Our newest contributer, Sheri Silver, shares the world’s best chili recipe

Hi there! I am SO excited to be the newest contributor to Buttoned Up!

I have so much to share with you all, and look forward to exchanging lots of tips, ideas and recipes. I was actually so overwhelmed that I’ve been sitting – paralyzed – in front of my computer for the last few days, not knowing where to begin (I know, first world problems, right?).

So I thought for my very first post that I’d share a little bit about me, what I hope to bring to this fabulous community of readers, and finish with a great recipe for you to make this weekend. Sound good?

I’m a mom to three amazing kids – a daughter (age 22) and two sons (ages 17 and 5) – and wife to one wonderful guy. I’ve lived for 22 years in a small suburb about 40 minutes north of New York City. Though I graduated with a degree in architecture I never actually practiced, and instead bounced around the design industry until my daughter was born in 1991. I did a long stint as a freelance makeup artist for a major cosmetics company, and when my older son turned 4 I returned to school to get certified in Garden Design. I launched my own landscape design business in 2003. When my little one turned 2 I decided to try my hand at blogging, launching Donuts, Dresses and Dirt in 2011 as a means to “give voice” to my non-landscaping passions. Well, what started as a lark turned into an obsession, and I am now writing full-time.

What I hope to bring to all of you here is the knowledge and experienced I’ve amassed over 2+ decades of feeding my family while balancing the craziness of kids’ schedules, being in school myself and running a business from my home. I’ve gathered so many tips along the way, and they’ve been critical to my staying organized and on top of things while managing to get a delicious, filling dinner on the table most weeknights. And I can’t wait to share those tips with you!

And now for the recipe!

This chili has been in rotation for so long that I don’t even need to refer to the recipe (which is groundbreaking for me!). It is hearty and so delicious, and the spices can be dialed up or down depending on how hot you like your food. I’ve included an easy cornbread recipe to go with it, making this the perfect “Superbowl” meal to serve up next month while you’re watching the game. Though I suspect you’ll want to make it all winter long!

You’re going to double (and freeze) some of the cornbread ingredients, along with a few cups of the leftover chili, for an upcoming recipe that you are going to love!

Finally, I’d love to hear from you – specifically, the kinds of challenges you experience in the kitchen. Whether it’s meal planning, prep, dinner ideas, baking struggles – I want to know!

chili and cornbread

Beef Chili and Easy Cornbread (adapted from The New Good Housekeeping Cookbook)

Serving Size: 6


  • For the chili:
  • 2 lbs. ground beef (you can substitute ground turkey or chicken if you prefer)
  • 1 large green pepper
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 1/3 c. chili powder (more or less, depending on how spicy you like it – I usually halve it for my family)
  • 2 15-19 oz. cans red kidney beans drained, liquid reserved
  • 28 oz. crushed tomatoes in their juice
  • 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 t. salt
  • 1 t. sugar
  • For the corn bread:
  • 1 c. flour *
  • 3/4 c. cornmeal*
  • 3 T. sugar
  • 1 T. baking powder*
  • 1 t. salt*
  • 6 T. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2/3 c. milk
  • *measure out these ingredients twice and place the second batch in a ziploc bag; freeze for future use
  • Accompaniments:
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Shredded cheddar
  • Tortilla or corn chips
  • Tabasco or other hot sauce


  1. The night before or early in the day: Chop the onion, garlic and pepper; place in a covered bowl or ziploc bag and refrigerate till ready to use.
  2. In a 5-quart Dutch oven (or other large pot), combine the beef, peppers, onion and garlic. Saute over high heat, stirring often, until the beef is completely browned (no pink visible) and the cooking liquid is almost evaporated. Add the chili powder and stir for one minute. Add the liquid from the beans along with the tomatoes, tomato paste, bay leaf, salt and sugar and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove cover and continue cooking for another 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add reserved beans and cook for 15 minutes. Remove bay leaf and serve with cornbread and accompaniments (can be made 1-2 days ahead. Cool completely, cover and refrigerate. Reheat prior to serving). Reserve 2 1/2-3 c. of chili and let cool. Place in a ziploc bag and freeze for future use.
  3. While chili is cooking, prepare cornbread: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease an 8” x 8” pan. In a small bowl whisk dry ingredients together. In another bowl whisk beaten egg, milk and butter. Combine wet and dry ingredients till just incorporated (mixture will be lumpy). Scrape batter into prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  4. Cut into 9 squares and serve warm or at room temperature.
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