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Recipe: Chili and Cheatin' Cornbread

Fire Pit

Is it spring? Or is it winter? As usual at this time of year, the weather is all over the place. But there is one dish that makes the transition from cold weather to warm weather is chili! Here is my favorite veggie-heavy chili and easy cornbread. Make up a batch and take it out on your patio to enjoy it. If you choose a cool day, you can always wrap up in a blanket or light up the fire pit!

Chili:

  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound lean ground beef or 12 oz package of veggie crumbles (I like the zesty ones for chili)
  • 2 large onions, coarsely chopped
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 1 each green and red peppers, chopped
  • 1 7 oz can chopped green chilies
  • 1 16 oz can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1-2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2-2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1-2 tsp salt
  • one can each black beans, great northern and kidney beans, rinsed
  • 1 16 oz bag frozen corn kernels (optional)

Add olive oil to a large Dutch oven and sauté the first five ingredients until the onions are softened and translucent. Add seasoning and the canned tomatoes. Let simmer a minimum of 30 minutes (I usually go an hour to get the flavors to come together.) Add beans and corn and simmer an additional 30 minutes. I usually taste it at this point and adjust the seasoning. No batch comes out exactly the same, but it all tastes good. Serve with corn bread, and top with onions, cheese or your favorites.

Cheatin' Cornbread:

  • Two boxes Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
  • 2-4 slices of bacon
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped green onion
  • 1 4 oz can chopped green chilies
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro or parsley
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 425*. Cook bacon in a 10 inch cast iron skillet and remove from the pan, leaving a generous amount of bacon fat. Chop bacon. Pour corn muffin mix in a bowl, add bacon, cheese, garlic powder, eggs and milk. Mix until everything comes together, add remaining ingredients, pour into the hot skillet, and immediately bake until the top is lightly browned and a tester comes out clean.

For a lighter/vegetarian option, omit the bacon, and heat 1 tablespoon of oil in the skillet before adding the corn bread mixture. Using a cast iron skillet with heated oil will produce a crispy browned crust; but it isn't needed for a great cornbread that matches the chili!

Cheatin' cornbread is about convenience, but by all means use your favorite scratch cornbread to make this recipe.