OK, my chili is simmering.
The changes I made:
Well, I chopped up a few cloves of garlic and sauteed them with my chopped up onion. I used to use no garlic and I just dropped my onion right into the pot.
I drained the juices off from the canned beans.
I added 1/2 tsp of smoked paprika. I'll let things simmer for an hour or so then give a taste. Maybe I'll add more.
I used some beef broth instead of water.
That's it for this batch because I'm scared to do too much at once LOL.
I'll eventually try all of the suggestions in this thread
I'll report back after the cook-off!