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
I like meals that are simple to prepare, yet offer maximum taste. Served in hallowed-out rolls, this hearty chili offers extra zip with two kinds of meat, beans and jalapeno pepper. Sometimes I serve the chili in one large round bread loaf. —Tonya Burkhard, Davis, Illinois
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
“This filling, hearty recipe comes from my grandmother,” writes Jenny Greear from Huntington, West Virginia. “It’s full of flavor, freezes beautifully and makes a complete, last-minute meal. I top it grated cheddar cheese and chopped black olives and serve tortilla chips on the side.”
JENNY’S TIP: “If I’m feeding a crowd, I increase the pinto beans to four cans to make the meat go farther.”
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.