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Halloween/ Meals/ RECIPES

Instant Pot Cincinnati Chili With Dark Chocolate

Instant Pot Cincinnati Chili with Dark Chocolate

This Instant Pot Cincinnati Chili with Dark Chocolate has been a family favorite for a while now. I’ve wanted to make an Instant Pot version and did so last night. It turned out great and was such an easy process.

Last night was Halloween AND our first snow of the season. It was so pretty with great big snowflakes drifting down. I sent a group text to my three teens letting them know dinner would be ready at 5 and that Grandma would be joining us so that she could see their costumes.

My oldest and her boyfriend dressed up to serve little kids candy at a church party. My girl teaches Kindergarten Sunday School every Sunday and was hoping to see some of “her kids” there. It was crazy seeing my girl in scrubs–it may be a glimse into the future as she wants to go into the medical field.

My youngest 2 girls dressed up and went trick-or-treating and to visit their cousin. It may be the last time they trick-or-treat, and it was crazy to watch them drive away on their own. Halloween feels so different now that they are all grown up!

Todd and I bundled up and walked our neighborhood streets, reminiscing about how it seemed like just yesterday that we took our 3 little girls were trick-or-treating down the same streets. My Todd would keep them out until the last porch light went out and they would come home with gobs of candy and spend the next hour sorting and trading.

Instant Pot Cincinnati Chili with Dark Chocolate

Cincinnati Chili & Cinnamon Rolls

I knew my girls would be out and about on Halloween, so I was purposeful in bringing the family together early in the evening to eat some nourishing chili. When my Teagan heard we were having chili, she asked…”are you making cinnamon rolls?”

Did you know that is a ‘thing’ in Nebraska? It is. My local grocery store was out of cinnamon rolls and the grocer said…” sorry…I’m all out…lots of people eating chili on this snowy Halloween!”

The combination of chili and cinnamon rolls reminds me of the popular combo of chicken and waffles. Salty, spicy & sweet. I do think chili is a great excuse to make cinnamon rolls, but it seemed a bit much on Halloween when sweet candy will be in abundance, but my girl asked for it, and it IS tradition, so I stopped at another store and bought some, and that made her very happy.

Instant Pot Cincinnati Chili with Dark Chocolate

Cincinnati Chili with Dark Chocolate

Cincinnati chili is typically served over spaghetti noodles and topped with cheese, onions, and crackers. We skip the pasta but enjoy a bit of cheese and crackers on top.

The reason I LOVE Cincinnati chili is that the flavor is so rich and complex, thanks in part to dark chocolate. It also has cinnamon, cloves, allspice, a bay leaf, apple cider vinegar and Worcestershire sauce in the recipe. These layers of flavor make the chili dark and delicious!

Instant Pot Cincinnati Chili with Dark Chocolate

Instant Pot Cincinnati Chili with Dark Chocolate Recipe

I love having an Instant Pot version of this recipe. It pressure cooks for 10 minutes, then uses a natural release.

You can make this in a pot on the stove, but it will need to simmer for 3 hours. If you make it in the crockpot, it can cook for 8 hours on low and 4 hours on high.

Instant Pot Cincinnati Style Chili with Dark Chocolate

{for your pinning pleasure!}

Instant Pot Cincinnati Chili
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
40 mins
Recipe Type: Meals
Servings: 6
  • 2 tbsp oil (I use avocado oil)
  • 2 small onions or 1 large chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 3 cans beans I use kidney black, and pinto
  • 1 15-oz can tomato sauce
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 1 oz square dark chocolate
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 quart water more or less depending on the consistency you would like
  1. Saute onions in oil on saute function on the Instant Pot until translucent. Add garlic and ground beef and cook until browned. Drain if needed.
  2. Drain and rinse beans in a colander.
  3. Add beans and the rest of the ingredients into the pressure cooker (can eyeball the water and use more or less depending on desired consistency) and stir well.
  4. Pressure cook for 10 minutes, then use natural release. Open the instant pot and stir. If you need to thicken the chili, set to saute and let bubble until desired consistency.

Have you tried Cincinnati Chili? What do you think of chocolate and cinnamon in your chili? How about Chili and Cinnamon Rolls?

Halloween/ Holidays/Parties/ RECIPES/ Sweets

Caramel Apple Biscuits


Fall has arrived and with it is some of my most favorite flavors, holidays & traditions! I love all things about fall– the changing colors of our midwest trees, lighting candles to cozy up on cool fall evenings, and both the color and the taste of caramel!

Halloween is the first fun fall holiday, and with it comes many traditions our family has participated in, old and new.  It has hit hard lately how quickly time passes and I never realized until lately that some traditions are destined for change.  As the years pass, our girls get older and some things that excited & brought joy to them years ago, just are not quite what they used to be!

Trick or treating is one of those things, and will only be done by our youngest this year, which is really hard to believe! The older two used to LIVE for Halloween, with the most anticipated moment being when they arrived back to our warm home & dumped their bags of candy out.  They would immediately start sorting their candy, lining all the ‘likes’ together and trading out their least favorites.  I loved watching it, their rosy cheeks puffed up from smiling so big (and also because they were so full of candy!)


{a recent family photo-2015}

This year, I will be home with my older two girls, Teagan & Colsie, while Todd takes Avery trick-or-treating.  I will make a crockpot full of chili, which is our traditional Halloween meal.  I do not like being in the kitchen on Halloween, so chili in the crockpot is a great way to be able to offer a warm, comforting meal to my family by making it earlier in the day.

I’ve been thinking about what I could make that was sweet for my older 2 girls who are home with me and not out gathering a bunch of candy. I wanted something easy & festive, and I did NOT want to be in the kitchen for very long. I wanted something that would make the house smell like fall and help us make a new traditions of being home together, passing out candy and eating a great dessert instead of trick-or-treating.

 Since I did not want to make anything from scratch, and it IS a holiday after all, I have decided to make my girls Caramel Apple Biscuits using Pillsbury Grands®!

Pillsbury® has been part of a few of our past family traditions, from a family favorite Monkey Bread recipe that came from my aunt, to a Taco Ring recipe from a cousin of mine. Both recipes  have been passed around and are favorites at family potlucks. It is only fitting for Pillsbury® to be a part of our new tradition!


When it comes to special occasions, I am totally at peace with taking shortcuts.  These little Caramel Apple Biscuits were actually inspired by shortcake! A shortcut shortcake.

I did a little practicing on the recipe to make sure what was in my head would actually work, and boy, did it ever!  It turned out beautiful and scrumptious.  I think this sweet will be the perfect follow-up to our spicy chili dinner.




I went to Wal-Mart and took advantage of all things store-bought to keep this recipe short and sweet! I grabbed Pillsbury Grands® Buttermilk Biscuits, some already-made apple pie filling, some caramel bits for melting, and whipped cream. I had butter on hand for coating the tops of the biscuits. This little step made me very happy, as I am a big salted caramel lover, and the saltiness of the butter and the biscuits give this recipe a nice salty/sweet balance. It is so good.


It took no time at all to put together, and I think my girls will be quite impressed with how sophisticated it looks.  Their palates and tastes have become pretty mature, which I love because they appreciate pretty food that has a variety of flavors and textures.

This recipe certainly has a variety of flavors and textures, with the cinnamon-y apples, the tender biscuits with salty-buttery tops, the ooey- gooey caramel drizzled all over, and the creamy whipped cream. It is key to serve it up warm which keep the soft gooey factor to a maximum! It is super shortcut easy, and really delicious — and I can’t wait to serve this new tradition to my girls on Halloween night!


Caramel Apple Biscuits

{a no recipe, recipe}

1 Roll Pillsbury Grands!® Buttermilk Biscuits, warm from the oven

1 can apple pie filling, warmed up a bit

1 pkg. caramel melting bits or plain caramel’s, melted

Whipped cream

Cube of butter


Bake the Pillsbury Grands!® Buttermilk Biscuits according to package directions.  Remove from oven and immediately rub tops of biscuits with the cube of butter.


~Cut the buttered biscuit in half.  Add a scoop of warm apple pie filling to the bottom part of the biscuit.

~Drizzle with melted caramel. Note: You may need to thin with some milk and stir well until drizzle consistency.  I melted mine in the microwave.

~Add the top biscuit.

~Top with a dollop of whipped cream.

~Drizzle the whole thing, including the plate, with more caramel.

~Serve warm



What is your favorite holiday tradition?


{my youngest, Avery, last year in her ‘nerd’ costume, which she made by herself!}

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Pillsbury. The opinions and text are all mine.