This idea came to me years ago when I was trying to think up something "new" for dinner. It is one of those recipes that you can customize any way you like. Lots of fresh avocado? sour cream? fresh tomatoes? lettuce? Whatever "go withs" your heart desires.

Picky-picky husband hates spicy food, so this recipe (using 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper) is quite mild. If you like more "heat" you can add your "heat of choice" during the simmering stage.

1 pound lean ground beef
3/4 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic minced
14 ounce can crushed tomatoes
2 tomato cans of water
6 ounce can tomato paste

3 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (1/8 tsp. good for younger kids)
1 tablespoon sugar
4 ounce can mild green chiles (I use Ortega brand)
2 15 ounce cans red kidney beans
Brown the ground beef and drain off all but a tablespoon or so of fat. Sautee the onions (in the fat) for a few minutes or until they smell sweet. Add the garlic and sautee another minute or so.

Add everything else and stir well. Simmer slowly (without a cover)for about an hour. You can also put it in the Crockpot at this stage and cook on low all afternoon if that suits your schedule better.

NOTE: If you simmer it all afternoon in the Crockpot, make sure you crack the lid open just a little by inserting a spoon just under the edge of the lid. This helps the chili thicken as it simmers.

1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 egg

Whisk the dry ingredients together in one bowl and the wet ingredients in another bowl. Combine the bowels and stir till well blended.

Preheat your waffle iron and spray it with vegetable spray. Put between 1/2 cup and 3/4 cup of batter in waffle iron and cook it for 4 to 5 minutes on medium heat.

If you like crispy waffles under your chili, you can pop the baked waffles in the oven for a few minutes at about 250° and they will crisp up nicely.

To serve, top the warm waffle with hot chili and then go to town with whatever toppings you like. We like it simple with shredded cheddar and sour cream.



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