If you’ve read some of my dinner bar posts of the past, you know that I love serving meals this way. No matter what the age, every child that comes to my Dinner Bar seems to like the independence this meal service option provides.
This week I am test-driving a Chili Bar, something I am planning to serve to the Girl’s Swimming & Diving team at our high school. The night before a major swim meet, one parent hosts a team dinner. The entrée is the responsibility of the hostess/host, along with one other parent, and the sides are donated by a variety of parents. It’s a nice tradition and certainly a team-building event.
Often, the girls are served pasta, but I wanted to change things up a bit this year, so I am offering chili as the basic entrée, with macaroni noodles and tortilla chips as a building base, and lots of toppings.
Why chili? This chili recipe showcases beef and beans, both terrific sources of protein and iron. For young female athletes, getting enough iron in the diet is always a priority.
The beef and beans will offer a much-needed source of protein to help their muscles recover and repair themselves (they will be coming in from a 2-hour swim practice); it will also “fill them up” so they will be satisfied.
Adding the pasta and tortilla chips gives the girls an option to build more carbs into the meal by piling the chili on top of macaroni (this is how my mom served chili when I was young) or opting for a chili nacho theme.
You may raise your eyebrows at the suggestion of beer in the recipe, but the alcohol burns off in the process of simmering.
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 3 celery ribs, washed and sliced
- 2 pounds ground beef (90% lean or higher)
- 1, 15-ounce can of red kidney beans
- 1, 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes
- 2, 15-ounce cans of tomato sauce
- 1, 4.5-ounce chopped green chilis
- 1 cup of frozen corn
- 1, 12-ounce can of light beer
- 2 Tablespoons of chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- salt to taste
- In a large Dutch oven, sauté onion and celery in olive oil, until soft.
- Add ground beef, and cook thoroughly.
- Drain and rinse beans; add to the pot.
- Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, green chilies, corn, beer, and seasonings. Stir to blend together.
- Simmer with lid vented for 20 to 30 minutes.
Sliced green onions
Sliced black olives
Diced red onion
Shredded cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses
For the Chili Bar:
Set the Dutch oven on a hot pad, along with a ladle for serving. Set out toppings in small bowls with spoons. Set the tortilla chips and macaroni noodles on the side for variety.
What are your favorite chili toppings?
Written by: Jill Castle, MS, RDN
Published on: October 14, 2015
Updated on: May 8, 2019