On February 25th...today... we celebrate National Chili Day. This is possibly one of the easiest holidays to celebrate. While the weather is still cool a bowl of chili is the perfect way to warm up. As far as this popular dish goes you've got plenty of options, making it a great choice for houses with picky eaters.
I haven't met a bowl of chili I didn't like yet. I like it with beans, without beans, white beans, beef, chicken; I think I've made my point, I like chili. Given my fondness for this dish and the many spins that can be placed on it, I've given quite a few recipes a shot.
Every year our group of friends does a Chili Cook-Off competition, which each couple (or individual participant) makes their own version of the dish from scratch. With crazy schedules, and kids the competition doesn't always fall on National Chili Day, but this year it falls pretty close. The judging (done by a non-participant) takes place this Saturday. While the competition can get fairly heated, the best part of the day is getting to taste all of the delicious entries.
While enjoying the variety of chili options all afternoon, the focus is always on the trophy. Part of the fun is that each year the winner gets to alter the trophy. The trophy started out as a childhood baseball trophy, and over time has seen many changes. There really are no rules for changing the trophy; some winners add to it, some remove original or added pieces, others do a combination.
At the end of the day, when all the kids are ready for bed, and the party is over, there are leftovers. Given that everyone makes enough chili to feed a large family, there is a LOT of leftovers. I hate to see all this food go to waste, but it's hard to store that many left overs and keep them fresh! That's the beauty of vacuum sealing, you can potion out the left overs into family size or individual sized bags and toss in the freezer. This makes for an easy lunch to heat up, or a quick no prep dinner on a busy night with the kids. I put together a couple family sized bags first, and congratulate myself on a couple dinners I don't have to plan and cook in the future, then make individual portions for lunches out of the rest, these my wife and I will fight over until they are gone.
If you have any great chili recipes, post them in the comments, I'm always on the lookout for the next Chili Cook-Off Winning recipe!