Friday, September 19, 2014

Freezer Fridays: Homemade Chili

I made my first batch of chili for this fall season last Friday. It was raining And so cold! It was only right that we warmed our bodies with a bowl of homemade chili. This week we've been able to enjoy these last few days of summer with nice, warm temps. We'll probably squeeze in a few more grilled dinners before it's over, but then I'll be ready to jump right into the soup,stew and chili season.

We've all got our favorite versions of this household staple and mine isn't particularly anything fancy. It's simple but delicious. I don't even really measure out the spices, just add a little bit here and there and taste as I go. But for this purpose, I did try to get some exact measurements for those of you who like to follow the recipe exactly.

I'm not even a big leftover fan; I admit, I've gotten so much better since having lived with my husband. But leftover chili is one of my favorites. I think the flavor gets better as it sits longer in the fridge. It's probably one of the few dishes I don't mind eating more than a couple times.

The best part of this batch? I was able to add seven jars to my freezer stash. They'll be perfect to thaw overnight and pack for our lunches. I can reheat quickly in the morning and pour into a thermos so they'll stay warm until we're ready to eat. I can't wait to work on adding some more soups to the freezer. I can't think of anything more perfect to enjoy on a cold day.

Homemade Chili

1.5 lbs. ground beef
2-15 oz. cans diced tomatoes
30 oz. can kidney beans,drained
15 oz. can white beans,drained
46 oz. tomato juice
salt and pepper, to taste
2 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cumin

In a large skillet, brown ground beef until crumbled and no longer pink. Drain grease and add cooked meat to a large saucepan. Add in tomatoes with juices, beans and tomato juice. Mix together well. Season with spices and stir to combine. Taste and season more if needed. Let simmer on the stove for about 20 minutes or until warm. You may also dump all ingredients into a crock pot and let cook on low all day.

For freezing: You don't necessarily have to heat chili if freezing right away. Ladle chili into pint sized jars for individual serving sizes or into larger jars/containers. Make sure to leave a little bit of room at top of container because it will expand. Cover and place into freezer until ready to use. You may want to label if you're worried about not remembering the contents.

When ready to use, let thaw overnight in the fridge. Reheat on the stove. Enjoy right away or place into a thermos if packing for lunches.

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