When you're cooking for a crowd, bean-based meals are a frugal choice. I created this three bean chili recipe on the fly last month. Our family loves chili. And I love that they love it! Chili hits all the boxes - nutritious, delicious, frugal, freezes well, and it's a frugal meal for a big family.
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This year we've been growing black beans indoors to help secure our family's food supply. So I'm always looking for new ways to use my black beans. At the same time, I try to use up all of our leftovers by composting or creating new recipes. In this recipe, I'm using up some leftover celery, peppers, and carrots.
Although this three bean chili recipe does make a big batch, it also freezes well. And like most of my recipes, it's easy to substitute other ingredients with what you have on hand.
Big Batch Three Bean Chili Recipe
- 5 cups cooked mixed beans (black, red kidney, and red chili)
- 1 pound of ground beef
- 1 ½ onion, diced
- 5 cloves of garlic red pepper
- ½ yellow pepper
- ½ orange pepper
- 2 stalks celery
- ½ cup diced carrots
- 1 cup diced zucchini
- 2 cups frozen corn kernels with jalapeno
- 2 28-oz cans of diced tomatoes
- 1 ¾ cups of water
- 5 tablespoons chili powder
- 3 tablespoons oregano
- 3 heaping teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 2 tablespoons salt (or to your taste)
- 2 strips cooked bacon, diced
- 1. Fry onion and garlic in 2 tbsp olive oil in large frying pan
- Add peppers and celery
- Add ground beef and cook until no longer pink
- Transfer the ground beef mixture into a large slow cooker
- Add all other ingredients
- Cook on high for four hours or low for six to eight
- Serve over brown rice with grated cheddar cheese adn sour cream
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Three Bean Chili Notes and Substitutions
My pantry usually contains packages of dried beans of all sorts. That's because I use them two to three times each week. Some of our favorite recipes using beans include my Chicken Black Bean Salsa Corn Casserole, Stovetop Rice and Beans, and my Big Batch Black Bean Soup Recipe.
This recipe calls for 5 cups of cooked mixed beans. I used red kidney beans, black beans, and chili beans.
So this time I actually cooked up five cups of dried mixed beans. However, take note! Five cups of dried mixed beans make 10 cups of cooked beans. Since this recipe only calls for half that amount, I cooled and froze the rest in 1 cup portions.
Use Homegrown Tomatoes Instead of Canned Tomatoes
So I'm really hoping that next year we'll be using home-canned tomatoes instead of the big cans we currently buy by the case! It seems to me that the 28-ounce cans of diced tomatoes equal about 3.5 cups. So you'd need seven cups of diced tomatoes with their liquid for this chili recipe.
Use Canned Mixed Beans Instead of Dried Beans
Recently I've been experimenting with mixed bean recipes. Use whatever you have on hand for this chili. If you use canned beans and don't drain the liquid, cut the water and salt from the recipe.
Did you make this chili? What were your substitutions? Drop me a line and let us know!
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