This weekend I came to the harsh realization that having a meal of ‘chili and cinnamon rolls’ is not a normal thing. I was shocked. Everyone eats this as a meal at home. You order the pairing off of restaurant menus. When there is chili – you know that cinnamon rolls are going to be provided. It’s just what you do!
Well, apparently that’s just a midwest thing? My new friends thought I was crazy.
Update: I’m only slightly crazy.
I knew I needed to remedy this situation so I invited the crew over to try this amazing combination. I’m sure in your head you’re thinking “Bets – it’s not a challenge if you’ve made it before.” Well, I’d agree. Then share the very sad, very guilty secret that in my 27 years – I’ve never made a chili recipe before. Scratch that, that’s a blatant lie – I’ve made turkey chili before that was TERRIBLE and used cubed turkey meat. Nasty. But my other chili cook off attempts have been Hormel Chili straight out of the can and into the crock pot. It’s a shame. But it’s the truth.
Not this time. This time I opened up my handy dandy cookbook that I received as a Christmas gift and found an amazing recipe for Tex-Mex Chili. Great news – this cookbook is fairly basic and comes with helpful hints like “how to cut an onion” – thank you cookbook. It’s like you know me. That’s incredibly handy.
I forgot to mention – here’s what I learned is the best part about chili. You can run home for lunch, throw everything in a crock pot and then arrive home for dinner and TADA! You’ve got a meal. Done and sold!
This meal fed 9 people… took about 30 minutes of prep time and then sat in the crock pot for 5 hours.
- 1 1/2 lbs ground beef (I just used two pounds – what can I say – I like meaty chili!)
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 5 garlic cloves, minced (Update: mincing garlic makes you stink. Please just be aware)
- 1 can (14-1/12 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup V8 juice
- 1/4 cup brewed coffee
- 2 envelopes chili seasoning
- 1 can (16 ounces) refried beans
- 1 can (15 ounces) Ranch Style beans (pinto beans in seasoned tomato sauce)
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
In a large skillet (when it says large, it means large, because this is A LOT of stuff – you ::might:: need to make it in two batches, that was our plan), cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Drain. Stir in the tomatoes, water, juice, coffee and chili seasoning.
Transfer to a 4-qt. slow cooker. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours to allow flavors to blend.
And no good chili dinner is complete without a little help from…
Cinnamon Rolls in a Snap
- 4 1/2 cups biscuit/baking mix
- 1 1/3 cups milk (I actually bought real milk for this and not almond milk because I was worried about the consequences)
- 2 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1/4 cup sugar (which I did not own and had to get at the store, shame, I know)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a large bowl, combine biscuit mix and milk. Turn onto a floured surface, knead 8-10 times. Roll the dough into a 12 inch x 10 inch rectangle (seriously, do people actually measure this?). Spread with butter. Combine the sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over butter.
Roll up from a long side, pinch seam to seal. Cut into 12 slices, place with cut side down on a large greased baking sheet.
Bake at 450 degrees from 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Meanwhile, combine the icing ingredients, spread over warm rolls. Serve warm.
The entire meal was a hit. A huge success. People loved the chili. People loved the cinnamon rolls. Which – to clarify – were a little less like rolls and more like biscuits. Just keep that in mind! But most importantly people enjoyed the combo. I mean – don’t get me wrong – there were many jokes about how strange ‘my kind’ was. But overall, it appears everyone was pleased!
The best news – I’m learning to love this cooking thing. It’s therapeutic. And there’s nothing quite like enjoying a meal with people who you can laugh with. Plus – having someone around while you do dishes – that’s really great! Not sure what I’ll be doing next week for our meal together – so I’m taking ideas! Go ahead and comment – or send me text/email!