Chili Seasoning Mix (History and Recipe for Quick Chili)

Chili was first introduced to the public at the Columbia Exposition in Chicago in the 1893 at a Texas booth.  It has its roots in the south-western part of United States.  Originally it was made of chilies and chopped meat.  Later beans were added to the mix.  The Indian tribes in the South West like the Hopi made pemmican of dried meat, and chilies  that cowboys later copied to take with them as they traveled.  Chili was the food of poor people of areas in Texas because chili peppers grew wild in the bush.  In San Antonio there were “Chili Queens” who sold their chili at night on street in chili carts to the patrons of saloons until 1937  when they could not meet sanitary regulations.  Around 1890 William Gephardt made chili in his cafe and imported ancho chiles from Mexico that he ground up into a powder that he sold as Eagle Brand Chili Powder.  By 1899 he had trade marked Eagle Brand Chili Powder.  It wasn’t long after that the one pot dish was common fair in the South West and spread across the states.  Many new recipes were developed for it and shared in news papers and magazines in the first quarter of 20th century.  Moreover chili is not a Mexican invention and only gets its name from the peppers. It is truly an American Cuisine and comfort food.

Here is an idea make up your own chili mix ahead of time. I have been making my own chili mix for years. This is an adaptation to a recipe that is offered by the University of Main’s Extension Center. Over the years funding for agricultural centers have been cut back for home economics. It was a program that was started by FDR and extended ideas and education in home making in the poor rural areas. This is something that is now needed in the urban areas and I am glad that our current First Lady has made nutrition her mission.

Even if your budget is stretched way beyond what you thought you could feed your family with. There is still seasoning mixes that you can have on hand to help make a quick meal without paying the mark up and packaging that is charged by commercial companies. I know it is hot right now and this is not the time of year for chili but you can start looking for inexpensive chili powder, cumin, cilantro flakes, instant onion and minced garlic. Good place to look is spices that are in bags at the grocery and on display for $1. I was able to make about pint and half of mix. That is enough for 10 batches of chili using the recipe for making chili given here. It cost me less than $4 to make the seasoning mix using inexpensive spices.

Chili Mix

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon instant minced garlic
  • ¼ cup of chili powder
  • 1 cup instant minced onion
  • ½ cup of cumin powder
  • ¼ cup cilantro dried flakes
  • 1 tablespoon of salt

Combine all ingredients. Store in a tight container. Use ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon for the following recipe:


  • ½ to 1 pound of ground meat
  • ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon of seasoning mix
  • 1 16 oz. can of tomatoes ( whole. Chopped or sauce)
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 15 oz can kidney beans.

Brown meat in skillet and remove excess fat. Add seasoning mix and stir in. The oils release the flavors of some of the seasons. Then add tomatoes, water, and kidney beans. Don’t drain kidney beans, dump it all in. Bring to a boil cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

I like celery and green peppers in my chili so I would add a chopped stalk and some chopped green pepper when I fry the meat. You can use any kind of ground meat for chili. Sweet peppers have become very expensive. When I buy them I chop them up and put them in a baggie and freeze them. I have them on hand for things like chili. I do the same thing for the red and yellow peppers to. I look for them from a farmers market because they are cheaper. This chili is also good meatless.

Enjoy your Chili when you are in a hurry or out of ideas and out of money.

6 Comments Add yours

  1. dikkday says:

    I like this!

    You use what you got for chili for chrissakes!

    I think I discussed my philosophy before per chili!

    Speaking of philosophy.

    I first attempted to cut down on salt (which you SURELY do).

    If a lb of hamburger can be cut to 1/2 lb, all the better.

    I used to cook 1/2 the onion with the meat and put 1/2 in the sauce.

    If you cut down on meat you can add more kidney beans, and Of course I choose the cheapest beans and mix up the cans between deep red and red.

    The only thing I do is add one large (28-32 ounce can of diced tomato–generic at 1 buck a can) and I always find a small can of paste @ $.50.

    Dice tomatoes are cheap and the paste is sooooooooo cheap. But I discovered the magic of tomato sauce decades ago.

    I think chili translates as stew but I cannot find the link right now.

    But again, as I stressed on prior occasions, the issue remains:

    Whom are you cooking for?

    Kids, even during these modern times of ‘obese children’ need more calories–depending.

    Adults can find good nutritional chili with fine spices and herbs and yet lower in calories.

    Fat old men should garnish this wonderful dish with fresh onion–not cheese.

    Fat old men should cut down on the amount of hamburger.

    Fat old men might add saltines with a minimum amount of low cal pretend margarine.

    Fat old men need to cut down on salt (although you sure have in this recipe) and even though I love saltines @ ten calories a saltine.

    On the other side of things;

    I find a pound of ground hamburger and ground pork fully one dollar and more cheaper than ground hamburger. But I also find ground hamburger a buck cheaper in the AM when it is marked ‘special’. Although this means one is forced to cook that meat quick cause it aint gonna keep.

    I love your use of green and red and yellow peppers. I do not know what it is about this addition, but taste is definitely enhanced.

    Oh well, enough for philosophy!



    1. trkingmomoe says:

      Thank you for stopping by. The addition of toppings to chili started in Cinicinnati in the 1920’s by two Greek brothers who opened a hot dog stand were they also sold greek food. They had a hard time selling their greek menu so they started calling their spaghetti chili. They marketed their chili being served 5 different ways. So they piled up their spaghetti with sauce made with cinnamon and cloves, then kidney beans, onions and finally with cheddar cheese. You had your choice as to how you wanted it topped. They served their chili with small round soup crackers on the side with a hot dog.

      Those peppers in the picture are little sweet peppers that are in the stores right now in South Florida. They are thin fleshed not like the large bell peppers. Actually they are the sweetest peppers I have eaten and they chop up nice and small. I plan to chop them up and freeze them to use later.

      Thanks for sharing. I hope you try the chili mix.


  2. trkingmomoe says: Here is also a shout out to another blogger who also tried this mix and wrote about it this week.


    1. Thanks for the shout out!


  3. I didn’t think to add cilantro flakes! I will do that next time.


    1. trkingmomoe says:

      I bought one of those little bags of cilantro flakes from the latino section of the store and just dumped the whole thing in. I like cumin in my chili and I didn’t have any curry powder. I buy fresh cilantro and freeze it after I wash it so I can use it when ever I need it. I just cut a little off the frozen bunch. My mother used to parsley like that all winter in the freezer.


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