It’s cold and wet and dreary way down here in Georgia. Weather like this just makes me want to put on my sweatpants and curl up on the couch with a good book. And I would if my sweatpants were clean and my kids could entertain themselves for an hour or two. I guess laundry is high on the list of things to do today. At least the dryer will keep the house warm.

Cold, wet, and dreary also means it is perfect weather for chili. I adore chili. It’s hearty and warm and filling and fairly healthy. Unless, of course, you top it with lots of cheese and Fritos. Which is my favorite way to eat chili.  If you haven’t tried it, trust me. Fritos were made for chili.

Seasoning is also really important to a successful chili.  I mean like, really important.  Luckily, it’s pretty easy to develop a lot of flavor in a pot of chili. There is one big secret though… cocoa powder. I know! It’s crazy!  But think about it, if spicy chilies go great in chocolate bars, chocolate must go well in chili. Unsweetened of course. It makes all the difference.


1 T oil

2 pounds ground chuck

1 medium onion chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

2 ( 15 oz.) cans of stewed tomatoes

2 ( 15 oz.) cans of red kidney beans

1/2 cup water

Cheddar cheese and Fritos to serve

Seasoning Mix:

3 T chili powder

2 T cumin

1 T cocoa

2 t. salt

1/2 T ground coriander

1/2 T oregano

1 t. ground Ancho chili powder ( or chipotle chili powder)

Pinch of cayenne

In a large heavy pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion to the pot and saute for 5 minutes until tender. Add pepper and saute for another 5 minutes.

Add beef to the pot and cook until browned. Drain the fat and return beef mixture to the pot.

Add the seasoning mix to the pot and stir for 30 seconds.

Add tomatoes and beans and water to the pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes.

Serve with cheese and Fritos.


Jodie is a wife, mom, writer and lover of chickens and gardens. She runs her family's winery by day and cooks and writes by night.

This Post Has 10 Comments
  1. “If you haven’t tried it, trust me. Fritos were made for chili.”

    Chili is on our menu for this weekend and I have to say, DD#2 agrees with you wholeheartedly. She believes you absolutely cannot eat chili without Fritos. We normally serve the chili on top of the Fritos the way Frito pies were made at high school football games back in the 1960s and 70s. Cheese on top and maybe some chopped onion. It’s a family favourite! Thanks for sharing your recipe on Saturday Swap.

  2. I made this tonight for dinner and it was DELISH! I just wanted to say a few things for others who might make it: I halved the spices because I have kids and I was afraid it would be too hot for them. I would NOT half the spices in the future. Also, I have never in my life put cocoa powder in anything other than a dessert so I was a little leary, but I gave it a whirl and boy am I glad I did! It added a complexity that was fantastic!!! The only way I can describe it was it seemed more “smooth”. It did not taste like chocolate in the final dish at all. LOVED IT!!! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Kelli!
      I’m glad you loved the spice mix! It seems like a lot but the beans and meat really need all that flavor so they won’t be bland. Thanks for trying out my recipe and I hope to see you around again soon!

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