Chili Crunch Burger

I’ve been jonesin’ really bad for a really good burger. A loaded burger, with lots of spicy kick to it. So I fired up my grill and proceeded to make a big ole chili crunch burger. Spicy chili. Crunchy chips. Sweet onions. Hot jalapenos. All topped with fiery habanero cheese. Yeah, baby, spicy messy burger time!
Chili Crunch Burger

There is nothing but goodness in every bite of this chili crunch burger. Chili and yummy burger juices will run down your arm. Melted cheese will drip onto your plate. That’s why you want to keep a few extra Fritos around so you can scoop up the fallen chili and cheese.

Although I prefer fresh jalapenos, sometimes they aren’t available. That’s when I substitute canned (not pickled) chopped jalapenos. My favorite are fire-roasted. The roasting adds a great sweet charred flavor to any dish.

Also try my creamy mushroom burger.

Chili Crunch Burger

Course Main
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 8 hamburger buns
  • 8 slices Habanero Jack cheese
  • 1 15 ounce can Hormel Hot No Bean chili warmed
  • 1 medium onion red, white or sweet, chopped
  • 4 jalapenos seeded, chopped
  • A few handfuls of Fritos Chili Cheese corn chips

Instructions

  • Place beef in a large bowl.
  • Season with salt, pepper and cayenne and mix well. Form into 8 1/4 pound patties.
  • Grill burgers as desired.
  • Place cooked patties on bun bottoms.
  • Top with cheese, a few tablespoons of the chili, the onion, and jalapeno.
  • Add a few corn chips and the bun top and serve (with paper towels!).

Chili Sauce for Chicken Fingers

I admit, not every meal I cook is from scratch. I’d say maybe 99% of them are home-cooked. But for that other 1% I’m a sucker for something pre-cooked, and often it’s pre-cooked chicken fingers (I use Tyson’s Crispy Chicken Strips, actually). I can’t help it. I like them. To make myself feel better about eating them I make my own sauce for dipping. This chili sauce is easy to make, which fits in well with the I-don’t-have-time-to-cook-dinner theme, and it goes great with chicken fingers.
Chili Sauce for Chicken FingersA little sweetness and a little fruitiness. It’s the perfect sauce for chicken fingers or nuggets (that reminds me, check out my homemade chicken nuggets!). It’s also fantastic for shrimp, boiled or deep fried. You can use thawed frozen mango and canned pineapple instead of fresh, making this sauce easy to make any time of the year.

Also try my copycat of Chick-fil-A’s chicken finger dipping sauce or my firecracker dipping sauce.

Chili Sauce for Chicken Fingers

Course Sauce
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 2 cups

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sweet chili sauce
  • 1/2 cup mango chopped
  • 1/2 cup pineapple chopped

Instructions

  • Place all ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
  • Serve cold or at room temperature.

Slow Cooker Lone Star State Chili

Nothing beats a big pot (er…. slow cooker) of chili slow cooking all day long on a cold day. This slow cooker Lone Star State chili is pretty much your standard fantastic, beefy, yummy chili. With plenty of kick, of course. Do not fear adding more jalapenos – they do mellow a bit as the chili cooks throughout the day.

For a nice twist on any recipe that uses canned diced tomatoes substitute fire-roasted diced tomatoes instead. They add so much more flavor than just ‘regular’ ole tomatoes. If you’re lucky enough to live where there are good fresh tomatoes this time of year, put 3-4 onto the grill (or under the broiler) for a few minutes until they are nice and charred. Skin them, dice them and toss them into this chili for even more great tomato flavor.
Slow Cooker Lone Star State ChiliAlthough it’s not a requirement, I prefer to brown any meats before I put them into the slow cooker. The browning adds color (of course) and a much better texture. And more flavor.

Also try Roger Staubach’s chili-in-a-bag.

Slow Cooker Lone Star State Chili

Course Main
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 15 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • 1/4 pound thick smoked bacon diced
  • 1 3 pound beef chuck cut into bite-sized cubes
  • 1 stalk celery chopped
  • 1 large carrot chopped
  • 2 large sweet onions diced
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 6 jalapenos seeded, diced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons chili powder mild or hot, your call!
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 28 ounce can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 14 ounce can beef broth

Instructions

  • Lightly brown the bacon and chuck in a large skillet.
  • Drain and transfer to a slow cooker set to low.
  • Add remaining ingredients.
  • Stir and cook 8 hours or until beef is tender, stirring occasionally. Add water if the chili gets too thick.

Three-Meat Spicy Chili

I’m pretty much in cold weather cooking mode this week. Time-to-hunker-down, it’s-brrrr-cold-outside cooking mode. Time to make three-meat spicy chili! Great meaty flavor, beans, and of course, a spicy kick. I know it’s not ‘traditional’ but I love Italian sausage in chili. Love it!
Three-Meat Spicy ChiliThis chili also is full of one of my other favorite flavors: chipotles in adobo. Chipotles add that great smoky flavor, and just enough heat that you’re going to notice it. The chili comes out rich and flavorful, absolutely perfect for a cool fall day. I make sure to make a big batch of three-meat spicy chili and freeze some of the extra in single-portion containers for easy lunches throughout the week.

Also try my McIlhenny chili. It’s flat-out fantastic too.

Three-Meat Spicy Chili

Course Main
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 45 minutes
Servings 10 -12 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 pound ground Italian sausage
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 red bell peppers chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chipotles in adobo sauce chopped, with some of the sauce
  • 1 large sweet onion chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 28 ounce can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 bottle Sam Adams beer
  • 1 16 ounce can dark kidney beans, rinsed, drained
  • 1 16 ounce can light kidney beans, rinsed, drained

Instructions

  • Crumble the meats into a large Dutch oven or pot over high heat.
  • Cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until the meat is browned. Drain any fat that accumulates, if desired.
  • Reduce heat to medium-high.
  • Add the minced garlic, bell peppers, chipotles, onion, chili powder, cumin, cayenne, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Stir, and cook for 8-10 minutes or until the peppers and onion have started to soften.
  • Add the tomatoes and beer. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and let simmer for 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  • Add more salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Add the beans and heat through, about 10 minutes.
  • Serve.

Copycat Wendy’s Chili

Anita and I were on our way to Gatlinburg, TN, tootin’ along down the interstate, when lunch time crept up on us. A glance at the GPS showed that our choices were pretty much fast food or nothing. A hankerin’ for a Wendy’s burger came over me, so into Wendy’s we went. Anita got the chili. And it was good, which of course meant that I instantly started searching for a copycat version of Wendy’s chili. And here it is. A little thicker than the real deal served at Wendy’s, but definitely a great copycat of the fast food favorite.
Copycat Wendy's ChiliThis chili is about as easy as you can get to make, yet it is quite tasty and has great texture. It’s not hot, but it can be by just adding cayenne or substituting hot chili powder for the mild. You can also substitute cubed chuck for the ground beef for a more traditional chili. Cincinnati chili lovers need only add a bit of cinnamon. And yes, if you like your chili with pasta, you can serve it over pasta.

Also try my copycat of Cin Chili, the best chili mix ever.

Copycat Wendy's Chili

Course Main
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours 15 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 25 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 28 ounce cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 16 ounce can kidney beans, rinsed, drained
  • 1 15 ounce can pinto beans, rinsed, drained
  • 1 large sweet onion diced
  • 1/4 cup celery diced
  • 1/4 cup green bell pepper diced
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder

Instructions

  • Brown ground beef in a large pot. Drain.
  • Add the water. Bring to a boil, then drain completely to remove more fat.
  • Add remaining ingredients.
  • Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and simmer for 3 hours, stirring often.

Copycat Cin Chili

I’m a huge fan of Cin Chili Texas-style chili mix. It has a tremendous southwestern flavor with just enough kick, but not so much as to scare anyone off. Whenever I’m in Cincinnati I swing by Jungle Jim’s and grab a few packs of mix. But, sadly, sometimes I can’t make it to Jungle Jim’s. So I searched around and came across this copycat Cin Chili recipe. This mix makes downright good chili. It’s mighty close to the original. Close enough. There’s nothing but good flavor in this chili.

Copycat Cin ChiliI add beans to my chili. I know, I know. Texas chili supposedly doesn’t contain beans (or ‘filler’ as some refer to it). If I was serving this chili over hot dogs I’d probably leave the beans out.

This copycat Cin chili is super easy to make. I whisk each spice mix in small bowls so I just add them in when needed. In no time at all I’m enjoying great chili.

Also try my copycat of the chili from Wendy’s.

Copycat Cin Chili

Course Main
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 8
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 pounds ground beef or use chuck roast, cut into 3/4" cubes
  • 1 14 ounce can beef broth
  • 1 8 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 15 ounce can kidney beans, rinsed and drained (optional)
  • Your favorite chili garnishes

Spice mix #1

  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon jalapeno powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper ground
  • 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon granule
  • 1 teaspoon beef bouillon granules

Spice mix #2

  • 5 tablespoons red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon brown sugar

Spice mix #3

  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

Instructions

  • Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large pot.
  • Add meat and brown. Drain excess fat.
  • Stir in the beef broth and tomato sauce.
  • Stir in spice mix #1. Cover and simmer for 35 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Stir in spice mix #2. Add beans if using. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. If chili gets too thick add a little water.
  • Stir in spice mix #3. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Serve garnished with your favorite toppings.

Southern-Style Picnic Hot Dogs

Sure, these southern-style picnic hot dogs are easy to make. And they’re good! Nothing beats the crunchy coolness of a good slaw with the heat of a nice hot chili sauce! Yum! Nothing fancy, just great! Great for a big cookout or picnic, it doesn’t get any easier.

Southern-Style Picnic Hot DogsThis made for a quick dinner the other night. I used packaged slaw mix with Marzetti light slaw mix. While the dogs were grilling I warmed the chili.

Also try my delicious southwestern hot dog.

Southern-Style Picnic Hot Dogs

Author Mike

Ingredients

  • Hot dogs grilled
  • Hot dog buns toasted
  • Cold cole slaw
  • Canned hot chili without beans, heated

Instructions

  • Serve dogs on buns, topped with cole slaw and chili!

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White Bean Chili

I admit, I’m a huge fan of beef chili, so when I came across this recipe for white bean chili (with chicken?!) I was a little hesitant. Would I take a big spoonful and long for a nice piece of tender chuck instead?

White Bean ChiliNope.

This chili is very good. It’s herby, for sure, thanks to a sizable amount of oregano and fresh cilantro. The chicken is tender and tasty. I added a dollop of sour cream to bring a nice cool contrast.

This awesome white bean chili gets even better the next day. So does my spicy white chicken chili.

White Bean Chili

Course Main
Cuisine American
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 4 hours
Servings 10 -12

Ingredients

  • 1 pound dried navy beans
  • 5 cups chicken stock plus more if needed
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup sweet onion diced
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 7 ounce cans chopped green chiles
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, chopped fine
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • Pinch red pepper flakes or more
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro chopped plus more for garnish
  • Sour cream

Instructions

  • Soak beans in water for 2 hours. Rinse and drain well.
  • Place beans in a large pot or Dutch oven and add chicken stock. Bring to a boil.
  • Meanwhile, in a saucepan over medium high heat, melt the butter.
  • Add the onion and saute for 3 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and chiles and saute for another 2 minutes.
  • Add onion mixture to beans, along with remaining ingredients except for the sour cream.
  • Reduce heat to medium and let simmer for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. If the mixture gets too thin add a little bit more stock (or water).
  • Serve topped with sour cream and cilantro.

Beef and Italian Sausage Chili Version 2.0

I’m not a big believer in the “rules” around how chili should be made. Some folks say it can’t have beans, some say it can’t have Italian sausage, and that’s fine… and maybe this isn’t a “real” chili, but it’s dang good. I’d sit down with a bowl of this beef and Italian sausage chili any time, any where. It has a bit of kick, and fantastic layers of flavor.

Beef and Italian Sausage ChiliAlso try version 1.0 of this great chili. It’s just as great, just a little different. You can’t have too many variations on beef and Italian sausage chili, if you ask me. If you prefer a bean-only chili, my white bean chili is the way to go.

Beef and Italian Sausage Chili

Course Main
Cuisine Southwestern
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings 8 -12

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound bacon
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound mild Italian sausage
  • 1 package of chili seasoning mix or use 2 tablespoons of homemade seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 sweet onion chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper chopped
  • 2 medium carrots chopped
  • 2 stalks celery chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 14 1/2 ounce cans Del Monte Italian recipe stewed tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 cups spicy V-8 vegetable juice
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1/3 cup Heinz 57 Steak Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 15 ounce can dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley chopped

For garnish

  • Extra sharp cheddar cheese shredded
  • Green onion sliced
  • Sour cream

Instructions

  • Cook the bacon in a large skillet until just starting to crisp. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate. Remove all but one tablespoon of the bacon fat.
  • Crumble the beef and sausage into the skillet and brown. Drain off most of the resulting grease.
  • Stir in the chili seasoning, cumin, garlic salt, and black pepper. Reduce heat to low.
  • In a large Dutch oven, place the onion, bell peppers, carrots, celery and garlic. Add in the tomatoes, vegetable juice, broth, steak sauce and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat a simmer and continue simmering until the vegetables are tender. The carrots will take the longest to cook.
  • Add the cooked meat, beans and cilantro to the Dutch oven and stir.
  • Crumble the bacon and add to the pot.
  • Simmer for another 30 minutes. Add more salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Serve with garnishes, if desired.

Chili Seasoning

Next time you need chili seasoning, don’t reach for a packet, just make a batch of this copycat version.

Omit the flour if you are using something else as a thickener, such as refried beans.

Also try my homemade chipotle seasoning.

Chili Seasoning

Course Spice Mix
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flake
  • 1 tablespoon dried minced onion
  • 1 tablespoon dried minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  • Combine all ingredients.
  • Two tablespoons equals one packet.