, , , ,

The cold weather is upon us and few things warm from the inside out like a hot “bowl of red”.


In my Texas-bred family, chili isn’t just another recipe, it’s tradition.  And while I’ve been a displaced Texan for ten years now, I’ve made sure to bring a few things along with me.

texas girl flag state

The MacMillan family’s chili recipe began with my PopPop down in Austin, simmered in my parents house growing up in North Texas (without fail on Superbowl Sunday), and still wafts its delicious aroma in my home today.


My grandparents, who celebrated their 67th wedding anniversary last month. Aren’t they a handsome couple?

This is an authentic recipe for Texas chili, though the optional addition of beans may cause a stir in some chili-loving camps.  If I were to enter this into an official chili cook-off, the beans would be left cheering from the sidelines, but I have entered this in a private competition and won first prize–with the beans.  Have it how you like it.  This Texan won’t judge you.

MacMillan's Mean Texas Chili

A spicy but oh, so tasty chili recipe currently being passed down to the fourth generation.


  • 1-2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 8 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 lbs. any (or any combination) of the following:  sliced steak, chili meat, or ground beef
  • 3 cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 small can of tomato paste
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 8 Tbs good quality chili powder (I use Pendery’s, an authentic Texas brand!)
  • 3 Tbs ground cumin
  • 1 Tbs cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 1 cup of water (or more as needed during cooking)
  • OPTIONAL: 2 cans (about 4 cups) of beans (pinto, red, or kidney work well)


  1. Heat oil in pan.   Saute onions and garlic.  Add meat and cook until done.  Pour into slow cooker.
  2. Add diced tomatoes and all seasonings to the meat in the slow cooker.  Stir in one cup of water.  Cook on low for about 4 hours.
  3. About 20 minutes before serving time add drained beans, if desired.

Serve with crackers or over rice or corn chips. Top with sour cream and serve with canned pears on the side to cut the heat!

texas chili rice beans pears toppings cheese

I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone in real life who eats chili over rice like my family does from time to time, but I find it quite satisfying the way the rice soaks up the juices of this chili. Try it sometime if you haven’t.

texas chili rice pears

Now, what to do when you have leftover chili?  Of course you can keep eating it as usual or put it on a chili dog.  But have you ever tried it for breakfast?  A bit of chili over rice topped with a fried egg made my morning this week!

chili rice fried egg breakfast bowlchili rice fried egg recipe breakfast

What do you do with leftover chili?