When it’s chilly outside, there’s nothing better than a big bowl of chili to warm the belly and soul. Okay, okay, I can’t complain about cold weather living in Florida, but we have gotten a touch of the Polar Vortex down here. Temperatures are suppose to get in the mid-20s tonight, which calls for covering our poor garden plants in hope that they survive. This is nothing compared to the sub-zero temperatures in the Midwest, I realize. But our weather here now still calls for warm and hearty soups.

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And remember all that summer goodness that we canned back when the temperature was warm? That’s where this comes into play! My canned cupboard is my “happy place,” as Gary calls it. I open it up and it gives me solace knowing that we have lots of pickled goodness to survive on just in case of the Zombie Apocalypse. This chili recipe uses our tomato juice and our pickled jalapenos.


1 quart of fresh tomato juice (you can buy this if you didn’t juice tomatoes last summer, of course.)
1 lb ground beef (or turkey, or you can omit this and add more beans to make it vegetarian)
1 can chili beans
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 c chili powder
3 T cumin
1 t cinnamon
1 red pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
pickled jalapenos for garnish


Heat a large stock pot over medium heat. Brown the meat until done (7-9 minutes). Remove the meat, and set aside. Wipe out most of the extra grease, but leave some in the pot to brown the chopped onion and pepper. Saute them both until done (5-7 minutes). Next, throw the meat back into the pot with the vegetables. Add the tomato juice, and all the beans. Drain and rinse all of them except the chili beans (they normally come with a good sauce that’s good to leave in.) Add the spices–you can play with adding more or less of anything, too. Add dried red pepper flakes if you’d like, or brown sugar, or a couple of squares of dark chocolate if you’re so inclined. Let simmer on the stove top for at least an hour to let the flavors merge. Serve with cornbread (and jalapeno jam from your cupboard, too!)


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