Lazy Cook’s “Good Enough” Chili

’Readers familiar with my previous recipe posts will have realized that I’m not a very ambitious cook. This recipe is a prime example. It’s not a recipe you’d want to use for your Chili Cookoff entry—in large quantities it would be too expensive, and you’d wear yourself out opening cans—but for a family meal, it’s quite adequate. My husband insists he prefers it to any other chili he’s tasted. The recipe as I received it called for an ample quantity of chili powder, but it’s just spicy enough for me without.


  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • Chopped onion (about half a medium onion)
  • 2 (15-oz.) cans Ranch Style Beans (see Comments)
  • 1 (14.5-oz.) can tomatoes (see Comments)
  • 1 (15-oz.) can tomato sauce (see Comments)


  1. In a large stock pot, brown ground beef with onion.
  2. Add remaining ingredients.
  3. Cover and simmer until heated through.
  4. Serve topped with shredded cheese.


Ranch Style Beans: I use the Original style, but you can also get them with sweet onions, red peppers, or jalapeños. If you can’t find these beans, you can substitute Bush’s Best Chili Beans, which come in Mild, Medium, and Hot varieties. In addition to these kidney bean varieties, Bush’s makes kidney beans in a spicy chili sauce.

Tomatoes: The secret here is to get tomatoes that are already seasoned. I usually get Del Monte “Zesty Chili Style” diced tomatoes.

Tomato Sauce: Again, take advantage of seasoning in the sauce. I usually use Hunt’s Seasoned Tomato Sauce for Chili. It appears, however, that this is being phased out in favor of Hunt’s Seasoned Diced Tomatoes in Sauce for Chili (Mild, Medium, or Hot), which doesn’t sound like the same thing, so I may have to try something different.

Cheese Topping: We like Walmart’s Great Value Fiesta Blend.

Makes about six servings—more if you serve it over rice, as we often do.


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2 Responses to Lazy Cook’s “Good Enough” Chili

  1. As noted above, Hunt’s Seasoned Tomato Sauce for Chili has been discontinued. Its replacement, Hunt’s Seasoned Diced Tomatoes in Sauce for Chili, is not an equivalent. Given the differences, I will probably use two cans of that, omitting the can of Del Monte “Zesty Chili Style” diced tomatoes, which has also become more difficult to find.

  2. Surprisingly, my obituary for Hunt’s Seasoned Tomato Sauce for Chili was premature. It’s still (or again) available, in three grades: “original” for mild chili, plus versions for Medium and Hot chili.

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