October 18, 2015

Game Day Chili Filled Football Bread Bowls and the Riunite Chili Cook-off

I was thrilled last month to be chosen as a semi finalist in the Rinunite Chili Cook-off!
I traveled to Houston to make my Chipotle Sweet Potato & 4 Bean Veggie Chili at a tailgating party before the Houston Texans vs Tampa Bay Bucs game.
 I brought my husband and daughters as my cheer squad and I cooked for a set of judges from Riunite and the celebrity judge, Haywood Jefferies, who is a former wide receiver for the Houston Oilers. 
I decided to serve my chili in football shaped bread bowls for a fun presentation. I added shredded cheese and sour cream "lacing" on top as garnish. I love how it turned out and it tasted great!
In the end I didn't win and head to the final cook-off to compete for a trip to the Superbowl. But I had a fantastic time cooking, meeting the Riunite crew and my fellow competitors, and in the end we got to attend our 1st NFL football game! 

Chipotle Sweet Potato & 4 Bean Veggie Chili


Makes 10+ servings
  • 15-Ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained 
  • 15-Ounce can pinto beans, rinsed and drained 
  • 15-Ounce can Great Northern Beans, rinsed and drained 
  • 15-Ounce can kidney beans, rinsed and drained 
  • 2 14.5-Ounce cans tomato sauce 
  • 1 14.5-Ounce can crushed tomatoes 
  • 1 Small yellow onion, diced 
  • 1/2 Red pepper or 4-5 sweet mini peppers, cored and diced 
  • 1 Cup shredded carrots 
  • 1 Sweet potato, peeled and cubed 
  • 3 Cloves of garlic, pressed 
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder 
  • 2 Teaspoons chipotle chile powder 
  • 1 Teaspoon cinnamon 
  • Salt and pepper, to taste (about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon each) 
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil 
  • oval shaped rolls (I like Bolillo rolls)
Recommended Toppings : 
Shredded cheese 
Sour cream 
Splash of Louisiana Hot Sauce 


  1. In a large sauté pan, add a swirl of olive oil and turn heat to medium.  
  2. Add onions, peppers, and sweet potatoes.   
  3. Stir, sauteing until softened (about 5-7 minutes) then add carrots and 3 cloves pressed garlic. 
  4. Cook for another couple minutes then remove from heat.  
  5. Now add all 4 cans of drained beans to a large cast iron soup pot.   
  6. Top with all the sautéed veggies.  
  7. Finally add tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, and spices. 
  8. Mix well, turn heat to low, cover, and simmer for at least 30 minutes before serving. 
  9. Cut out an oval shape in the center of each roll and remove the top.
  10. Scoop out the inside but be careful not to break through the bottom of the bread.
  11. Fill the bowls with chili.
  12. Garnish with a sprinkling of cheese.
  13. Add sour cream to a squeeze bottle and draw on sour cream football lacing as garnish.
  14. Serve hot and enjoy!
I made this version at the cook-off on the stovetop but at home I also make it in the Crock-pot. 
Cut out an oval shape in the center of each roll and remove the top.
Scoop out the inside but be careful not to break through the bottom of the bread.
Fill the bowls with chili.
I used shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream to garnish.
Add cheese.
Add sour cream (in a squeeze bottle) and draw on sour cream football lacing as garnish.
Serve hot and enjoy!
What an awesome time we all had. My recipe may not have won 
but I feel like a winner just for being a semi finalist and competing. 
My fellow competitors and I along with Haywood.
At our first football game.
 It was packed and loud but our girls loved it!
Woohoo! Go Texans {and Bucs}! 
We cheered for both teams!
Family shots from our seats at the game.
My two girls wore themselves out and had a blast at the cook-off and the game!
Can't wait until we can take them again.
A big thanks to Riunite for sponsoring this fun event!
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  1. I enjoyed reading your blog post that I found through Pinterest! Congratulations on being selected for the cook off....I love your chili in the bread bowls! I see my friends Tamie and Chera in your photos which is very cool! I was a Baltimore finalist in the Reunite Cook Off the year before and I advanced to the finals in San Diego! I didn't win there but the whole experience was great fun!

    1. Thanks for stopping by Ronna! I had such a blast competing and making new cooking friends. I don't enter many competitions anymore since I am busy with my babies but I hope we can meet one day soon.


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