Chili – Life Above the Cafe


A mild chili that you're sure to enjoy!
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Feb 04, 2021




15 mins.

30 mins.

6 plus

Winter has hit full force which means that it’s chili time Growing up Super Bowl Sunday meant that my mom’s once a year Lasagna was on the table. In my house it means Chili time. This Chili won our annual “Superbowl Chili Cook Off” two years in a row at the school where I used to work. I’m a big fan of Chili, but I like a certain consistency and spice level that doesn’t cause your tongue to run out of your mouth.

Chili is a regional dish with so many variations, but in our family, you will always find browned ground beef, bell pepper, onions, red beans, pinto beans and chunky pieces of tomatoes.

Although my granny and mom used a packet of Mild Chili Seasoning, I always have loads of spices in my cabinet so I use what I have. If you aren’t someone who keeps many different spices in your house then I suggest buying a packet of Mild Chili Seasoning with reduced sodium so that you can control the amount of salt.

To keep my Chili at a spice level that doesn’t cause you to sweat and wonder when the feeling will return to your tongue, I remove the seeds and most of the veins from my diced jalapenos. If you love a spicier Chili, then leave them.

This Chili makes a big pot full and is great as a slow cooker meal after the veggies are sauteed, the meat is browned, and the tomatoes, cilantro, and tomato paste have been cooked into the mixture on the stove. If you do transfer it over to a slow cooker keep it on low so that it doesn’t scorch and stir it every once in a while.

I recommend adding a little water to any leftovers or if the Chili starts to thicken up too much as it simmers. I don’t like a thick Chili but if you do then the extra water is optional. As with most tomato based dishes this Chili is even tastier on day two.

Chili is delicious served with crackers, Tortilla Chips, Fritos, sour cream, shredded cheese, and even a squeeze of lime. I always save part of my chili and freeze it to make a quick weeknight meal with my Pressure Cooker Baked Potatoes or to whip up Frito Chili Pie.

I hope that you’ll try this recipe today and leave a comment below. Also, for daily updates follow @lifeabovethecafe on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest using the social media icons found on this page.


  • 1/2 Tbsp. of oil
  • 1 cup of diced green bell pepper
  • 1 cup of diced white onion
  • 1/2 cup of diced celery
  • 1/4 cup of finely diced jalapeno (remove seeds and some veins)
  • 1 Tbsp. of minced garlic
  • 2 large Roma tomatoes diced
  • 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro
  • 1 pound of lean ground beef
  • 1 can of tomato paste (4 ounces)
  • 1 can of red beans (drained) 15 ounces
  • 2 cans of chili beans (pintos) 15 ounces each
  • 1 can of chili ready tomatoes or stewed tomatoes
  • 2 cans worth of water
  • 2 heaping Tbsp. of chili powder
  • 1 heaping Tbsp. of ground cumin
  • 1 to 2 tsp. of salt (start with 1 then taste it and add more)
  • 1/2 tsp. of cinnamon
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp. of sugar (brown or granulated)


Wash, dry, and dice the peppers, onion, celery, tomatoes, and cilantro.  Dice the green bell pepper, onion, celery, and tomatoes up into 1/4 inch size pieces.  I remove all of the seeds and most of the veins from my jalapeno and then dice it up into small pieces.  Remove the long stems and chop the cilantro leaves into small pieces.  If you prefer not to measure each of the vegetables, choose a bell pepper and onion that are both medium and equal in size, use 2 large celery stalks, 2 medium jalapenos, and 1/4 of a bunch of cilantro.

In a large nonstick soup pot over medium high heat, warm the oil and saute the bell pepper, white onion, diced celery, and jalapeno for about 4 minutes.  Next add the ground beef, cooking it while breaking it up into smaller pieces until browned.  Stir in the chili powder, cumin, 1 teaspoon of salt, cinnamon, and sugar (brown or white sugar will both work).  Add the can of tomato paste and cook the mixture for about 3 minutes in order to remove the raw flavor of the tomato paste.  The mixture will be thick, stir constantly to avoid scorching it to the bottom of the pan.

Add in the tablespoon of minced garlic, diced Roma tomatoes and cilantro.  Stir well while cooking for 1 to 2 minutes.  Drain the red beans and add them along with the 2 cans of chili beans (or pinto beans) and the can of chili ready tomatoes or if you can’t find them use a can of stewed tomatoes.  Fill two of the empty cans with water and add it to the chili mixture.  Allow the chili to come up to a low boil and then turn it down to simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring often to avoid scorching the chili to the bottom of the pan.  Taste the chili and adjust the salt if needed before serving.  I serve chips that are salty so I don’t like an overly salty chili.

Note – If you would like to transfer this to a slow cooker, do so after the step where the garlic, tomatoes and cilantro are cooked into the mixture.  You can add the canned items to the crockpot.  I spray the inside of the slow cooker with a little cooking spray, add the chili mixture, and keep it on low for about 4 hours stirring it occasionally.

Black beans and Cowboy Beans are great in this chili as well.  If you can’t find chili ready pinto beans you may want to add 1 more Tbsp. of chili powder.  I would taste the mixture and adjust it after it has cooked for about 10 minutes.


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