A few weeks ago I helped with a chili cook-off at church. I’m not a big chili fan, so the thought of bringing a pot of chili was a bit scary. I went on a search for great chili recipes and one of my readers who follows me on twitter saw my request. Judy emailed me this recipe for Mel’s Diner Chili.
I didn’t end up having to take the chili to the cook-off because lots of other people signed up (I took the Chipotle Apple Pecan Cake instead). But since I had the ingredients and because the chili has such a great story – and I’m a sucker for a great story – I made the chili for dinner at home. Yum!
Here’s Judy’s email with the original recipe and the story:
Hi Tiffany,You tweeted that you wanted an award-winning chili recipe. My favorite chili recipe isn’t award-winning, but it’s famous. It’s Mel’s Chili, from the show “Alice”. My mom got the recipe when the actor who played Mel Sharples, Vic Tayback, was on Johnny Carson’s “Tonight Show” way back when. Here it is:MEL’S CHILI2 lb ground beef1 onion, chopped2 (6 oz.) cans tomato paste6 tomato paste cans water1 clove garlic, mincedsalt (I use1 tsp.)1 tsp. pepper1 large can kidney beans, drained and rinsed2 pkg. chili seasoning mixSimmer for two hours. Add beans. Heat 15 minutes.
Mel’s Diner Chili
- 2 lbs ground beef I used 1 lb. pork sausage + 1 lb. ground beef
- 1 onion chopped
- 2 cans tomato paste 6 oz cans
- 6 to mato paste cans of water
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 can kidney beans rinsed and drained
- 2 packs low-sodium chili seasoning mix
- 1 can Fire Roasted tomatoes undrained (Judy’s addition)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Brown the beef, onion and garlic. Drain and rinse under hot water.
- Add all the other ingredients.
- Simmer for a few hours or toss it in the crockpot and cook it on low for 5 or 6 hours. I didn’t have much time, so mine only cooked 45 minutes or so. It was still yummy.
If you have an Instant Pot, then you’ll want to check out my Instant Pot Diner Chili version of this favorite. And the entire collection of The Best Easy Instant Pot Soup Recipes.
And if you want more quick and hearty recipes for the Instant Pot, then sign up for my free Instant Pot School. You’ll learn how to make some basics, soups and way beyond with free printable recipes, a meal plan with a color-coded grocery list and video lessons.
This is just like my recipe except I add a couple tablespoons of brown sugar. Yum!
Loving the print feature! Thanks for pointing that out a couple of blogs ago
Nina T. says
Sounds yummy!!! I don’t normally put pork in mine, but I’m going to try it!
ATL Cook says
Bag of Boca Crumbles
Large can crushed tomatoes
can full of water
1 large diced onion
2 ribs of sliced celery
1cup cooked pinto beans; from the freezer
1/2 cup small pasta shapes; optional
Place the first 5 ingredients in a small Crock Pot and cook on high for 4 hours. Add beans ( thawed or frozen). Cook until beans are warm.
Taste; add seasonings to your liking. New Mexico Chili Powder for me.
Check water level; add pasta and some liquids. Stir, taste, adjust seasonings. 1-2 packets of Splenda may be added. Cook on low for an hour until pasta is cooked. Or add frozen cooked pasta you have saved from past meals.
Makes 4-6 servings and tastes great the next day. May freeze this too.
When Publix has Boca Crumbles, BIGIF, I buy 2 sets. I am allergic to cow protein. Can’t eat tomatoes unless I am taking Claritin! $21 year (400) for Members Mark @ Sam’s Club generic Claritin.
Sounds great! Thanks for the recipe.
We had this tonight and it was great! Thanks! 🙂
How much salt & pepper did you add?? It says to taste.
When you added the can of fire roasted tomatoes, undrained and 2 pkgs of McCormick Chili seasoning mix, did it require as much as 1 tsp. of salt???
Lynn, I don’t tend to add much salt, if any, when I cook. I don’t think it would be as much as a tsp.
Pour a nickel sized amount of salt in your hand then sprinkle it in. Pepper, about 5 to 6 shakes or grinds.
my mouth watered when i watched him make it on the show , wish i had something like his to copare it to …..can’t wait to try it !!!! thanks!!!! (sure wish they would bring that show back ; ( (i liked the ol’ grump)!!!
I watch it every night LOL
Jessi G. says
I make this all the time (but I substitute one 1b of ground beef for smoked sausage, in chunks)….everyone loves it, every time 🙂 Thanks so much!
Why do you have to rinse the ground beef?
I rinse it to remove the extra grease. I use very hot water to rinse it. You don’t have to though.
Thank you. Couldn’t figure that out. Never heard of rinsing your browned ground beef before. Was telling my wife she was puzzled also but said “maybe to rinse undraind grease!” But i won’t tell her she guessd right. Hahaha 🙂
Pat Cod says
If you use lean ground beef, there is no need to rinse it and although it’s more expensive, you end up with more meat because it doesn’t turn into grease. I don’t even need to drain my ground beef usually.
Going to try this.
Do you know the Recipe for their biscuits I know they put honey in them they’re so good I’d love to try making them thanks