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When Fall comes, I don’t think I’m alone in starting to crave things such as hearty soups and stews, chilis and great quick breads or muffins to go with them.

Let’s face it, the holiday preparations seem to begin earlier and earlier and our time becomes precious.

Which brings me to this week’s helping hand-homemade mixes to help speed things up in the kitchen!

Keep on hand some easy “go to” items, such as ready made broth, ready made meatballs (I gave a great recipe a while back that made enough for 4-5 meals for a family of 4), dinner sausages and even frozen veggies.

With those few items and a few fresh additions in the herb and spice arena, you can get a warm and hearty meal on the table in a few minutes, literally.

Here is a great chili seasoning mix that is much better than store packages and you get the added bonus of having the spices on hand for other cookfests!

CHILI SEASONING
4 tbsp chili powder
2-1/2 tsps ground coriander
2-1/2 tsps ground cumin
1-1/2 tsps garlic powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp cayenne

This is enough to make 4 batches of chili-which I will give the additions for below:

1 lb boneless round steak or chuck roast cut in 1” pieces
2 tsps oil
1 lb lean ground beef (you can mix this up and use pork, turkey or chicken)
1 med onion, chopped
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
2 15 oz cans chili beans-divided

In a large Dutch oven, lightly brown steak, add 1 tblsp of chili seasoning and mix well.  Add ground meat, cooking until the meat is no longer pink.  Add the onion and cook until tender.  Add tomatoes and 2 more tsps of seasoning mix.  Stir in 1 can of beans.  Puree the 2nd can and add to chili.  Cover and cook on low for 30-40 minutes-until the meat is quite tender.  Makes 10 servings/2-1/2 quarts.

Now I like corn bread or muffins with my chili.  On Friday-I give a great “mix” to keep in the freezer.

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