The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Comfort food fall recipes to welcome the new season

3 min read

Chili is a classic dish for the colder weather. Hannah Buck / The Blue & Gray Press


Staff Writer

Instead of dreading the imminent time change and colder temperatures, embrace cooking dishes that elicit warm and festive feelings. These three recipes are practical and quite easy to make, requiring common ingredients and about an hour of your time. Let’s get started!

Classic Chili

Whether you’re cooking in your dorm, apartment or home, this classic chili recipe will serve a sense of warmth and familiarity as the seasons change.

For this recipe, you will need:

  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 lb. 90% lean ground beef (vegetarian substitute: ¾ cup uncooked kasha)
  • 2 ½ tbsp. chili powder
  • 2 tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 rounded tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp. ground cayenne pepper – optional
  • 1 ½ cups beef broth (vegetarian substitute: 1 ½ cups vegetable broth)
  • 1 (15 oz.) can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 (16 oz.) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
  • Shredded cheese (to garnish) – optional


  1. In a large soup pot, add the olive oil and let it sit on medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Add the onion. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add the ground beef* to the pot. Break it apart with a wooden spoon. Cook for 6-7 minutes, until the beef is browned, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the chili powder, cumin, sugar, tomato paste, garlic powder, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper (optional). Stir until well incorporated.
  4. Add the broth, diced tomatoes (including juice), drained and rinsed beans and tomato sauce. Stir well.
  5. Bring the liquid to a low boil. Reduce the heat (low to medium-low) to gently simmer the chili, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Remove the pot from the heat. Let the chili sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.

*Vegetarian: Add all ingredients except kasha. Lightly boil for 10 minutes. Add kasha and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 10-15 minutes or until kasha is tender.

Sweet and Fluffy Cornbread

This cornbread is far from flakey. Its sweet flavor and cake-like consistency are perfect complements to the savory chili dish.

You will need:

  • ½ cup cornmeal
  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • ⅙ cup unsalted butter, melted (or butter alternative)
  • 1 tbsp. honey – optional
  • 2 eggs, beaten (or egg alternative)
  • 1 ¼ cups whole milk (or milk alternative)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8×8 inch baking dish.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, stir the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
  3. Pour in the vegetable oil, melted butter, optional honey, beaten eggs and milk. Stir just until moistened.
  4. Pour the batter into the greased baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Watch the cornbread toward the end, it should be golden and starting to show some cracks.
  5. Remove from oven. Serve warm with butter, honey or simply plain!

Hot Spiced Apple Cider

Hot apple cider is a traditional beverage that often contains alcohol, but this delicious recipe is a non-alcoholic version that can be enjoyed by everyone.

You will need:

  • 2 quarts apple cider
  • 1 large orange, quartered w/ peel
  • 13 whole cloves
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 15 allspice berries
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg
  • 1-3 tbsp. brown sugar (adjust to your preference)
  • Splash of cranberry juice – optional


  1. Pour the apple cider into a large saucepan, cover, turn heat on medium-high.
  2. While the cider is heating up, quarter the orange and place into saucepan.
  3. Place cloves, spices and remaining ingredients into saucepan with the cider.
  4. Keep the pan covered and heat the mulled cider mixture to a simmer, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. Using a fine mesh sieve, strain the cider away from the orange, clove and other spices.
  6. Serve hot. Add a cinnamon stick and a splash of cranberry juice, if desired, and enjoy!