I grew up eating chili every winter. It was warm, soupy, hearty, and full of flavor from the peppers and onions. It was a Georgia family favorite and no matter who made it--Mom, Nana, Gigi—it was pretty much the same each time.
It wasn’t until I met Grant that I realized that people in Kentucky made their chili a bit differently than us from Atlanta. Grant and his family introduced me to the idea of putting pasta in your chili, either macaroni or spaghetti noodles.
And I loved it.
Maybe it’s a northern thing, or maybe it was just my limited knowledge about chili. But that day changed my life forever.
Fast forward to Friday, October 19th. I had the biggest craving for homemade chili—the kind with lots of beans, ground beef, and macaroni noodles. I started my grocery list for the following week and suddenly had a moment of panic:
I didn’t know how to actually make chili. I didn’t even know what ingredients went in it.
So I did my research and asked family friends, and here’s what I came up with. It’s ridiculously easy, even for those in dorm rooms. All you need is a Crockpot (Sh, don’t tell your RA).
Just a warning, this makes a ton of chili. We decided to have a big chili night (I can always come up with a reason to throw a get-together) and there were still leftovers. Half the recipe if you want less chili.
In the morning, load up your crockpot. You can use leftover cooked ground beef (or ground turkey) if you have it, or you can brown it in a skillet at this time. Add the cooked ground beef, different beans, diced tomatoes, chopped onion, bell pepper, and tomato juice.
You can season with chili powder, but I just bought a chili seasoning packet. I also added a jalapeño ‘cause I like it spicy.
Let it cook on low heat until dinner time.
I actually forgot to add the noodles, so I added them in the afternoon and let it cook a few hours more. No biggie.
And voila! The winter soup that tastes like home. Season it how you like, and dress it up with cheese, crackers, sour cream, cornbread etc.
Be sure to save this classic and try it with your college roommates. Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog to get more easy recipes for college students.
1 lb ground beef or turkey
1 (14oz) can kidney beans
1 (14oz) can black beans
1 (14oz) can pinto beans
1 (14oz) can diced tomatoes
1 Jalapeño, seeded and chopped
46oz Tomato Juice
½ medium onion, chopped
½ medium bell pepper, chopped
Chili seasoning packet
or use your own seasonings
½ box Macaroni noodles
or pasta of choice
In a large skillet, brown ground beef, with or without onions. Add meat, beans, diced tomatoes, seeded jalapeño, tomato juice, chopped onion and bell pepper, and seasoning packet to a large crockpot. Cook on low heat for 4-6 hours. Add pasta and cook for 2-4 more hours or until pasta is tender and ready to eat. Serve immediately, later, or freeze for another day.