Carpetbag Chili

Do you remember the 1964 classic Disney film “Mary Poppins”? Early on in the film, Mary arrived to the Banks home, and began unpacking her carpetbag, which held the oddest items and its depths seemed boundless. That’s a picture of how I felt when I was raiding my fridge to make this chili.

Too much thawed ground beef from making burgers the other day? I can use that!

Leftover red onion from making my brother’s birthday dinner? Done!

Mushrooms that need to be used up before they go bad? Hmmmm… Unusual, but why not?

Dang it, I have no tomato sauce or tomato paste, like a traditional chili recipe calls for. BUT WAIT! I have several cans of V-8 juice! Let’s try it!

Are you curious yet about how this turns out? Good! Let’s jump into the recipe!

Carpetbag Chili


Carpetbag Chili

yield: approximately 12 servings      prep time: 15 minutes        total time:  60 min to allow time to simmer


  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 lb. ground beef or ground turkey
  • 2 cups sliced button mushrooms
  • 10 oz bag frozen corn
  • 1 can chili beans
  • 1 can black beans
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 11.5 oz cans V8 juice
  • 1 packet dry Ranch dressing
  • 1/4 cup taco seasoning
  • 1 tbsp chili powder


  1. Saute onion in 1/2 tbsp olive oil until translucent.
  2. Add ground beef and brown with onions, breaking it up as you go.
  3. Add mushrooms, and cook down until all the liquid is gone.
  4. Dump in corn, chili beans, black beans, tomatoes and V8 juice. Mix well.
  5. Stir in Ranch dressing packet, taco seasoning and chili powder.
  6. Simmer uncovered for about 45 minutes to allow all flavors to blend well.


This was super simple to do, and the simmer time gives you time to unload the dishwasher, fold a load of laundry, whatever you need to get done! And the best part? It’s all in one pot, so clean-up is a breeze!

Enjoy! If you try this, let me know – I’d love to see your pictures, and hear how you added your own twist!


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