Chili x 3…

Several years ago, I was looking for the “right” chili recipe. Some were too spicy, others focused more on beans than meat, white vs. red chili, and so on. None were quite right. (Now, I sound like Goldilocks!) So, I picked elements from a variety of recipes and made my own. We’ve been pleased with it ever since.

Beef & Bean Chili

Servings: 6


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 lb ground pork sausage
  • 1/2 sweet onion, diced
  • 1/2 green or yellow pepper, diced
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 can pinto beans, washed & drained
  • 1 can kidney beans, washed & drained
  • 2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/2-1 cup water
  • 4-6 oz tomato paste
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper


  • Saute the ground beef and sausage, breaking into small bits in a frying pan, until browned. Drain and place the meat in the crockpot. Saute the onion, pepper and garlic in the same pan until softened. Add all ingredients in the crockpot and cook on low for 8 hours.  Serve with sprinkles of cheddar cheese, a dollap of sour cream, chives, and/or some hot sauce sprinkled on top for those who need the extra kick.
  • This year, I decided to try it out in my new InstaPot… Saute the meats in the pot for about 5-6 minutes or until brown. Drain the grease off, and set the meat aside. Saute the vegetables in the pot, stirring occasionally for about 3 more minutes. Add the meat and remaining ingredients to the pot. Secure the lid, and move pressure release valve to sealing position. Press manual; cook at high pressure for 7 minutes. When cooking is complete, press cancel and use natural release.


Chili Cheese Brats

I noticed that the chili was much thicker than when cooked in the crockpot so I added 1 cup of boiling water before serving.  That first evening, we enjoyed Chili Cheese Brats, enjoying the chili over your choice of brats and a bun.

I’ve mentioned before, I don’t love leftovers. Since it’s only the two of us at home now, I often need to be creative to make repeat meals at least seem fresh, even if some ingredients come from last night’s dinner.

Dinner 2: Chili with Cheddar & Scallion Biscuits

It was my late teaching night, so Brett added another cup of hot water when reheating tonight’s chili portions in a saucepan on the stove. Apparently the beans are soaking up the liquid like crazy!  Honestly, I thought tonight’s chili was even better than the first time. Obviously the flavors have blended wonderfully.

cheddar scallion biscuits

Cheddar-Scallion Biscuits

I recently subscribed to Food & Wine magazine and was fascinated by a biscuit recipe I just had to try. Honestly, it might have been the biscuits that inspired me to make chili in the first place! An excellent choice, if I do say so! The Cheddar-Scallion Biscuits are found in the December 2018 edition of Food & Wine and only take about 30 minutes to make from start to finish, which means I was able to prepare them earlier in the day and just reheat when time to serve.

As usual, I am not very good at following directions, so my biscuits look slightly different than those in the magazine.  I chose to use a round biscuit cutter, instead of cutting them into rectangles, and placed a mound of cheese on TOP of the biscuit rather than under it. As a result, I skipped brushing the tops with melted butter since the cheese was sufficient.  Serve warm with a side of butter and OMG, these are amazing!

cheese enchiladas

Cheese Enchiladas with Chili Gravy

Dinner 3: Cheese Enchiladas with Chili Gravy

You might choose to make this recipe as created by Sam Sifton and published in New York Times Cooking. I, however, have put on my own spin and used up the leftover chili.

In a food processor or blender, lightly puree 2-3 cups of leftover chili along with 1 cup of chicken or beef broth. In other words, skip the chili gravy at the top of the recipe because after all it’s a school/work night and you can’t lose your focus!

For the enchiladas, I used avocado oil to heat the tortillas prior to assembling. After ladling 1/2 – 3/4 cup of pureed chili in the bottom of a prepared 9×13 pan, I rolled the shredded cheddar cheese in the tortillas, placing them seam-side down in the pan and nestling in a row. Chili was ladled over the top of the rolled tortillas the remaining cheddar cheese and chopped onions sprinkled on top before baking at 450º for 15 minutes. Before serving, add some chopped fresh tomatoes, lettuce and avocado.

Three distinct and amazingly unique dinners, with very little prep over three days. I hope you enjoy!


Copyright © 2019 Montana Mountain Maven / Tina R. Cusker. All rights reserved

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