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Recipe: Zio Kenny’s Italian Chili

Written By | Nov 20, 2015

FORT WORTH, Texas, Nov. 20, 2015 — Warm yourself this weekend with chili as the temperatures around the country plummet. Once you’re out of the snow or rain, this hearty dish is sure to delight your palate.

There are a zillion chili recipes out there, but I have never heard of Italian chili before now. Then a friend gave me a taste of her better half’s contest winning concoction. I was pleasantly surprised by the blend of chili and Italian herbs. My Sicilian grandma would give it her stamp of approval. Give it a try. Buon appetito!

Zio Kenny’s Italian Chili

3 lbs. ground beef or Italian sausage (or 1 ½ lbs. each)
2 cups chopped onion
1 chopped green sweet pepper
3 heaping tablespoons minced garlic
3 tablespoons chili powder
3 teaspoons sugar
3  26-oz. jars Classico Spicy Tomato Basil sauce
3 – 14-oz. cans diced tomatoes w/liquid
1 1/2 – 6-oz. packages pepperoni (I cut them in half)
3 cans spicy chili beans — hot
Beef bouillon to taste (I used bouillon paste – two heaping spoonfuls)
1 cup water




Be sure to get the"spicy" tomato and basil sauce.

Be sure to get the”spicy” tomato and basil sauce.

Let me say here that I don’t like hot food – spicy hot, that is. So don’t let the spicy tomato sauce and spice hot chili beans scare you off. This has just a bit of a bite to it and it’s good. Of course you can always use regular sauce and mild beans, but it won’t be the same.

Now, brown the Italian sausage and ground beef; add chopped onion, sweet pepper and garlic. Then add all ingredients to extra large crockpot* and cook on low for six to eight hours or simmer in a stock pot on low heat all day, stirring every so often so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Top with cheese of your choice, croutons, Italian bread or serve over noodles, pasta or rice.

Don't let the heat in the chili beans keep you from trying this.

Don’t let the heat in the chili beans keep you from trying this.

*Use an extra large crock-pot, stock pot or halve the recipe – this makes a LARGE AMOUNT!
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Claire Hickey

Claire Hickey was born the last year of the Baby Boom and spent the first half of childhood in Chicago. She has always loved to write but wanted to create pieces worth reading. Her curiosity and love of research lead her to create her column based on the “garbage in garbage out” theory to provide interesting and thought-provoking pieces that enrich her readers. She also believes life is a banquet and loves to learn new things. Her professional pedigree includes Cosmetology, Surgical Technology, and the Culinary Arts. When not working she loves to spend time with family and friends. She lives in Fort Worth.