By Ann Cipperly

When autumn evenings turn brisk, thoughts turn to hearty, comforting meals. Chili and cornbread are a perfect combination. Chili can be prepared with a choice of meats and beans, or it can be vegetarian or without beans. Chili is a versatile dish; it can be cooked on a stovetop or slow cooker. Complete the meal with a sedge salad with blue cheese crumbles or autumn salad with pears, pecans and apple cider dressing.

When I was growing up in Opelika, my mom made soups but hardly ever made chili. One of the best chilies I enjoyed was on a cold night after Don and I were married and spent a Friday night after his work riding a bus to Manhattan to visit his parents.

Don was in the Marine Corps when we got married and was stationed in Philadelphia to work in the computer department for the military. We were young and didn’t have much money. My parents gave us their old car.

Since Don worked in the city, we had an apartment near work, but it didn’t have a parking garage. The only place to park the car was across the street in a public parking lot.

We had only been there for a few days when we went to our car, and it didn’t start. After checking under the hood, Don saw that the battery had been stolen. While we were waiting to have time to get a battery, we walked by the parking lot to see that all the tires on our car were gone! This is one reason I don’t like cities and love the country!

I don’t know if it was because it had an Alabama tag, but soon afterwards the entire car was gone! So, since we no longer had a car, we took the bus.

Philadelphia is not that far from New York City, but when you are waiting in a bus station for a bus, then it is a long time. We did not arrive at his parents’ until after dinner. Generally, his mom made fancy meals, but since they knew we would be late, she had chili made to reheat.

I was freezing when we arrived, as it was our first year there and I was wearing Alabama clothes that were suited for a mild winter. I can remember how wonderful that hot chili tasted, and I have liked chili ever since.

Over the years, I have been a judge for several chili contests. Some of these that started early in the morning were not as easy to judge as others. Fortunately, there would always be one that stood out with a perfect blend of flavors.

When I make chili, the seasonings are generally not hot. I prefer to taste the combination of flavors. I like to keep the ingredients for chili on hand to make on a cool or rainy day. The canned items can be stored in the pantry, while the meat is frozen then quickly thawed in the microwave.

Look over the following variety of chili and cornbread recipes with a couple of good salads. I think you will want to clip and save all these recipes. Chili and cornbread with an assortment of toppings are always great to serve while watching football games.

Ann Cipperly can be reached at

Chili Bar

Select an assortment of accompaniments for the chili bar, including sour cream, grated cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, chopped green or red onions, sliced jalapenos, chopped avocado, diced tomatoes, corn chips, baked potatoes and cornbread. Instead of baked potatoes, rice is also good to serve with chili.

Rositha’s White Chili with Beans and Corn

Deborah Price Williams

2 medium onions, chopped

2 garlic cloves, pressed

1 Tbsp. oil

2 cups chopped cooked chicken

3 cups chicken broth

1/4 cup (or more) cilantro

2 Tbsp. (or more) lime juice

1 tsp. cumin

1/2 tsp. oregano

1/4 tsp. pepper sauce

1/4 tsp. salt

11 oz. can shoe peg corn, drained

15 oz. can northern beans, drained

1 can butter beans, drained

Sauté onions and garlic in oil in Dutch oven until tender. Add remaining ingredients and simmer.

Betty’s Homemade Chili

Betty Traylor

2 Tbsp. oil

1 small onion, chopped

2 lb. ground round

1 pkg. McCormick’s Mild Chili Mix

1 pkg. McCormick’s Hot Chili Mix

28 oz. can tomatoes with juice

1 can light kidney beans, do not drain

15. oz. can pinto beans, do not drain

15 oz. can tomato sauce

Salt and pepper to taste

Sauté onion in oil; add ground round and brown. Drain off liquid.

Add chili mixes and then remaining ingredients.

Simmer chili approximately 10 minutes and then put in crock-pot on low. Serve with crackers and cornbread.

Southern Cornbread

Betty Traylor

2 cups White Lily self-rising corn meal

1½ cups buttermilk, enough to make batter thin

¼ cup margarine, melted

1 egg

Mix then bake in greased pan as directed on back of corn meal package.

Turkey or Beef Chili with Sausage

Allison Drake

1 lb. ground turkey or lean ground beef

½ lb. Italian sausage

1 medium yellow onion, diced

1 bell pepper, diced

1 Tbsp. flour

4 cups low sodium beef broth

1 can black beans

1 can pinto beans

1 can diced tomatoes

1 can crushed tomatoes

1 can Rotel tomatoes

1 small can tomato paste

1 packet chili seasoning

1 bay leaf

Brown meat and drain excess fat. Add in onions and peppers until tender. Add flour and stir; allow to cook for 1 to 2 minutes.

Slowly add broth and continue to stir. Add in the remaining ingredients and simmer on low for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove bay leaf before serving.

Enjoy with homemade cornbread or grilled cheese!

Autumn Salad with Pears, Pecans and Apple Cider Dressing

Jenny Jenkins


4 cups apple cider (will be cooked down)

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

2 Tbsp. grated onion

2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

1 Tbsp. poppy seeds

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper


Two 5 oz. bags mixed salad greens

12 oz. soft goat cheese, crumbled

1½ cups pecans or walnuts

½ cup dried cranberries

Fresh pear slices

Boil apple cider in heavy, large saucepan until reduced to ½ cup, about 25 minutes (watch closely as it will burn quickly just before it is ready). It will be thick and syrupy. Transfer to medium bowl and chill until cold.

Add vinegar, onion, mustard and poppy seeds. Gradually whisk in olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Toss greens, cheese, pecans and fruits in bowl with enough dressing to coat. This recipe makes enough dressing for several salads and keeps well in refrigerator.

Fresh Wedge Salad

A popular restaurant salad that is easy to prepare at home.

1 large head iceberg lettuce

Blue cheese or ranch dressing

Blue cheese crumbles or other favorite cheese

Grape tomatoes, sliced

Bacon, crispy cooked

Slice lettuce into wedges. Place on salad plates or platter for serving. Top with homemade or quality purchased blue cheese or ranch dressing. Sprinkle blue cheese crumbles over dressing, if desired.

Tutt’s Taco Chili

Tutt Barrett

The chili is good served plain with Spoon Bread or offered with assorted toppings such as grated cheese, sour cream, chopped green onions and corn chips.

1 1/2 lb. ground beef chuck

Two 10 oz. cans diced tomatoes with chilies, not drained

16 oz. can chili beans, not drained

16 oz. can dark red kidney beans

15.25 oz. can Southwestern corn with peppers, drained

15.8 oz can white hominy, drained

10 oz. can mild enchilada sauce

1 oz. packet taco seasoning mix

Preheat large nonstick skillet on medium high 2 to 3 minutes. Place beef in pan and brown 5 to 7 minutes, stirring to crumble meat until no pink remains. Drain fat. Stir in taco seasoning mix.

Combine remaining ingredients in slow cooker; stir in meat. Cover and cook on high 3 to 4 hours or low 6 to 8 hours.

Spoon Bread

Tutt Barrett

1 box Jiffy mix

1 stick butter, melted

2 eggs, beaten

3/4 cup sour cream

1 large can creamed corn

1 small can whole kernel corn, drained

1/2 tsp. salt

Grease baking pan. Mix ingredients and bake at 325 degrees for 25 minutes.

Texas Steak Chili

Amy Aston

This is a Texas style chili without beans. If your family likes beans, or if you want to feed a larger crowd, add your favorite beans.

1 lb. sirloin steak, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper

1/2 cup chopped orange bell pepper

1 small chopped jalapeño

2 Tbsp. canola oil

1 pkg. McCormick chili mix

2 cans diced tomatoes

1 qt. container beef broth

Pinch of cayenne pepper to taste, optional

Pinch of white pepper to taste, optional

In a large skillet cook steak, onion and peppers in canola oil over medium heat until meat is brown.

Cook in a slow cooker for 6 to 8 hours or simmer for a couple hours on the stove.

If it’s too acidic, add a pinch of sugar and simmer for another 10 minutes.

Top with shredded cheddar cheese and a dollop of sour cream for a hearty meal. Makes about 6 servings.


James Gilbert

Popular at home and the Auburn Fire Station

1 lb. ground beef 80/20

1 pkg. chili seasoning, any brand

1 can navy beans, drained

1 can kidney beans, drained

2 cans petite diced tomatoes

Salt and pepper

Brown hamburger meat and drain. Add all other ingredients, and salt and pepper to taste. Add as much water as you want the consistency. For thicker chili add less water and more for a soupy mixture.

Simmer on medium heat 30 minutes to an hour. The longer it cooks, the more the flavors will blend and the better it will taste.

Can simmer in a crock-pot for a few hours.

Chicken Chili Stew

Phoebe Branch

Delicious served with a slice of Cheesy Pimento Cornbread!

6 Tbsp. canola oil

4 green onions, chopped

1/2 cup each red and green peppers

1 Tbsp. minced garlic

1 rotisserie chicken, torn into pieces

2 cans (14.5 oz.) petite diced tomatoes

2 cans (16 oz.) white cannelloni beans, rinsed and drained

1 (16 oz.) jar prepared salsa

1 can Rotel

2 Tbsp. chili powder

Toppings: pepper jack or cheddar cheese, sliced black olives, sour cream and fresh chopped cilantro.

In a large Dutch oven, heat oil medium-high heat. Add onions, garlic and peppers. Cook 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in next 6 ingredients.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 30 to 40 minutes.

Spoon into bowls and add desired toppings. Makes 8 generous servings.

Cheesy Pimiento Cornbread

Phoebe Branch

1/4 cup butter

1 1/4 cups stone ground yellow cornmeal

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

4 oz. extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

1 1/4 cups buttermilk

2 eggs

1 (4 oz.) jar diced pimientos, well drained

Place butter in a 9-inch cast-iron skillet. Place skillet in the oven and begin to preheat to 425 degrees. Remove the skillet after about 4 minutes or when butter is melted.

Combine cornmeal and the next 6 ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk together buttermilk, eggs and pimientos. Add to the dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened. Pour the batter over the melted butter in the hot skillet.

Bake at 425 degrees for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Makes 8-10 servings.

Cornbread Muffins

Mary Hodson

Canola oil

2 cups Martha White buttermilk self-rising cornmeal

¾ cup buttermilk

½ cup water

¼ cup canola oil

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Use cast iron muffin tins. Pour small amount of canola oil in each cup. Heat pans until smoking.

While heating pans, combine 2 cups Martha White buttermilk self-rising cornmeal with 3/4 buttermilk and ½ cup water. Mix well. Add ¼ cup canola oil and mix well.

Batter should be about the consistency of cake batter. If not, add more water to thin.

Pour mixture into hot, smoking pans about ¾ full. You should hear the pan sizzle if it’s hot enough. Cook for about 25 minutes or until golden brown. Makes 12 muffins.

Picky Eaters Chili

Deborah Maxine Danford

1 lb. ground beef or venison

2 cans tomato sauce

2 cans light kidney beans, drained

2 cans crushed tomatoes

1 large can tomato paste

Chili powder to taste

Brown meat and drain. Pour all cans in pot and add meat. Add chili powder to your taste. Simmer for about 30 to 45 minutes and serve.

Easy White Chicken Chili

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 onion, chopped

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

2 small cans diced green chilies

3 cans white northern beans, drained and rinsed

2 to 3 cups chicken broth

2 Tbsp. cumin or to taste

2 to 3 cups chopped cooked chicken

Salt to taste

Sauté onion in olive oil; add garlic. Add beans, green chilies, cumin, broth and chicken. Cook on low for an hour or place in crock-pot on low. Mash some of the beans for a thick mixture. Good topped with sour cream and grated Monterey Jack cheese. Recipe is easy to double.

Sonia’s Slow Cooker Chili

3 lbs. ground beef

1 onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 pkg. chili mix

2 cans crushed tomatoes

2 cans chili beans

Salt and pepper to taste

Brown meat with onion and garlic. Place in crock-pot with remaining ingredients. Cook on low 4 to 5 hours.

Chili Without Beans

1 lb. ground beef

1 large onion, chopped

1 or 2 gloves garlic, minced

Salt and pepper to taste

1 to 3 Tbsp. chili powder, depending on taste

1 Tbsp. vinegar

8 oz. can tomato sauce


Brown ground beef with onion, garlic, salt and pepper; drain off fat. Add chili powder, vinegar and tomato sauce. Add enough water for the amount of thickness desired. Simmer 1 hour.

Easy Black Bean Chili

3 cans black beans

1 large sweet onion, chopped

1 lb. ground beef

4 tsp. chili powder or to taste

1 tsp. ground cumin

1/2 tsp. pepper

1/4 tsp. salt

14 oz. can chicken broth

Two (14.5 oz.) cans Rotel tomatoes

Rinse and drain 2 cans black beans. Do not drain third can. Sauté chopped onion and ground beef. Stir in chili powder and next 3 ingredients: sauté 1 minute. Stir in all beans, broth and Rotel. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes. Serve with desired toppings.

Vegetarian Chili

1 Tbsp. vegetable oil

2 cups chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped yellow bell pepper

1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 Tbsp. brown sugar

1 1/2 Tbsp. chili powder

1 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. dried oregano

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. black pepper

2 (16 oz.) cans stewed tomatoes, not drained

2 (15 oz.) cans black beans, drained and rinsed

1 (15 oz.) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 (15 oz.) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell peppers and garlic; sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Add sugar and remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes.