Mexican “Stack Ups” with Meme’s Chili

My Meme’s Chili has always been a family favorite. And, I keep pints and quarts of it in my freezer ready to pull out for a quick meal.

My grandparents were Arizona homesteaders near Tombstone, Arizona. The family stories told from Geronimo to Pancho Villa were a part of my grand

mother’s history. But, also part of her story were the foods she prepared as a young wife and mother on their isolated ranch at the base of the Chiricahua Mountains.

Meme’s chili is the recipe I remember the most. It’s so very simple but oh so good and the foundation for my Mexican Stack Ups. This is one of my “go to” meals when serving a crowd. Note: Be sure and check out my method for browning ground beef in the oven when you get ready to make the chili.

I always host my bunco group in February and this year served Mexican Stack Ups and Snicker Bar Salad. The meal was a hit! Stay tuned next week for the recipe for my Snicker Bar Salad.




  • 5 lbs ground chuck
  • 5 medium onions, chopped
  • 2-15 oz. cns. crushed tomatoes
  • 2-15 oz. cns. tomato sauce
  • 1/4 c. minced garlic
  • 10-12 c. water
  • 1/4 – 1/2 c. “Better Than Bouillon” Beef Base
  • 1/2-1 cup mild chili powder (You will have to taste here to get the chili flavor you want. Meme always used Gebhardt’s Chili Powder but it can be hard to find. It is available on Amazon but pricey. There are other mild chili powder’s that can work as well.  The trick is to be able to get enough chili flavor without getting your chili too hot. If your chili is spicy enough but you want more chili flavor, try tweaking with some cumin)
  • Cumin to taste

10-12 cups cooked rice

1/2 head shredded iceberg lettuce

1 lbs extra sharp shredded cheese

16 oz. sour cream

16 oz. guacamole (store bought from grocery deli works well or you can make your own.  I used 3 ripe avocados, about 1/3 c. salsa – I prefer Herdez, and low sodium Cajun seasoning to taste)

1 cup chopped green onions

Salsa (I prefer Herdez)

1 large bag of regular Fritos or you favorite tortilla chip

2 cups chopped tomato

This will feed 12-14 people with some left over chili to put up in the freezer.



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  • Lightly brown meat.  See my method for browning ground beef in the oven.  Drain in colander.
  • Combine browned and drained meat, onions, tomatoes, garlic, water, and 1/4 c. bouillon in a 3 gallon stock pot.  Simmer a couple of hours.  (Click here to see my method for chopping onions.)
  • When done, tweak with remaining chili powder and bouillon gradually adding and tasting until the flavor suits your palette. Add cumen if desired.
  • Turn fire off and allow to sit a few minutes.  The grease will rise to the surface. To remove fat, see my tip for removing fat from soups.

When I’m making stack ups for a crowd, I usually make my chili the day before.  Do take care to cool your chili carefully and safely.  Here is a website giving methods for cooling soup safely.  Click here to read.

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