I love chili!! Whether in a bowl by itself, poured over nachos, or on top of a baked potato, you can’t go wrong.
Most chili enthusiasts will tell you that real chili should be made by slow cooking a cut of beef such as a chuck roast. I would agree that this produces the best chili. But I have four kids. Sometimes I need something quick and easy. Out comes some frozen leftover spaghetti sauce. With the simple addition of chili powder, spaghetti sauce is transformed into chili!!
Many chili aficionados will also tell you that real chili should not have beans in it. I personally like beans in my chili. Not only do beans taste good, but they are a simple, cheap way to make the chili go farther. And they add fiber. I always start with dried beans since they cost much less than canned beans.
Chili powder is available in a few different ways. The first and most expensive way to buy it is in little packets. Not only do the packets cost more, they don’t offer you the flexibility to adjust the amount. The next best alternative is to buy a jar or bottle. The cheapest (and my favorite) way to buy chili powder is from the bulk bins. When I get it home, I transfer it to a canning jar to maintain freshness. Last time I was at WinCo I priced chili powder in packets, jars/bottles, and the bins (Hy-Top is WinCo’s store brand):
McCormick, 1.25 oz.--$0.97 (77.6¢/oz.)
Hy-Top, 1 oz.--$0.44 (44¢/oz.)
McCormick, 2.5 oz.--$1.68 (67.2¢/oz.)
McCormick, 4.5 oz.--$2.77 (61.6¢/oz.)
McCormick, 9.25 oz.--$5.68 (61.4¢/oz.)
Spice Pantry, 2.5 oz.--$0.50 (20¢/oz.)
Bulk Bins--$2.84/lb. (17.8¢/oz.)
You may want to add the chili powder gradually, tasting as you go. I like a little heat in my chili. If you don’t want it as spicy, add less.
Leftover Spaghetti Sauce Chili
2 qts. leftover spaghetti sauce
1 qt. drained beans (small red, kidney, or chili)
1 c. chili powder
Assorted toppings, optional (shredded cheddar, sour cream, chopped onions, etc.)
Combine all ingredients in large pot over medium heat. Simmer until heated through, stirring occasionally. Yields 3 qts. Total cost: about $5. Unit cost: about $1.67/qt.
Southwest style: Stir in frozen corn and/or serve with tortilla chips.
Cincinnati style: Serve over hot spaghetti.
Japanese-American style: Serve over hot white rice.
Unfortunately I didn’t weigh the chili when I was done. But I can assure you that it cost less to make it than it would have cost me to buy canned chili (which I don’t like anyway). At WinCo last week, canned chili cost anywhere from $0.88-$1.51 for a 15 oz. can.