Amy Martell of Canton, Pennsylvania knows how to heat up the dinner table on a cold night. Her zesty chili is chockfull of ground beef, beans and south-of-the-border flair. Whip up the stovetop sensation when you're feeding a crowd, or make sure to save leftovers for the following two recipes.
A touch of baking cocoa gives this 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! —Audrey Byrne, Lillian, Texas
Meet the Cook: The basis for this recipe was handed down to me by my aunt, who said she got it from a "grizzled Montana mountain man". I added some zesty ingredients to come up with the final version.
Hot food is something that my husband's family isn't accustomed to. So I adjust the spices for them. In fact, with a few simple alterations to the "heat" index, I can serve this chili to anyone.
Chad and I and our 2-year-old son live 12 miles from town in the country.
-Lisa Humphreys, Wasilla, Alaska
Meet the Cook: When I first tasted this chili that originated with my brother, I couldn't wait to share it. It's the best I've ever had. My husband and our son, 2, like it, too.
-Vicki Flowers, Knoxville, Tennessee
Many friends and relatives have requested my chili recipe, which I've been using for 25 years. It actually won first place in a local contest, chosen from among 10 other entries. It always comes out delicious. Try it and enjoy!
When folks hear this recipe's name, they're certainly skeptical. But after one taste, they're asking for the recipe! This chili is especially nice for those who don't care for kidney beans found in most recipes. - Barbara Scott, Midland, Texas
Since our two daughters did not like beans in their chili, I adapted a recipe to suit our whole family's tastes. We all agree that mushrooms are an appealing alternative and go very well with the ground beef and sausage.
When you come into the house and pick up the aroma of this chili, it seems to welcome you and warm the entire house. My mother was a very good cook, and a meal of her chili, corn bread, hot cinnamon cocoa and devil's food cake brings back some of my fondest memories of her. —Norma Erne, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Agnes Hamilton of Scott Depot, West Virginia uses convenient canned pinto, black and great northern beans to speed up preparation of her hearty chili. The one-dish meal has a stew-like consistency and a peppy Tex-Mex flavor.