Game Day Chili

What’s better than a bowl of chili on game day? Well, a bowl of chili topped with cinnamon roasted butternut squash, that’s what. I really like to make food that’s ready when you are… especially if the game is close and the shouting is loud. Chili is the perfect one pot meal. You can make it early on, and keep it simmering ‘til half time. You can load it up with toppings and serve it in a mug. It’s simple to make, you can’t blow it. If it’s too spicy, add something cool and sweet. If it’s too lame, pass the bottle (of hot sauce!).

I have a recipe for chili in my cookbook, Sunday Best Dishes for chili with pork chunks, butternut squash and black beans. This version replaces the pork with turkey, puts the butternut squash on top, and exchanges black beans with a combo of red and black. It’s proof that using a recipe as a guideline to create your own dish is not only doable, but required for a simplified, use-what-you-have-on-hand, game day dish! Serve your favorite chili, and you are definitely a game day winner!

Turkey Chili Topped with Butternut Squash

Serves a Crowd

40 Minute Cuisine Plus Simmering

For Butternut Squash:

1 medium butternut squash, peeled and seeded, cut into ½ -inch dice

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon ground chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons kosher salt

2 teaspoons coarse black pepper

For Butternut Squash:

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 large onions, peeled and diced into ¼-inch dice, about 2 cups

1 large green bell pepper, seeded and diced into ¼-inch dice, about 1 cup

2 large jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely diced, about 1 cup

1 whole head garlic, cloves peeled and minced, about 4 tablespoons

3 pounds ground turkey (a mixture of white and dark meat)

3 tablespoons (or more) ground chili powder

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

4 to 6 drops (or more) hot pepper sauce

2 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes

1 (12-ounce) jar chili sauce

1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 (15-ounce) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

Diced avocado

Sour cream

Diced red onion

Pickled jalapeno pepper slices

Corn chips

Preheat the oven to 450°. Place the butternut squash pieces onto a baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon ground chili powder and 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon. Season with some of the salt and pepper. Use your (very clean) hands to gently toss all the squash with the seasonings. Roast until the squash is soft and beginning to turn golden, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to a bowl.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, peppers and garlic and cook until the veggies are soft and beginning to brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Don’t forget to stir things around a bit.

Add another tablespoon olive oil to the pot. Add the ground turkey and cook, breaking up the clumps until the turkey is beginning to brown, about another 8 to 10 minutes. At this point, generously season the turkey with salt, pepper and 3 tablespoons chili powder. You can add more later on! Stir in Worcestershire and hot pepper sauce. Pour in crushed tomatoes and chili sauce. Stir in tomato paste with the beans. Reduce the temperature to low and simmer your chili for 20 minutes or so to let the flavors blend. Stir, taste and adjust the seasonings to your taste. Add additional salt and pepper, chili powder and/or hot pepper sauce. Continue to simmer the chili until you are ready to serve.

Ladle the chili into bowls. Offer toppings of chopped avocado, sour cream, diced onion, pickled peppers and corn chips. Spoon roasted butternut squash on the top and dig in!


Game Day Dip!

Game Day Dip!

I’m not sure if I love football because of the game or the food. After being a Miami Dolphin fan for over 40 years, it’s safe to say a majority of these past seasons, the football food has been the highpoint!

You know I love Buffalo wings, mostly because I’m addicted to hot sauce! You’ve seen my recipes for wings and recently for Sweet Potato Fries with Buffalo Chicken. But, sometimes, you need a hot dip, and you need it now! This recipe fills the bill. There are tons of versions of Hot Buffalo Wing Dip, so use this as a guideline to make the one you like best. The ingredients that make this dip so perfect for me is Frank’s Red Hot Sauce. There’s just something about this that is super spicy but not hurtful! I use deli chicken as a shortcut, but you can use leftover chicken if you have it. Boar’s Head has a Blazing Buffalo chicken that just adds a little bit of somethin’ somethin’ to the dip, and Fritos corn chips bring the whole experience to critical addiction levels!

Look at all these fixins going into the dip. YUM! Now you’re ready to make this awesome recipe. GOOOOOOOOO Dolphins!

Hot Buffalo Wing Dip

Serves a Crowd

15 Minute Cuisine

Ok. There are about a hundred versions of this dip, but the one thing they all have in common is that the end result is gooey, Buffalo spiced and incredibly addicting!

2 tablespoons butter

4 ounces spicy deli chicken (I like Publix Blazing Buffalo Chicken breast), diced

1 small white onion, peeled and diced

4 celery ribs, sliced thin

2 (8-ounce) blocks cream cheese

4 ounces, grated sharp cheddar cheese, 1 cup

4 ounces hot pepper sauce (Frank’s Red Hot is my choice!!), more if you are crazy

Corn chips for dipping (Fritos or Scoops are the best)

Heat the butter in a medium sauté pan over medium high heat. Add the chicken, onion and celery ribs to the pan. Cook until the veggies are soft, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the cream cheese to the pan. Reduce the heat to medium and stir to soften. Add the cheddar cheese and hot pepper sauce. Keep stirring until everything is melted together.

Cook’s Tip

At this point you are ready to dig in. However, you can pour the dip into a baking dish and keep warm in the oven until kick off.