Super Easy Chili

I have been completely avoiding making chili for about a year, possibly longer. Chuck brings it up every once in a while as a possible meal idea and I always seem to nix it. A couple months back, we even bought a couple cans of red kidney beans for the chili, but the thought of making chili just never appeals to me. I’m not sure why though, because it was delicious!

I had mine over tortilla chips:


And Chuck made chili dogs with some leftover hotdogs from the other weekend:


In the past, I would use one of those chili starter packets and add a little extra to it. I always thought it would be fun to make chili from scratch, but as with most new things in life, I was a bit intimidated. I came across this recipe from The Pioneer Woman (aka Ree Drummond – I adore her blog, by the way). The recipe was entitled “Simple, Perfect Chili” and so I thought, Okay. Let’s try this.

It was so good. I really liked the addition of the masa harina (found in the latino section of your local grocery store). Initially, I thought it’s only real purpose was as a thickening agent. However, I tried the chili before and after adding masa harina and loved the level of richness and flavor that it added to the dish.

I only made a few simple modifications. First, I started by sautéing some pressed garlic with chopped onions. Then added a chopped bell pepper, prior to browning the meat. (I’ve never been opposed to adding more vegetables to a dish.) I also ended up adding more chili powder, cumin, and oregano and used two cans of red kidney beans vs a can of red kidney beans and a can of pinto beans as outlined on the recipe. It’s what we already had in our pantry, so that’s what I used.

I was very happy with how this turned out, but next time I think I’ll try adding even more flavor with another onion and possibly, another bell pepper. (I’m always trying to find ways to sneak in more veggies.) Also, this dish only had a tiny bit of heat. It was just a hint, really, because I was hoping my toddler would eat it. If I didn’t have to accommodate a toddler, I would increase the cayenne pepper.


  • Olive oil
  • 1.5 pounds ground beef
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper , chopped
  • One 8oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoon ground oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup masa harina
  • 2 15oz can kidney beans, drained
  • Optional for serving: shredded cheddar, chopped onions, chopped scallions, tortillas, & lime wedges


  1. Drizzle olive oil in a large pot (I used this, but really, any large pot will do)
  2. On medium/low heat, garlic and onions and sauté until softened
  3. Add the green peppers and sauté a bit more
  4. Add the ground beef and cook over heat until browned
  5. Add the diced tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt and cayenne and combine well
  6. Simmer on low for 1 hour, stirring occasionally
  7. After an hour, place the masa harina in a small bowl and add 1/2 cup water and stir together with a fork
  8. Dump the masa mixture into the chili and combine
  9. Taste and adjust the seasonings.
  10. Add more masa paste and/or water to get the chili to your desired consistency
  11. Add the beans and simmer for another 15-20 minutes