5-Can Weeknight Chili
Yield: 6 servings
A great bowl of chili is just minutes away thanks to a handful of economical pantry ingredients. Top with a simple sprinkle of cheese or load it up with chopped avocado, crushed tortilla chips, minced onions, etc.


  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 pound ground beef or turkey
  • 1½ tablespoons chili powder
  • ½ tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can fire roasted diced tomatoes*
  • 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans beans, rinsed and drained (I usually use one can each of black beans and kidney beans; may vary according to preference or what you have on hand)
  • Optional toppings: shredded cheese, chopped green onions, avocado, crumbled tortilla chips, sour cream, cilantro, etc.


  1. Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until softened, 3-4 minutes. Add the ground beef or turkey and cook until browned, stirring frequently and breaking it up as you stir. Drain any excess grease, and then stir in the chili powder and cumin and cook for 30-60 seconds more. Add the remaining ingredients (including the juices from the tomatoes), stirring to combine. (Tip: I add ¼ to ⅓ cup water to one of the tomato cans and swish it back and forth a few times among all 3 tomato cans. This way, you can get every last drop out of the cans.) Bring the chili to a boil, and then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.
  2. Serve with optional toppings, as desired. Cornbread, rice, or a crusty roll pair well, too. The chili may be made earlier in the day and reheated, is excellent leftover, and freezes well.


  • You may substitute one can of tomatoes with an equal size can of diced tomatoes with roasted garlic and onion. All of these options add a hint of extra flavor over plain canned tomatoes, which you may use in a pinch.
  • Depending on which brands of tomatoes and beans I use and whether some items are low-salt, I may or may not add any salt to this recipe. The last time I made this I did add ¼ teaspoon of salt. Feel free to add seasoning to taste.
  • To make this in a slow cooker, simply brown the meat on the stovetop and then add it and the remaining ingredients to the slow cooker. Cook the chili on low for 4 to 6 hours.
  • For an extra bit of spice, I sometimes add ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper.

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