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Light ‘n Easy Cincinnati Chili

by Courtney on March 28, 2012

Holy crap. Amazing dinner recipe to share with you all tonight! But I’ll get to that in a second…

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Sorry to leave ya’ll hangin’ with no post this afternoon (Yes, I like to pretend that you all just impatiently wait at your computer screen for a “New Post” update everyday. I know I’m obnoxious, and obviously kidding, but hopefully you’ve caught onto that humor by now, tehehe).

I didn’t end up getting home from work until about 2:00pm this afternoon, and by the time I got in, all I wanted to do was eat something besides my arm and not worry about taking a picture of it. Actually, no pictures of food were taken today up until dinner, but if you’re curious…breakfast looked a little somethin’ like this and lunch looked a whole lot like this – random, snacky, and colorful.

Workout for today was another repeat of last Wednesday’s workout, using four sets instead of three again (yowsahs!), plus a Tabata class with about 60% effort…

Confession: Unless I really feel like sweating, if you’re not facing me with the move, then I’m probably not doing it. Winking smile

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Alright, enough of that…let’s get to this DINNER.

If you guys remember, last week I mentioned that I was going to be participating in the BOLD Lean Beef Challenge. While I knew I wouldn’t be able to do a week straight of meals incorporating beef (because for one, I’d get bored, and two, I never cook dinner 7 nights a week…ever), I thought it’d be fun to try and have it two nights a week. Jay thought this was very fun.

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Tonight, I decided to try a new-to-me recipe known as Cincinnati Chili. This is something I had never even heard of, really, but the ingredient list immediately captured my attention. Would you believe that there is cinnamon in there? And even cocoa powder?

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I know. Wild, isn’t it? But seriously, this chili is totally up there on my list of favorites now, right next to Mal’s Famous Chili, of course.

So in the midst of my findings with this whole Cincinnati Chili thing, I also discovered that it is often ordered 5 different ways. Being my first attempt and all, I decided to hold off on the 5-way and opted for the 3-way: chili over spaghetti with cheese. Hubby got the real spaghetti because he won’t come within a foot of anything else, but I lightened my portion up a bit by serving it over a generous bowl of spaghetti squash. Wow oh wow…

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I’m so excited there’s leftovers.

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I’m already in my cozies for the evening (who am I kidding, I’ve been in them since about 2:05 this afternoon) and am ready to relax and *hopefully* get myself to bed at a decent hour. We’ll see how that goes.

Question for the Evening:

Am I the only one who has never heard of Cincinnati Chili? What rock have I been living under for these past 28 years?!?

Anyone out there ever had Cincinnati Chili?

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{ 49 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Katie @ Talk Less, Say More March 28, 2012 at 7:30 pm

I’ve never heard of it either! But then again, I don’t eat meat… ;)
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2 Kristen @ notsodomesticated March 28, 2012 at 7:32 pm

I’ve heard of it … but I also lived in Ohio for almost 2 years. ;) This looks super yummy. I really don’t ever get sick of chili recipes. I love it any time during the year, and with lots of different ingredients! :)

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3 Briana March 28, 2012 at 7:39 pm

My dad has made the BEST Cincinnati Chili for as long as I can remember! We always serve it over spaghetti, too. The only problem is that I can’t enjoy it now that I’m a vegetarian. I’m sure I can find a vegetarian substitution, but it won’t be the same as my dad’s!

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4 Caroline @ After Dinner Dance March 28, 2012 at 7:49 pm

I’ve never heard of that particular chili, but I have heard of cinnamon and cocoa powder being added to a lot of chills – not sure why but it works!
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5 Annie March 28, 2012 at 7:54 pm

I do wait in front of the screen for you!! hahaha, I keep on checking my google reader! lol I love your blog :)

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6 Becca March 28, 2012 at 7:57 pm

Yum! That looks really good, I have never heard of Cincinnati Chili. I would have to leave leave out the cinnamon.. I think I might be the only person who can not stand the smell or taste of cinnamon :) also, I would have never thought to serve it on spaghetti squash, great idea!

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7 Erica @ For the Sake of Cake March 28, 2012 at 8:03 pm

I’ve never heard of it either, but it looks fantastic!
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8 Amanda March 28, 2012 at 8:05 pm

The Cincinnati chili recipes come from the fast food chain, Skyline Chili-originated in Cincinnati, Ohio-go figure! ;) they’re all over Ohio and people are crazy about it there!

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9 Julie H. of Spinach and Sprinkles March 28, 2012 at 8:09 pm

Ummm, I’ve never heard of it so I’m the one living under a rock– but I knew this already. ;) It looks fantastic!!!! Can I come over for leftovers?!
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10 Cait @ Cait Hates Cake March 28, 2012 at 8:12 pm

I’ve never heard of it either. I don’t eat meat, but I bet it would be good with ground tempeh or seitan.

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11 Alyssa @ Fit and Fun in Third March 28, 2012 at 8:21 pm

Never heard of it… but now I want it! Yum!
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12 Lauren March 28, 2012 at 8:39 pm

I’ve never had it but now I think I need to!
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13 Lauren @ Chocolate, Cheese and Wine March 28, 2012 at 8:42 pm

I haven’t heard of it either. But it looks delicious – anything with cocoa in it sounds good in my book :)
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14 Lauren March 28, 2012 at 8:52 pm

I believe Cincinnati Chili was created by Skyline Chili, a Cincinnati-based restaurant. It’s all the rage in southwest Ohio. I prefer the chili on a coney dog with lots of cheese!

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15 Allison March 28, 2012 at 8:58 pm

I live about 25 minutes south of Cincinnati on the other side of the Ohio River in Kentucky. I’ve only been here for a few years, but I quickly discovered that Cincinnati style chili is a big deal around here, with Skyline and Gold Star being the big chain restaurants. You can spice it up with hot sauce. All the restaurants serve oyster crackers with the chili spaghetti too. The first time I tried it, I wasn’t sure if I liked it. Then I went through a period where I loved it. I don’t eat it anymore though. It just lost its appeal for me. Another food item you will only find in Cincinnati is goetta. It’s a mixture of oats, pork, and spices rolled into a log. You slice it and fry it in a skillet. Most people eat it for breafast. My dad makes a low fat version with ground turkey. It’s definitely an aquired taste! :)

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16 Jill @ Jill is Active March 28, 2012 at 9:01 pm

Haha I have heard about it because I had to go to Kentucky/Ohio for work a year ago, but before that I had never heard of it!! I didn’t have it while I was there because it’s definitely not healthy how they make it but I would love to try it with lean ground beef!!

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17 Shelby March 28, 2012 at 9:29 pm

Yes! I’ve heard of it! I was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, and I am not embarrassed to admit that I am a Skyline Chili-fanatic. It’s honestly an addiction, and since moving away from Cincinnati I’ve always made sure to bring back a can of skyline or two to have available in my pantry when cravings hit. Your version looks delicious as well!

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18 Jana @ Newly Wife Healthy Life March 28, 2012 at 9:37 pm

I live 30 minutes from Cinci and have had Cincinnati chili all my life! The addition of cinnamon and cocoa is definitely strange, but once you try it you know how well the flavors go together. My favorite chain restaurant that serves chili in this style is Skyline. You have to order a three-way though, which is spaghetti, chili, and a pile of cheese!
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19 Lily March 28, 2012 at 9:44 pm

i am a Cincinnati native and i love it…(skyline chili > gold star chili) but am so used to people who don’t live in Cincinnati HATING the chili because its so different! i’m glad to know we aren’t crazy haha! but it is amazing and is sooo good…everyone needs to try it!

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20 Elizabeth @ Chocolate Drops and Pearls March 28, 2012 at 9:52 pm

Yeah I’m originally from Ohio and went to school near Cincinnati and they are world famous for their chili. THey have a chain restaurant called SkyLine that is famous for their chili!
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21 Jessica @ The Process of Healing March 28, 2012 at 9:57 pm

I’ve never had that before but it sounds awesome!
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22 Shannon March 28, 2012 at 9:58 pm

I’ve never heard of Cincinnati Chili before. I thought there was only 1 type of chili in this world- boy, was I wrong.
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23 Megan S. March 28, 2012 at 10:05 pm

Yes! I’m from KY so I’ve known about Skyline Chili (or your Cincy Chili) for a long time- and going to school in Ohio just intensified it. I have to say though that I never really wanted to eat it, but I’m tempted to make it at home now after seeing this!

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24 Rosalie March 28, 2012 at 10:50 pm

This looks really delicious especially it is a bit chili…I am excited to try this one on weekends…
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25 Missy Duggan March 28, 2012 at 10:52 pm

I am born and raised in Cincinnati and have been eating
Skyline since I was a child. I now order the chili spaghetti, no cheese.
I have never tried to make it myself but you have inspired me!
Missy Duggan recently posted..Light ‘n Easy Cincinnati Chili

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26 Lauren @ Fun, Fit and FAbulous March 28, 2012 at 11:09 pm

YOu are definitely not alone! I have never heard of it, but now I’m eager to try! I am an avid chili lover especially for the leftovers!
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27 Khushboo March 29, 2012 at 12:58 am

Never heard of it either- up and until now, I thought chili was just chili!
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28 Alison March 29, 2012 at 1:04 am

I’m always up for a new chili recipe! This one looks really tasty.

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29 Annie March 29, 2012 at 5:23 am

nope, never heard of it! I’ll have to try it! Cococa sounds a little weird but eh, I love trying new things so I’ll definitely make it!

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30 Caroline March 29, 2012 at 6:13 am

I am from Cincinnati! The famous chili was invented by Skyline Chili and everyone in Cincy is nuts for it! I have so many childhood memories there as kid! I don’t go too often but occasionally I do go for their outstanding oyster crackers (unlimited with every meal). Next you should try “Skyline Dip”: http://skylinechili.com/recipes.php
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31 Caroline March 29, 2012 at 6:14 am

I am from Cincinnati! The famous chili was invented by Skyline Chili and everyone in Cincy is nuts for it! I have so many childhood memories there as kid! I don’t go too often but occasionally I do go for their outstanding oyster crackers (unlimited with every meal). Next you should try “Skyline Dip”: http://skylinechili.com/recipes.php
You’d almost make people mad if you didn’t serve this at parties in Cincy!
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32 Miz March 29, 2012 at 6:44 am

MEMORIES
MEMORIES!!!
I grew up on this.
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33 Tina @ Best Body Fitness March 29, 2012 at 7:00 am

I keep hearing about Cincinatti Chili and it definitely intrigues me.
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34 Hope @ With A Side Of Hope March 29, 2012 at 8:13 am

I’ve heard of it but I’ve never had Cincinnati Chili. I definitely would like to try it though! :) It looks delicious served over spaghetti squash. That is such a good idea! :)
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35 Rachel March 29, 2012 at 8:24 am

We actually have a place near us called Hard Times Cafe where you can order different kinds of chili, including Cincinnati. I usually get it four ways, with spaghetti, chili, cheese and sour cream! YUM :)

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36 Vicki March 29, 2012 at 8:56 am

This is my first time commenting (love your blog), but I had to because I live near Cincinnati and Cincinnati Style chili is great! I’m so glad you liked it! The cocoa and cinnamon are certainly different, but definitely worth trying. My boyfriend and I make it a lot but we used ground turkey. Makes us feel a tiny bit better about covering the chili with cheese :)

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37 Kelley March 29, 2012 at 9:34 am

I am from Cincinnati and only eat chilli this way. So glad to see you gave it a try! It’s yummy!!! Love your blog!!!

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38 Gabby March 29, 2012 at 9:48 am

Kevin is from Cincinnati and we don’t pass up Gold Star (which is just like Skyline, but we are Gold Star lovers) whenever we go. It’s SO good! We haven’t tried making it at home for ourselves, but we definitely love getting it when we visit Ohio. :)
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39 Caitlin @ This Bride's Joyride March 29, 2012 at 9:50 am

I LOVE Cincinnati Chilli! Ironically the only time I had it was during college when I lived outside Albany, Ny! No one in New England ever has heard of it and when I mention it has cinnamon the response is usually, “ewwww”. Yum yum yum!

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40 Erin March 29, 2012 at 11:49 am

I have heard of it! But that’s only because Hungry Girl featured a recipe swap one day :)

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41 CJ @ http://healthy-happy-whole.com March 29, 2012 at 5:06 pm

i LOVE cincinnati chili! my husband actually loves it over rice for a nice pasta swap, but it is definitely in our winter rotation for dinners! i havent tried this recipe exaclty but I am excited to now :-)
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42 Lindsey March 29, 2012 at 5:59 pm

How funny! As a Michigander turned Cincinnatian, you need to try some Skyline Chili! It’s a “Cincinnati delicacy” and the locals absolutely adore it. I love how you even knew the 5 ways, Cincinnati is big time now!!
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43 Erin March 30, 2012 at 11:29 am

I went to college just outside Cincinnati so of course I know about Cincinnati chili! I love chili 5-way so even though I don’t make traditional Cincy chili at home I always serve it over pasta with cheese. And, of course, include the onions and the beans :-)
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44 Lisa April 3, 2012 at 3:42 pm

Never heard of it either! It looks really tasty though. It looks so good with spaghetti squash! yum.
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45 Hannah R. April 9, 2012 at 9:27 pm

I just recently hear of Cincinatti Chili but have never tried it until tonight. I just made this. So good! I made mine with diced chicken because I didn’t have any ground beef on hand and it tastes great, thanks for sharing:)

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46 Melody May 23, 2012 at 2:44 pm

I grew up eating it. My mom called it skyline chili also, she worked at the Skyline restaurant, where it was made. Now I make it for my family. Our recipe is a bit different from yours. & now I make it with lean ground turkey or chicken. With all those spices you really can’t tell. I’m craving it now :) guess you know what that means :-)

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47 Kammie @ Sensual Appeal October 10, 2012 at 11:33 pm

That’s a cincinnati chili? That’s what we call spaghetti sauce in my parents’ house! Haha. From Poland.. I guess everyone makes things differently and sees them differently as well. Although you DID use it the way we do, except we use spaghetti noodles. Although not always.

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48 Laura October 19, 2014 at 6:00 pm

Yep, about to make this again!! This is my number one go-to recipe. Made with real beef for the hubby, fake ground crumbles for me! So bomb!!

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49 Courtney October 20, 2014 at 1:28 pm

I’m so glad you’ve been liking it, Laura! I actually almost added it to our meal plan this week but think we’re going to have it next week instead. :)

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