Big Offer. Big Bowl. Big Game.

Is it just me or have bowl games become more competitive? I’m not talking about the players – I’m talking about the parties. It used to be that when someone invited you over to watch the Big Game you were pleased as punch if they slapped a tub of French onion dip and a bag of potato chips on the table.OFFER DAY 1

Now people invite you over for a ‘spread’ or ‘buffet’. It feels more like a wedding than a football game. And the problem is that you’re expected to do the same when you return the favor. So guess what? You end up spending the whole time in the kitchen so you don’t watch the game, don’t scream your lungs out and don’t raise your blood pressure to stratospheric heights. And where’s the fun in that?

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And be honest – does anyone really want a bunch of foofy food anyway? What they want is stick-to-your-ribs, coat-your-stomach food and a lot of it. So don’t bow down to Big Game Pressure (BGP). Serve up the food people want and make sure you don’t miss out on the half-time show. This year, I’ll be making a big ‘ole batch of Campfire Chili. And before you get all cutesy, no you don’t need a campfire to cook it.

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It’s quick, easy and mighty tasty. I serve it up with lots of condiments on the side– extra chile, diced avocado, shredded cheese, chopped scallions – you get the idea.

Make it on the day or better yet the day before (it just gets better and better). Bring the pot to the table and let everyone fix up their own bowlful. And please – whatever you do – don’t forget the French onion dip and chips. Promise?

Campfire Chile

Campfire Chile Kit
2 ½ lbs lean ground beef or ground turkey
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
3 cups water

Optional:
1 15 oz. can pinto beans, drained
1 15 oz. can kidney beans, drained

Brown the meat, add water and the Campfire Chili seasoning and simmer 30 minutes. Add tomatoes (and beans, if you’re using them). Simmer 10 minutes. If you want more heat, crumble the dired chiles and add a bit at a time to get to your preferred ‘burn’ level.

Continue cooking for 15 minutes. For a thicker chili, combine the contents of the masa evelope (yellow corn flour) with ½ cup warm water and stir to dissolve. Add this mixture to the chili a little at a time to reach your desired thickness. If adding masa, continue cooking for an additional 10 minutes. Salt to taste.

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