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Food Storage Tips: Just like Wendys Chili

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Serves 12

2 lbs ground beef
32 oz. tomato sauce
29 oz can kidney beans with liquid, or 1 2/3 cup dry kidney beans, soaked and cooked until soft
29 oz. can pinto beans with liquid, or 1 2/3 cup dry pinto beans, soaked and cooked until soft
1 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced green chiles
1/4 cup diced celery
29 oz can diced tomatoes
4 Tablespoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons salt (if dry beans are used, add 2 more teaspoons salt)

Brown the ground beef with the onions and celery. Drain the fat. Crumble beef into pea-sized pieces. In a large pot, combine the beef with all other remaining ingredients. Bring to a simmer over low heat. Cook, stirring every 15 minutes, for 2 to 3 hours. Or cook in a crockpot all day on low, or for a half day on high.

Serve with chopped lettuce, grated cheese and taco chips for a taco salad.

How does this recipe fit into my family recipe criteria? It’s healthy, cheap, yummy, and uses ingredients from the food storage. It’s quicker to prepare if you use pre-canned beans. It’s cheaper if you don’t. We usually prepare this with dried beans. That makes it take longer, so I have to plan ahead and cook up a lot of beans at the same time.

Are these ingredients “storable” though? Ground beef usually isn’t considered part of food storage. We have a large freezer and I buy meat in bulk. However, ground beef can be canned. I’ve done it before. The celery isn’t really part of food storage either. If I don’t have it on hand, I have skipped it before. Or if I have a garden going, I have chopped up the stems of Swiss chard. They taste like celery, are healthier than celery, and it’s much easier to grow than celery. For onions, I usually use dehydrated onions purchased in bulk from the LDS cannery. I put onions in the garden this year, so I’m finally using fresh onions and remembering why I don’t like dealing with them!

The other ingredients are routine parts of our storage: tomato sauce, canned diced tomatoes, canned green chiles, spices. We buy these in bulk every year when they go on sale, usually during Utah’s terrific case lot sales (a subject of another post).

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