Monday, December 13, 2021

Prepper's Pantry: Chili & Corn Bread

I still haven’t made my mother’s turkey soup yet, mostly because we don’t have some of the ingredients on hand. Chili, however, is exactly the type of dish made with whatever is available, and that’s what I made over the weekend.

The history of chili is not as well-known as some other foods, partially because much of its development predates European contact and partially because of how widely divergent it’s become.

Don’t believe me? Ask a Mexican, a Texan, and an Arizonan what goes into a good chili; the answers will be quite varied, and if they're all in the same room, it may become quite heated as well. The debate over "beans versus no beans" has gotten physical at times.

What we do know, or at least believe, is that chili originated in South and Central America as a hotpot type dish made with whatever ingredients could be found.

The recipe that follows is of that type. We went through the cupboards, cabinets, and pantry and added items to the crockpot if we thought they would be a good fit. Some of the quantities are estimates, and some of them (such as the black beans) seem odd because they were leftovers from other dishes. I honestly don’t know what type of hot peppers we used in this batch; they were in the back of the freezer from earlier this year, or possibly even last year. We used ground beef, because we had some in the freezer, but pretty much any type of meat, or none at all, can be used.

Safety Note: When working with hot peppers, wear gloves or wash your hands very thoroughly before touching your face or any other part of your body.

Without further ado, the recipe for our most recent batch of chili:

A piping hot bowl of chili over rice



  • 1 lb ground beef (browned)
  • 1 28oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 12oz can dark red kidney beans
  • 3oz black beans
  • 1 package freeze dried corn
  • 2 small onions (diced)
  • 1 green pepper (diced)
  • 2 Tbs crushed garlic (minimum/to taste)
  • Hot peppers to taste (diced)
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • Grated carrots (optional)
  • Some water


  1. Brown the meat and reserve the fat and juices.
  2. Sautee the onions, peppers, and garlic in the reserved fat and juices from browning the beef.
  3. Put the tomatoes and chili powder in the bottom of an appropriately sized crock pot and set to high. Stir well.
  4. After the tomatoes are warm, add the sautéed vegetables, beans, corn, and hot peppers. Stir well some more.
  5. Mix in the browned meat and a cup or so of water. Amount of water will depend on preferred consistency.
  6. Let cook in the crock pot six or more hours to blend the flavors. Taste occasionally and adjust spices as desired.
  7. If needed, mix in some shredded carrots to sweeten or soften the spices and/or bitterness.
  8. Serve over rice.

In addition to rice, we often like cornbread with our chili. It’s traditional and just tastes good. While we usually make a batch from Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix for convenience, when we have time we’ll use the recipe from the back of the corn meal package.

Corn bread fresh from the oven

Corn Bread

  • 1 cup corn meal
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 Tbs sugar (I often substitute honey)
  • 1 tsp salt (I scant this measurement)
  • 1 Tbs baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tbs oil (most any vegetable oil)
  • 1 ¼ cups milk


  1. Mix dry ingredients together
  2. In a separate bowl, beat eggs, milk, and oil together
  3. Add to dry ingredients and mix
  4. Pour into greased muffin, corn stick, or 8-inch square baking pan
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until done in a pre-heated 425°F oven
  6. Makes about 12 servings
For this batch, I poured the batter into mini muffin tins.

Of all the dishes we make, chili may be the most creative as there aren’t any hard and fast rules. If you haven’t made chili (and you like to eat it, of course) give it a try and don’t let anyone tell you you’re doing it wrong. Chili is the Jazz of cooking.


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