Chili Cook-Off

Every year at the Fall Festival the PTA holds its ever-competitive chili cook-off. Last year, a close friend asked if we were going to try her “chili.” We felt compelled to not only try out her creation but to purchase a sampler platter so we could vote for our favorite. As it turned out our friend’s “chili” was the only one that was even remotely edible. So this year we decided to forgo the sampler platter and jump into the fray of the PTA chili cook-off!

As you know, I am a really bad cook. Which means this is another guest post by my husband. He’s from Cincinnati, the home of Skyline Chili. So he takes his chili very seriously.

My inside sources tell us that a normal chili never wins the cook-off competition. It is always some weird combo of crazy flavors (which is probably why all of last year’s entries were unpalatable). I am not a die-hard purist when it comes to chili, but it has to taste like chili.

My Chili

I usually use a combination of ground beef and ground pork but because we live in a culturally diverse community, I decided to use ground turkey. The rest of the recipe stayed the same.

  • Beer                      $2.17
  • Ground turkey   $5.52
  • Green pepper     $  .88
  • Jalapeño              $  .14
  • Onion                   $  .63
  • Garlic                   $  .17
  • Tomato paste      $ .46
  • Pinto beans         $1.50     Total $11.47
  • And of course my homemade spice blend (Which you will recall is given in a previous post They Put What In Cheese?).


We also provided some optional toppings:

  • Shredded (vegetarian) cheddar cheese
  • Diced jalapeños
  • Chopped raw white onions
  • Oyster crackers (at home we put chili atop of homemade fries, but fries wouldn’t fit in the sampler cups)

What’s In a Name

Next we had to come up with a name. You get a 2 foot section to serve your chili. They give you the option to decorate your space any way you wish in order to entice people to try your chili.

As I was helping our daughter clean up her room for the fifth time one day, it struck me that I wanted to use her dinosaurs (along with volcanos) to decorate our table. As I mentioned this to my wife, she came up with Dino-mite Turkey Chili. I loved it. We were ready for the big day.

The Day of the Festival

As the big day arrived, my wife took time off work so we could get to the school in time to set up our table. We piled our chili and children into our wagon and set off for the school.

The Competition

After setting up our Dino-rama we did some recon on the other entrants. The recipes sounded really good this year!

Chicken Chili Gumbo

Poblano Chicken Chili

Chewbacca’s Chili

Chili B. Good

New Mexico Green Chili

“Boo” ffalo Chicken Chili

Rachel’s Beery Good Chili

Samantha’s Chili

Our Dino-mite Turkey Chili was lucky #7

The Good News and the Bad News

Service went well. We had lots of people come by to sample all the chili. Then, one guy who had tried all the chilis decided to purchase a bowl of ours.

The gentleman was the brother-in-law of the “Boo” fallo Chicken Chili’s creator, so it was a bit of a surprise that he wanted a bowl of our dish.

The bad news was that this purchase sold out our product. Once a chili is sold out, voting stops.

The Verdict

I didn’t get to try all the dishes, but we did sneak a taste of the Chicken Chili Gumbo and “Boo” ffalo Chicken Chili (thanks Jenni & Kelley!), so I knew we had some strong competition this year.

Sadly, although we were the first to sell out, we did not win.

The winners were: Poblano Chicken Chili and Beery Good Chili (which used higher quality beer than ours did, and also added Fritos to their chili and candy corn for dessert).

I’d like to give a special vote of appreciation to the Beery Good Chili guy, who was stationed next to me and who kindly allowed my children eat his candy corn all evening.

We had a fun time and were happy to support our PTA.

The only downside was that there weren’t any leftovers, so we made another batch for ourselves tonight for dinner! (And no, we did not have candy corn.)

What do you put in your chili?


For more Food Finance Friday Features, check out:

They Put What in Candy Corn? (no judgement, Beery Good Chili guy)

10 Ways to save money eating out

Grocery Haul: $60.34 for a Family of 5!

How to spend $100 per person per month on food

How to save time in the kitchen

The secret ingredient for low cost meals

They Put What in Cheese?

Don’t Throw That Out, I’ll Eat It!

Soup Up Your Life!

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