After two of the most extremely busy weeks I’ve ever had, I am so happy to be back in the kitchen. I’m also incredibly happy that it’s fall. This is by far my favorite season for a plethora of reasons: the color of the leaves, the leaves on the ground, football (namely Tennessee football), fall food, cooler weather, and so, so much more.
Today was one of those perfect fall days. It started out with a little Apple Festival fun where I got to churn apple butter with my dear friend and co-worker, Lu Anne. I also got to buy some fabulous canned foods: strawberry jam, blueberry jam, blackberry syrup, apple butter, and what I believe to be some of the best salsa ever. If you live in Knoxville and you haven’t been to the Washington Presbyterian Apple Festival…mark your calendar for the 3rd Saturday in October next year. You won’t regret it!
The making of apple butter is one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. Be on the look out for a GF biscuit post soon. I’ll need a vehicle for the apple butter to get into my mouth! Yum!
Next stop for the day: The Tennessee vs. South Carolina game. What a game! The Vols beat a ranked team for the first time since 2009 when they beat South Carolina on Halloween in Neyland Stadium. Definitely going in the books as one of my favorite UT football games, and I LOVED being there with my dad and my husband. Such fun memories!
See the score? Yea…it says TN 23, SC 21. Go Vols!!
I knew this day would be pretty crazy, so I planned ahead (for once) and decided to have chili cooking in the crock pot while we were at the football game. By the way, if you’re looking for a nice fall air freshener, chili cooking in the crock pot makes your house smell amazing! What a nice thing to come home to!
I modeled my method after the Pioneer Woman’s. I’ve made her chili stovetop a couple of times, but this is the first time I’ve made it in the crock pot, and honestly I think this is the best batch I’ve made. Here’s how it goes:
About 1 lb lean ground beef (I’m only feeding 2 people, so you may need more depending on your family size); 1 medium onion, diced; 2 cloves of garlic, minced; 1 15 oz can tomato sauce; 1 can Ro-tel; 1/2 cup warm water; 1/2 tablespoon of cumin; 1 tablespoon of chili powder; 1 teaspoon of oregano; and salt to taste. You may need more/less cumin and chili powder depending on how you like your chili. To save time today, I browned the ground beef and chopped the onion and garlic last night so all I had to do today was dump everything in the crock pot.
Next step: Dump all of the above ingredients in the crock pot and stir to combine. Cook on low for 7-8 hours.
About 20 (ish) minutes before serving, combine 1/2 cup of water (different 1/2 cup than above) and 1/4 cup of Masa (corn flour). Then pour into crock pot and stir until combined. You may need more of this combo if you like your chili super thick. Just FYI, the Masa/water combo looks weird if you’ve never used Masa before. When I first made this I thought it looked like something that wasn’t supposed to go in chili. But, it adds this delicious corn flavor to the chili that now I don’t think I can live without.
Chili is now ready to eat! At this point I turned the crockpot on the “warm” setting until my cornbread was done baking.
Yes, I made cornbread too! Again, I am SO happy to be back in the kitchen!
This cornbread recipe is completely stolen from mother-in-law! When I first started eating her cornbread I was not yet eating a strictly GF diet. When I began eating GF, we began experimenting with how to make this recipe GF and still delicious. Again, Jule’s GF flour to the rescue! This stuff is incredible!
What you’ll need for the cornbread:
- 1 cup cornmeal (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
- 1 cup GF flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 cup oil
- 1/4 cup onion, diced
- 8 1/4 oz can of creamed corn
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. I highly recommend using an iron skillet for this recipe, but if you don’t have one a round cake pan will work just fine!
If using an iron skillet, drizzle a little oil in the skillet and place in oven while oven is preheating.
Combine all of the above ingredients in a large bowl. Pour into skillet when oven is completely heated to 400 degrees. When the batter hits the oil it makes this wonderful sizzling noise that later becomes a delightfully crispy crust on the outside of the cornbread.
Bake for 30 minutes, let rest for about 5-10 minutes before serving.
If you’re smarter than I am, you’ll dump the cornbread out of the skillet and then cut it into pieces. I was apparently very hungry and ready to eat this meal!
Serve cornbread alongside chili, and enjoy this cozy, warm, and delicious fall meal! Happy Fall!