Pumpkin Chili Served with Pumpkin Cornbread

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Do you want to know the ultimate fall dinner featuring the season’s most popular flavor?   

Yeah?  I thought you might say yes!   

Pumpkin chili with pumpkin cornbread muffins are the spice of life that Fall lovers everywhere are 100% here for.  The pumpkin spice flavoring in the cornbread definitely stands out, but the pumpkin in the chili is really quite subtle so it’s not going to overwhelm the meal, making you feel like you’re eating a seasonal candle or anything like that.   

pumpkin chiliThis meal is also very budget friendly as you can eat off of it for days or feed a large crowd.  It’s also super easy to put together because you are basically just opening cans and dumping the contents in the pot, making it a great time saver.  The only thing is that you need to start it early enough to simmer so that all the flavors can come together.  I also have added some fun chili making hacks to this recipe.  I know we all hate scrolling to the end of blog posts to find out how to make things, so I’m just going to get right to it.   

Start with a pound of ground beef or turkey and diced onions.  Sautee the two together until the meat is browned.  I like to season the meat with salt & pepper while it browns.  Add in a couple of sliced up carrots and a diced up green bell pepper.  Next, add in a can of chili or southwest seasoned diced tomatoes, juice & all, followed by two cans of chili beans.  That’s a good chili hack, right there!  I like to use the chili beans because they are already seasoned and add to the flavor of the chili.  Do you like green chilies?  Because I do.  Add in a can!  My kids don’t even know that that they’re in there.  Here’s another hack…Add in a cup of the frozen roasted corn from Trader Joe’s.  You could add in two cups because it’s your life and corn is delicious.   

Now for the pumpkin.  Add in a half a can of pureed pumpkin.  Do not use the pumpkin pie filling.  They are not the same thing and if you make that mistake, you will be sad.  Start off with a half a can because it can thicken your chili broth and maybe you don’t want thick broth.  You can always add more later, but start off with just a half a can and see how it goes.  Now I have to tell you, the pumpkin doesn’t make much of a statement for the flavor of the chili.  What it gives to your chili is a smooth, slightly thickened broth.  Because pumpkin is a superfood, what it gives you and the people you’re feeding is a ton of vitamins and minerals, healthy antioxidants, and fiber.  And you’re sneaking it in, mama!  Win!  #chilihack #lifehack #momhack #healthyhack #pumpkinhack #hackhack 

Next up is to add the broth.  This can be any way you want to do it.  I usually use either chicken broth (if I used ground turkey or chicken) or beef broth (if I used ground beef).  You could also use vegetable broth or just water.  If you really want to pack a protein punch, the Latin Style Black Bean Soup from Trader Joe’s (can you tell I really like Trader Joe’s?) is AMAZING.  If you’re making a vegetarian chili, I would definitely go that route.   

As for seasonings, since a lot of the ingredients used already have seasoning in them, you want to go light on your measuring.  I don’t measure, I just add.  I’m sorry that I can’t give you any specific amounts.  I would go with approximately ¼ to ½ teaspoon on spicy things like ground chipotle or red chili pepper.  Other seasonings that I like to add are dried, whole oregano (which I then ground down by rubbing between my hands), cumin, salt & pepper.  One more, final hack for your chili is to add in a few squirts of Macayo’s Taco Sauce.  Do that before you add in any additional seasonings because the taco sauce is super flavorful already and it might just be exactly what you need.   

Once you’re satisfied with the flavor, bring the chili up to a boil, cover it with a lid, reduce the heat on the stove and let it simmer for at least 30 minutes.  You want to make sure those carrots are tender.  While the chili simmers, start to make the cornbread.   

I use a store-bought mix.  My dear friend from Alabama is cringing.  I like either (you guessed it) Trader Joe’s cornbread mix, or Marie Calendar’s or Fleischmann’s Simply Homemade in the conventional grocery stores.  Follow the basic directions on the package but add in a half-cup of pumpkin puree and one teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice.  Bake according to the directions on the box.   

Serve pumpkin chili and cornbread together and live happily ever after until the weather gets too hot to cook again.  Bon appetite!  

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