Hearty Texas Chili

Texas Chili is the perfect way to feed a hungry crowd and absolutely full of flavor . This recipe is packed with a generous portion of beef (chuck is best) and an interesting array of spices that will lend a touch of sophistication to your Texas chili bowl.

Unlike a classic chili recipe made with ground beef, this recipe doesn’t include beans. Serve it with a big ol’ chunk of cornbread or garlic bread for dipping!

A bowl of texas chili next to a spoon ready to eat.

What is Texas Chili?

To make authentic Texas chili, you really only need to remember one thing. No Beans! Also, keep in mind this regional recipe generally uses only stew beef and not ground beef. Purists will argue that true Texas-style chili is designed to let the flavors of beef and peppers to prevail, and therefore they only use stew beef, chilies, and tomatoes.

But most people spice things up to some degree, and I’m in that camp. This Texas chili has an amazing rich flavor that comes from not only the beef, but also an unexpected combination of spices and ingredients, including cinnamon, cumin, and even a pinch of unsweetened cocoa!

The spice mixture for texas chili rub on a wooden plate.

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BEEF for this recipe can be either stewing beef or chuck.  Chuck is uniformly marbled and the tissues break down cooked over low and slow heat until melt in your mouth tender. Stewing beef is another great option but can be made up of various cuts of beef so it doesn’t cook as uniformly.

One of the best things to love about chili is that it lets you exercise your creativity, so go ahead and experiment with all those delightful dried and canned chilies available in specialty grocery stores or even ethnic food aisles. Guajillo, ancho or pasilla peppers are all excellent options.

To Make Texas Chili

  1. Brown the stew beef in an oiled stew pot, then remove and set aside.
  2. In the same pot, sauté onions, garlic, and chili peppers.
  3. Stir in the seasonings and cook briefly.
  4. Add beef and the rest of the ingredients and simmer until very tender.

A pot of texas chili ingredients like beef, tomatoes, and bay leaves.

Serving Suggestions

By now you know that the best Texas chili recipes contain no beans, but that doesn’t mean you can’t serve them on the side. Keep it simple. Or, mash up some kidney, red and pinto beans, and refry with some butter or lard, garlic powder and other spices. Spanish rice also make an excellent companion dish.

Cornbread should also be considered for dipping or soaking up that spicy sauce. For a tasty finishing touch, top your Texas chili with sour cream or shredded Mexican cheeses.

Texas chili in a dutch oven topped with fresh jalapenos and cheddar cheese.

Got Leftovers?

FRIDGE: Leftovers will keep about 4-5 days in the fridge and easily reheat on the stove top or in the microwave.

FREEZER: This recipe freezes perfectly once cooled. Pack it into freezer containers, leaving an inch of headspace for expansion or even freezer bags. It will keep for up to four months. No need to thaw before reheating. Just remove and place in a pot on low heat, and allow to get piping hot before serving.

More Delicious Chili Recipes

Texas Chili

Texas chili is a delicious, hearty meal full of beef and flavor!

  • 4 lbs boneless beef chuck roast (trimmed of excess fat, cut into ½ inch chunks)
  • salt & pepper (to taste)
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
  • 3 jalapeno peppers (seeded and diced)
  • 1 large yellow onion (diced)
  • 5 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (seeded and finely chopped)
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes ((28 ounces))
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4 cups beef stock or broth
  • 2 bay leaves

Seasoning Mix

  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons chipotle chili powder
  • 2 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  1. Season the beef with kosher salt and black pepper.
  2. In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat and brown half of the meat. Repeat with remaining beef. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Add remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and heat 30 seconds. Add the jalapeno peppers and onions and saute for about 10 minutes onions are softened. (Do not brown them).
  4. Stir in garlic and seasoning mix and cook 30 seconds or just until fragrant.

  5. Add the beef back into the pot along with remaining ingredients.
  6. Bring the chili to a boil and then turn the heat down to low.
  7. Simmer, uncovered, for 3 to 3-½ hours stirring occasionally so it doesn’t stick. If it becomes too thick, add more stock as needed.
  8. Before serving remove the bay leaves and serve plain or covered with sour cream, shredded cheese, or green onions.

If you want to add additional heat, add more chipotle peppers or chipotle chili powder to taste.
While cooking the meat in the chili should slightly shred – this is normal.

A bowl of texas chili next to a spoon ready to eat.
A bowl of texas chili next to a spoon ready to eat.
Top photot - a bowl of texas chili next to a spoon ready to eat. Bottom photo - ingredients for Texas Chili in a pot.

Chili Mac Skillet (One Pan Meal)

Supper never fails to satisfy when you serve this Chili Mac Skillet. This cheesy, meaty meal combines ground beef, macaroni, and cheddar cheese in a thick tomato sauce enriched with beef broth.

Make this your go-to recipe when you need to stretch your food budget and still put a smile on everyone’s face! Serve this hearty meal with a light tomato cucumber salad and a slice of garlic bread to soak up every last drop!

Chli Mac in a skillet topped with a sprinkle of cheddar cheese

What is Chili Mac?

Chili Mac is a fresh take on an American Goulash recipe, with a flavorful Tex-Mex flair, thanks to the addition of chili powder and herbs. Make it on the stovetop in a pot for an easy meal that’s a breeze to prep!

Ingredients for Chili Mac

Not only is the shopping, prepping and cooking for this homemade one pot meal super easy, but cleanup is a breeze too. Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

  •  Base: ground beef, beef broth, elbow macaroni
  • Toppings: cheddar cheese
  • Veggies: crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, onions, garlic cloves
  • Sugar & Spice: parsley, basil, oregano, chili powder, beef bouillon cube, sugar

Substitutions

If you prefer, substitute ground turkey or chicken for the beef and use chicken broth and bouillon. Penne pasta, rotini or shells will also serve in place of the macaroni. Add canned black beans, bell peppers or corn to stretch this recipe even more.

For maximum flavor and bite, use extra sharp cheddar. Pepper jack or Colby also work well in this recipe. Consider giving chili mac more of a Mexican vibe by getting creative with cumin powder, jalapenos, or chopped cilantro.

Ingredients to make Chili Mac in a large skillet

To Make this One Pan Skillet Meal

Follow these simple steps and you’ll have dinner on the table in a flash:

  1. Brown the ground beef with onion and garlic and drain off any fat.
  2. Add all the ingredients to the same pan (per recipe below) expect the cheese.
  3. Cover and cook until the macaroni is tender, stirring occasionally.

Once cooked, adjust seasoning, top with shredded cheddar, a sprinkle of green onion or cilantro and serve.

An overhead image of chili mac ready to serve

Don’t Forget the Sides!

The beauty of one pot meals like this is that you don’t have to fuss too much with sides. Serve chili mac with tortilla chips or tangy panzanella salad for a welcome crunch.

Baked corn on the cob or tomato avocado salad are also tasty and light sides that will complement the stick-to-your-ribs heartiness of chili mac.

How to Reheat It

This is a terrific meal to make in advance to allow the flavors to deepen and develop. Chili mac will keep in the fridge for up to four days, or in the freezer for up to four months.

To reheat, thaw and then pop into the microwave until steaming hot. Or you can take it straight from the freezer to the oven and bake until bubbling hot throughout.

Macaroni Madness

Chili Mac Skillet

Creamy tex-mex infused pasta skillet!

  • 1/2 small onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 3/4 pound dry macaroni noodles
  • 28 oz crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 1 beef bouillon cube
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon each dried parsley, basil and oregano
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 3/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese (shredded)
  1. Finely dice the onion (or grate with a cheese grater). Add onion, beef and garlic to a pan over medium heat. Cook until no pink remains. Drain any fat.

  2. Add remaining ingredients except cheese. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium low and cover.

  3. Stirring occasionally, let cook 13-17 minutes or until macaroni is cooked through (add a little bit of water if needed).

  4. Season with salt & pepper to taste and serve warm topped with cheese.

 

Chili Mac Skillet served in a white bowl and garnished with shredded cheddar and fresh parsley.
Chili Mac Skillet served in a white bowl and garnished with shredded cheddar and fresh parsley.
Top photo - Chili Mac Skillet served in a white bowl and garnished with shredded cheddar and fresh parsley. Bottom photo - Chili Mac cooked and ready in the skillet.

My Favorite Mexican Soup Recipe!

Chicken Tortilla Soup is one of my favorite comfort foods! Chicken breasts, corn, beans, and other delicious ingredients are simmered in a tomato base. Top this delicious soup with crispy homemade tortilla strips, avocado, lime, and cilantro for the perfect Mexican-inspired soup!

We love having Tex Mex and Mexican nights around here. Corn dip, instant pot chicken tacos, beef enchilada casserole, you name it.

A dutch oven full of chicken tortilla soup with fresh avocado, tortilla strips, and lime.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup is one of my favorites and something I always order when I visit Mexico. The great thing about travel is creating versions of those recipes when I get home for my friends and family (and for you) to enjoy!

This chicken tortilla soup recipe is easy to make. As with an authentic tortilla soup recipe, tortilla strips are fried crisp and add the perfect crunch. I top this soup with lime and cilantro, and the freshness to finish it off with a fresh flavor.

Add your own favorite toppings, a bit of cotija cheese, guacamole, pico de gallo, and sour cream are all great additions! I like to create a little topping bar when I serve this soup so everyone can add what they love.

What Is Tortilla Soup?

Tortilla soup is a classic Mexican soup made with a tomato (or chicken) base. It usually has ingredients like corn, beans, and often other additions like jalapenos and cilantro. It is simmered, then topped with crispy tortilla strips and whatever you’d like to add.

Tortilla soup is most commonly made with chicken but you can also find it made with lamb, beef, and fish. Cooking the protein in the soup adds a ton of flavor!

Ingredients for chicken tortilla soup in a dutch oven.

How To Make Tortilla Soup

It’s easy! Chicken tortilla soup takes just 30 minutes to cook. Prep your veggies first to save extra time. Make the tortilla strips while the soup is simmering (or you can purchase Tortilla Strips online or at the grocery).

You can also make the tortilla strips a few days in advance. They only need to pan fry for a minute or so on each side. Once they’re crisp, salt them and save them for later.

For the Chicken Tortilla Soup:

  1. Saute jalapeno and onion until fragrant (remove the jalapeno seeds to make it less spicy)
  2. Add everything else and simmer
  3. Remove the chicken and shred it with a couple of forks
  4. Add the chicken back in
  5. Serve it with tortilla strips and desired toppings

This recipe is crazy easy!

Homemade tortilla strips in a wooden bowl for garnishing chicken tortilla soup.

What To Serve With Tortilla Soup

Here’s where it gets fun! Tortilla soup is so versatile that nearly anything can be served with it!

A bright tangy cabbage slaw or a Fresh Corn Salad will complement the rich flavors of tortilla soup as well as a side of cheesy quesadillas.

For soup toppings, try some sliced black olives, green chiles, shredded cheddar or crumbled cotija cheese, or cubes of avocados. This is definitely a recipe that will find it’s way to your table year round!

Two bowls full of chicken tortilla soup with fresh toppings like avocado, lime, and tortilla strips.

More Recipes You’ll Love

Chicken Tortilla Soup

This soup is simmered to perfection with beans, corn, tomatoes, and chicken. Top it with cilantro, lime, and tortilla chips for the perfect comfort food! 

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 3 large cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 jalapeño (diced and seeded)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 14.5 oz crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with chilis (such as rotel)
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 14.5 oz can black beans (rinsed & drained)
  • 1 cup corn (drained if canned)
  • 2 chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)
  • 1/4 cup cilantro (chopped)
  • 1 lime (juiced)
  • 1 avocado (sliced)

Crispy Tortilla Strips

  • 6 6- inch corn tortillas (cut into 1/4-inch strips)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt
  1. Heat 1/4 cup olive oil over medium-high heat a small pan. Add tortilla strips in small batches and fry until crisp. Drain and salt.

  2. Heat olive oil In a large pot over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and jalapeño and cook until onion is softened.

  3. Add remaining ingredients and simmer 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

  4. Remove chicken and shred. Add back to the pot and simmer for 3 minutes.

  5. Spoon soup into bowls and and top with tortilla strips, lime wedges and sliced avocado.

This easy chicken tortilla soup is the perfect comfort food. We love serving this any time of year! #spendwithpennies #chicken #chickensoup #chickentortillasoup #tortillasoup #mexican #mexicansoup
This easy chicken tortilla soup is the perfect comfort food. We love serving this any time of year! #spendwithpennies #chicken #chickensoup #chickentortillasoup #tortillasoup #mexican #mexicansoup

Crockpot Meatballs

Crockpot Meatballs are an effortless way to prepare tender and delicious meatballs!

No need to pre brown these meatballs, they cook perfectly tender and juicy right in the slow cooker. Sauced up with a rich and chunky tomato sauce and you have an authentic Italian style meal, easy as pie!

Tender crockpot meatballs over pasta - an easy meal.

Crockpot Meatballs

Crockpot Meatballs are really easy to make, simply mix the meatballs and let the slow cooker do all of the work. While I often make homemade meatballs or All Purpose Turkey Meatballs, I love putting them into the slow cooker and coming home to a meal ready to serve!

Using simple ingredients like Italian breadcrumbs and seasonings, onion and parmesan cheese, these meatballs are packed with flavor. Smothered in pasta sauce, diced and crushed tomatoes, garlic and even more Italian seasoning, these easy crock pot meatballs really satisfy.

Tomato sauce and slow cooker meatballs made in the crockpot

Once sauced up, these homemade meatballs in the crockpot cook slowly and evenly, keeping all the juices and flavors tucked neatly inside every savory little meatball.

How to Make Meatballs in a Crockpot?

Once you try this crockpot meatballs recipe you it will become your go-to recipe! They’re so easy to make and no frying or baking (which means no extra dishes to wash).

  1. Combine the ground beef, seasonings, breadcrumbs and egg together.
  2. Form meatballs and place raw meatballs in the bottom of the crockpot.
  3. Top with sauce. Cover and let the slow cooker do the work!

Uncooked crockpot meatballs are the perfect meal and so easy to make!

Do you have to cook meatballs before putting them in a crockpot?

No you do not have to cook meatballs before they go into the Crockpot! If I am using ground beef in the slow cooker (when I’m making Crock Pot Chili or Slow Cooker Spaghetti Bolognese) I pre-cook  the beef.  For this recipe and slow cooker spaghetti and meatballs, there is no pre-cooking required, just mix, form into balls and place in the bottom of the crockpot.

I use lean beef in this slow cooker Italian meatball recipe, the juices from the meatballs add amazing flavor to the sauce!

What Should I Serve with Meatballs?

Crockpot meatballs can be served as an appetizer or made into a whole meal!

  • Serve it over your favorite pasta like spaghetti or penne.
  • Turn it into a meatball sub by serving it over a toasted hoagie, top it with mozzarella cheese and broil!
  • Mashed potatoes go with anything, why not meatballs!
  • Create a meatball casserole by adding fusilli, cover with mozzarella and parmesan cheese and bake at 375˚F for 20 min!

While this homemade crockpot meatball recipe calls for a tomato based sauce, you can always change it up! Try it with BBQ sauce, sweet and sour sauce, mushroom sauce or a honey garlic sauce! The meatball recipe itself is just so versatile and is delicious with any sauce!

The meatballs can be prepared the night before and refrigerated. In the morning, simply add to the slow cooker, pour the sauce on and let the crockpot do the work!

Take it from me, once you prepare meatballs using this crockpot method, you will never return to your old ways!

Other Great Beef Recipes You’ll Love

Crockpot Meatballs

Tender juicy meatballs in an easy tomato sauce requires very little prep and has amazing flavor!

Meatballs

  • 1.5 lbs lean ground beef
  • 1/3 cup Italian bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup onion (finely diced)
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup parsley (fresh, chopped)
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Sauce

  • 24 oz pasta sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 14 oz crushed tomatoes (canned)
  • 28 oz diced tomatoes (canned, undrained)
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  1. Spray slow cooker with cooking spray.
  2. Combine all meatball ingredients in a a bowl. Using a tablespoon, form 24 meatballs. Place uncooked meatballs in the bottom of the slow cooker.
  3. Combine all sauce ingredients in a large bowl. Pour over meatballs and cook on high for 3-4 hours.
  4. Serve over pasta.

Stuffed Pepper Soup

Stuffed Pepper Soup is an inexpensive and delicious soup that will warm your belly from the inside out. Tender sausage and ground beef are simmered in beef broth with peppers, and tomatoes. Add in your rice and serve it hot!

This easy stuffed pepper soup recipe is a family favorite (along with cabbage roll soup) and it reheats beautifully!

Stuffed Pepper Soup in a serving bowl

I love the combination of beef and rice in soups, Cabbage Rolls and even in side dishes like Dirty Rice! We often make Stuffed Peppers because we love the flavors but as the weather turns cooler I tend to make a lot of soup recipes!

This easy Stuffed Pepper Soup is quick to make (and less prep work than traditional stuffed peppers) but still has tons of flavor! While many stuffed bell pepper recipes use only ground beef, I find the addition of sausage adds a lot of great flavor. Of course this recipe is perfect made with just ground beef (or even ground turkey if you’d prefer).

A ladle full of stuffed pepper soup

I use red and green peppers but you can use whatever you have on hand. Red, yellow and orange peppers tend to be sweeter while a green peppers are a bit more zesty. If you prefer a Spicy Stuffed Pepper Soup, add in a minced jalapeno pepper with the bell peppers.  

One of the things I like best is that this homemade stuffed pepper soup can be made with any leftover ingredients you might have on hand! Leftover rice, ground beef, ground sausage, leftover burgers or meatloaf or peppers that you need to use up can save you time (and money)! 

A pot of stuffed pepper soup ready to be served

How To Make Stuffed Pepper Soup

Stuffed pepper soup only takes about 35 minutes and can be made in just one pot with only a few minutes of prep! 

  • Brown beef, onions, and garlic in a large pot. Drain.
  • Add remaining ingredients except rice and simmer 25 to 30 minutes.
  • Finally, stir in the cooked rice and parsley and heat about 5 minutes.

See? It’s seriously that simple! 

You can make stuffed pepper soup in the crock pot if you want to cook it while you’re out and about. Adjust your cooking times to 3-4 hours on high or 5-6 hours on low. Add the cooked rice for the last 20-30 minutes.

Stuffed pepper soup can be made in batches and frozen, it reheats really well. I love freezing it in individual servings and enjoying it when the weather cools down!

a steaming bowl of stuffed pepper soup

Stuffed pepper soup is similar to my Hamburger soup recipe, in that it is tomato and beef based, and packed full of veggies! I use beef and sausage but feel free to use ground turkey or turkey sausage for leaner options. If you’d like a low carb stuffed pepper soup, swap out the rice for cauliflower rice. This stuffed green pepper soup only has around 250 calories per serving, making great choice for lunch or dinner!

 

 More Bell Pepper Recipes You’ll Love

Serve this Stuffed Pepper Soup with homemade biscuits or 30 Minute Dinner Rolls for dipping and a side salad.

Stuffed Pepper Soup

Stuffed pepper soup has sausage and ground beef lots of tende sweet bell peppers, and tomatoes. Add in rice and serve it hot!

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground sausage
  • 1 onion (diced)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 6 cups low sodium beef broth
  • 1 can (16 ounces crushed tomatoes)
  • 1 can (28 ounces diced tomatoes, undrained)
  • 2 green bell peppers
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cups cooked long grain white or brown rice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley (chopped)
  1. Cook beef, sausage, onion and garlic in a large pot until no pink remains. Drain any fat.

  2. Stir in remaining ingredients except rice. Simmer uncovered 25-30 minutes or until peppers are tender.
  3. Add rice and parsley and simmer an additional 5 minutes or until heated through.

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