One of my favorite seasons is fall. That hasn’t always been the case. However, when my husband and I first started dating, I quickly learned that he enthusiastically waits all year for fall (and Christmas as well), and his passion quickly converted me to a fall-lover. It might be that first bite into the crisp, tart Granny Smith while navigating between neat rows of an apple orchard set against the backdrop of a valley of auburns and golds, crimsons and ochres. It might be the steaming mug of hot cocoa embraced by cool fingers, warming the body as much as a loved one sharing a quilt by the fireplace. It could even be the pleasant tinkling of glasses and laughter ringing through an open window as friends exchange stories and tease each other over apple pie. Whatever form fall takes each year, I’ve always enjoyed it. One of life’s great joys is to find mystery and pleasure in even the smallest of things: a friend’s shining smile, the leaves turning colors, a warm touch, a nostalgia-inducing scent. All of these gifts come at no cost, yet they are indeed gifts, and we must learn to appreciate them.
So, it was with great excitement that I joined my husband in anticipating fall, looking for small ways to appreciate the gifts we were given with the season. We made apple pie and watched scary movies and went for walks around our village on crisp evenings. To compliment all of the activities we had planned, I looked up some comfort food recipes, and I would like to share a few here that are perfect for tailgating. In fact, I made the chili for my husband, my dad, and their friends when they all went to a college football game at West Point. It got rave reviews and was counted as the “best chili” they ever had. It’s so easy to make; I just put it in the slow cooker the night before, let it cook all night, and then transport it in a large bowl in a thermal bag to hold in the warmth. Don’t forget the plastic spoons, styrofoam bowls, and napkins!
Debdoozie's Blue Ribbon Chili*
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 pound Johnsonville® ground sausage
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1 (14oz) jar tomato sauce
- 1 (8 ounce) jar chunky medium salsa
- 4 tablespoons chili seasoning mix*
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 tablespoon dark brown sugar
- 1 (10oz) can diced tomatoes w/ diced jalapeños
- 1 (15oz) can of whole kernel corn, drained
- 1 (15 ounce) can light red kidney beans, drained
- 1 (15 ounce) can dark red kidney beans, drained
- 1 cup crumbled, cooked bacon
- 1 (8oz) package shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
- 1 pint sour cream (optional)
- In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the ground beef, sausage, minced garlic, and onion and saute for 10 minutes, or until meat is browned and onion is tender. Drain grease, if desired and spoon into slow cooker.
- Add the rest of the ingredients (except cheese and sour cream). Mix well and heat on low for 3-10 hours.
- Top with cheddar cheese and sour cream and serve with cornbread.
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