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Kid Friendly Chili Recipe

My mom is not one for spicy foods, and whenever we were away from home, chili was always this spicy, inedible stew-like concoction that none of us kids would eat.  But my mom managed to make it so that it was simple, flavorful, and friendly toward kid palates.

My oldest daughter was a bit on the picky side when she ate, and I think for a while, we called this hot dog soup.  Soup she would eat.  The kidney beans looked like hot dogs.  And on appearance alone, she wouldn’t touch it.  But the familiar ingredients and flavors won over even Brighid.

So here is chili, the way my mom taught us.


2-3 Green Bell Peppers, Diced

1 Medium Onion, Diced (we use sweet onions when we can find them)

2 pounds ground beef

1 can tomato soup (plus the one can of water)

1 large can of crushed tomatoes

1 large can of kidney beans

chili powder to taste

salt and pepper to taste

Starting with a small bit of oil in a pan, saute peppers and onions.

You’ll want to keep them going until the onions start to become translucent and the peppers become tender.

Add your meat, salt, pepper, and chili powder.  Because this is for the kids to enjoy, I usually only put about a tablespoon to a tablespoon and a half of chili powder in when I cook it.  If Jim wants it spicier, he can add Tabasco later on.

I find that by enlisting the help of the kids, they are usually more willing to try new flavors and tastes.  You might even sneak a few vegetables into a dish if they’ve helped make it!

Cook meat and vegetables until the meat is brown, then drain everything.

In a large pot, place your tomato soup, can of water, crushed tomatoes, and kidney beans.  Heat on medium until the meat mixture is brown, and then add the meat to the pot.

Simmer on low to medium with a cover on the pot for one hour.  Remove the cover, and simmer uncovered for another hour.  Stir occasionally just to make sure nothing is burning or sticking on the bottom.

We always serve ours with fresh rolls from Del Buono’s Bakery in Haddon Heights, NJ – you can get them hot off out of the oven, grabbed with your very own soon to be blistered fingers!

And the finished product –

This super easy, seasonal favorite is great for freezing, so I usually double the recipe and have some for another “chilly” evening.

And for gastric bypass post – ops – this is an easy to eat food.  I break the meat down as small as I can, so it rarely gets stuck, and I cook everything until it’s nice and tender, so even the veggies won’t give you a hard time.  It’s packed with protein and fiber, and with the mild spices, very pouch friendly!