Chili, Chips, and Cheese

I first had this fun, substantial finger food at Wendy's.  Serves 4.


  • 2 cups dried beans (kidney, pinto, black, or mixed) (optional)
  • 1 lb. organic, grass-fed beef, ground
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 to 10 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 fresh tomatoes, diced (or 2 cans tomato sauce and 1 can water)
  • 1 tbsp each of oregano, cumin, basil, salt, chili powder
  • 1 tsp each black pepper, red pepper, paprika, turmeric
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 cups organic cheddar cheese, grated or diced
  • 4 bowls organic tortilla chips


If you're using beans, soak then overnight if possible; if not, soak for at least an hour and drain.  Simmer covered for at least an hour.  Quick-soaked beans will be firmer than normal, but chewable.

Gently cook the beef, onion, and garlic in oil and/or butter, then drain and put into a slow cooker or pot.  Add the beans, tomatoes, and spices, and stir.  Cook slowly for at least an hour.

(By the way, if you have some chili in the freezer, good for you!  Skip the above and thaw what you have.  If not, you can stop here and have a free chili recipe!)

Put the oil into a small pan.  Add the cheese and heat, covered, just until it melts (it should take 10 to 15 minutes on very low heat), stirring occasionally.  (If serving is delayed, remove from heat; if the cheese gets overheated, it begins to lose its cheesy elasticity.)

Place chips in individual bowls.  Cover chips generously with chili.  Pour cheese on top so it touches all exposed chips.  (My mouth is watering already.)

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