A chili cook-off and my own entry

Friends of ours started a chili cook-off tradition in the Fall.  It is extremely well thought out and executed.  There’s a floating trophy award and a gift for the 1st prize and then there’s a People’s Choice prize for the 2nd winner.  The first prize is usually decided by a team of judges picked by the host.  It’s always heaps of fun, this was their 6th Annual Chili Cook-Off.  It can get quite competitive with an array of chilis to sample, together with cornbread for dipping and excellent desserts as the hostess is quite the baker! There’s usually a roaring fire outdoors, with children and dogs running around and having a good time.  What a wonderful way to embrace the Fall weather.  We have since started a Curry Cook-Off tradition as a result, usually during the bleakest winter months which can sometimes be in February or March.


I decided on a slow cooker entry with Italian sausage, ground beef, chili beans and a whole load of vegetables and spice.

Slow Cooker Chili

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 pound bulk Italian sausage
  • 3 (15oz) can chili beans in spicy sauce
  • 2 (28 ounce) cans diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 green chile peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon bacon bits
  • 4 cubes beef bouillon
  • 1/2 cup beer
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce (e.g. Tabasco)
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 (8ounce) package shredded Cheddar cheese
  • corn chips (optional)


  1. Heat a large stock pot over medium-high heat.  Crumble the ground beef and sausage into the hot pan and cook evenly till browned.  Drain off excess grease.
  2. Pour the above in a slow cooker, add the chili beans, spicy chili beans, diced tomatoes and tomato paste.  Add the onion, celery, green and red bell peppers, chile peppers, bacon bits, bouillon and beer.  Season with chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, oregano, cumin, hot pepper sauce, basil, salt, pepper, cayenne, paprika and sugar.  Stir to blend, then cover and simmer over low heat for 6 hours.  The longer the chili simmers, the better it will taste.
  3. To serve, ladle into bowls and top with corn chips and shredded Cheddar cheese.

My contribution to the Chili Cook-Off


The Chili Cook-Off entries. The mac and cheese that the hosts make is such an amazing addition and pairs beautifully with the chili. The cheddar and chive biscuits also go down a treat (not pictured).

Until the next time, do try the recipe, no I did not win a prize for my entry this time, but I did win the Peoples’ Choice one year.   🙂



22 thoughts on “A chili cook-off and my own entry

  1. I’m packing my bags on am going to look for a house right next to yours. I love how you entertain and have such fun food events with your friends. I get lazy and don’t do these things. Your chili looks amazing. We love chili year round and I’d vote you first!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awww so sweet Julie, we could have had heaps of fun with your baked goods too. 🙂 I must say it is a lot of fun when meals have a purpose. I do love entertaining and often just invite people over for the heck of it. Sometimes they are theme based. We got the idea of the curry cook-off from the friends who host the chili cook-off. Recently I had a bunch of friends over for the Moroccan Nite – again, it was just on a whim on a weekday. What fun! A few of our friends do love to cook, and a lot of the guys are better than the gals 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What fun and your right a perfect fall event. I noticed that Jalapeno right away next to that lemon. Your chili looks yummy and I like that you serve it with rice. Although chili with spaghetti isn’t bad. We do a curry cook-off on boxing day. It’s become more about who can take the most heat instead of the flavor. I guess that’s what happens when you do a curry cookoff with a bunch of British blokes. Brilliant idea about the mac and cheese, I’m hosting the boxing day event this year and I now know what side I’ll do. It’ll blow their minds and hopefully make the curries edible…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ron – do NOT show this to your BIL or the other ‘British blokes’ or I shall be murdered for Yule ! British curries, Ron, and real Indian curries lie a world apart and I have heard many an Indian chef say the worst aftermath of the Raj period is the ‘Madras’ curry powder so many use: an abomination !!! Heat has nought to do with finesse . . . I love a curry when my eyes pop but this has to be backed by a fully rounded flavour! Best anyways !!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ha ha Eha, Ron best not see your response, or WW3 will begin 🙂 When we host our curry cook-off, we have curries from all around the world not just India. There were no rules when we hosted our first, and Iike you, I was really thinking Indian curries, but when the guests showed up we had an array of curries, Thai, Vietnamese, Malaysian, Jamaican, Indian, and it just blew me away. So now, we’ve left it at that, the guests continue to research and bring a boatload of different curries from different continents. It’s heaps of fun. Will have to wait and check out the British curries, I’ve asked Ron to blog about it 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Ha ha Ron, you’re always the jalapeno police, or so it seems anyway 🙂 I do love some heat, but I think the jalapeno is more for the styling aspect of it 🙂 A curry on Boxing Day? Are there a lot of British blokes where you are? I’ll be looking out for that post and anxiously awaiting the entries. If you search curry cook-off on my blog, you’ll see the array of entries and the winners have always been amazing! It is always so much fun during a dreary February.


      1. As a youngster, I used to eat jalapenos with regularity., but alas my older stomach no longer allows them. So, it’s not jalapeno police, it’s jalapeno envy. Well, we’ll see about blogging on our curry event. Not much newsworthy about a few English guys, an American and a Swede eating overly hot “curries” and drinking too much beer. Besides, I think a couple of them may be hiding out over here and not want their whereabouts known… And yes, there is a sizable English community here in Southern Sweden. My association with these lads is via my English BIL.


  3. On this side of the Pacific Pond most are not really knowledgeable about ‘chillis’. . . . but, once Yule is over and friends drop in, I shall surely try your many-ingredient but interesting format and am certain it will be appreciated . . . thanks for your version . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Like you, I had no idea what a chili was either and a cook-off? What was that? But I’ve soon learned and I’ll have to say it is a lot of fun and laughs. It will be interesting for you to introduce it to the Aussies 🙂


  4. I love your cook offs- so much fun! I bet your friends look forward to it too. I wish I was your neighbor, again 🙂
    Your chilli looks amazing. I like the “people’s choice award”…much more important than the other awards I would say 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Sandhya. This was hosted by our friends, and the idea of the curry cook-off was born at this gathering a few years ago. We just have a People’s Choice Award and present a lantern to the winner.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much 🙂 It sure was a lot of fun. At any given time, I always have chili containers in my freezer as I make it so often in the winter time. Looking forward to your garden posts, I do enjoy it too and have dedicated a slot for it on Safari of the Mind 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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