Friday, October 28, 2011

Halloween Festivities & Cornbread Chili Waffles

There is one thing we are not lacking in our home, and that is holiday spirit. We may not be great parents in many aspects of life, but thanks to my husband, our home is a place of crazy-fun holiday traditions. The holiday festivities begin the first week in October with our annual 'Holiday Kick-Off Celebration'. My husband can hardly wait to begin celebrating this time of year. Between Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas, our home is an exciting place to be (no thanks to me!). My husband has an addiction--an addiction of holiday cheer. I am generally the scrooge of the family, but thanks to his fun-loving personality the kids have a great time these next few months. These are the best months for delicious food, family parties and favorite traditions.
Our 'holiday kick-off party' always begins and ends with, you guessed it...FOOD! Each year we have the same menu, which is okay with me because it makes the meal planning easy. This time of year I pick all of the tomatoes from our garden and make two of my favorite garden recipes...Homemade Chili and Green Salsa Verde. The homemade chili is a great way to use up those last ripe tomatoes, peppers and onions from your garden. The salsa verde is my FAVORITE way to put those boxes of green tomatoes to use. This recipe for green salsa is amazing on enchiladas, smothered over burritos, in salad dressings, with chips, etc. If you have green tomatoes coming out of your ears...visit this post from last year where I share with you my six favorite green tomato recipes. Delicious!!

Okay...back to our holiday menu. Once I have made a large batch of homemade chili, we love to serve the chili over hot scones or our new favorite way...over a cornmeal waffle. I know this sounds bizarre, but if you love sweet and salty combinations, this is the recipe for you!! I saw this idea on Paula Deen and new I had to give it a try. It did not disappoint. The combination of the hot and spicy chili with the sweet cornbread waffle, topped with cool sour cream, avocados and cheese..it was a party in your mouth. I couldn't get enough of these chili waffles and I am salivating just writing about them. If you don't have plans for your Halloween festivities, give this recipe a try. I can't think of a better meal to start the Halloween fun. Hope you have a spook-tacular Halloween!

My husband & his 'Man vs. Food' challenge. Food won, he couldn't finish his huge plate of chili waffles ;) Notice the large roaster pan of chili. I couldn't live without my roaster oven..it is like having the world's biggest crock pot. A must-have in the kitchen for large families!

Cornbread Chili Waffles
*For the cornbread waffles, I used the cornbread pancake recipe that I blogged about a few months ago. I just played around with the consistency until it made a good waffle. I also cut back the sugar a little (I used about 3/4 c. instead of 1 1/3 c.)...I like my waffles sweet, but this would have been too sweet with the chili. If you don't like the sweet and spicy combination, use Paula Deen's recipe. Her waffles don't have hardly any sugar in them. Either way, they will be delicious!
Garnish waffles with diced avocados, sour cream, shredded cheese, green onions, cilantro, etc.

Quick & Easy Chili

1 lb. spicy ground pork sausage
1 lb. lean ground turkey or beef
1 large onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeno, diced (or you can use more cayenne pepper instead)
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cans pinto or chili beans, drained
1 can black beans, drained
1 can kidney beans, drained
2 cans diced green chilies
4 cans diced tomatoes (or use fresh garden tomatoes that have been cored and diced)
2 cans tomato sauce
2-3 c. chicken or beef broth (depending how thick you like your chili)
2 T. chili powder
2 T. cumin powder
3 T. brown sugar
1 T. salt (or more if needed)
1 t. black pepper
2 t. Montreal Steak Seasoning (or more salt/pepper to taste)
2 t. garlic powder
Cayenne pepper, to taste (depending how spicy you like your chili--you can also add extra jalapeno peppers if you like)
2 T. red wine vinegar (add at the very end of the cooking process for a little zing :)

Cut the onions, peppers and garlic and set aside. In a large soup pot, saute the sausage and beef with the onion until the meat is mostly browned and cooked through. Add the garlic, bell pepper and the seasonings and continue to saute for another 3-5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients to the pot and simmer the chili on medium low heat until the flavors combine and the soup is nice and hot. If the chili is too thick, add more tomatoes or broth. If the soup needs more substance, add more beans. As the soup simmers it will continue to thicken, and will be extra thick the following day. Loosen up the chili with extra water, broth or tomatoes to your desired liking.

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