I’m almost embarrassed to post this recipe because it just seems too simple. But I’m going to tell you about it anyway.
This recipe was born of necessity. See, I was making chili in my slow cooker and I didn’t have enough tomato sauce. While staring at my cupboards pondering what to do, my eyes found a jar of salsa. And my super shortcut, Cheater Cheater Chili Dinner was born.
My guys don’t like chunks of tomato or onions in their food, so our chili was a very simple affair that consisted of sauce, beans, possibly meat (but not always) and corn.
Yes, I put corn in my chili. Is that weird for you?
If I attempted to chop onions or tomatoes or peppers into microscopic sized pieces, I heard “I don’t like this” – even if I tried to dismiss it as “just seasoning.”
Secretly, I really wanted more veggies, more flavour in our chili. (OK, not so secretly.) Discovering the salsa on that fateful day was the best thing that ever happened to my chili.
I puréed it with my immersion blender before adding it to the pot – because chunks.
Sometimes I use salsa for the whole sauce, but often I use a combination of the blended salsa and tomato sauce. If we have leftover meat, I will throw it in for an easy addition. (I’ve even used leftover meatloaf!)
I love the zesty flavour of chili. The Cheater Chili tasted tangy and sweet. WIN!
We got more veggies – disguised as plain tomato sauce. WIN!
Everything took about 5 minutes to dump in the slow cooker. WIN!
I have also made this recipe as a more last minute meal, dumping the ingredients into a large pot and simmering on the stove until the beans are soft and the sauce is bubbling.
- 1 large jar salsa, puréed (I used a 650 mL / 22 oz jar)
- 2 cans of your favourite beans - I used 1 can red kidney beans and 1 can black beans (optional)
- ground beef (optional)
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- grated cheddar cheese (for garnish)
- Purée salsa and add all ingredients to slow cooker.
- Stir to combine.
- Cook on medium-high for 3 hours or until beans are your preferred consistency.
- Top with grated cheese and enjoy.
- Adjust seasoning to your taste.
- We enjoy the vegetarian version for this dish as much as the beefy one, but if you are not fans of beans (which can be hit and miss here) an all beef chili would no doubt be tasty, too.
- If you forget to set up the slow cooker or you are short on time, this recipe can be made on the stove top, too. Cook on medium-low until beans are tender, stirring occasionally.
We top with it with grated cheddar cheese and serve it with rolls or biscuits (like my Quick and Easy Drop Biscuits.)
So easy, it’s kinda cheating. And sneaking in extra veggies – totally cheating.
But when they eat it and ask to take it for lunch the next day? I call that a win. So much that I could have called it Winner Winner Chili Dinner, but I didn’t want to offend chickens.
It’s still winning when you cheat a little, right? Do you have any super-easy cheater recipes you can share?