When the weather cools down, my family loves comforting foods that are warm and satisfying for the body and soul. One of our favorite things to prepare in the fall and winter is a big pot of chili. Not only is it easy to make, but it's wonderful to have for family meals or for larger size gatherings like tailgating parties or for watching the football games on tv with friends. Seems this is a meal that everyone finds comforting not only for the warm, cozy feeling chili brings, but because simple foods like this lead to easy meals or causal entertaining.
Chili is a very versatile meal that can be served in a variety of ways such as in a bowl......
....Or turned into a Mexican inspired meal with tortilla chips....
....and of course hot dogs and chili go hand in hand.
It's also good with toppings like chopped avocado if you want to tone down the spiciness of the chili.
My favorite topping for chili is a little (okay a lot) of shredded cheese.
The mellow flavor of sour cream is also a wonderful compliment to chili.
Don't forget the mustard and ketchup when serving hot dogs!
I like the fact everyone can serve themselves at a casual buffet like this. Keep cold drinks in a large container with ice for everyone to grab with their meal. Root beer is my favorite kind of soft drink, but serve whatever you would like.
I love the bright colors of these cute bowls I found at Big Lots last summer and knew they would be perfect for soup or chili when the weather got colder.
This is a test and only a test!
See how long you can stare at this plate before your eyes circle in your head like mine did when I took this picture. If you pass the test, then you can get yourself a set of these dishes at your nearest Wal-Mart. No kidding, I really do love these plates!
You won't believe that I didn't buy this flatware with the dishes, but they are an almost perfect match. I believe they were seasonal flatware sold only for the summer at World Market.
When you put all these things together with a cute scarecrow.....
.....a few small pumpkins.....
....And a basket of sunny mums......
......you will have a pretty and casual buffet perfect for entertaining or for watching the big game!
Would you like the chili recipe?
My family loves squash and thought it would be a wonderful compliment to spicy chili, so we developed this recipe that has quickly become one of our favorite chili recipes. The cumin and taco seasoning make it spicy, while the brown sugar and squash give this recipe a wonderful mellow flavor. We really like it with a dollop of sour cream to add a smooth, satisfying, cool addition to the flavor.
As long as the seasonings you are using are gluten free, this is a chili that all your friends and family can enjoy together.
Beef And Butternut Squash Chili
2 pounds ground beef
1 large onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 (15 ounces each) cans pinto beans (undrained)
1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans (undrained)
1 quart tomato juice
1 (15 ounce) can plain diced tomatoes (undrained)
1 (12 ounce) package fresh butternut squash (or peel and dice a butternut squash to equal 4 cups)
3 heaping tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
2 tablespoons dried cilantro
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 (15 ounce) can low sodium beef broth
2 tablespoons taco seasoning (from a package mix on the Mexican food aisle)
1. Brown ground beef in a large skillet, then drain grease.
2. Mince onion and garlic. If you are not using a package of prediced squash, peel and dice 4 cups of butternut squash.
|Squash can be bought already peeled and diced in the refrigerated section in the produce department of your grocery store. If you can't find this packaged squash, just peel and dice it yourself.|
3. Add all ingredients to a large pot and simmer for at least 30 minutes. If you like a thick chili, simmer longer until it reaches your desired consistency. The longer the chili simmers, the more the flavors develop, so the chili will taste better for left overs.
4. Optional: This chili is especially good served with sour cream. The coolness of the sour cream balances out the spiciness of the chili and enhances the squash flavor nicely.
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