So yesterday I cleaned out the freezer compartment of the refrigerator. I did that mostly because in my typical unorganized fashion, stuff was just crammed in there willy nilly. And when a rock solid package of food slid out when the door was opened, I was in danger of winding up with a busted toe. I can't jump out of the way of falling objects quite as fast as I used to. Anyway, in the process of cleaning and sorting, I found about 15 lbs. of hamburger. Decided it was time to can some chili. I had been out of my home canned chili for a while and I really like having it on hand for a quick meal.
This morning I browned the meat, drained it and tossed it into my big stock pot. I added 9 pints of tomatoes with green peppers and onions that I had canned a couple of years ago. That wasn't enough, so I added 5 quarts of diced tomatoes. Threw in a big handful of dehydrated onions just because. I had a couple of cases of kidney beans in the pantry, so I added 6 cans of them to the mix. I seasoned the chili with salt and pepper and chili powder to taste.
When I can chili, I don't need to cook it first. I just heat it up enough to warm it before filling the jars. Because the chili contains meat, the quart jars are processed in the pressure canner for 90 minutes which is plenty of time to fully cook it. I wound up with 14 quarts of chili.
When I was growing up, my Mom always served chili over rice. I always thought she did that because she liked it that way. It wasn't until I was grown and feeding my own family that I realized she used the rice to stretch the chili to feed our family. By that time I liked the combination of chili and rice, so while the chili was in the canner I cooked up a big pot of rice, let it cool down and portioned it out into small freezer bags and froze it. So now when I want chili for supper, I just need to microwave the rice enough to thaw it out and heat it up while the chili heats on the stove. Add a pan of cornbread and I have a quick, easy supper. And goodness knows, I am all about quick and easy meals. :)