Football Mania: Cha Cha Chili

Last but certainly not least in my Football Mania Menu series, my Cha Cha Chili! A dish that is both comforting and easy, the trick is here to give it plenty of time to simmer so that all of the flavors have the chance to mingle and meet. It's easy enough that you can get it going the morning of the big game and let it simmer away while you get the rest of the party ready, or you can make it the night before and warm it right before guest arrive. I recommend arranging a do-it-yourself topping bar for guests to customize their own personal chili toppings with the suggested toppings below! 

Need a few more ideas? Try my Mixed Stuffed Peppers and Hot Swiss and Almond Dip to complete your Game Day Menu. What else are you serving this Sunday? 

Cha Cha Chili


  • 1 pound lean, ground beef (or substitute ground turkey)
  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 green pepper, chopped
  • 16 ounces fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 (6 oz) can tomato paste + 1 can (6 oz) water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 can red kidney beans
  • 1 can pinto beans


  • Sour cream (reduced fat)
  • Cilantro, chopped
  • Sharp Cheddar, grated
  • Chives


Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat, and sauté garlic and onions until translucent. Add meat and thoroughly cook through. Add green pepper and continue to cook until softened. Stir in tomatoes, tomato paste and remaining seasonings. Simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Mix in kidney and pinto beans and juice. Continue to cook for another 30 minutes. Toppings are to be used as desired.