The trick or treaters start showing up way before it gets dark, and you're scrambling to feed your own kids dinner so they can get out the door. Listen, it's fall, and what is the perfect fall dinner? Chili, of course! Throw it in the crockpot by noon, and you're golden! My mom's recipe has won several chili contests and is below!
½ chopped yellow or white onion
1 chopped green pepper
1 lb ground beef or turkey
Season with salt & pepper
Sauté until onions are clear and meat is throughly cooked. Drain grease if needed. Put sautéed mixture when done to crockpot and add:
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 cup water
1 can Mrs. Grimes Chili Beans
1-2 tbsp chili power to taste
Additional salt to taste if needed.
Use an immersion hand blender to modify texture. Just pulse it a few times, do not liquify! It will give it a medium creamy texture and is amazing!
Leave crockpot on low 4 hours or more. Serve when ready with shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream or plain Greek yogurt (I promise, they'll never know the difference!)
Serve with cornbread muffins. Even picky kids like them (well, usually!). I recommend a few boxes of Jiffy Cornbread (blue and white box) with these tips:
- Mix batter and let sit about 10 minutes before you pour it. This is actually on the box, but few people follow it. It makes a difference in the finished texture.
- Mini muffins are perfectly bite-sized and so much less messy! Whichever size you choose, be sure you spray Pam in your cupcake holders or use a silicone baking mold so you can just pop the little ones out.
- Do not over-bake! These little guys bake fast, one minute too long in the over, and they turn out crumbly are overdone. Go a couple of minutes less than you think, and the moment a toothpick comes out clean, pull them out. Remember, they will finish cooking in the pan another minute or two after removing them from the oven.
- Remember to serve with the best parts, butter and honey. Yum!
- One more idea… don't forget the favorite Pinterest trick, which is to put hot dogs in the muffin and kill two birds with one stone. My kids won't eat them, but yours might!
The Perfect Snack - Sweet & Salty!
Okay, you need one more "thing" because everything is always better in "three's" and you're going to have the snackers (this is ME!) who start eating and don't stop all night long. After all, it is Halloween! So, here's my favorite sweet and salty snack mix that everyone loves:
Popcorn - in a perfect world, I make it. In reality, I buy it from my favorite local popcorn shop, Vics, with their "Halloween Mix" so I have instant festive with white, black and orange popcorn.
Add a small bag of candy corn (only Brach's. There is no comparison. None.)
Add a jar of peanuts! Personally, I prefer the honey roasted, but roasted salted are super good too.
Serve in large basket or bowl with scoop.
Now it comes to serving and making all of this look festive! First, let's keep it simple, you've got enough going on tonight, so disposable dishes are the way to go with some juice boxes or mini cans of soda. Oh, and did I mention adult beverages? Let's be honest, it takes one or two to get through this night. Second, make some cute labels for your food and it instantly becomes more fun! Your chili can be "Monster Mash," your muffins can be Ghost Treats, and your popcorn mix can be Bat Snacks. Or whatever you want! It seriously doesn't matter - anything Halloweenish theme will make the food so much more fun.
Clear flatware (Costco or Sams for the best price)
Cute paper plates & napkins are a must! Caspari is my go-to brand. If you are in Omaha, the Bookworm and Mangelsen's carry it, otherwise its available online
Bamboo bowls for chili
Small black paper cups which double as scoops and bowls for popcorn mix. These also work well for smaller bowls of chili for little kids.
Lastly, throw a black table cloth or solid piece of black fabric and bunch it up a bit to "ground" your food and serving space. This is such an easy tip that makes it instantly turns your kitchen into a hotel serving space! Turn the lights down a bit, add some votive candles for ambiance and few simple decorations and you truly have an "Envy" party! Even if it's just the family, your kids will so love the extra touches you added to make the night festive and memorable.
Ooooh - Two things I almost forgot to mention!
- Turn on your Entry Envy kit lights! All of the Halloween decor kits included fairy lights and they are a must! So darn cute. If you still need to order your Entry Envy sign, please click here to order. Insider secret: the December kit also includes light!
- MUSIC! Music is a must. Period. I always think about the five senses when entertaining - sight, sounds, smell, taste, touch. I mention about these often because they all are very powerful. Your house is going to smell like chili. Perfect. It's going to taste delicious. Fabulous. But the SOUND! Add a small Bluetooth speaker in one of your outdoor pots, put on some festive music such as this playlist (don't make it too scary for the little kids…speaking from experience). You'll be the hit of the neighborhood!
Enjoy and Happy Halloween!
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