Janet's Notebook
Spice Up the Big Game with All-Star Chili Recipes

Monica Valenti's Sweet & Spicy Chili

I may not look it, but I know a thing or two about football... Tackling menus, passing dishes, intercepting fumbled napkins. Oh yes, football parties are my game and there's not a reason in the world why you can't score big at your gameday shindig too!

One of my favorite party tricks is to cook as much of the food ahead of time as possible. This is often easier said than done, but with a little pre-planning and a few great recipes you'll be able to join in the action instead of being sidelined in the kitchen all night!

Instead of making a zillion small appetizers for munching, try preparing one or two hearty dishes that your guests can nosh on for all four quarters. Chili is the perfect choice. There are any number of varieties, each one better than the next.

Monica Valenti of Columbia, SC combines oodles of delicious ingredients for her signature chili recipe.

"Don't let the long ingredient list scare you off," Monica says reassuringly. "This is a super meaty chili that really satisfies even the heartiest of football fans watching the Sunday game. [It's a] great recipe to prepare the day before, then put in crock pot to warm up on game day."

Ah yes, the crock pot! How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. As Monica points out it's a terrific way to set food out and forget it. Use it to prepare food from scratch or as a means to keep your warm food, well... warm! I've put on many a successful "chili bar", serving up a crock pot full of chili surrounded by dishes brimming with all the fixin's: cheese, onions, corn chips, sour cream, the works!

Yuba City, CA gal Cindy Eggleston brings a whole new meaning to "chili bar" with her excellent Tipsy Beef Chili

"This recipe was passed from my mother to my sister to me and each time one of us added a little something different," says Cindy. "My husband suggested the beer and it just seemed to add that little extra kick, along with the tequila of course."

That's right, this recipe includes a delightful blend of traditional chili seasoning along with a half can of beer, a shot of whiskey and healthy amount of Worcestershire! The flavors work amazingly well together, not one ingredient overpowering another.

To finish off your super bowl of chili, try Betty Gallagher's Stuffed Cornbread! This Texan is a home-cooking maven and it shows in her spicy family recipe.

"My family has enjoyed this recipe for years," admits Betty. "I usually put jalapeno slices only on half the pan for those who like the heat. But be sure and mark it, so you'll know which half is hot!"

Like all you wonderful cooks, Betty clearly speaks from experience! Her recipe is so versatile that it makes for the ideal accompaniment to a steaming bowl of chili.

I wouldn't dare make a prediction on the outcome the big game, but I can guarantee that you'll win big with each of these delicious recipes. Go team!

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Donna Thiemann - Feb 4, 2011
All of these look good and I will be making my signature chili for my husband and kids! Wonderful ideas and such good cooks!
Jane Whittaker - Feb 1, 2011
Loved the idea of making half hot, half not on the cornbread. Betty really had her thinking cap on for that one. Grat idea Betty and the cornbread recipe looks really good too.