Chili is a guy thing - what man do you know who doesn't claim to have a great recipe for it? Even President Obama when asked if he cooked said he makes a great chili. So tonight as I enjoyed my latest batch of my own personal chili creation it occurred to me that I should share my secret recipe so that others who are as gastronomically challenged as I am might be able to produce a batch of perfectly respectable chili without actually knowing a lot about cooking.
First you should understand that for most of the last two decades I have been the single parent of two sons, now ages 26 and 20. So the primary requirements for anything I cook are: will they eat it?; is it reasonably nutritious?; and can it be ready in 30 minutes or less? Chili is almost the perfect food based on these criteria. Of course this doesn't allow for a lot of simmering and slow-cooking as the experts call for. "Quick and easy" are critical to a single parent so some elements of traditional gourmet cooking have to be sacrificed.
I can't tell you when I discovered it, but I stumbled upon a way to make a pretty good imitation of real chili that meets of all of my criteria as a parent. And now that my sons are grown and (more or less) on their own I still make it for myself occasionally, and I actually think it's pretty good. So now I'm going to share it with you, for what it's worth. Here's what you"ll need:
1/2 pound ground beef
1 can dark red kidney beans
1 jar salsa (I like Newman's Own Medium Chunky, but use you own favorite)
1 can tomato sauce
Brown the ground beef in a large skillet; drain the fat.
Add all other ingredients (and anything else that sounds good at the moment); stir and heat thoroughly.
That's it - serve right out of the frying pan. Add a salad (I buy the bagged variety) and a slice of garlic Texas Toast and you have a meal. And if your effete friends ask you about the recipe, tell them "It's a secret."
For a variation on the theme, add some elbow macaroni to the mix to produce "chile-mac" which is Alex' favorite. Enjoy!