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Butteryum food blog recipes

Easy Chili from Leftovers

Patricia Reitz

I just love when I can throw together a quick dinner using leftovers! That's exactly how I made this fast and easy chili - I used the leftovers from two dinners we had earlier in the week... meat sauce from our pasta dinner 2 nights ago, and beef taco filling from dinner last night. I combined the two in a large sauce pan, added a can of kidney beans, a little cumin, some diced sweet peppers, and about 1/4 c of water. I simmered the mix over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until hot, and served with the usual toppings. Isn't it great when a meal falls together so easily!

Easy Chili from Leftovers

Printable Recipe


  • 2 cups leftover meat sauce (made with ground beef or ground turkey)

  • 2 cups leftover taco filling (also made with ground beef or ground turkey)

  • 1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin (or to taste)

  • Optional Garnish: diced tomatoes, diced sweet bell peppers, minced red onions, sliced scallions or chives, cheddar cheese, sour cream, cilantro or parsley, hot sauce, crushed red pepper


  1. Combine ingredients and heat through.

Notes:  I make my meat sauce with either ground beef or ground turkey (which ever I have on hand at the time). I start by sauteing one jumbo Spanish onion in olive oil; sauteing until the onion starts to caramelize, then I add 3-4 cloves of pressed or minced garlic; stirring for about a minute. Then I add 3 lbs. of ground beef or turkey and S&P to taste; cooking until browned; stirring occasionally to break up the clumps. If I'm using ground beef, I'll drain away any fat (not necessary if using ground turkey). Then I add an equal amount of the cooked meat to my favorite San Marzano Tomato Sauce (but you could use whatever tomato sauce you like), and heat until bubbly.

I make my taco filling the same way as described above, but instead of adding tomato sauce, I add one large can of refried beans, a couple of teaspoons of taco seasoning, and a little water. Combine well and heat until bubbly.

Because the meat sauce and taco filling are both seasoned already, I don't add any additional S&P when turning the leftovers into chili.