20 minute dinner: Clear-the-pantry chili

My last 20 minute dinner post (Pasta with creamy marinara sauce) prompted Shannon to send in her recipe for kid-friendly chili, which has the benefit of coming together in minutes from items almost exclusively found in your pantry. It takes a total of more than 20 minutes, but prep time is maybe 10, so that works for me. Since we’re talking a lot right now about getting organized, I figured the timing was perfect for a good pantry-clearer.

I love hot, spicy food and chili in all forms, so it is especially discouraging to not be able to cook food with much more than bland flavor for kids. But, I found a good way to get real chili taste without the heat. I use Mojave brand Pasilla Chili powder — the one you find in the the cellophane packets in the mexican food section. It is just chili powder – nothing else. Most bottled chili powders are blends that also contain cumin and cayenne. This chili has a good chili flavor and no heat. Also easy and quick to make, all from cans.


1 medium onion, diced
1 15 oz. can of pinto beans
1 15 oz. can of black beans
(I also sometimes use black soy beans here for added protein, they taste almost the same in the chili.)
1 28 oz/ can of crushed tomatoes
(Fire roasted Muir Glen brand works particularly well here.)
1 small can of diced roasted mild green chilis (Like Rosarita) *Optional
2-4 generous Tbs of Mojave brand Pasilla Chili powder (taste and add more if you find it too mild at first )
1 can vegetable stock or water

I saute the onions in a little oil, then add the chili powder to toast it in the oil. Next, add the tomatoes, beans, and green chili. If you need to you add water or stock to level the liquid,  I find a 1/2 bottle of Corona beer works well here too. The parent perc is that you get to drink the extra, and the alcohol cooks off the chili in no time.) Simmer for 30 min – or longer. Serve it in a bowl with a slice of cheddar or jack cheese melted on top and a side of cornbread or corn chips. Adults can always add more heat with a little hot sauce or cayenne right at the table.

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  1. Reepsls says

    Sounds Yummy and alot like my kids’ fav soup. I choose 1 can of seasoned stewed tomatoes and 1 can of broth and they choose 2 cans of thier fav canned veggies we open all the cans stir togeather and simmer for 10 mins and it’s done plus they eat it because they chose it!!