Monday, October 18, 2010

Domesticated Delight Halloween Event - Chili Cook-off and a Recipe!

This past weekend my mom, sister, and I participated in the 2nd annual chili cook-off event that takes place in my mom's neighborhood. Floral Park is the BEST place to live in my opinion... it's filled with old vintage homes (the entire neighborhood is a historical landmark) and they always have fun events going on for the family. They bring in snow with a horse and carriage for Christmas, have a block party and live band for 4th of July, and even host a special night of trick-or-treating just for the neighborhood kids the week before Halloween. This is the 2nd year they've had the chili cook-off, and since we had such a blast last year we decided to do it again. Basically you bring your best home-made chili and serve it out of a decorated booth. The neighbors and visitors buy taste tickets for $1 and go around tasting everyone's chili. Then the judges decide which chili and booths are the best! It's a lot of fun.

The sign leading to the chili cook-off!

We started cooking around 11 and made my grandma's classic chili recipe as well as a new recipe salsa chili. Yum!

Salsa chili (left) and grandma's traditional chili (right)

We served chili with cornbread, grated cheese, and diced onions!

This year we decided to go with a Western theme for our booth (last year we did a classic Fall theme with pumpkins, straw, and scarecrows!) . My super-competitive mom found a prop house close by and actually rented out a wooden fence, saddle, a wooden triangle stand (COME AND GET ITTTTT!) (Yes, my mom did yell this while serving the chili), some bales of straw, along with some other stuff. She also bought some cowboy boots, a whip, spurs, red bandannas, a gingham table cloth to decorate and matching flannel shirts for the boys. I love to see her get so excited about things! She was on the committee that organized everything so she made a lot of new neighbor friends.

We got there around 2 and all started decorating. Being the family party planner and decorator they kind of rely on me to put everything together, but everyone helped. With the help of my sister and Mando we put together an awesome booth!

Cayden and I serving chili and a picture of our western themed booth

Bales of straw topped with a few props

More props

We named our booth Lazy Susan's (my mom's name) and I made this sign for the table

We had a lot of fun serving chili to our neighbors and just hanging out with family and neighbors. Everyone was oooh-ing and ahhh-ing over the boys in their matching outfits. They were so cute! We also got a lot of positive feedback about the chili... people loved it!

Matching cousins in their wagon

Cayden and I before the cook-off

Haha, Cayden's sweet 'stache

And the result...

Our 2nd place ribbon and apron

We won 2nd place! My mom was so happy even if it wasn't for booth decorating... which I still think we should have won! All in all the day was a success and we had a lot of fun! I think this is something we'll continue to do year after year.

And here's recipe for my grandma's chili. My mom originally didn't want me to post this because it's a 'family secret', but I told her I promised my loyal followers and she eventually agreed. If you choose to make it be sure to leave a comment saying how much you liked it so I can pass it along to her. I'm sure she'll be glad to hear it filled another family's bellies with yummy goodness!

Grandma's traditional chili:


1 pound of ground beef
1 large can of chili beans (drained)
1 regular sized can of diced tomatoes (drained)
1 small can of tomato paste
½ onion diced
½ spoon of chopped garlic
1 jar La Victoria medium salsa (or whichever salsa you prefer)
3 TBL. Chili powder
1 tsp. Cayenne pepper

(If you don’t want your chili so thick, save some of the liquid from the diced tomatoes and add it to the chili to thin it out more during the cooking process.)


Brown the ground beef on medium heat until almost done. Add the onions, cook a few minutes stirring often, then add the garlic. Cook until onions are soft (not brown). Drain the grease, add a few paper towels and swirl around to capture all the remaining grease. Add the tomato paste, cook stirring often until the tomato paste just starts turning light brown (careful you must watch and stir often as the tomato paste can burn easily so do not leave unattended during this step). Add the chili beans, diced tomatoes, salsa, and spices, cook until chili is bubbling a lot, then lower heat to low and cook minimum of 30 minutes to 3 hours. Taste along the way and adjust your spices if you want spicier also you can add some salt if you think it needs it.

Serve with diced onions and grated cheddar cheese and corn bread with honey. You can also serve over rice (yummy!)


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