You know how many chili supper events were in our county tonight? Five. And those are just the ones I know about! I am guilty of contributing to the excess – we served chili at the Candidate’s rally today – but the weather is just perfect for it and who doesn’t love a good bowl?
I love when I can make venison chili, but it’s been a while since the Candidate had a whole Saturday to devote to hunting. So for now I’m making do with ground beef from a local farm.
Everyone has their own favorite recipe, and mine is a bit of a hybrid. You see, I’m not really from here. I was born and raised in this small KY county, yes, but my parents are actually from the Midwest, with my father from Cincinnati, specifically. Now, my chili cannot truly be called Cincinnati style, but it is influenced by it with the addition of chocolate. You can add shaved dark chocolate or cocoa powder.
I start with onions and lots of them. I chop them up and sauté them in some oil. I add peppers and maybe garlic. Then I brown the meat and drain (most of) the fat. When the meat is browning, I add chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, and a few tablespoons of cocoa powder. Then I add broth or tomato juice, apple cider vinegar, diced tomatoes, and tomato paste. Here’s my shortcut, though. I almost never have tomato paste on hand, so I dump in spaghetti sauce or salsa, whichever is open and needs to be used up! Then I add kidney beans and black beans right before serving. My husband really likes it served over spaghetti, which is sooo Cincinnati. As another shortcut, I started adding the dried noodles right into the mix. They cook while the pot is heating through. And that’s my recipe. We eat it with lots of cheese, sometimes sour cream, and crackers.
How do you fix it for you and yours?
We had after dinner guests last night! I always stress about what to serve because I am no good at apps. I decided to keep it simple with spinach dip, old-fashioned popcorn, and pumpkin pie. My signature drink was spiced cider. Now, I have been making that cider for years and years. So long in fact, that I’ve forgotten where I got the recipe from. I thought it was Martha Stewart, but when I went to look it up she had about every cider recipe except mine!
Now, I’m no good at exact measurements, so bear with me.
I used half a gallon of apple cider
About a cup of orange juice
Maybe half a cup of pineapple juice
And a few splashes of lemon juice
I added a few shakes of allspice
I floated some lemon and orange slices
I poked whole cloves into apple halves and floated those too
I added some cinnamon sticks
I brought all that to a simmer and then added a cup or two of bourbon. Cheap is fine for a mixed drink. Don’t waste the good stuff on this!
I didn’t take a picture of course, worst blogger ever, but this one from Martha looks similar. I think it’s so pretty with the fruit. And it makes the house smell amazing!
I made this pumpkin pie on a whim. I’ve always used a traditional recipe with evaporated milk, but this got rave reviews. I’m definitely reconsidering some holiday choices!
On Monday, I tell my two children it’s “Daddy Day” and we do things for Daddy all day long. Really what that means is I get them hyped up to “help” me with housework. My husband’s love language is Acts of Service and there’s little he loves more than coming home to the smell of cleaning products. So far though, I’ve only managed to accomplish some freezer casseroles for my church’s Bereavement Committee.
Here’s the recipe I use. I know, I know. It’s full of gunk like boxed stuffing and cream of soup. But, it’s comfort food, right? I put it in the freezer before baking and will thaw it before it goes in the oven. I made up a couple of these and it’s such a relief to have that done – and to have used up all that end of summer produce!
Lemme ask you, what’s your go-to vegetable side dish? Share your recipes in the comments!