Mom's Chili

Growing up, my mom wasn’t the biggest fan of cooking. She didn’t hate it, but she didn’t love the clean up that followed. Enough so that she didn’t cook often. She had what we called the “rotation” of dishes she would choose from when she did cook. Chili was one of those dishes that was always a favorite in the house. It had such a distinct smell that we knew immediately what was for dinner the second we entered the door after getting home from school. This dish was also a favorite of my moms because it is fairly simple. It requires a little prep work in the way of chopping vegetables & opening cans, but after that, smooth sailing. She always said she found chopping vegetables “soothing” & as a child I thought she was a freak. Fast forward to adulthood & I’ve never related to a sentence more.

My siblings & I most likely enjoyed the chili toppings more than the actual chili, but that’s not here nor there. Mom would serve this up with tortillas, sour cream, Fritos, lettuce & cheese. Sometimes she’d shake things up & serve it with pasta. This dish is pretty versatile with it’s toppings so it’s great for feeding a family of picky eaters (which we all were as children, let’s face it). This is comfort food at its finest & with the weather finally cooing down (I’m in California where winter JUST started) this is something you’re going to want to have on the dinner table!

Mom’s Chili

Yield: 8-10 servings


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 bell peppers, assorted colors, medium diced
  • 1 onion, medium diced
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1.5 – 2lbs ground beef or ground turkey
  • 2.5 – 3 tablespoons chili powder, depending on desired spice
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 3/4 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 15oz can red kidney beans
  • 1 15oz can white kidney beans
  • 1 15oz can pinto beans
  • 1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 15oz can tomato sauce
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste


  1. Heat olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium high heat. Toss in bell peppers & onion, then season with salt & pepper.
  2. Sauté the veggies over medium heat until they become soft & translucent, about 10 minutes. Stirring occasionally.
  3. Once the veggies have become soft, add the ground beef & season with salt & pepper once more. Cook the beef until it becomes brown & you can no longer see any pink, breaking it up with a wooden spoon as you go.
  4. Add chili powder, dried oregano & basil. Stir to combine & cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  5. Next add the beans & their liquid, crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce & tomato paste. Stir to make sure everything is combined & tomato paste has disbursed into the mixture.
  6. Bring the while mixture to a boil. Once the chili has reached a boil, lower the heat to simmer & cook, uncovered for 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes to ensure everything cooks evenly.
  7. After the hour is up you can serve the chili immediately, or it can continue cooking, covered, for another hour.
  8. Serve up with your favorite toppings & enjoy!