Easy Weeknight Meals: Kelly's Simple Chili Recipe

Just 5 ingredients needed for this easy and healthy family-friendly meal

By Kelly Pramberger, publisher of Macaroni Kid Springfield, Mass. March 15, 2020

"Next to jazz music, there is nothing that lifts the spirit and strengthens the soul more than a good bowl of chili." -Harry James

Evenings can be difficult enough with homework, practices, and appointments without adding the need to make dinner into the mix.

So I wanted to create a filling dinner that would be easy to re-heat for my family on those busy nights. It had to be something everyone liked, plus fast and high-protein to fuel my family through the long evening. 

That's how Kelly's Simple Chili was born. You make it the day before with just five ingredients!

Kelly's Simple Chili


  • 1 pound of your choice of ground meat. (Turkey, chicken, or beef work great!)
  • 1 large jar of chunky salsa
  • 1 microwaveable bag of frozen corn kernels or a frozen bag of mixed vegetables
  • 1 microwaveable package of a quinoa/rice blend
  • Taco seasoning to taste


  • Garnishes for toppings. Shredded cheese, pickled jalapeños, avocado, crushed tortilla chips, or sour cream all taste great!


  1. Heat a tablespoon or so of olive oil in a frying pan. Add a few shakes of taco seasoning. Add the meat and brown on medium-high. Do not drain.
  2. In a large mixing bowl add the jar of salsa, then fill the jar with water to get out the remains and dump that in the bowl too. 
  3. Microwave the corn per the package directions and add to the bowl. 
  4. Microwave the rice or quinoa blend and put that in the bowl as well.
  5. When the meat is finished cooking, toss it right in with all the other ingredients in that big bowl. Stir it together.
  6. Cover and place in fridge.

Let the flavors come together overnight and the next day you'll have dinner ready in a flash -- just heat bowls up in a microwave and let your family add toppings of their choice. 

Tip: If you notice the bowl of chili decreasing quickly and want leftovers, add another jar of salsa to get more meals out of it! Enjoy! 

Kelly Pramberger is the publisher of Macaroni Kid Springfield, Mass.