Rainy Sundays Call For Chili


There’s something about a cozy weekend day spent at home with no real plans. Growing up, these were the kind of days when dad most often seemed to get a hankering to cook. This usually meant one of two things, a hodge podge dinner of foods dad liked (soup beans, hoecakes [fried cornbread] and macaroni salad […? haha]), goulash (which I despised), meatloaf (revered as dad’s specialty and a family favorite), or chili.

There’s a small navy blue notepad my Nay-Nay (grandma on my dad’s side) filled with recipes for dad’s favorite dishes. She gave him this little pad of recipes with detailed instructions when he moved away to Louisiana for his first job out of college. It’s one of the most referenced “recipe books” in my parents’ house and I love to flip through the worn pages and read Nay-Nay’s perfect penmanship and notes to dad. I find it amusing to imagine a 20-something version of my dad around 1985 trying to cook his favorite dishes for the first time in what he once described to me as a very “70s” furnished apartment.

I’ve modified my two favorites (dad’s meatloaf and chili) since going gluten-free. But they’re both still very tasty!

It started raining last night and hasn’t let up since. I haven’t minded though because I was looking forward to the lower temps brought in by the rain. It’s about time it felt like fall outside! And I’ve been wanting it to cool off enough that I could fix a pot of chili. So it was the perfect cozy day for just that.


There’s only one ingredient I have to leave out of dad’s recipe in order to make it gluten free. While it’s certainly not the healthiest chili out there, it’s something some of my gluten-free friends might want to try! And if you’d rather have the gluten, I’ll be sure to point out what you can add to make it “dad’s way.”

2 cans chili beans
1 can pork ‘n beans
tomato juice
ground beef
chili powder
minced onions
(if you want the gluten, add in a can of spaghetti o’s – yeah you read that right)

*If you’re new to the no-gluten thing, be sure to read the back of the cans to make sure your canned beans don’t contain gluten! Same goes for seasonings…

sour cream
extra sharp cheddar cheese
Doritos (or Fritos, or if you’re boring… saltine crackers)


Now, I’m no cook so this probably isn’t the most complete or detailed recipe and I don’t have the navy blue note pad to reference, so here’s a Sarah-style recipe… I honestly don’t think you could really screw it up that easily so y’all should be just fine. Just figure it out. Wing it. 😉

  1. Brown the ground beef. I like to use a little electric skillet. Ground the meat so that it is somewhat fine.
  2. Empty your chili beans, pork ‘n beans (and if making the “gluteny” version add your spaghetti o’s) into a large pot. If you’re scared of the “pork” part of the “pork ‘n beans going into your chili, you can usually spot it at the top of the can and scoop it out haha.
  3. Once your ground beef has browned, drain the grease off and stir in as much chili powder (or seasonings of your choice) as your little heart desires.
  4. Dump the seasoned ground beef into your pot o’ beans.
  5. Sprinkle in some minced onions as desired.
  6. Pour in tomato juice.
  7. Cook at medium heat for about 25-30 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  8. Shred your cheddar cheese. You can use whatever cheese you like. I’m pretty particular about my cheeses and like the Cracker Barrel brand of extra sharp cheddar. No idea if they’re connected to the restaurant chain but the branding doesn’t lead me to believe so haha.
  9. Remove chili from heat and let cool a bit before serving.
  10. For toppings, add a small handful of Doritos (crushed), shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream.
  11. Enjoy! (Chili is one of those dishes that’s always way better the second day so once it cools, store covered chili in fridge and reheat later.)


What’s your go-to cozy day in meal? What are your favorite chili toppings? Do you have a particular take on chili that you prefer? I’d love to hear from ya!

xo Sarah

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