Crock-Pot Spicy, Smoky, Sweet Chili

Happy Monday, y’all!  Two more weeks of work and I’ll be enjoying a Christmas “break.”  On Friday night Big Guy and I had tickets to the local production of “A Christmas Carol.”  I was incredibly impressed and can’t recommend the show enough to the locals.  So much talent.

Saturday morning we were up bright and early to head Raleigh to knock out some Christmas shopping.  We arrived at the mall just as the doors were opening to try and beat the crazy frenzy of holiday shoppers.  In between stores, we grabbed some sushi and finally made it home around 5 pm to enjoy a date night in.  Sunday included baking cookies (for me) and yard work (for him) before relaxing and enjoying the afternoon with friends.  One our favorite couples came over to watch the ECU vs. UNC basketball game.  Let’s be honest, there wasn’t a whole lot of watching the game but it was the perfect excuse to enjoy sparkling cider cocktails.  It was also the perfect excuse to prep the crock pot early in the day with a big batch of chili.  And you guys, I have a new favorite go-to chili recipe.

Full of meat and beans, this chili is the ultimate comfort food.  It’s smoky from the smoked paprika and chili powder; sweet from the “secret” addition of vegetarian baked beans; and spicy from a little cayenne pepper.  It’s also incredibly thick – my favorite kind of chili.

I used and 80/20 mix of beef because I wanted a deep and rich flavor profile.  You could totally use lean beef or turkey but I would recommend a little fat – that’s where all the flavor’s at.

Marlo brought over some cornbread that was insanely delicious.  Sweet and tender, the perfect side to a big bowl of chili topped with sharp cheddar, Greek yogurt (or sour cream) and a sprinkle of green onions.


The chili would make great leftovers (if there is any) and it’s a crowd pleaser – so make a double batch.

Do you have a go-to chili recipe?  

Did you do anything “festive” this past weekend?


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