Saturday, January 15, 2011

Slow-Cooker Chili and Amish Cornbread

In my last post, I mentioned how we were still waiting for that big snowfall. Well, we finally got some snow and the kids got their snow day! Of course, the kids think the snow day came because they went to bed with their jammies inside out and slept with a wooden spoon under their pillows. (Think about this the next time your wooden spoons go missing!)

I couldn't have planned it better. The snow day happened on Wednesday - the perfect mid-week break. We got just about 6 inches of snow - enough to get you out of school and plenty for sledding, but not enough to break your back trying to shovel it all. The snow started to fall and after an hour, we had about an inch already.

This bird's no dummy - this is just where I would hang out too if the snow was coming down that quickly - a nibble of food whenever you get hungry and a roof to stay dry - or maybe the little bird is just trying to peek through my kitchen window to see what's baking. Little birdy want some chili and cornbread??

Slow-Cooked Chili
Serves 10

Note: This is your basic chili recipe, tried and true. The recipe came from my husband's Aunt Donna. (Thanks, Donna!) It freezes well too, so you could make this when your green peppers are plentiful in your garden and freeze it until the cold weather comes along.

2 pounds ground beef
1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes, undrained
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped green pepper
1 jalapeno pepper, minced (optional)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 16-ounce cans kidney beans or beans of your choice, undrained, or one cup
         soaked and cooked dried beans
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin

Brown the ground beef in a pan and discard the rendered fat. Transfer the browned meat to the slow cooker. Using a clean pair of kitchen shears, coarsely slice the tomatoes into smaller chunks right in the can and then add them to the slow cooker. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Cover and cook on low setting for 7 to 10 hours. Add a little water if the chili seems too thick, or cook uncovered toward the end of cooking time if the chili seems too thin. Keep in mind that it will thicken as it cools.

Amish Cornbread
Note:This cornbread is the best - moist and delicious - and super easy. The cornbread recipe came from my good friend at Joy Beadworks who came upon the recipe when buying cornmeal from an Amish grower at a farmer's market. Make the cornbread the day you are going to eat it, or it will become dry. (Nothing a few seconds in the microwave and a spoonful of honey can't fix though.)

1 cup coarsely ground corn meal
1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup plus 2 tblsp. milk
4 tblsp. oil
1 egg

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. (The original recipe stated 450, but that seemed a little high to me.) Spray an 8" square baking pan with Pam.
In a bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, oil and egg. Make a well in the center of the dry mixture and pour in the milk mixture; stir until blended. Pour into pan, bake for 25 minutes, or just until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean and the top is lightly browned.


  1. Sounds yummy....winter comfort foods. I love the picture of the bird and feeder. Gorgeous!!

  2. That cornbread recipe looks like a keeper! I love sweet cornbread for breakfast...great with my coffee.

    Janet xox

  3. LOL, what does the wooden spoon under the pillow mean? Is that some old wives tale I don't know about? We got about a foot of snow this week, and all I want is a big bowl of comfort, just like this chili.

    And I also love that bird photo. What's he doing around there in the winter anyway?

  4. My kids soooo want a snow day, but they have NEVER had one. The chili and the cornbread both look like great recipes. Joni

  5. Irina - I'd never heard of the spoon under the pillow either, but the kids bring home all sorts of silly ideas from their friends - and they'll do just about anything if it means a day off from school. I had to draw the line when they mentioned flushing ALL the toilets simultaneously at 9pm - I mean that's just a waste of water!

    And we just started feeding the birds and we're starting to get a ton of them - cardinals, woodpeckers, and chickadees - we've even seen a few robins which I've never seen in the winter around here before. Now that you have a house, you should put a feeder out there and see what comes by. Be patient - It'll take a week or two for them to find your feeder.

    Joni - My girlfriend and I were talking on our "snow day" and thought that folks in Minnesota and places that get dumped on all the time with snow would laugh at us having a snow day after getting 5 inches over 24 hours! But I'm not compaining! For me it means a day off from making lunches and running around to after school activities since those are all cancelled too! If you can swing it, maybe you should work your own snow day into your school year! Might be fun if you thought they wouldn't have a lot of homework to make up. Making up homework is no fun at all!

  6. Sounds like the perfect snowstorm - love the bird picture. Thanks for sharing - I'm always on the lookout for some new recipes to use in my slow cooker. This chili sounds like it has the perfect mix of spices.

  7. These photo's are simply hunger inducing. What a great pairing of cornbread and chili for a nice winter meal. Well done!

  8. Thanks for the post! Did you do this because I said I've never made chili? I hope so!

  9. Cumin is the secret ingredient between okay chili and good chili!

  10. No reference to adding the corn meal to the other dry ingredients, although, I guess, that's a given?

  11. Beverly - the cornmeal is listed just before flour in the instructions. Hope you gave this a try and like it!



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