Chili & Sweet Cornbread

Chili is one of those meals you can make so many different ways. This is how we like ours, but I have adjusted depending on what ingredients we have at the time. My mom first gave me the recipe and I have made changes here and there to make it my own. I remember when I was first married and learning how to cook, I went around to different family members to collect recipes. It was fun putting them all together and trying different things. I wish I would have stuck to it instead of buying all the cheap boxed meals full of preservatives and other bad stuff. 🙁 Oh well… I am back at it now! And more than I ever was before. I am very excited that my kids are a part of all this and can use what I teach them when they are off on their own someday. I never want to go back to the way we used to live. This is what it’s all about… growing our own, making our own, family projects, and trying new things. 🙂

We have been cutting back on the amount of meat we use, so you will see a lot of recipes say 1/2 – 1 lb. of hamburger or 2 chicken breasts instead of 4. I use 1/2 a lb. of hamburger for recipes like this. I know the store packages it into 1 lb. increments so what I do is, cook all the hamburger and freeze half. It makes it easier when I go to pull it out for the next meal. Plus when I get home from the grocery store, I don’t really feel like separating out the hamburger. I just want to put it in the fridge or freezer and be done. I do this for the chicken too. Usually you will get 4 chicken breasts in a package so I cook them all and freeze half. It is really nice when I pull out the other half later in the week and it’s already been cooked! I can just thaw and chop up the chicken to add to one of our favorite dishes. I can’t believe how much meat we were eating before and a lot of that chicken went to waste. I hate waste. 🙁 When we make tacos/burritos now, we use 1/2 lb. of hamburger and add Amy’s organic refried beans. There’s still so much left we can take some for lunch the next day as a taco salad. I also use 1/2 lb. of hamburger for spaghetti. I like my sauce more saucy anyway. 😉 Or just make meatballs!

On the cornbread, you can substitute the sugar for more honey (just do 1/4 cup honey) but this is why I am okay with some raw cane sugar here and there: make this dish vegetarian, just leave out the hamburger.)

Two Ways to Soak Beans – Overnight and the Quick Soak Method:
For the Overnight Method, add the beans to a large bowl, cover with water and let sit overnight. You will want extra water on top because the beans will soak up the water during the night. Drain and rinse well. For the Quick Soak Method, add the beans to a pot and cover with water by about 3 inches. Bring to a boil and simmer briskly for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 1 hour. Then drain and rinse well.




  • 1/2 – 1 lb. hamburger (we use grass-fed organic)
  • chili seasoning (1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, 1/2 tsp oregano, 1 1/2 tsp cumin, 2 TB chili powder, 1/2 – 1 tsp garlic powder – or minced garlic)
  • 1 cup water (double this if using the dry beans)
  • 1 can kidney beans or 1/2 cup of dry kidney beans (see soaking methods above if using dry beans)
  • 1 can black beans/pinto beans or 1/2 cup of dry beans (optional)
  • 1 can stewed tomatoes
  • 1 can sliced olives (drained)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 – 1 cup diced bell peppers
  • peppercorns (optional, in place of regular pepper or just use regular pepper)
  • shredded cheese for topping
  • sour cream (optional)

Soak the beans if you are using dry beans (see soaking methods above). Brown the hamburger, drain if necessary. Stir in the chili seasoning and water, cook another 5 minutes (you can use the full amount of seasoning even if you only do 1/2 lb of hamburger, but I would add more water. Or just reduce the seasoning by half). Chop your peppers/onion. In a crock pot or a large pot on the stove, add kidney beans and/or black beans/pinto beans, stewed tomatoes, olives, onion, bell peppers, and peppercorns (or pepper). Add the seasoned hamburger when it’s done cooking. I set my crock pot to the 4 hour setting and stir occasionally. If you aren’t using a crock pot than bring the chili to a boil and then reduce heat, cover and cook until it’s done. Probably within an hour. I like to cook it long. (If you use dry beans and soak them, they will need to cook longer than beans from a can. So the chili would be done when the beans are done.) Add the shredded cheese/sour cream when serving.



  • 1/2 cup cornmeal (I use Bob’s Red Mill organic cornmeal)
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 TB raw cane sugar
  • 1 TB baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup oil (I use coconut oil)
  • 3 TB melted butter
  • 3 TB honey
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/4 cups milk (I use organic whole)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl. Pour in the oil, melted butter, honey, beaten eggs, and milk. Stir until moist, it will be lumpy and that’s okay. (You may have to melt your coconut oil. Usually mine is hard but when we have a good fire going or if it’s summer time, it’s liquified.) Grease an 8 x 11″ dish (I use coconut oil for this too) and pour the mixture into the dish. Then bake for 30 minutes. You can use a toothpick to check if it’s done in the middle. (A Loaf Pan works too.)

Here are some pictures of the chili-making-process:

chili seasoning


Some of my batches are more colorful than others 😉


Another picture just for fun!


Here’s coconut oil through Amazon (I heard this is a good brand):

Here’s the crock pot I use and I love it! There are other options out there with different prices too.

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