My guys went bowling and all I got was…slow-cooker chili that should have fed four. They got bowling alley food. Yeah, I fared well–would have even if the chili hadn’t turned out so good. And now I have leftovers that I may just keep to myself. So, only one thumbs up on this recipe, but it belongs to a professional…um, eater 🙂

1 lb chicken tenderloins, chopped

1 can Rotel tomatoes (mild diced tomatoes and green chiles)

1-1/2 cups corn (I used frozen)

1 cup chopped red bell pepper

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed

1-1/4 cup onion, diced

1/2 cup reduced-fat Ranch dressing

1 tsp cumin

1-1/2 tsp chili powder

1 tsp sea salt

1-8 oz pkg reduced-fat cream cheese

Optional: shredded Monterey Jack cheese and parsley for topping

1) Set slow cooker to low heat; add  ingredients in order listed (except cream cheese); stir to combine; top with cream cheese

2) Cook 6-8 hours, stirring a few times to incorporate cream cheese; serve with optional cheese and parsley if you like

Serves: 4-6


The days may still be somewhat warm, but the cooler nights justify chili and soup and all things beautifully autumn. Though this chili is on the fire side of taste, you can tone it down by using only one poblano and/or half the jalapenos. Easy and yum!

Poblano Beef Chili

1 lb ground beef

1 tbsp olive oil

1-1/2 cup diced red onion

2 medium-sized poblano peppers, seeded and chopped

1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped

3 tbsp diced jalapenos

1-12 oz bottle beer (I used non-alcoholic O’Doul’s)

1 tbsp chili powder

1-1/2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp sea salt

2-1/2 cups marinara sauce (I used Bertolli brand)

1-1/2 cups chicken broth

2-15 oz cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1-15 oz can diced fire-roasted tomatoes, undrained

Optional toppings: shredded sharp cheddar cheese, sour cream, cilantro, parsley

1) To large soup pot over medium-high heat, add ground beef and cook 5-6 minutes, stirring often, until browned; remove from heat, drain, and set aside

2) Return pot to cooktop, add olive oil, and heat over medium-high; add onion, poblano pepper, bell pepper, and jalapenos; cook 10 minutes, stirring often

3) Add beer, chili powder, cumin, and salt and cook 10 minutes

4) Stir in beef, marinara sauce, chicken broth, kidney beans, and tomatoes and bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and cook, uncovered, 30 minutes; remove from heat and ladle chili into bowls; serve with or without optional toppings (but I highly recommend them–so lovely and tasty)

Servings: 6-8 (depending on appetite)


Why “fiesty”? The red pepper flakes, chili powder, and hot chili beans give this veggie burger chili a nice little kick. As for that chopped veggie burger that replaced the usual ground beef… Not a peep of dissent from my guys who were none the wiser for their meat-less meal 🙂

Fiesty Veggie Burger Chili

1 tbsp olive oil

1 cup diced red onion

1 cup chopped carrots

10 oz pkg veggie burgers, chopped (I used Morning Star brand “Grillers Prime”)

1-12 oz bottle beer (I used O’Doul’s non-alcoholic)

1 tbsp soy sauce

2 tsp chili powder

1 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1-15 oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes

1-15 oz can pinto beans, rinsed and drained

1-15 oz can hot chili beans

Optional toppings: grated cheddar cheese, sour cream, and sliced scallions

1) To large soup pot, add olive oil and heat over medium high; add onions and carrots and cook 5 minutes; stir in chopped veggie burger and cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally

2) Stir in beer, soy sauce, chili powder, oregano, cumin, paprika, red pepper flakes, fire-roasted tomatoes, pinto beans, and hot chili beans; reduce heat to low and cook 30 minutes, stirring occasionally; remove from heat and serve with optional toppings if you like; enjoy!

Servings: 4 hearty dinner-sized portions


Though I rarely use my slow cooker, probably because I don’t think far enough in advance to get it going for the day, I decided it was time to pull it out and play around with it. This tasty, cola-laced chili was the result. In my house, you know something’s good when there are no leftovers. None–not a single bean.

Slow-Cooker Cola & Black Bean Chili

1-1/2 lb lean ground beef

1 large onion, diced

2 tbsp chili powder

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp ground black pepper

1 can Coca-Cola

1-1/2 cups frozen corn

1/2 red bell pepper, sliced thin

1/2 green bell pepper, sliced thin

1/2 yellow bell pepper, sliced thin

1-14.5 oz can diced tomatoes (I used Hunt’s Fire-Roasted)

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1-6 oz can tomato paste

1 tbsp Tabasco Sauce

Toppings (optional): grated cheddar cheese, sliced jalapeno peppers, sour cream

1) In large skillet over medium-high heat, cook ground beef, onion, chili powder, salt, and pepper 7-8 minutes until beef is no longer pink

2) Add Coca-Cola to beef mixture and cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally

3) Spoon beef mixture into slow cooker; stir in corn and next 7 ingredients; cover and cook on low 5 hours

4) Serve with tasty toppings of your choice and enjoy!

Servings: 4-6

NOTE: This is a “repeat” recipe featured on my original “Kitchen Novelist” blog 05/26/12.


The necessity of feeding my guys, the late hour, and desperation made me do it. So off to the pantry I went and–ta da!–an easy and tasty chili that looks like I invested more time than I did. Much to the discouragement of my visions of “cook” grandeur, Senior, Junior, and Junior Too were as enthusiastic as if I’d spent an hour or more preparing a gourmet meal. Those…bowl scrapers!

4-Can Layered Chili (AKA Desperation Chili)

1-15 oz can non-bean chili (I used Hormel)

1-14.5 oz can diced tomatoes (I used Hunt’s with green peppers, celery, and onion)

1-1/2 cups cheddar cheese, divided

1-13 oz can chicken breast, drained

1-15 oz can chili with beans (I used Vietti)

1/4 cup sour cream

1 green onion, sliced thin

handful of tortilla chips

1) In each of 3 microwave-safe bowls, layer: 1/3 no-bean chili, 1/3 diced tomatoes, and 1/4 cup cheese; microwave each bowl 1 minute

2) Layer: 1/3 chicken breast, 1/3 chili with beans, and 1/4 cup cheese; microwave each bowl 1 minute

3) Plop a dollop of sour cream in center of each bowl and sprinkle with sliced green onions; microwave each bowl 1-1/2 minutes or until heated through

4) Stick a few tortilla chips in center of each bowl and serve to your very own bowl scrapers

Serves: 3

NOTE: This is a “repeat” recipe featured on my original “Kitchen Novelist” blog 05/05/12.


I toted this lentil, black bean, and bacon chili to a Super Bowl gathering and served it alongside all manner of tasty fingerfoods. The lentils were a nice addition, adding an extra shot of fiber and protein to a healthy and hearty dish.

Lentil-Bean-Bacon Chili

4 slices bacon, chopped (I used turkey bacon)

1 lb ground mild Italian sausage

1 cup chopped red onion

1/2 cup matchstick carrots

2-14.5 oz cans petite diced tomatoes with green chilies

1/2 cup dried lentils

3 cups beef broth

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1 tbsp chili powder

1 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp dried cumin

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1-15 oz can Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed

1-15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

Optional toppings: mozzarella cheese, sliced green onions, sour cream

1) To large soup pot over medium-high heat, add bacon and cook until lightly crisp; add ground sausage and, stirring often, cook until lightly browned

2) Reduce heat to medium and stir in onions and carrots and cook 5 minutes; stir in diced tomatoes, lentils, beef broth, vinegar, chili powder, oregano, cumin, red pepper flakes, cocoa powder, cinnamon, and both beans

3) Reduce heat to low, cover with lid, and cook 1 hour, stirring occasionally; serve with toppings of your choice

Servings: 6


When I gave my guys the choice between chili and a bacon-chicken-avocado salad for dinner, Senior winced and said he didn’t think he could handle a can of “that” heavy chili. I blinked and gave my head a good shake before assuring him my chili was not “that” chili. Not that I don’t have cans of “that” in my pantry, but it’s been ages since “that” and a can opener meant dinner. To make the chili more special, I added Senior’s favorite franks to the pot. He was not disappointed–even said it’s the best chili ever. I believe I’ve heard that before 🙂

4 oz chorizo sausages, casings removed and sliced into 1/2″ thick pieces

1 lb lean ground beef

1/2 medium onion, diced

1 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder (yes, really)

1 tbsp ketchup

2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1-14 oz can diced tomatoes

1 cup water

1-15 oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

4 beef franks (I used kosher Hebrew brand), sliced thin

sea salt

ground black pepper

4 oz grated mozzarella cheese

4 oz grated pepper jack cheese

1 tsp minced parsley

1) To large skillet over medium-high heat add chorizo sausage slices and cook 2-3 minutes, stirring often; add ground beef and cook 5-6 minutes until browned

2) Reduce heat to medium, add onion, and cook 5 minutes, stirring often

3) Reduce heat to low, stir in oregano, cocoa powder, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, tomatoes, water, and kidney beans; cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally

4) Stir in beef franks and cook 10 minutes; season with salt and pepper to taste; stir in mozzarella cheese and remove from heat

5) Ladle soup into bowls, top with pepper jack cheese and parsley; and there you have it!

Servings: 4