Today’s Super Bowl Recipe: Cincinnati-Style Chili

Today’s featured Super Bowl recipe is my sister-in-law Sarah Anstett’s Cincinnati Chili. Chili is the perfect Super Bowl party food, and with its unique blend of spices and serving styles, this chili is truly a standout at any party.

Tony is a traditionalist and loves his Cincinnati Chili served 4-way, while Gio and I love to indulge in a Cheese Coney or two. Whichever you way you serve it, you’ll score a touchdown with Sarah’s recipe!

For more great recipes, check out our Party Dips Page, featuring over 50 recipes from our 2013 Perfect Party Dip Contest.

We’ll be featuring our favorite Super Bowl recipes all week long, and we hope you’ll check back each day to find a new favorite (or two) to make this Sunday!

“Ways” to order Cincinnati Chili
Two-way:     spaghetti and chili
Three-way:   spaghetti, chili, and cheese
Four-way:     spaghetti, chili, onions, and cheese
Five-way:      spaghetti, chili, onions, kidney beans, and cheese

Sarah Anstett’s Cincinnati Chili Recipe

Serves: 6 to 8

Ingredients:
2 lbs lean ground beef
4 onions, small diced, divided (some is for the chili, some for the topping)
2 8-oz. cans tomato sauce
3 cups water
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
1½ tablespoon distilled vinegar
¼ cup chili powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
5 bay leaves
2-3 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup kidney beans (optional)

Directions:
Brown beef with onions (reserving one cup) and garlic in a large skillet over medium high heat, stirring to crumble, and drain excess fat. Place browned mixture in a large pot and stir in the tomato sauce, water, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, salt, black pepper, chili powder, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, allspice, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. If using beans, add them now. Reduce heat and simmer for 2 hours.

Serve over spaghetti with reserved onions, and finely shredded, mild cheddar cheese, or over hot dogs with mustard, onions and cheese. This chili is also great over French fries or baked potatoes.

To store: Pour into an airtight container and refrigerate for 3 to 4 days, or freeze for up to two months.

Today’s Super Bowl Recipe: Zack’s Rough-Cut Guac

This week we’ll be sharing some of our favorite recipes for great Super Bowl foods, and we’re kicking things off today with my cousin Zack’s recipe for Rough Cut Guac. What makes Zack’s guacamole so good is the wonderfully chunky texture and his addition of spicy chorizo sausage. Enjoy!

WATCH TONY MAKE IT on North Dakota Today (click play button)

Zack’s Rough Cut Guac Recipe

Ingredients:
Extra virgin olive oil
1 to 2 jalapenos
1 link of chorizo sausage (or other spicy sausage)
½ white onion, large-diced
10 cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
1 lime
2 to 3 tablespoons cilantro, freshly chopped
½ can sweet corn or 1 cobb of corn
3 avocados
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Begin by preparing all the mise-en-place in advance. Rough-chop the onion, tomatoes, cilantro and jalapenos and set aside. (Save the seeds from the jalapenos.)

Place the chorizo in the freezer for about 15 minutes to firm it up before cutting. Once firm, cut into slices and then halve each slice.

Coat a medium sauté pan with one tablespoon of olive oil and add the sweet corn. Cook over medium heat until charred, about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring often to prevent burning.

In a separate pan, add 2 tablespoons of olive and add half of the chopped jalapeno and all the seeds, cooking over medium-low heat for about three minutes. Add the sliced chorizo and continue to cook over low heat, stirring often, until the meat is fully cooked. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the onion, tomatoes and cilantro with the juice of half a lime. Toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the chorizo/jalapeno mixture, including the oil from the pan. Taste and add the remaining raw jalapeno if desired, and season with salt and pepper.

Add the avocados by squeezing each half into the bowl – do not chop. Add the corn and gently toss - don’t mash, or you’ll lose the pretty green color of the avocados. Taste again and add more cilantro, lime juice, salt to your liking. Serve with seasoned tortilla chips, black bean chips, tacos, etc.

Notes:

  • Mise en place is a French culinary term meaning “putting in place.” Taking time at the start to get everything ready – chop vegetables, measure ingredients, set out required equipment, etc. – will ensure a smooth cooking process.
  • Everything, with the exception of the avocados, can be prepared several hours in advance.
  • Do not cut the avocados until ready to use, as they brown very quickly when exposed to air. Cut and add them just before serving.

Our Favorite Italian Hotdish: Baked Ziti Casserole

Several years ago, Tony and I hosted a weekly radio show, which included a regular segment called the “Hotdish Hot Seat,” and every week we would feature a different hotdish recipe submitted by one of our listeners. One week, our neighbors joined us in the hot seat and shared a recipe that has become one of our family’s all-time favorite easy meals: Baked Ziti Casserole.

Having grown up in Toronto, Tony was unfamiliar with the regional culinary category that is the vast world of hotdish, and has pretty much shied away from it as a rule. But, while this field may include such dubious specialties as tuna fish hotdish, tater tot hotdish and Fritos hotdish (a personal favorite of mine at any respectable church potluck), the very concept of hotdish could also include lasagna, manicotti and other Italian specialties that are baked “al forno” (in the oven).

A basic hamburger hotdish, or what Tony argues should more accurately be called ground beef hotdish, typically consists of elbow macaroni noodles, tomato sauce, hamburger meat, and some kind of shredded cheese. Some recipes call for a little bit of fresh onion and garlic while others might simply use onion and garlic powders, and some choose to forego this added flavoring altogether. But the core ingredients of pasta, meat sauce and cheese tend to make up the quintessential hotdish.

This week’s recipe is no exception, but due to its inclusion of authentic Italian ingredients like fresh mozzarella and parmesan cheeses, as well as Italian sausage and fresh herbs, Tony has elevated its status to “deluxe hotdish” or what most of us would call a casserole.

The original version of this recipe came from the Food Network Kitchens, and we have made very few changes over the years. We have opted to use mild Italian sausage instead of spicy, and rather than removing the meat from the sausage casing, and then crumbling it, we prefer to use ground sausage which is easier to find fresh in our local stores.

This casserole features ziti noodles, which are smooth tubes of pasta about two inches long, with a smooth surface that makes them ideal for hotdish. An easy sausage marinara sauce is made from scratch, which can be made in advance and refrigerated or frozen until ready to use. I will often double the batch and freeze half of it for later use.

Sprigs of fresh thyme and basil are added to the sauce as it cooks, and then discarded. I haven’t tried dried herbs for this recipe as I feel that fresh is best in this case, but I do end up with a fair amount left over. The basil I can always use before it spoils, but I wash and dry the thyme sprigs, wrap them in plastic and freeze in a plastic bag for up to 2 months.

Half of the mozzarella and parmesan cheese are mixed into the meat sauce, while the remaining half is used to cover the pasta before baking.

Baked ziti casserole is a perfect choice when you need to make a meal for someone in need, and I have brought it to many a new mother, grieving family or sick relative. It freezes beautifully and is hearty enough to serve with a light salad and good, crusty bread. Kids love it, and our ten-year-old son, Giovanni, summed it up best.

“Baked ziti has all the good Italian tastes – meat, cheese, pasta and sauce. It’s a really good hotdish that your family will enjoy forever.”

Baked Ziti Casserole
Gently adapted from a Food Network Kitchens recipe

Serves: 6 to 8

Ingredients:
1 pound dried ziti pasta
Kosher salt
3 1/2 cups sausage marinara sauce, recipe follows
1 pound fresh mozzarella, half cut into 1/2-inch cubes and half thinly sliced
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch red pepper flakes

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add 1 to 2 tablespoons kosher salt and boil pasta until al dente, tender but still slightly firm. Drain pasta and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process if not using immediately.

Return the pasta to the pot and toss with the meat sauce, cubed mozzarella, ½ cup Parmesan cheese, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Transfer pasta mixture to an oiled 9 by 13-inch baking dish. Layer the top of the pasta with the mozzarella slices and and sprinkle with remaining ½ cup Parmesan. Bake until lightly browned and bubbly, about 25 to 30 minutes. Serve immediately.

Sausage Marinara Sauce

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound mild Italian sausage
1/4 medium onion, diced (about 3 tablespoons)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 28 oz. can whole, peeled, canned tomatoes in puree, (3 ½ cups), roughly chopped
Sprig fresh thyme
Sprig fresh basil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook the sausage until beginning to brown, about 3 minutes. Add the onion and garlic, stirring, until lightly browned, about 3 minutes more. Add the tomatoes and the herb sprigs and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.

Remove and discard the herb sprigs. Stir in the salt and season with pepper, to taste. Use now or store covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 2 months.

Cincinnati Chili: Perfect Super Bowl Food!

Chili is the perfect Super Bowl party food, especially if the recipe is my sister-in-law Sarah Anstett’s Cincinnati Chili!

This week Tony shares her recipe, which has become one of our favorite game day foods, and it is perfect for the big event later this month! Serve it over spaghetti, like a real Cincinnatian, or go classic coney style and serve it with your favorite hot dogs!

CLICK HERE for the RECIPE

To watch Tony’s video demonstration just click on the PLAY button below.