It’s the time of year that we have a constant flow of guests in our home, and since our household alone is 8 mouths to feed, adding another family makes quite a crowd! A few weeks ago I was having a garage sale, which if you’ve done before, you know it’s time consuming. In my zeal for hospitality and in the tradition of believing I am capable of more than I am, I also invited a family over for dinner.
I had two choices: 1. Call them up and reschedule and admit that I am a mere human. or 2. Run around like a crazy person and make our home present like we are NOT hoarders AND fix food worthy of guests while I’m sitting outside running a garage sale.
I, of course, chose 2.
To do that, I needed help. My mom came to help watch the sale, which thankfully she loves to do. And I filled the bread machine with pumpkin cinnamon roll dough. While that was mixing, I browned the beef and onion, and threw the rest of the ingredients for 2 gallons of chili in a couple of crock pots. Then ran around picking up the clutter so when the kids walked in the door after school I could arm them with dust mops, brooms, and microfiber cloths. There were several hours in between those few chores and the kids coming home that I could help with the sale.
While the kids were cleaning, I rolled out the cinnamon roll dough and prepped them for the 2nd rise. By the time our guests arrived, we looked like we lived in a reasonable state of cleanliness and you could smell good things coming from the kitchen..
I was feeling a little bit like a domestic Wonder Woman, when one of our guests gave my chili the side-eye. It was a horrible moment, because the only other things on the table before the cinnamon rolls came out, were shredded cheese, fancy applesauce (out of a jar), various crackers and corn chips. Showing his good breeding, he cautiously took a bite, then devoured the whole bowl full. After dinner, he admitted it was the first bowl of chili he liked. To be honest, It was the best bowl of chili I’d ever eaten myself.
I figured that made it worthy of sharing with you guys. I didn’t work from a recipe and just threw together some things I had in my pantry, which became a happy accidental success story. Thankfully I wrote it down as I went, just in case it turned out well. If you are in charge of chili for a fundraiser dinner, please consider this one. There aren’t any tomato chunks or weird ingredients like pork breakfast sausage. (Yes, I’ve seen that done!)
The Best Chili for a Crowd
4 lbs, lean ground beef
2 onions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 cans, 15 oz chili beans, undrained
2 cans, 24 oz crushed tomatoes, undrained
1 quart beef broth
1/2 cup Grocery Shrink Chili Mix
Brown the ground beef with onions and garlic. Then divide between two 5 quart crock pots. Add exactly half of the remaining ingredients to each pot and cook on low for 6-8 hours. The long slow cook allows the flavors to blend with fabulous results. Alternatively this can be made in one of the giant roasters. It halves and doubles well.
I bought all of my ingredients from Aldi, except for the ground beef, which my father-in-law raises himself.