Brr! If you are reading this from anywhere close to where my home kitchen is today, you’re experiencing a cold front too. It is COLD in NY! If not, I hope you’ll file this recipe away for when you need comfort food for dinner and an instant warm up in a bowl!

Whenever the temperature drops and snow starts to fall outside our windows, the request for one of my very favorite warm, soothing and cozy dinners comes in from my family. My homemade chili is the perfect complement to freezing temperatures and snuggly nights on the couch!

Because my family and I crave chili lots over the cold Winter months, I needed to create a recipe that was fast, easy and full of BIG flavor. My family loves their chili served in largish bowls – especially in front of the TV in a warm snuggly room; a treat since we usually all sit together in the kitchen! These days it’s all about making simple things fun, right? Cozy nights at home with my chili are just that….simple, fun and delicious.

It looks like there are a lot of ingredients in this homemade chili of mine, there’s plenty of spices and lots of flavors but rest assured I promise you probably already have almost everything you need to make my chili in your cupboard right now. This recipe is one of the fastest and easiest recipes I put together for my family on a week night! You can easily do it too!

Unlike a lot of chili recipes, I add in a few different vegetables to the pot–carrots, peppers and frozen spinach – a little unusual for chili but it really works and adds tons of fiber! You know how much I love fiber. This chili will hit all the right tastebuds while keeping you happy and full for a long time.

And, as a surprise ingredient I add 1/2 cup of black coffee and a 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon to my version. This gives the chili a hearty unusual taste that also feels very rich and very savory and extra delicious.

Instead of ground beef like lots of chili recipes call for, I like to use chuck meat (full of way more flavor) cut into small chunks (not ground). This gives such a hearty feel to the chili, it’s almost reminiscent of a stew but so much more flavorful and easy to prepare! My whole family loves it so much.

I’ve even made a vegetarian version of my chili before by substituting the meat with either another can of kidney beans, pinto beans or chickpeas. All the flavor, none of the meat!

Mom’s homemade chili as the boys calls it is even better and more flavorful the next day so make sure you make it a day or two in advance and make lots of it! A bonus is that it freezes wonderfully. Be mindful of labels when you can, low salt is of uber importance to me and my family so I’m sure to always purchase low salt tomatoes, sauce and beans. You never ever can tell the difference, I promise!

I hope that as these Winter days and months seem to be ticking on forever that you and your loved ones are finding simple, easy ways to bring comfort food and the little treats that come with it to your homes. Set up the TV trays, turn up the music, cook a snuggly, warm meal. I hope my homemade chili makes it into your kitchen someday soon and with it brings a warm heart, a happy stomach and a smile.  Be well! xx Janine

Janine’s Homemade Chili: Comfort Food at it’s Finest



1 Tablespoon Olive oil

2 medium onions – chopped

1 cup carrots – peeled and chopped

1 lb chuck – cut into bite size pieces (not ground)

1/2 red pepper – chopped

1 cup frozen chopped spinach

1/2 cup black coffee

1 can, 28 oz peeled whole (or chopped) tomatoes (no salt)

1 can No Salt Kidney beans or Pinto beans  (2 cans of you are making it vegetarian) – rinsed in colander

1 Tablespoon tomato Paste

2 Tablespoons no salt Ketchup

1 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 Tablespoon Coconut aminos – more to taste

1 teaspoon smoke paprika

1 teaspoon Trader Joes Chili spice mix

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon Sriracha (more if you like it spicy)

pepper to taste

Lime to squeeze on top when served


Sauté onions in the olive oil until almost brown, 3-4 minutes, on medium heat.  Add the carrots and sauté with the onions for another 3-4 minutes.

Add the chuck, mix well with the carrots and onions – cooking for 2-3 minutes on medium heat.  Chuck should become a little brown and start sticking to the pan.

Add the pepper and spinach – mix well for 2 minutes.

Add the remaining ingredients – the coffee, canned tomatoes, canned beans, tomato paste, no salt ketchup, cilantro, coconut aminos, smoked paprika, Trader Joes chili spice mix, ground ginger, cumin, garlic powder, cinnamon, Sriracha and pepper to taste.

Simmer on low heat for 1 hour.  Check to see of the meat is tender – if not simmer for another 15-20 minutes.