Championship Party

Just about everyone is excited about the national championship football game on Monday night. But it does present some challenges for those who want to watch the game with company.

First, the game is on a Monday night, which for many of us, is a work or school day, not leaving much time to prep for cooking. Second, the game doesn’t start until 9 p.m. ET. But I have a delicious solution to these potential problems.

Pick a menu that is completely make ahead, like the one below. The chili is made in a slow cooker, so it has to cook all day. If you’re really organized, you can make it the day before. It reheats beautifully. Make some cornbread to go along — it, too, can be made a day ahead.

As you’re prepping the meal, be sure to clean as you go. Use your garbage disposal to dispose of most food waste for fewer trips to discard the trash. Have an empty dishwasher ready to go for dirty dishes.

Finally, put away all the savory foods at halftime and set out dessert — buckeyes are a natural, but how about Pistacia Vera‘s buckeye macarons for something different? Then cleanup is almost complete when the game is over, and you’re not left with a late-night mess.
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Makes 6 to 8 servings

Serve this chili with cornbread or over rice. Use any leftovers as a filling for tacos, on nachos or in quesadillas.

1 tablespoon canola oil

3 to 4 pounds boneless beef chuck, cut into ½-inch cubes

Salt and pepper

1 large onion, finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 cans (6 ounces each) tomato paste

3 tablespoons chili powder

11/2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

¼ to ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

3 cups canned low-salt beef broth

2 cans (8 ounces each) tomato sauce

1 teaspoon dried oregano

Crushed tortillas, shredded cheddar, sour cream for serving

Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the beef with salt and pepper. Working in batches, cook the beef until well browned, transferring each batch to the crock of a slow cooker.

Add onion to skillet. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic. Stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, paprika and cayenne pepper to skillet. Cook, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes. Add 1 cup broth to skillet. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve tomato paste and spices. Pour mixture into slow cooker.

Add remaining broth, tomato sauce and oregano to slow cooker. Cover and cook on low until beef is very tender, about 8 to 10 hours. Season with salt and pepper if necessary.

Ladle chili into bowls. Top with tortilla chips, cheddar and sour cream if desired.


Makes 9 servings

The secret to this cornbread is canned creamed corn. If you want a little extra heat, stir in some minced seeded jalapeño before baking.

2 large eggs

1 cup milk

1 can (15 ounces) cream-style corn

1 cup yellow cornmeal

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup grated cheddar cheese

4 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place a 9-inch square or round baking pan in the oven while you prepare batter.

Beat eggs, milk and corn in a large bowl. In another bowl, stir together cornmeal, flour, sugar, salt, baking order and baking soda. Add egg mixture. Stir just until combined. Stir in cheese and 3 tablespoons melted butter.

Remove pan from oven. Add remaining tablespoon butter pan and tilt to coat. Pour in batter. Place in oven and bake until top is golden brown, about 45 minutes.

Categories: Recipes

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