For starters, I made a few changes to the ingredients list. I used black beans rather than red beans, the boys prefer those. And I added 2 teaspoons of chopped garlic with the spices also.
Here's a pic of the chili before it starts the 20 minute simmer.
( all the pics are sorta blurry, so I apologize. I need to check my camera settings.) Matthew reported that the chili smelled good; he said that he could smell it all the way upstairs.
Next comes topping said chili with hash browns and cheese. What could be wrong with that, I ask you? The answer- absolutely nothing. Although we did increase the cheese by nearly fifty percent. That's how it works in this house.
And finally, a "finished product" pic. I left the chili in for 5 minutes longer than the recipe stated and also turned on my broiler for about 5 minutes to get some color on the hash browns once they were cooked through.
Overall, it was a winner. Matthew declared it from the first bite; Caleb was much more interested in the cheese on top, but did eat the chili also. When I asked Jon for his thoughts, he said that it was good, but he was starving and would have eaten dirt. LOL *I* thought that it was just okay.
Other changes that I made or will make next time are that I used a 9x13 pan rather than the 8x11 size specified. It just seemed that there was entirely too much "stuff" and would overflow the smaller pan.
Also, I'd brown the beef first and then do the step with the onions, spices and tomato paste. But that just stems from a deep seeded paranoia of undercooked meats. (Or is it deep seated? Anyway...) No biggie.
I'll make it again, but probably not unless it's specifically requested.