Believe it or not, it’s already chilly in Minnesota (and it’s only September 7!!), so I thought it was the perfect day to make a pot of delicious homemade chili. So I got out my trusty Le Creuset (one of my favorite wedding presents from my mother-in-law Jo Ann Banister) and immediately went to work so it could simmer while Will and I were at church.

And given that NFL football season officially kicked off in full force today, it’s a pretty perfect day for chili and cornbread. On a football-related aside, didn’t Favre make a stellar start as a Jet (who else could throw a TD on 4th and 12)? I mean it’s still super weird to see him in anything but a Packer uniform, but at least it looks like he’s having a good time on the field.

All I’ve got to say is that it’s gotta stink to be Aaron Rodgers. As if the normal pressure of playing well in the NFL wasn’t enough, he’s got to prove himself to the Packer fans who are still sore about Favre’s departure. Those are some pretty big shoes to fill, but I’m sure he’ll get there in time. In the meantime I’m eager to see how he does tomorrow night against the arch rivals, the team I affectionately refer to as the Drag Queens, even though I happen to live in Minnesota. GO PACKERS!

The game that Will is really interested in today, however, is the Dallas/Cleveland match-up, of course. Since it hasn’t started yet, the jury is still out on Romo. I’m just hoping Jessica isn’t in the stands…even Cowboys’ fans deserve a better celebrity girlfriend for Romo. If you’ve going to have a distraction, shouldn’t it be someone far classier than the girl who’s recently gone country after trying everything else?

Ok, back to that chili now. Verdict: Will said it was “knock-your-socks-off-good,” and that’s pretty high praise coming from a guy from Texas. I don’t ever use a recipe, so it’s always a little different each time I make it. Today, I diced and sautéed one red bell pepper, one yellow bell pepper and a medium-sized white onion. After adding salt and pepper to the veggies, I added a small container of chicken stock, two cans of tomatoes w/jalapenos, a liberal sprinkling of red pepper flakes (for heat!) and three different kinds of beans—red kidney, medium spicy chili beans and a can of black beans that I drained and rinsed. In a separate, super-hot skillet with a little olive oil in the bottom, I cooked a pound of ground beef (with only 3% fat) that I let caramelize on each side before breaking up. Once browned all the way through, I stirred in a little water and a spice packet of chili powder, grill seasoning and cayenne pepper and incorporated that in before transferring it to the pot of chili. Then once it came to a boil, I let it simmer for two hours, stirring in about a fourth of a stick of butter at the very end to add a little richness.

So there you have it, today’s chili recipe. Who knows what I’ll end up doing the next time around, but the first chili of the fall was very yummy! Served with grated sharp cheddar and cornbread muffins, well, it doesn’t get much better than that on a cold day. Now for that Cowboys’ game…