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John’s Chili & Frito Pie Bar

  • SERVES: 6 (Chili Serves 8 to 10)
  • PREP: 15 minutes
  • TOTAL TIME: 1 hour

John’s chili + individual bags of chips + all the fixings = touchdown.

This was such a hit in Cravings that I had to include it here. John’s chili tastes like the kind that simmers on the stove forever, but it’s done start-to-finish in an hour. Frito pies aren’t pies at all—they’re cute little bags of corn chips you fill up with said chili and all of the fixings. The joy is eating some of the chips while they’re still crisp, but the real deal is waiting for the chips to get soaked in that chili goodness, creating a Frito cornbread-chili mush that is only slightly crunchy but completely delicious. If you want to make it vegetarian, just use a plant-based ground meat substitute!

For John’s Chili:

  • 1

    pound ground beef (or 1 pound plant-based ground meat substitute to make it vegetarian)

  • 1

    medium onion, chopped

  • 1

    cup chopped mushrooms

  • 2

    tablespoons seasoning salt, such as Lawry’s

  • 3

    tablespoons chili powder

  • 1

    teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 2

    tablespoons minced garlic (about 3 cloves)

  • 2

    (15-ounce) cans tomato sauce

  • 2

    (15-ounce) cans kidney beans, drained

  • 2

    tablespoons light brown sugar

For the Frito Pie Bar:

  • 6

    (1-ounce) bags Fritos corn chips

  • 1

    cup sour cream

  • 1

    cup shredded cheddar or pepper jack cheese

  • ½

    cup sliced pickled jalapeño peppers

  • 4

    scallions, chopped

  • +

    Cheesy Guacamole

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