This is how my mama taught me to make chili (mostly). She'd use half a can of tomato juice (save the other half for spaghetti sauce), a small can of Brooks mild chili beans, 1 lb. hamburger, some onion, salt, pepper, oregano (I think, or was that my addition), and chili powder. Cook some elbow macaroni right in the pot (before adding the beans) and you have a meal. When we were first married we had to stretch a buck, so we discovered that we could use 1 lb. hamburger with a whole can of tomato juice and 3 cans of chili beans to stretch it over several meals. In those days I still added the macaroni to stretch it further, but this is not a chili-mac loving house (other than me) so now we leave it out. I served the chili with Cornmeal Biscuits with honey butter (mix together equal parts softened butter and honey).
Old School Chili
I lb. ground chuck
I onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
salt, pepper, and chili powder to taste (I went with a heavy hand and adjusted several times through the cooking)
oregano (maybe 1/2 tsp. or so)
crushed red pepper (to taste) or if you're as lucky as I was, 1 dried red chili pepper (compliments of my brother-in-law), crumbled
1 large can tomato juice
1 large can Brooks mild chili beans (sometimes we use hot, but the boys are not fans)
Brown the beef seasoned with salt, pepper, and chili powder. As the meat cooks, dice the onion and add to the pot. When the meat is nearly browned, add the garlic. Little more salt, pepper, chili powder, oregano, and red pepper. Add the tomato juice and simmer for a while (maybe 30 minutes). If you like chili-mac, add about 1 cup uncooked macaroni while the tomato juice simmers. Add the chili beans. Cook for 15 minutes or so and enjoy.