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All summer I wait. I wait for the first hint of barely cool weather to race to the kitchen to start the first pot of warm, spicy, hearty, bone-sticking CHILI! We sit down on the couch, (because it is specifically a couch food) with our bowls piled to the brim, topped with scallions and cheddar, napkins full of cornbread and crackers, and we gorge ourselves until we have chili floating behind our eyeballs and then drift swiftly and quietly into a chili coma.
We wake up the next morning in a chili haze, drool and tomato sauce down our chins, empty bowls still in our laps, imagining we surely ate the entire pot. But wait, what is this? What do our eyes see, but 3/4 of a pot remaining. How can it be? We ate like it was the last supper! WHAT are we going to do with this much chili? We quickly turn over the couch cushions to hide the chili stains until we can find the Shout, and begin to contemplate.
The good new is chili freezes really well. If you’re just not a leftover person, pop that chili in some good freezer containers and it will still be good come fall next year. If you’re like me, you try to use as much of one meal as you can, because that means less cooking, less time and less grocery budget. So here are some ways you can re-purpose a good chili and your family will never mind eating any of these leftovers!
JUNK FOOD OVERLOAD!
Now this sounds dangerous. But, don’t be alarmed as it doesn’t have to be. I’ll offer ways for this to be good for your body and waistline as well as good for your tastebuds and soul.
1. Chili Dogs
Nothing beats a good chili dog and if you already have the chili, man this is one easy dinner! All you need are the buns, dogs and toppings. If you’re watching your health, these can be easily lightened by choosing turkey or chicken franks, and multi-grain buns. Add a scoop of coleslaw and some baked chips, turn on a ballgame, life is good.
2. Chili Cheese Sweet Potato Fries
Sweet potato fries have become the rage and are packed with nutrients and vitamins. Top these jewels with some protein packed chili and you’ve turned a diet cheat into a diet dream! If you still can’t get into the sweet potatoes, go ahead and use a russet. We won’t tell!
3. Chili Cheese Nachos
These are the perfect snack that can absolutely make a man sized meal. Take your favorite nachos, I love the multi-grain variety, top with chili, cheese, onions, peppers, black olives, and jalapenos. I love the crunch and a little of these goes a long way.
4. Chili Cheese Burritos
Chili cheese burritos are perfect for Mexican night! Take wraps or tortillas of your choice and fill them with chili, cheese and onions. Wrap and place seam side down in a baking dish. Top with enchilada sauce, more cheese and any additional toppings you choose, such as olives, or peppers and bake until cheese is melted. Serve with sour cream. These make a really, super easy week night meal.
This had to be my absolute favorite casserole as kid and I still love it today. Mix leftover chili with prepared pasta noodles, add some cheese and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes or until the cheese melts. This is a dinner winner!
6. Sloppy Joes
Another childhood favorite was Sloppy Joe’s. I will NEVER forget Adam Sandlers song “Lunch Lady Land” where he sings about this iconic lunchroom favorite! One bun, chili in the middle topped with cheddar cheese…an All American Favorite.
7. Chili Cheeseburger
I saved the BEST for last! Who can resist a cheeseburger topped with chili? It’s my all time favorite topping for a cheeseburger! Add some jalapenos and pepperjack cheese and it just doesn’t get any better. Serve this with chili cheese fries or a loaded baked potato topped with chili and this is seriously one man sized meal…made for a woman!
Seven classic and super quick ideas for ONE leftover pot of chili. I’ve given you some of my personal favorites, but other ways to use chili would be in Shepherd’s Pie, soups and stews and even as a dip.
I like easy. Bon appetit’ y’all!