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Temperatures have finally dropped and the snow is falling. As winter settles into the Front Range, I’m standing over a simmering pot of Chili.

Chili is my favorite way to burn through leftovers when they begin to pile up in the back of the refrigerator. For the past several weeks I’ve collected 1 carrot, baked fingerling potatoes, half a jar of homemade tomato juice, one tomato, half an onion, and an assortment of other random ingredients. This is what I do to make sure they don’t go from market to fridge to compost.

What you’ll need:

2 cans organic chili beans (there should only be beans, water and spice on the ingredient list)

1 jar broth (I used pheasant broth)

3 cloves garlic

Olive oil



Leftover vegetables, chopped (such as potatoes, mushrooms, carrots, etc.)

Leftover meat, chopped (optional)

Cayenne pepper

Chili powder


The process:

Soften the onion and peppers in a heavy bottomed pot. (I actually discovered that my ½ onion had already gone bad and used a bag of frozen onion and peppers, which worked just as well.) Once softened, add the garlic and cook for about 2 minutes.

Add the beans and broth to the pot. Bring to a low simmer. As you bring this to a simmer, add all of your chopped leftover vegetables. I added about 10 chopped fingerling potatoes, 1 chopped tomato, ½ jar tomato juice, and 1 carrot. Once all the vegetables are heated through, add any leftover meat to the chili. I used about 2/3 cup leftover turkey.

Season with a generous shake of cayenne pepper and chili powder. Simmer for about 45 minutes. Taste frequently as this simmers and season to adjust the taste.

Serve with a sprinkle of cheese and fresh, warm bread.

Results: A clean refrigerator and a quick, satisfying dinner. This isn’t an exact chili recipe. The chili beans are what pull everything together so it is important to get chili beans. You could easily take the time to season this yourself; however, I love this recipe since it clears all the odd numbered veggies out my refrigerator and comes together so quickly. This chili is the perfect way to wind down a long Thursday as the temperature drops below freezing.

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