Chili Two Ways

It is an age old debate…do noodles truly belong in chili? It’s also a debate that we have in my house every time I pull the chili ingredients out from the pantry. Personally, I love chili just the way it is, but my husband believes chili is only worth eating when it has noodles in it. I can also see the other positive side to noodles in chili, when you add noodles you need more water, and with more water, and pasta involved, the pot of chili can spread out a lot further. This is an excellent thing to consider when preparing soup for a potluck, a family get together, or even preparing a dinner on a Sunday night and knowing you may need leftovers for the long week ahead. I’ve provided you with two different versions of my spicy chili, so you can be happy no matter which side of the debate you fall on. 

Spicy Chili – No Noodles

I’ll start with chili without noodles since that is considered the standard approach. For me, chili is a slow cooker meal. This also makes it a pretty easy meal to make since I can leave it alone to cook after mixing the ingredients together.

Ingredients

1 lb Ground Round

1 can Petite Diced Tomatoes

1 can Low Sodium Kidney Beans

1 can Chili Beans with Hot Sauce

½ can Low Sodium Black Beans

½ tsp Onion Powder

½ tsp Garlic Powder

1 tbsp Dark Chili Powder

1 tbsp Mexican Chili Powder

1 tsp Salt

1 tsp Sugar

1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce

½ tsp Crystal’s Hot Sauce (You can use other brands, but I’ve found it tastes best with this one)

2 ¼ cups Water

Directions

The first step to making chili is to brown the ground round, making sure to strain the grease from the pan before dumping the cooked meat into the slow cooker. After the meat is in the pot, mix in the petite diced tomatoes and the chili beans. Before mixing the kidney beans and black beans in they need to be strained and rinsed. 

After all of the canned goods have been mixed in, the spices and sauces can be stirred in. Finish the chili by pouring in the water. I like to use 2 ¼ cups of water to get the chili to the desired thickness, but this can change depending on the consistency you like your chili to be. 

Once all of the ingredients are added in, turn the slow cooker on low and cook the chili for 5-6 hours. 

Spicy Noodle Chili

Making chili with noodles is very similar to cooking without them, but there are some things to consider. First, by adding in pasta, you are automatically taking away from the spice of the dish, so more has to be added in. Secondly, more water has to be added in because the noodles will soak a lot of it in as they are cooking. 

Ingredients

1 lb Ground Round

1 can Petite Diced Tomatoes

1 can Low Sodium Kidney Beans

1 can Chili Beans with Hot Sauce

½ can Low Sodium Black Beans

½ tsp Onion Powder

½ tsp Garlic Powder

2 tbsp Dark Chili Powder

1 tbsp Mexican Chili Powder

1 tsp Salt

1 tsp Sugar

1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce

½ tsp Crystals Hot Sauce (You can use other brands, but I’ve found it tastes best with this one)

4 ¼ cups Water

¾ cups Elbow Noodles

Directions

Just like the regular chili, the first step to making chili with noodles is browning the meat, straining it, and mixing it with the canned items. The kidney beans and black beans still have to be strained for this version also. 

The process continues to be the same as you mix in the spices, sauces, and water. There is one important detail though – you DO NOT add the noodles into the pot right away. While you will still have a finished edible product if you do, you will end up with overcooked, incredibly mushy pasta. Instead of adding them right away you should let the chili cook on low for about 4-5 hours, then you can add the noodles in and leave the chili for another hour. It is very important to let the noodles cook for a full hour in the crock pot before eating it. The noodles will most likely finish cooking before this hour is up, but they will not have the full flavor of the chili infused into them unless they cook for the full hour. 

Whether you prefer chili with noodles or without noodles, this is a great recipe to eat on a cold snowy or rainy day. I like to garnish my bowl with a dollop of sour cream and a ¼ cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese, and of course no meal of chili could be complete without a corn muffin on the side! 

Looking for a great side to go with this dish? Check out my recipe for Jalapeno Cheddar Corn Muffins!

2 thoughts on “Chili Two Ways

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