened to get the letter X, which sounded all cool and secret-agent-like. Hence Chili X. And in case you wondered, Chili X won said cook off and I took home the prize of a fancy-schmancy oven mitt. Boo-yah! 😉
1 pound lean ground beef
2 onions, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 (16-ounce) cans kidney beans, undrained
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 (16-ounce) cans cans chili beans, undrained
2 packages chili seasoning
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
*The only change I’ve made to the recipe as it stands in the Favorites Cookbook is that I reduce the beef from 2 pounds to 1 pound. If you like a meatier chili, go ahead and use 2 pounds by all means. But I feel like the ratio is actually more to my liking with less beef in there.
Brown ground beef in large pan.
Drain fat and add onions, garlic, and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes.
Add rest of ingredients, bring to a boil, and then turn to low heat and simmer for at least two hours (or, as I usually, do, just pop it into a crockpot on low for as long as desired. I think it’s letting all the flavors meld together than makes this chili so wonderful).
If you’re planning to freeze it: Once it’s done cooking, let it cool to room temperature before putting into bags. I find this yields 12 good adult servings, so I’ll either put this into 12 individual bags or 3 or 4 bigger ones that each contain about as much chili as my family will eat in one sitting.
On the day you plan to serve it, toss it in the fridge the morning of if you have the time and then warm it through on your stovetop. Or, you can warm it straight from frozen on the stovetop or even microwave it at a low power for several minutes, but it’ll take a bit longer and the texture may not be quite as good.
Dish up your bowls of hot, steaming chili and enjoy!
On the Side
I usually serve this up with shredded cheese on top and cornbread on the side. I suppose you could make and freeze cornbread ahead, but I simply use the just-add-water Marie Calendar’s cornbread mix. I like that you can make as much or as little as you want by simply measuring out the mix and using a half or a third of the bag plus water and baking it up in a small glass pan instead of an 8×8.
It makes for a pretty carb-heavy meal, but it’s just SUCH a yummy combo. The link below will take you to Amazon, where you could theoretically buy this mix, but it’ll cost you an arm and a leg. Instead check your local Costco or Sam’s (mine used to sell this in a huge, cheap bag but recently replaced it with a brand I don’t care for) or at the very least your regular grocery store.
Or, for a change of pace, some months I put my chili into smaller bags and we eat it over baked potatoes. Again, the potatoes aren’t something I freeze, but tossing potatoes in the oven is about as easy and effortless as tossing a pan of something pre-made and frozen in the oven.
These numbers come from dividing the total recipe by 12. I find this gives you a hefty, filling, adult-sized bowl (or two good kiddo-sized portions).
Calories: 316 | Fat: 7g | Carbs: 48g | Protein: 21g