Champion Chili

You are in for it: my all-time unbeatable chili recipe. This is beloved by friends, coveted by those who know its secrets. It won the 'Department of Biological Sciences Chili Cook-off in 2012'.  It's taken home top prize at my work's 'Chili Friday'. It EVEN stole top title as 'Potluck Champion, 2015'. The accolades are impressive, I know. TENs of people have told me how much they enjoy this recipe. 

Champion Chili Recipe
Champion Chili Recipe

And now, it's part of your repertoire. 

The winning combination for this chili recipe (in my opinion) is its deep beef flavour (from simmering down beef broth), a mixture of beans for a variety of textures and a sweet kick from molasses and brown sugar. Added to the mix: coco gives a deep, rich flavour.

This recipe has been adapted over time from a recipe I got from my dear Aunt Dorothy. She was one of the people who sparked my interest in cooking and I owe her a lot. But not as much as I owe her for this recipe. It really is a champ. 

Chili Recipe

This recipe feeds a crowd and can be easily doubled, or even tripled.  I recently did just that for a ski trip with friends - and as always the chili was a hit. Those faces don't lie! 

The best part? This is a part of our (kinda) healthy recipe series.  You can kick-up trimming your waist line with some simple substitutions. Knock out the bacon to cut calories. You can also substitute ground turkey or TVP for the beef (careful, you'll also be cutting taste). Even in it's current form, it's all together a healthy option - high protein, high fiber and chalk full of nutrients.The bonus? Damn tasty. 

Chili Recipe with Friends
Kinda Healthy Recipe Series

Champion Chili


  • 6 slices of thick-cut bacon, sliced

  • 1 lb of lean ground beef

  • 1 onion, diced

  • 2 sticks of celery, diced 

  • 2 cloves of garlic

  • 1 L beef broth

  • 1 can of diced tomato 

  • 1 can of mixed bean medley

  • 1 can of white beans

  • 1 can of pork and beans

  • 1/3 cup of apple cider vinegar

  • 2 tbsp brown sugar

  • 2 tbsp fancy molasses

  • 1 tsp dry mustard powder

  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder

  • 1/4 tsp cumin

  • 1/2 tsp onion powder

  • 1 bay leaf 

  • 1 tsp worcestershire sauce 

  • 1/2 tsp coco powder

  • chili powder to taste

  • 1/4 tsp tobasco sauce 

  • salt to taste

  • pepper to taste


  1. In a large soup pot or dutch oven, cook the sliced bacon until crispy over medium heat.

  2. Remove the bacon and set aside.  Add beed to the pot, half a pound a time and cook until browned. Season each half pound with a half tbsp chili powder (or your preference) and season to taste with salt and pepper. Set browned beef aside.

  3. In the bacon and beef fat, add the diced onion and cover with a lid.  Turn heat to medium-low and cook onion until caramelized, 15-20 minutes, stirring every 3-4 minutes.  The onions should be a deep, dark, sweet brown. Add the garlic and celery and cook 2-3 minutes longer. 

  4. Add the beef broth to the pot and turn heat to medium-high. When the broth boils, turn heat to medium and simmer until reduced by 2/3rds.

  5. Add the diced tomato's, beans, vinegar, sugar, molasses, mustard powder, worcestershire, tabasco, coco powder, garlic powder, cumin, onion powder, bay leaf and any additional chili powder to taste. Stir. Return the beef and bacon to the pot. Taste the chili and season with salt and pepper. Add water to cover the chili. 

  6. Cover the chili and place in a 350 F oven for 1 hour.  Uncover and cook for a further 1 hour or until thickened to desired consistency. Revel in the miraculous chili perfume that envelops your home. 

  7. Serve with your favourite sides: cheddar cheese, sour cream, limes, cilantro, tortilla chips.

Chili Recipe


James Ede

Keep'n-it-healthy Asian Lettuce Wraps

Asian Lettuce Wraps Recipe

WOW. And I mean 'wow' in a lot of ways...

Wow, the support I have received is a little overwhelming - for those who wrote in asking are you alive? Did all the deep-frying catch up to you? Or (most often) when's the next blog post?!  Thank-you. It means a lot to know people look forward to reading my recipes & rantings. 

Which brings me to wow - life changes quickly - and drastically. My life kind of kicked into overdrive these last few months and conspired to rob me of time to do what I love - like this blog. 

BUT - I'm BACK and I'm pretty excited about it! To keep these posts coming, a couple things are changing.

First, I'm scaling back my posts - one a week on average now - but rest assured, this is going to be a quality over quantity kind of change. Expect great things.

Second, to save time and be able to deliver great content, the style of entries are changing. Instead of photographing recipes "step-by-step" i'll only be posting shots of the completed recipe... or what's left of it after I 'sample' some. I know the step-by-step photos can be handy (I like them too!) but they really are a lot of work. Imagine running with a 400 degree cast-iron pan to the window mid-sauté, setting up your shot, then running back the stove to continue cooking all the while screaming shit-shit-shit,this is hot. It's a lot of work. So now you get the delicious conclusive shot, from the beginning - every time. I think it's going to be great.

The last thing: wow - I'm fat. Which brings us to todays post. This whole blog being a 'how-to guide on making your friends fat' kind of back-fired. So, starting here - some new recipes to keep you trim and slim.  These are the recipes I use to keep me on track. They're high on flavour without packing on the pounds and I will mark them with the Bake, Braise & Broil "Certified Healthy" seal.  It's a new series on the blog and it's my hope these recipes can form the foundation of a healthy diet. And that starts with one of my favourites: Asian Lettuce Wraps.

Kinda Healthy Recipe
Asian Lettuce Wraps Recipe

My first confession with these guys is I DOUBLE the sauce. It's not conventional, I know. But - well - I love sauce. Like, equal parts fries:ketchup.  If you're the same, I recommend doubling down.  For the rest of you 'normal' people, the recipe below should satisfy unaltered. 

Keep'n-it-healthy Asian Lettuce Wraps


For the filling:

  • 1 lb ground turkey

  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 onion, finely diced

  • 6 cloves of garlic

  • 1 tsp red chili flakes

  • 1 tbsp grated ginger

  • 1 cup water chestnuts, roughly chopped

For the sauce: 

  • 1/4 cup hoisin suce

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce

  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar

  • 1 tsp sriracha

  • 1 tsp sesame oil

For the wraps:



  1. In large fyring-pan, heat 1 tbsp oil over medium-high heat. Add ground turkey and cook until browned; season with salt and pepper. Remove from frying pan and set aside.

  2. Heat remaining tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent, 5-10 minutes. Add garlic, chili flakes and ginger and cook until fragrant, 2-3 minutes more. Add water chestnuts and stir to combine. Take off heat. 

  3. In bowl, whisk together hoisin, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sriracha and sesame oil. Reserve 1-2 tbsp for drizzling over lettuce wraps at the end.  

  4. When ready to eat, combine browned turkey with onion mixture and heat over medium heat in frying pan. Pour sauce over mixture and heat until bubbling.

  5. To serve, throw all components on the table and let people loose. Fill lettuce with filling, pickled carrots, toasted peanuts and, if you are a sauce-hound, drizzle with remaining sauce. 




Keep'n-it-healthy Asian Lettuce Wraps

Hope you guys enjoy!

James Ede