2 lbs. ground beef
1 29 oz. can tomato sauce
1 29 oz. can pinto beans
1 29 oz. can kidney beans
1 large onion diced
2 large tomatoes – seeded & chopped
2 tsp. powdered cumin
3 Tbsp. chili powder
1-1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. kosher salt
1-2 cups water

Brown the ground beef in a large pot or dutch oven – the one you’ll make the chili in – over medium heat; drain the fat and put back into pot.

Place everything else into the pot and bring to a boil. Immediately turn the heat to simmer and let simmer for 3 hours. Do not cover. You will need to stir it about every 20 minutes or so.

Pasta e Fagioli (Sort of)

This is my version of pasta e fagiloi. Delicious, simple, easy to prepare. The ingredient list may seem long, but it’s stuff you probably already have in your kitchen, except maybe the V-8 juice and meaty ham bone. Remember, you can prepare the pasta separately, add to the bowls then add this soup – it’s up to you.

1 lb. ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 large carrot, diced small
4+ minced garlic cloves (to taste)
2 14-5 oz. cans diced tomatoes with juice
1 15 oz. can kidney beans with juice
1 15 oz. can white beans with juice
1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
1 12-15 oz. can V-8 Juice
1 Tbsp. white or rice vinegar
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. Italian seasonings
1 meaty ham bone
1 cup water
1/2 – 1 cup small pasta such as ditalini

In a large pot, brown meat and drain off almost all of the fat. Place back in pot and add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic and saute for 10 minutes. add all the remaining ingredients except the pasta and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer and simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally and adding another cup of water if it seems to thick – remember, when you add the pasta it thickens up.  During the last 20 minutes, remove the ham bone, add pasta, bring to a boil then simmer until pasta is done.

Best Baked Beans

img_0093.jpgBecause these are made with canned beans, they don’t bake in the oven for hours and hours. They really are one of the best baked beans.

1 pound uncooked bacon, sliced into thirds
2 onions, diced
2 tsp. minced garlic (jarred is fine)
3 28-oz. cans of baked beans
1 1/2 cups ketchup based chili sauce
1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup yellow ballpark mustard (not spicy)
3 tsp. dried basil OR oregano
1 tsp. red hot pepper flakes***optional but very good
2 tsp. ground cumin
A little less than 1/4 cup packed brown sugar – (preferably dark brown)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Saute the bacon for 10 minutes. Stir in the onions and keep cooking for 5 more minutes. Add the garlic and cook 3 minutes more. Scrape this into a large baking dish then add all the rest of the ingredients and gently mix/stir to blend together. Bake this uncovered until it’s bubbly and there’s a tad of brown crust on the edges – this takes about 45 minutes.