Damn good Chili & Cornbread

Goldilocks & the 3 bears costume- www.ChefShayna.com

We love family costumes. Last year we were cowboys/girls & baby Caroline was a cow. This year we decided on our costume because our oldest daughter, Alexandria, declared that she started a blonde club and no-one in the family is invited. Ha! It is kind of funny that she is our token blond hair, blue eyed child. As a single gal living in Southern California, I always imagined I would have blonde surfer kids but it is crazy to me how genes work and that we actually do have a little blondie. A few years ago my hair was much lighter, I guess you could say blonde. I think I subconsciously died my hair after A's birth to sort of prove she was my child. About the time baby C was born I decided I could not keep up with the maintenance and went back to my natural color, much to my oldest daughter's dismay. She demanded I wash my hair until it was blonde again and to this day blames my friend, and hair dresser for my poor hair color choice.

But clearly I digress, this post is about halloween & chili...

Halloween night tradition calls for a bowl of chili, corn bread and large salad. I am pretty sure I learned this tradition from my parents and now as an adult I like making something that is low maintenance so that I can focus on other activities, like decorating, getting costumes ready & the festivities of the evening. Chili is great made in the slow cooker or simmering 'low & slow' in a big pot on the stove. Last night we hosted approximately 60 people so I did both and  quintupled my recipe and had enough for everyone with 1 large bowl of leftovers to enjoy for lunch today.

Damn Good Chili & Cornbread- www.ChefShayna.com

This chili really is "damn good!" I love that you can throw everything into the slow cooker and dinner will be ready 5-6 hours later. While you are making a batch for dinner, you should make another batch straight into a ziplock bag to freeze and have ready for another night. If you are cooking it from frozen, I would suggest adding 1 hour or cook time or increase the temperature to high. Serve the corn bread with your favorite toppings like oyster crackers, shredded cheddar, diced onion, green onions & sour cream. My favorite sour cream to use use when entertaining is the kind in the squeeze pouch which keeps serving easy & clean.

The cornbread recipe is one from Young Chefs Academy. I love it because it incorporates diced bacon, and who doesn't love bacon. The sour cream adds to the moisture to prevent dry cakey corn bread. Another great addition is the corn that simmers in butter before adding it to the batter. The crunch of the corn makes for a perfect consistency.


Damn Good Chili Recipe, serves 8-10

  • 1.5 pound ground beef
  • 1 small onion diced, diced (1 small onion)
  • 28 oz can tomato sauce
  • 28 oz can diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • 30 oz can black beans with liquid
  • 30 oz can kidney beans with liquid
  • 1 tsp. Ground Cumin Powder
  • 1 Tb. chili powder
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • 2 tsp. fine sea salt
  • *1 tbs. Cayenne Pepper (optional for added heat)

Throw everything in the slow cooker. Low for 6 hours. If preparing from frozen, low for 7 hours or high for 5 hours.

Prepare for Later: Mix everything together in bag & freeze. When I make this recipe to freeze in a gallon bag, I reduce the amount of ingredients to make sure everything fits securely. It serves 5-6 people. 1 pound ground beef, 15 oz cans of beans, tomato sauce & diced tomatoes.

In a pot: Over medium heat, brown ground beef. Add in onions, stir to combine & cook for 5-7minutes. Add remaining ingredients and bring to boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 4-6 hours as necessary.

*When I prepare over the stove, I throw in a tablespoon of sugar to reduce the acidity of the tomatoes.

You can easily add more beans to bulk up your chili when serving larger crowds.


Young Chefs Academy Sour Cream Cornbread

  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup mild or medium salsa
  • 6 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 ears corn on cob, kernels removed (or 1 can, liquid drained)
  • 5 slices pre-cooked bacon, crumbled
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • Shortening or butter to grease pan
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease baking pan with shortening.
  2. Sift together cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl.
  3. Whisk together eggs, sour cream, milk, and salsa in a large bowl until well blended.
  4. Place greased baking pan in the center of hot oven.
  5. Melt the butter in a skillet; add corn kernels and cook over medium-low heat until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Whisk the corn and butter into the egg/milk mixture. Stir in bacon and cheese. Add the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until just incorporated. Do not over mix.
  6. Pour the batter into hot cake pan and return to the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly. Makes 12 servings.