Chuckwagon Chili

by Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom on December 2, 2009


I actually made this before the baby was born. And of course, froze the extras. Because there were lots of extras. And we are eating those leftovers tonight!

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Chuckwagon Chili

Yield – 4 servings plus leftovers

Preparation Time – 15 minutes

Cooking Time – 30 minutes (plus time to soak and cook dried beans)


  • 1 cup dried red kidney beans ($.40)
  • 1.5 lb. ground beef ($2.09) On sale for $1.39/lb!
  • 1 onion, chopped ($.30)
  • 1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes ($.29)
  • 1 6 oz. can tomato paste ($.19) Used $1 coupon on can that cost $1.19!
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder ($.10)
  • 3 Tbsp chili powder ($.25)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups uncooked pasta “wheels” ** ($.25) Bought with $1/2 coupon when on sale for $1…used half the box!
  • Shredded cheese to top in each serving bowl (optional) Omit if dairy-free
  • 4 small apples ($1)

**Use rice pasta for a GF meal


  • Soak and cook dried beans in large pot. Drain and rinse the beans.
  • In the same pot that you cooked the beans, brown the ground beef with the chopped onion. Drain and rinse. Return to pot.
  • In small saucepan, cook 2 cups uncooked pasta wheels as directed on package.
  • Combine the ground beef/onions, cooked red beans, diced tomatoes (undrained), tomato paste PLUS 4 cans of water, garlic powder, chili powder, salt and pepper.
  • Cook over medium heat for 10-15 minutes, allowing time for flavors to mingle.
  • Slice or dice apples.
  • Serve Chuckwagon Chili with sliced apples.

Cost $4.86

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Rate This Recipe!! December 2, 2009 at 7:53 pm

How many people can this meal feed?


Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom December 3, 2009 at 8:45 am
Rona December 2, 2009 at 7:57 pm

This looks like something I would enjoy.


Julie December 3, 2009 at 8:54 am

@Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom,

What size can of tomatoes and tomato paste?


Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom December 3, 2009 at 1:48 pm


I updated the post…sorry!

15 oz. diced tomatoes and 6 oz. tomato paste



Alta December 3, 2009 at 9:06 am

I cannot remember the last time I saw/made pasta wheels! The kids would love this – and I bet my husband and I would too!


Carrie December 3, 2009 at 11:59 am

My kids would love this. A lot.

How do you freeze the cooked pasta and then reheat it without it getting mushy? I’ve taken to only cooking the rice/pasta for soups that we’ll need that night, freezing the soup without the carbs and then making some more on the night we reheat it. Is there some way I’m missing? If I cook the pasta/rice to taste right that night, it always is waaaaay overcooked after reheating.


Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom December 3, 2009 at 1:50 pm


The wheels were “broken” after freezing and reheating, but not mushy. I don’t often freeze pasta. You could always divide the chili portion and add fresh pasta when you eat it, freeze the other chili portion and then add fresh pasta when you eat it the second time. That would solve the “mushy pasta” dilemma.


Gina December 5, 2009 at 2:51 am

The meat could have been skipped here, too, and maybe another variety of bean tossed in the pot instead.

Vegan chili is totally filling and totally cheap. You’d probably come in UNDER $5 for a meal by skipping the meat.


Noel May 5, 2010 at 8:22 pm

How do you cook the dryed beans? Do you season them or just cook them in water till soft?



Christina Klasmeier November 17, 2011 at 12:36 am

My kids totally LOVED this I called it Farmer Wheel Soup for them……and they ate it up. They really like farmers now and thought that I made this up just for them.

And, I did not season my beans, I just boiled in water after soaking over night. I thought they had great flavor. LOVED this!


Carey January 28, 2014 at 3:44 pm

I have a recipe similar to this one, but you add chili beans (with the sauce in them) … so flavorful & downright yummy!


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