My Best Failed Experiment Yet

I always get more creative when I’m working with leftovers. What can I do with this that I haven’t done a thousand times before? Sometimes it comes out pretty good. Other times … eh, not so much.

This time I had a couple of things to use, so I had a couple of chances to succeed, or not. One idea sort of worked, the other was a spectacular failure. So bad, in fact, that I think I invented a whole new type of food. In a good way.

And once again, no pictures. I had no idea this was going to work when I started.

First thing I had was a bunch of leftover steak. My wife found a pack of thick-cut sirloin steaks, a bit over 4 pounds for $17. Even with my little carnivores, we only finished a bit more than a third of it on the first night. Second night I sliced some thin and made cheesesteaks. We still had half of it left.

Second was a whole bunch of French onion soup. (Oh, I forgot, I haven’t posted that yet. Okay, come back tomorrow for that one.) Maybe I could use them together?

Ah, the meat grinder! Do the steak, add the onion soup, a can of tomatoes and some seasoning and make chili. Yeah, that should work. Now it turns out I could have stopped at the ground steak and the onion soup. I had that simmering while my wife was working on dinner and she kept stealing bites of it. Then I added the can of crushed tomatoes and she still kept snacking.

Okay, so I may have found a new recipe here. But this is supposed to be chili for Pete’s sake. It needs garlic and ancho powder and chipotle powder and cumin. How much? Ah, just throw some in and adjust it later.

Remember last week, I mentioned how my daughter and I will watch TV shows and tell each other, “This will not end well“? Yeah, well this is that time. I really should have measured it out. The chipotle kind of spilled out of the container in a clump. Oops, that’s a bit more than I intended.

Suddenly this rich, beefy chili I had going was more heat than flavor. Even I didn’t like it. So now instead of a couple of pounds of steak and a pot of French onion soup, I had a couple quarts of way-too-hot chili. Arrgh!

But wait, we’ve got that economy-size pack of ground beef. If I make another pot of chili, but leave out all the seasoning, then I can mix them together and it’ll even out.

To make a long story short — too late, I know — I just invented chili concentrate. Three pounds of ground beef, one can of crushed tomatoes, and two cups of the “bad” batch of chili. Holy cow this stuff is good.

Now I’ve got to figure out exactly what the recipe is for this stuff. I’ve seen plenty of chili kits that are entirely dry ingredients. I’ve never seen one that was a wet mix. How about you. Have you ever seen a wet chili mix? Or have I just invented a new product?


  1. Lance Uppercutt says:

    They sell these little tubs, the size of a small cottage cheese container, of frozen chili mix at the supermarket. I’ve never used one, but I think you just add meat and water.

  2. Lance, any idea what it’s called? I don’t plan on leaving the house today if I can avoid it, so I need something to search for.

  3. I can’t wait for the onion soup recipe. As my 6 year old says “Mom, do you always have to cook with onions?”
    My reply is always “Yes, as long as there’s garlic too.”
    Enter eye roll here. :)

  4. Oh no! Sorry to hear about the chili mishap, but it’s great to hear that you’re taking it all very good-naturedly.

    chili concentrate might not be such a bad idea afterall, as long as theres no tomato sauce included, I guess. On the other hand, since there are tomatoes… oh boy. You may need to consume that as soon as you can. Good luck! *crosses fingers*

  5. Heh, a buddy of mine and me did something like that some years back. Except being 22 and half in the bag, we ate it anyway. Oh boy, did we regret that later!

  6. Stephanie, I try not to tell them what’s in it until they tell me if they like it.

    Jonette, I’m thinking something like Manwich sauce, but for chili, and concentrated like tomato paste. So something like a pound of ground beef, one can of concentrate, three cans of water. Hmm, time for some experimenting.

    Bob, I’m old enough that I no longer show off by eating the hottest thing I can handle. Oh I still like heat, but it can’t be just heat. It’s got to have some flavor, too.

  7. Ha ha ha. This reminds me of my newlywed days. I had a pantry themed bridal shower and received lots of canned goods. One evening I decided to make chili. I opened 2 cans and heated them through on the stove top. My husband and I sat down to dinner and began eating. It was awful! Extremely strong! You guessed it, canned chili concentrate. I was supposed to add a pound of hamburger and 2 cans of beans per can!

    I’ve come a long way in the kitchen since then, but my husband and I still laugh about it.

    Figure out your recipe and let me know, will ya?

  8. Okay, so apparently this isn’t a completely new idea. I guess I never saw it because I never would have looked for it. You can bet I’ll be looking next time I’m at the store.

  9. I made french onion soup today. I made it years ago and was struggling with my memory on the recipe. I didn’t look anything up online years ago, in fact, I couldn’t even remember where I got my recipe. But one thing I remembered, a woman at church told me it was the best she had ever had and I did remember that I had put cooking wine in it and was concerned that I may be going against peoples conscious.

    So I started looking up recipes and found this site. But, I decided, I am going to start and make it the way I can remember.

    So, here is CrystalsCreation: Simple French Onion Soup for Two
    (my husband and I were home alone with no kids:) )

    two large yellow onions
    2 cans beef broth
    1 cup of red cooking wine
    beef bouillon
    black pepper
    french bread-sliced
    mozarella cheese-shredded

    I put 1/2 stick of butter in my frying pan, sliced my onions thin (kept them in the circle shape) and added them into the butter, sprinkled with pepper and let them cook slightly till they became golden brown.
    As I was cooking the onion, I sliced the bread, got the mozarella cheese out, opened the cans of beef broth, let that heat up, added the wine, tasted it, then added the bouillon (this was not the cubes but if you only had cubes, use about 3). After it is heated up (taste it of course) then added the onions and stir. Let it all heat up on low for a bit (the better the taste. Add the soup to your crock bowls or oven bowls, toaste your bread in the broiler for just a couple of minutes on both sides. Put the bread on top, and put your mozarella all over the bread and some on the sides.
    Put under the broiler and watch till the cheese has melted.
    Have the rest of the bread on the side with butter.
    ****I had corn on the cob on the side.
    please check out my blog!

    • My teen aged daughter also made a chili with chicken and beans in it and it was too spicey for my husband. The following day, I browned up hamburg, added it and added a can of of black beans. It was delicious and cut that spicey acidic taste for my husband.
      What did I give my husband to eat? I had one little chicken breast left, sauteed it in butter with just a teaspoon of the sauce on top for moisture and he was greatly pleased.

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