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Halloween Chili

Chili Con Carne.jpg
Jennifer Chandler

Looking for the perfect dish to feed all the ghosts and goblins in your house on Halloween night? Look no further! Make a big pot of chili.

This Southwestern favorite is ideal for both a family supper and stress-free entertaining.

When serving chili for crowd, make dinner time fun and easy by setting up a “Build-Your-Own Chili” Bar.

Simply set out colorful bowls, encourage guests to serve themselves straight from the pot and then garnish their chili with their favorite toppings from your “chili bar.” Sour cream, fresh cilantro, jalapenos, minced onion, shredded cheese, diced mild green chilies, and hot sauce all make great garnishes to any bowl of chili. Everyone will have a ball concocting their own signature dish.

As a busy cook, chili is one of my go-to cold weather recipes. Easy to make, this recipe can be on the table in less than 45 minutes. It can also be made ahead of time and even freezes well.

The classic version is served with ground beef and beans. Chili powder married with such spices as cumin, oregano, and cayenne give this dish a wonderful depth of flavor. If you prefer a milder chili, you can control the heat by adding less of (or even omitting) the cayenne. Also, if you are not a fan of beans, simply omit them.

Trying to eat healthier? Substitute ground turkey for the beef. Bite-size pieces of sweet potatoes can make a tasty replacement for the beans. Avocado can be a healthier topping option than sour cream or cheese.

Whether you like your chili with beans or without, scorching hot or mild, a big bowl of chili is wonderfully satisfying on a chilly night like Halloween.

This is Jennifer Chandler with The Weekly Dish. Happy Halloween!


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
  • 1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion (1 small onion)
  • 1/2 cup seeded and finely diced green bell pepper (1 small pepper)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 dash paprika
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 can (14.5-ounce) whole tomatoes with juice
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 can (15-ounce) of red kidney beans
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, warm the oil until a few droplets of water sizzle when carefully sprinkled in the pot. Add the meat and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add the onion, green bell pepper, garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, cayenne, paprika, and bay leaf and cook, stirring, until vegetables are soft, about 4 minutes.

Add the whole tomatoes, breaking them up with a spoon or fork. Add the tomato paste, sugar, and water. Add the kidney beans. Stir well to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Over high heat, bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 30 minutes. Adjust seasonings as necessary. Discard the bay leaf. Serve hot.

Serves 6.

Recipe reprinted with permission from Simply Suppers by Jennifer Chandler.

Jennifer Chandler graduated at the top of her class from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. She is a full-time mom to two daughters in Memphis, Tennessee, and is a freelance food writer, restaurant consultant, and author of four cookbooks The Southern Pantry Cookbook, Simply Salads, Simply Suppers, and Simply Grilling.