Chili Cook Off
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Aww the fall has finally arrived. We LOVE the fall for many many reasons but one of our favorites is definitely the super fun opportunities the season provides for entertaining together. Although we are still looking for the study the definitively states it, we believe whole-heartdly that the couple that cooks and entertains together stays together. There is just something about sharing the excitement in your lives with other couples. Another reason we LOVE entertaining together is the opportunities we can create for date nights for other couples. There is nothing better than knowing that not only are we strengthening our bond together, but at the same time, we are also strengthening other couple’s relationships as well.

So since it is the fall and one of our favorite ways to warm up during the cool crisp evenings is with some warm homemade chili, we decided to host our first ever Couples Chili Cook Off. And because Chili obviously goes better with beer (what doesn’t?) ;) we also turned it into a fun Pumpkin Beer Tasting as well.

A date night just wouldn’t be right without a fun invitation. Click here to download a printable copy of our invitations to host your very own Chili Cook-Off and Pumpkin Beer Tasting

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The prize for our wining chili was this super tasty Spiced Pumpkin Seed Brittle from Williams-Sonoma. And you can’t have a pumpkin beer tasting without pumpkin scones. (Well I guess you could, but these pumpkin scones definitely +1 the evening!). We used the recipe from Sweet Pea’s Kitchen for the Pumpkin Scones. It is definitely the closet thing we have been able to find for a recipe similar to Starbucks Pumpkin Scones.

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Our entry to the Chili Cook-Off was Liz and Ryan’s Sweet Heat Pork Chili. The full recipe can be found at the bottom of the post. And be sure to download our Chili Cook-Off Entry Tents right here.

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Each couple received a set of score cards for each chili. After tasting each chili, our couples were asked to rate the chilies. To make things fair, couples were not allowed to vote for their own entries. Download the Chili Cook-Off Couples tasting cards by clicking the image below or right here.

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Inspired by our friend’s Laura and Tom’s signature drink at their wedding, we made Apple Cider Bellinis for those that don’t like beer quite as much as we do. Just add your favorite champagne or proseco to half a glass of cider for a tasty fall beverage.

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We definitely used up all the real-estate of our kitchen table. Each place setting included 4 bowls for each of our four chili entires as well as a tasting board and set of glasses for the beer tasting. Learn how we made these custom beer tasting boards right here.

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The beers we tasted are below. Our current favorite is sill Southern Tier’s Pumking, but The Great Pumpkin from Elysian was a super close second and smelled amazingly like pumpkin pie in a glass.

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Congratulations to Allison and Tom, the winner’s of our 1st Annual Chili Cook-Off. Check out their winning recipe at the bottom of the page.

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And a super huge thanks to our AMAZING couples (Marianne and Josh, Allison and Tom, and Kait and Adam) that attended! You all fill our hearts with happiness!

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And now for the chili recipes:

Allison and Tom’s Barnhill Gobble Chili

(From Allison Barnhill)

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 large Vidalia onion chopped
  • 1-1 1/2 pounds ground turkey
  • 2 garlic gloves, minced fine
  • 1- 2 red/orange bell peppers chopped
  • 2 14 1/2 oz. cans diced tomatoes
  • 8 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. season salt
  • 1 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • Tabasco
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Tomato Paste
  • Olive Oil (to cook ground turkey only)

Preparation Instructions:

  1. Caramelize 1/2 of chopped onion in pan with a tsp of olive oil
  2. Once onions are done, add ground turkey and brown in same pan
  3. Drain ground turkey/onions, if needed and add to slow cooker
  4. Add remaining ingredients to slow cooker, with exception of tomato paste; use Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce to taste (I use about 3-4 “shakes” of Tabasco and 5 of Worcestershire)
  5. Stir, cover and set on low for 6 hours
  6. Check on the chili about 2 times during cooking — this is where I do my taste test and thickness tests — I like to add more chili powder, cumin and Tabasco mid-way through the cooking; at this time if it seems too thin or not rich enough, I add a 1 Tbsp. of tomato paste; stir and check again a few hours later and do the same, if needed
  7. Serve with shredded cheddar cheese

Liz and Ryan’s Sweet Heat Pork Chili

Ingredients (Pork Topping):

  • 1 pork loin about 1.5lbs
  • 1/2 C Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 3 Tbsp Chili Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Cocoa, Sugar, and Chili Spice Seasoning (Available at Whole Foods)
  • 2 Tbsp Oil Oil

Ingredients (Chili):

  • 2 Vidalia Onion’s chopped
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 Red Bell Peppers chopped
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper chopped
  • 2 Serrano or Jalapeño Peppers seeds removed and diced
  • 2 Cans (24oz) Diced Roasted Tomatoes
  • 1 Can Tomato Paste
  • 1 Can Black Beans, drained
  • 4 Tbsp Chili Powder
  • 2 Tbsp Cocoa, Sugar, and Chili Spice Seasoning
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 C Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 C Water

Preparation Instructions (Pork Topping):

  1. Place pork in a crook pot set at high
  2. Coat pork with dry ingredient
  3. Drizzle olive oil over pork and seasonings
  4. Cook until pork is tender, approximately 2 hours.
  5. Using a fork, pull and shred pork.  Reduce heat to low to finishing cooking and keep warm

Preparation Instructions (Chili):

  1. Heat olive oil over medium high heat.
  2. Add onions, and cook over until they start to turn translucent, approximately 5 mins
  3. Add peppers, salt, and pepper and cook for an additional 2 minutes
  4. Add all remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.
  5. Once chili reaches a boil, reduce to simmer, cover and cook over low heat for 1 hour
  6. If chili is not thick enough, remove lid and simmer until chili reaches desired thickness
  7. Taste chili and add additional brown sugar to sweet or chili powder to increase spiciness as necessary
  8. Add Chili to bowl and top with pulled pork

We hope you enjoyed our Chili Cook Off.  We’d love to hear your thoughts.  Share a comment below and let us know what your favorite type of chili is.

Last year we also hosted a super fun Pumpkin beer tasting that was featured on Style Me Pretty.  Be sure to check that party out here for some additional ideas for fall entertaining together! 

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