With “Blizzard 2011” bearing down upon us yesterday and today in Chicago, it was the perfect time to make preparations for a nice pot of snow day chili.


I started by prepping my mise en place last night, and yes, those are carrots you see there. Maybe non-traditional, but it’s how my mother always made chili and I think it adds a nice touch of sweetness to counter the heat. All that was left to do in the morning was brown the beef, sauté the green pepper and onions, and throw everything else into the slow cooker. By 7:30am, dinner was starting as I started my day [our office had a “work from home day”, not so much a “snow day”].

After a hike through the snow in the late afternoon to see how the neighborhood fared with the storm, coming home to a warming bowlful of chili with Frito garnish topped the day off just right.

Gina’s Blizzard Chili

1 lb. ground beef
2 hot Italian sausages, cooked & cut into little pieces
1 large onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
carrots, chopped (about 4)
celery, chopped (about 4 stalks)
1 can kidney beans (15 oz.)
1 can crushed tomatoes (28 oz.)
2 Tbsp. chili powder*
1Tbsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. salt
dash of Franks Hot Sauce
sprinkle of ground (cayenne) red pepper
garlic powder
onion powder
dried basil or oregano
Fritos (optional)

  1. Brown beef, seasoning with garlic powder, onion powder, and basil
  2. Sauté green pepper and onion
  3. Combine beef, green pepper, onions and all remaining ingredients above dotted line in slow cooker; adding additional cayenne pepper or hot sauce to taste
  4. Depending on your slow cooker, cook about 5-6 hours on low
  5. Garnish with Fritos when serving for a delicious crunch!

* If you don’t have any chili powder on hand, you can make your own by combining 2 parts each garlic powder and cumin, and 1 part each paprika, cayenne pepper and oregano