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Fall is here, let’s make chili
A Woman's View
Judi Tabler color mug

Election day is only a few days away. And I want to remind you all to get out and vote. Maybe you have already voted by all the many, myriad ways to put x’s on your choice. Whatever. Just don’t ignore one of the major privileges that we still have in this country.

Being Fall, it’s time to allow the outdoor decorative plants to freeze to death, or to bring them into the house for the winter. I wish we had a “greenhouse” because Fred brings quite a few of the more beautiful, potted plants inside. And, in fact, we have a friend who offers their potted, outdoor beauties to Fred.

While I was out of town, Fred said, “Oh by the way. I brought some plants in while you were gone.” He told me this with furtive eyes, not sure totally how I would react. “But I didn’t bring in very many,” he added.

We have been doing this every Fall for a long time. I don’t like the leaves that fall on the floor. But Fred feels that it is unconscionable to let a healthy, live plant just freeze to death.

How do many of you prepare for the Fall? What are the changes that you make in those few weeks of transition from warm to cold?

I asked around. Freda Honstiddle gave me her thoughts. 

“I buy different food. I think “chili,” and soda crackers. I stock my cabinet with larger quantities of canned beans, tomato sauce, tomato paste, and diced tomatoes. Cooking chili is therapy for me” she added. 

We all have our favorite recipes for chili. However sometimes we might want to live dangerously and try a new recipe, don’t we? No? I found a crockpot recipe that I can hardly wait to try. I will test it on company and see if they ever come back again!

Crockpot Chili (Cook-Off winner)

Ingredients: 5 slices hardwood, smoked bacon; 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped; 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped; ½ cup (-2 stalks) celery, finely chopped; 1 cup yellow onion, finely chopped; 1-2 small jalapeno peppers (optional, seeds removed) finely diced; 2 cans (15 oz each) chili pinto bens in medium sauce; 1 can chili (15 oz, pinto or kidney) beans in mild sauce; 2 cans (28 oz each) petite diced tomatoes, undrained; 1 can (6 oz) tomato paste ;2 pounds ground beef chuck; 1 pound Italian sausage.

Seasonings: 4 T. chili powder, 1 T. dried oregano, 2 t. cumin, 1 t. dried basil, 1 t. salt, and ¾ t. pepper, 1 t. paprika, 1 T. white sugar, 1 T. Worcestershire sauce, 1 T. minced garlic, 3 beef bouillon cubes, optional: fresh cilantro, sour cream, grated cheddar cheese.

Instructions: 1. In a skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until crisp. Remove and place on a paper towel to thoroughly drain grease. 2. Reserve the bacon grease in the skillet. Add the chopped red pepper, green pepper, celery, onion, jalapeno and sauté in skillet until tender. Transfer to the crockpot. 3. Add the 3 cans chili beans (undrained and do not rinse), diced tomatoes, and tomato paste to the crockpot. 4. In the same skillet, cook the ground beef chuck and sausage until no longer pink over medium heat. Drain fat, and add the meat to the slow cooker. 5. Add all the seasonings to the crockpot. Crumble the bacon (or chop) into small pieces and stir in the crockpot. 

Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Taste and adjust seasonings. Enjoy with fresh cilantro, sour cream and cheddar cheese.

Let me know how you liked it. 

Happy Fall!   

Judi Tabler lives in Pawnee County and is a guest columnist for the Great Bend Tribune. She can be reached at or juditabler@awomansview.