I'm a college student and one of the things I miss the most about school is my mom's wonderful cooking. I also miss her well-stocked kitchen! This slow cooker recipe is something I can make in my dorm on a busy Sunday. I just throw it all in the slow cooker before I leave for church and come back to piping hot homemade comfort food. The first bite of this chili almost always brings me to tears; it's so good to have a little piece of home while away. Be sure to serve with a good sprinkle of cheddar cheese, a dollop of sour cream, and plenty of tortilla chips. —Bailey Starkey, Mount Vernon, Washington
My daughter Kayla saw a black bean chili while watching a cooking show and called me about it because it looked so good. We messed with our own recipe until we got this easy winner. —Lisa Belcastro, Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts
When my brother and sister were in grade school in little Rocky Ford, Colorado, this comforting chili dish was served in the school cafeteria. My siblings described it to my mother so she could duplicate it at home. We all enjoy preparing it for our own families now.—Karen Golden, Phoenix, Arizona
A combination of pork tenderloin, ground turkey and ground beef make this chili unique. Instead of pinto beans, you can use kidney beans, white beans or black beans; I use whatever is in my pantry and never seem to use the same kind twice in a row. It makes a big batch, but don’t worry if you have leftovers—the chili is even better the next day.
“The company I work for has an annual Chili Cook-Off, and this unusual recipe of mine was a winner,” writes Carolyn Etzler from Thurmont, Maryland. “It combines two other recipes and includes a touch or two of my own.”
A touch of baking cocoa gives my chili a rich flavor without adding sweetness. When I was growing up in the North, we served chili over rice. But after I married a Texan, I began serving it with chopped onions, shredded cheese and, of course, corn bread!
You'll want to serve up hearty portions of this chili before you set the kids loose to trick-or-treat. The edible bats are made from tortillas and take less than 10 minutes to bake. Make extra because they will go fast!