A Hearty Halloween Treat: Sweet Heat Beef and Bean Chili

Happy Halloween! Thanksgiving and Christmas will always be my favorite holidays, but Halloween holds a special place in my heart. Growing up, Halloween was always a time spent with friends; fall festivals, costume parties, scary movies, trick or treating, and of course my dad carting my friends and I to haunted houses so we could scream our heads off and have an excuse to hold hands with the boys we liked. Not so sure my dad had knowledge of the hand holding, or maybe he just preferred not to acknowledge it Smile

Renly the Lion                                                    Renly the cowardly lion

 *side note* I do remember one particular year that my dad had to go into the haunted house to rescue one of my girlfriends who had decided that it was WAY too scary and had sat down on the floor crying hysterically and refused to budge. I’m not sure who was more traumatized, my friend, my dad who had to carry a 13-year-old cowgirl out or the poor “monsters” at the haunted house who tried (unsuccessfully) to help. That year wasn’t so fun but at least we can laugh about it now! Or at least I can, she and my dad may not find it so humorous.

 Ghost                                               My favorite porch decoration

This year, Robert and I are going to spend Halloween with our family at his sister’s house. My sister-in-law is a great hostess and can always be counted on for a fun holiday party. This year she is making chili for a big family style dinner before we take the kids trick or treating. She has asked me to bring cornbread which I quickly agreed to before realizing that I’ve never actually made cornbread before. Whoops. There are going to be about 50 people at her house so the pressure is on. I’ve found a recipe that I want to tweak slightly and attempt….keep your fingers crossed for me! Taste testing a brand new recipe on 50 mostly strangers isn’t intimidating AT ALL!

finished 2

Since I don’t have a delicious cornbread recipe to share yet, I decided to share one of my favorite chili recipe’s instead. It’s slightly spicy, slightly sweet and 100% warm, filling and delicious. It’s also very easy to make. Dicing an onion and browning your beef are the most difficult steps. This recipe is ALL about the spices. Unsweetened cocoa powder and a touch of brown sugar give this chili a unique flavor that cuts the heat just right. I have only ever used lean ground beef in this recipe but the flavors are bold enough that you could easily swap in ground turkey. Freshly grated cheddar, plain greek yogurt (or light sour cream) and green onions are my favorite toppers, maybe a few crumbled corn chips if I’m REALLY feeling saucy. Mmmm fall comfort foods in bowls. Be still my heart.


Sweet Heat Beef and Bean Chili


1 lb. Lean Ground Beef

1 onion, diced

1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes

1 15 oz. can tomato sauce

1 can vegetarian baked beans

1 can black beans, drained

1 can of kidney beans, drained


2 Tbsp. Chili Powder

1 Tbsp Smoked Paprika

1 tsp. Salt

1 tsp. Cumin

1/2 tsp. Cayenne Pepper

1 Tbsp. Brown Sugar

1 Tbsp. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder



1. Brown beef and onion in a stock pot or large skillet over medium high heat

2. Add remaining ingredients and spices, stirring well. Simmer for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Add desired toppings and enjoy!

finished 3

How do you like your chili? Spicy, sweet, saucy, thick? Any unique favorite toppings?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s