Chili & Cornbread

Holiday traditions. Most everybody has a family tradition or two that coincides with a special holiday. Now that we're nearing the end of October, it's about time for a whirlwind of holidays and special celebrations! (One of the best times of year, in my opinion.) One of our family traditions happens on Halloween. Every year on October 31, my mom would make a BIG pot of chili in the crock pot. We'd fill our bellies with a big bowl of chili (always topped with cheese!) plus a big ole' slab of cornbread. Growing up in the Midwest, chili was usually a welcome meal to warm us up in between trick-or-treat stops in the cold, blistery weather.  

  Now that I'm 400 miles from home, I still make a big pot of chili on trick-or-treat night. Even though I'm not out and about gallivanting around the neighborhood. Even though there's only two of us, and it takes us almost a week to eat the whole pot. Even though it was almost 80*F this year. (We were sweating a bit as we ate, but we enjoyed it!) It's the tradition - chili + trick-or-treat is a must! This Chili recipe actually comes from my mother-in-law. It's super simple and absolutely delicious. You can prepare it in the morning, and let it simmer in the crock pot all day. Or, if you're like me, and can't seem to get it together in the morning, an hour or two on the stove does the trick just fine, too. Start with a pound to a pound and a half of ground beef. Brown it with a diced onion, then spoon off as much fat as you can.   Add two cans of chili beans, a can of diced tomatoes, and a large can of tomato sauce.     Then the secret ingredients! 2 tablespoons of chili powder and 1/3 cup brown sugar. That's it! Let it boil and bubble for at least an hour to let all the flavors blend together.  

  Now, for the cornbread. Yes, Jiffy will work in a pinch, but I wanted to get a bit adventurous, so I consulted one of my favorite cooking magazines - the Food Network magazine.     I had my eye on a recipe for Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread, and it didn't disappoint! Savory cornbread, filled with gooey pockets of cheddar cheese and spicy jalapeno bits. The gooey cheese was the best part.     Start by melting a bit of butter in your baking pan. This ensures that all the edges will be crispy & delicious.     Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl.     Add the wet ingredients; stir until just combined. Then it's time for the fun stuff! Grated cheddar cheese, creamed corn, green onions, and diced jalapenos. Leave the seeds in if you dare. (Bwa ha ha...)     Bake at 400*F about 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm with chili!     The perfect meal to warm you up on a chilly day. Don't forget the cheese! ______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Kim Anderson


Servings/Yield: 8 servings
  • 1-1.5 lb. ground beef
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 16-oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 2 16-oz. cans tomato sauce
  • 2 16-oz. cans chili beans
  • 2 tbsp. chili powder
  • cup brown sugar
Method Brown beef and onion; drain off fat. Combine all ingredients and cook in crock pot 4-6 hours on low. Alternately, after browning the beef, you can simmer all ingredients in a big pot for an hour or two. Source: family favorite ---

Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread

Servings/Yield: 8-inch square pan
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup ground cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs plus 1 egg white
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup canned creamed corn
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely diced
Method Preheat oven to 400*F. Melt butter in oven in 8x8-inch pan. Remove pan from oven once butter is melted; tilt to coat bottom and sides. In large mixing bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. In small bowl, beat together buttermilk, eggs, and egg white. Add to dry mixture; stir until combined. Fold in cheese, corn, green onions, and jalapenos. Spread into prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven 25-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center coms out clean and the top is golden brown. Serve warm. Source: Food Network magazine

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