4 Ways to Enjoy Chili Year-Round

Where I come from, we enjoy chili all 12 months of the year. This is regardless of, and sometimes because of, the weather outside. Chili is perfect - whether you're celebrating, comforting or anything in between.

Whether we are observing a birthday, cheering on a big soccer win or soaking up the summer sun poolside, chili is our favorite way to punctuate the day. And when I want a neighbor to know I'm wishing her good health, I deliver a pot of chili.

" ... chili is perfectly delicious any time of the year."

Chili itself is a blank canvas begging to be tailored according to the occasion and time of year. Possibilities for ingredient-play with vegetables, meats and herbs make it one of the most relevant tabs in my recipe box any month. Here are my favorite seasonal twists on the classic chili recipe:

Spring Chili Recipe The sound of birds chirping in the springtime means my chili is about to be hit with a healthy kiss of lemon! This light chicken chili recipe goes best with the sunshiny days and the tender herbs growing in my window box.

I use shredded chicken, creamy garbanzo beans and the finishing touches of brightness that come from freshly squeezed lemon, crumbled feta and chopped parsley. Plus, this easy chili recipe is made in less than an hour, leaving me plenty of time to enjoy the longer days.

Summer Chili Recipe When the school year wraps, my family moves most of its operations outside. The grill is my go-to tool for cooking - and chili dogs are my kids' go-to order for dinner. I've just about memorized this easy chili recipe, as it is the meaty, ketchup-y, all-American variation that is required to get the chili-dog job done right.

I brown ground beef, mix together the ingredients on the stovetop and then let it simmer on the hot grill. In the time it takes me to catch some rays and throw a few water balloons, the chili is perfect for smothering purposes. With our paper plates in hand, we line up the hot dogs and go to town.

Fall Chili Recipe Supper in general - and chili specifically - is my secret weapon in bringing together my family in the fall. The lazy days of summer have transitioned into crazy days of homework and sports and clubs and everything else busy families deal with. Dinnertime is the only time we get to really connect, and chili is the best way to get us all to the table.

Usually, we end up eating late in the fall, and everyone is starving when we finally get to sit down. This pork-and-bean chili recipe always saves the day. I make it when my time allows, keep it warm on the stovetop and ladle it up when we settle.

It's hearty and filled with onions, peppers and tomatoes, as well as a double punch of protein in the pork and the beans. As a bonus, this chili can be made most conveniently with pre-made plain or barbecue pork from the refrigerated section of my grocery store.

Winter Chili Recipe Following an afternoon of shoveling snow, or a wicked commute in messy traffic, there is no better way to be welcomed than with this hearty white chicken chili recipe. It fills my entire home with the warmth I am craving.

Because its zucchini, chicken, brown rice, green chilies and great northern beans simmer together for more than 4 hours in a slow cooker, it is ridiculously simple to make. With garnishes like salsa verde, fresh cilantro, shredded cheese and diced avocado, this chili satisfies like a crackling fire and an electric blanket.

Most people think of chilies as thick, rich, slow-cooked stews perfect for hibernating. But chili is perfectly delicious any time of the year. It is satisfying and comforting by a fireplace in winter or a fire pit in summer.