Chili For Two

May 3, 2023thetipsyhousewife

Chili For Two

I love chili and my Mom makes one of my most favorite recipes. To be honest, there’s not many chilis I don’t love. I came up with this Chili For Two that is a slight variation of my Mom’s recipe. This recipe yields enough for two people to have decent size portions and just enough for leftovers for one extra meal. Give or take. This chili for two is made with lean ground beef, whole tomatoes, a little bit of onion and red peppers. Plus, seasonings and herbs you can adjust to your taste preferences. Additionally, this chili cooks up in about two hours. It is a nice meal to have simmering on the stove, especially during the Spring when the weather is transitioning from cold to warm.

The Seasonings

In the written, printable recipe, there are suggested measurements for the spices. As I always say in my recipes, taste and adjust the recipes to YOUR preferences.The beauty of this recipe is that you season the meat AFTER it is fully cooked. This allows you to add the seasonings a little at a time and taste and add more if needed. My particular measurements allow for a spicier chili, you may want it even more spicy, or not spicy at all. Totally up to you. Therefore, it is important to adjust and taste as you go. When adding the salt and the spicier spices, remember that this cooks longer so that the spicy spices and the salt get stronger as this cooks down. You can always add more salt at the end of cooking in order to avoid it being too salty.

Whole Tomatoes In The Can

I like to use these whole tomatoes in the can with their own juices. I use my kitchen scissors to cut up the tomatoes in the can, before adding them to my chili. The reason I like these over tomato sauce or tomato purée , is because I like the texture it gives the sauce in the chili. If you only have the other options of tomatoes on hand, they are fine to sub in a pinch. You will see that other types of canned tomatoes make this chili too thick or too thin, so I stick with the whole tomatoes.

Tomato Powder

one again, I use my secret ingredient, tomato powder, in this recipe. I will link the brand I use HERE. They also sell on amazon. As I am typing this, this product was temporarily out of stock on Amazon, as my followers sold it out by ordering it for my famous Tangy Tomato BLT Salad.

here are other tomato powders on the market, but be sure if you switch to another one, that it is JUST tomato powder and not the tomato bouillon that a lot of people confuse this for. I love the Tomato Bouillon but it is salt as well and this tomato powder is JUST tomatoes.

This is also not Paprika. Many get this confused with paprika simply because it is also red. Paprika is actually dried red peppers. This tomato powders adds great depth and richness to this chili recipe. Tomato powder can also be mixed into mayonnaise for BLT sandwiches. Add it to soups and stews. I add a pinch to brown gravy to add more flavor. I use it to make salad dressings. Basically I use it anywhere I also use tomato paste. My most recent recipe using it is for Bird Dog Sandwiches. These are chicken tender sandwiches on a hot dog bun and I use the tomato powder to make a sandwich spread for it that was inspired by Raising Cane’s.

A Slept On Ingredient

Canned potatoes are one of the ingredients NO ONE remembers to use. I always am met with a lot of controversy when I say that I add diced potatoes to my chili. Trust me, I sometimes add them to my chili as I learned this from a lady I used to babysit for. I rinse these off when I take them out of the can and let them simmer in the chili. It is always a delicious addition. Additionally, if you have a tight food budget, this is a way to bulk up the chili at hardly any extra cost and with literally no extra work.

Tom Tom Tamales

Tom Tom Tamales are a Chicago staple. Found in the frozen food section of Chicago grocery stores. These NON TRADITIONAL tamales are a great addition to your chili. These tamales are unique in that they are made by rolling soft corn meal, think Polenta, around finely minced spicy beef. They are very delicious slowly steamed and warmed in your chili at the end of the cooking process.

Here in Chicago at the local hot dog stands, there is also a sandwich made with these called a Mother In Law. It is a steamed tamale on a hot dog bun with chili and onions. Delicious!

Yield: 3 to 4 Servings

Chili For Two

Chili For Two

This chili recipe is versatile in the sense that you can make it as spicy or as not spicy as you prefer. The portion size is perfect for two. With enough for dinner and a night of leftovers. Make it extra special by serving with tamales or on top of a beautiful baked potato.


  • 2 lbs of lean ground beef
  • 1 small red pepper, finely diced
  • 1 small sweet yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 15 ounce can of whole tomatoes, use kitchen scissors to chop up whole tomatoes while in the can
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato powder or tomato paste (info on tomato powder in the blog post)
  • 15 ounces of cold water ( I fill the tomato can with water)
  • 1 15 ounce can of whole kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons of the juice from a jar of pepperoncini peppers
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • Seasonings
  • *These are approximate measurements, it is always my advice to season a little at a time, taste and adjust. You may prefer less spice
  • 1 tablespoon of chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon of onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon of garlic powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon of white sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon of cayenne (spicy)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon of red chili flake
  • Salt and Black Pepper To Taste


  1. In a deep sided skillet, add your butter, onions and red peppers to the skillet. Sauté low and slow until the peppers and onions are soft and turning a golden brown.
  2. Add your ground meat and cook low and slow, making sure to break up the meat into a fine crumble as it cooks. I. like to use my ground meat chopper tool. A link for this tool is in the blog post. Depending on the fat off the beef you should not have to drain this meat, but if you see grease, drain the meat. Add your tomato powder or tomato paste.
  3. Season the meat with the seasonings, sugar and herbs once it is fully cooked. I season and taste so I know if I need to add more and then it is not too spicy. Once all the seasonings are to your liking, let them all cook with the meat and veggies for about 5 minutes.
  4. Use kitchen scissors to chop up the whole tomatoes while they are in the can. Add the tomatoes to the skillet with their juice, then fill this same can with cold water and add to the skillet. Bring to a simmer and simmer for about 15 minutes.
  5. Next drain and rinse your kidney beans. If you don't do this the chili will be thick and oily and also extra salty. Once you add the beans, cover the pan and let simmer on low for about one hour. Stir occasionally and adjust the heat so its not boiling.
  6. After one hour, remove the lid, add the splash of the pepperoncini juice (it adds some tanginess) you can leave this out if you prefer. Whether you add it or not simmer, uncovered on low, stirring occasionally for 30 more minutes. Turn off heat after, let rest for 10 minutes then serve.
  7. I like to add frozen tamales in the last 30 minutes of cooking and carefullly let them steam and cook in the chili.

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