Saturday, June 19, 2010

Camp Chili

In spite of the many "You must be crazy!" looks we got when we told people we were going camping with a 3 year old and a 2 month old, I am happy to report that our first family camping trip was a great success! Isaac had a blast, Warren was happy, and we made it a whole week on the road with no allergy incidents. Most of the credit goes to my husband, who tirelessly set up camp every day while I nursed the baby. But another thing that made it really manageable was that I made the meals ahead of time and froze them in Ziploc bags. By the time we were all hungry in the evening, all we had to do was heat it up on the Coleman stove, and we were enjoying delicious homemade meals around a campfire in the beauty of the woods. Bliss!

I developed this particular chili recipe while I was in college. It was inspired by one of the many wonderful chilis at the annual Ithaca Chili Fest, held every March when the spice of the food helped ward off the lingering cold of winter. It has been an enduring favorite owing to its complex flavor, inexpensive ingredients, and ease of preparation. And as a bonus, it's rich in iron, protein, fiber and vitamin C. It's great by itself, but I also like it served over steamed rice. Enjoy!

Emilee's Chili

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 14 oz. can yellow corn, drained
1 14 oz. can black beans, drained
1 14 oz. can kidney beans, drained
1 14 oz. can fire roasted tomatoes with green chiles*
1 14 oz. can tomato sauce
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp honey
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cocoa powder
1 tsp instant coffee
1/2 tsp cinnamon
cayenne pepper to taste (optional)
salt & pepper to taste

In a large skillet, saute onions in olive oil over medium heat until onions begin to soften. Add garlic and cook one minute, stirring. Add ground beef and cook until browned, breaking up meat with wooden spoon. Add all remaining ingredients except salt & pepper and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer about 15 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.


  1. We've been adding chocolate and cinnamon to our chili recipe since we tasted one with those ingredients at one of the Ithaca Chili Fests; I think is was 2002. Steven can never manage to keep the secret ingredient secret - he has too much fun telling people that we put chocolate in our chili! Glad to hear the camping trip was a success!

  2. This recipe has all the secret ingredients I've ever heard of all in one. Next rainy day I'll have to try it. :)

  3. Just found your site/this recipe through the e-book that was released. Can't wait to try this as soon as the weather cools! Saw that you're on an elimination diet to help your little one. Have you considered the GAPS diet? Not like you need one more thing to research, but the diet makes a ton of sense and I wish I'd known about it when my kids were infants. Best of luck to you as you try to get to the root of the issue. Thanks for the recipe!!

  4. Thanks Susanna. I haven't heard of the GAPS diet but I will take a look at it. I hope you enjoy the chili!