When I was growing up, chili came from a can, it always had beans, and I never understood what all the fuss was about. After I met JD, he raved about this "Yankee" Chili that his mom and grandmother made, so I picked both their brains, made my own modifications, and discovered the difference between homemade and canned chili.

This is a very simple, but completely delicious recipe for chili. I pay no attention to the many chili-related arguments...beans or no beans? Ground beef or cubed? Kidney, pinto or black beans? What follows is what works for me, and it's always a hit with family and friends.

You'll need this stuff. Not the butter, though. That was out in prep for cookies. Mmmmm...cookies... 

Suzy's Yankee Chili

1 pound ground beef
1 medium onion
2 cans dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
3-5 heaping tablespoons chili powder, or more to taste
salt
1 5.5 ounce can Low-Sodium V-8 juice
1 large can tomatoes, or 1 quart jar homemade canned tomatoes, if you are that lucky
Few dashes Cholula hot sauce
Optional garnishes (grated cheese, diced onion, sour cream)

First, chop up your onion.

Start browning your ground beef in a large pot.

When it's about halfway done, add the onion and finish browning. Drain the excess fat if you want. I usually keep it. Remember, Fat = Flavor.

Drain and rinse the yucky slimy stuff from the beans...

...and add them to the pot.

Now add your chili powder...as much as you want...

...and give it a good stir. See the lovely red color?

Stir in the V-8 juice.

And the tomatoes.

And a few dashes Cholula hot sauce. Add salt to taste.

Smoosh the tomatoes with a big spoon to break them up.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer. I try to let it cook for at least 30 minutes, but 45 minutes to an hour is best to get the flavors mingling.

Taste and add salt or chili powder if needed. Chili is always better the second day, so if you can, let it cool and stick it in the fridge for tomorrow night's dinner.

Yum. Serve with the optional garnishes and some cornbread. Yankee or not, this stuff is good.