Chili: the simpler version

Chili can be as easy or as complex as you want it to be. And I know full well that my best batches of chili have been ones with multiple meats and green peppers and onions fresh out of the garden that slowly simmer, but sometimes you've got to take an easier route. This recipe isn't zero work, but it's not labor-in-the-kitchen- for-hours hard. It's my middle ground.

This batch went on the stove in the middle of my work day when I knew I had to get to school for my son's spring musical.

1 pound ground round
1 can seasoned chili beans
1 can red kidney beans
1 can petite diced seasoned tomatoes
1 can diced tomatoes
1 2oz. envelope Tempo Old Style Southwestern Chili Mix
1TBSP black pepper
1 TSP dried minced onions
1 TSP oregano
Shredded cheese blend (optional)
Chives, finely sliced (optional)
Sour cream (optional)

Brown beef and drain. Add seasonings and can of unseasoned tomatoes. Let simmer about 10 minutes. Add remaining ingredients. Simmer about 20 more minutes. Garnish with cheese, chives, sour cream, if desired. Best when refrigerator overnight and reheated.

So, that's the simpler version. I just got a text from hubby at work that said "Chili was good!" So, even the quicker version is pretty satisfying. And I made that yesterday...I'll bet it tastes better today after the flavors have had a chance to mesh more.

And there's really no rules with chili. As long as you have meat and tomatoes you can go from there. Heck, you can even make vegetarian chili if that's your thing. Don't like beans? Don't do beans. Prefer sausage or chicken? Use that. And, I'm a bit of a weakling when it comes to hot stuff, so I let my family members add the heat to their bowl after the pot is done, but if you have a household full of hot mouths, go for it. Add some jalapeno and cayenne!!! And enjoy!!! Oh, and if you have the time, whip up some cornbread! :)