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Mom’s Homemade Chili

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After the excess of the holiday season I find myself longing for healthier food; winter salads, simple fish recipes and easy stir-fry dishes with plenty of vegetables. January also reminds me of homemade soup and a big pot of homemade chili simmering on the stove.

I love chili, it is the only food I would call my comfort food. According to Wikipedia comfort food “provides a nostalgic feeling and is often characterized by simple preparation”. That describes it for me! I have fond memories of coming home from school and sniffing my way to the chili pot bubbling on the stove. And it’s dead easy to make. You don’t really need a recipe for chili. There is no written recipe for my moms’ chili but it always had meat, ground beef to be exact, canned tomatoes and kidney beans. So use this recipe as a guide to create your own chili, just the way you like it.

Chili should be naturally gluten free, unless of course your recipe uses Worcestershire sauce or some secret gluten-containing ingredient that has been passed down for generations. Of course you could substitute with a gluten free version. So it did cross my mind…does anyone really need a recipe for chili.

Well, I decided to share my recipe for Homemade Chili just in case your mom didn’t make chili when you were a kid. It is so versatile I think you really should make it once in awhile. And although it is casual everyday meal you can make a party out of it. Chili Cook-Offs are held all over North America every year and you could host your own if you wanted. Another idea for your Gluten Free Gourmet Club.

The Versatility of Homemade Chili

Another reason I love chili is that it freezes well and I can serve it in so many different ways. When I serve chili right off the stove I typically serve it with my homemade cornbread. When I serve it the second time around I wrap it in a corn tortilla like a fajita.  If I don’t feel like making salad I can top it with salad-type fixins’ like lettuce and chopped tomato. If I’m tired of green salad I could serve it with a Southwestern Quinoa Salad and it is now transformed into a different meal.

Another favourite is making it into a quesadilla. Sandwich some chili between two corn tortillas with grated cheese and fry it until golden on both sides. Cut it into wedges, add a dollop of thick, plain yogurt and top it with salsa and a sprinkling of cilantro. I don’t think you could categorize chili as gourmet but I know this presentation is why my friends tease me about serving ‘gourmet leftovers’.

You could also serve chili on top of a baked potato but somehow I never think to do that. In warmer weather I make a Nacho Salad and rather than meat with taco seasoning I use my homemade chili. I still add my favourite toppings: lettuce, chopped avocado and tomato, sliced black olives, green onions, cilantro, plain yogurt and a drizzle of chipotle mayo if I have some in my fridge. Yum, that sounds pretty good…even in January.

Let me know how you like to serve your chili.


1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
2-3 stalks celery, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 lb ground beef
8-10 large mushrooms, sliced
19 oz can kidney beans
14 oz can beans in tomato sauce (or pork and beans)
28 oz can diced tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, chopped (optional)
3 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp curry powder (optional)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper


Chop all the vegetables.
Heat oil in large pot over medium heat.
Saute onion, celery and pepper to soften, about 10 minutes.
Push vegetables to the side making a space in the center of the pot. Add ground beef and cook while stirring and breaking up the meat until it is browned completely.
Add all remaining ingredients and stir. Bring to a boil then decrease heat and simmer, covered, for one hour stirring occasionally.
Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve.


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