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South Williamsport, PA
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Hello October!

Ahhhh, hey there, October! One of my favorite months of the year. October means crisp fall mornings and nights lit with jack-o’-lanterns. It means hoodies, boots, and flannels. Pumpkin spice, hot cocoa, and apple cider will fill mugs — corn mazes, pumpkin patches, haunted hayrides, and bonfires. There are so many things that kick off

Ahhhh, hey there, October! One of my favorite months of the year. October means crisp fall mornings and nights lit with jack-o’-lanterns. It means hoodies, boots, and flannels. Pumpkin spice, hot cocoa, and apple cider will fill mugs — corn mazes, pumpkin patches, haunted hayrides, and bonfires. There are so many things that kick off fall.

We celebrate with an annual hayride each year. This year will be our eighth year having it. My son was only three when we decided to start having one. Each year it has gotten bigger and bigger. We invite the same eighty people now, and each year have at least sixty people come. It’s always the first Saturday in October, and it’s something we all look forward to.

The first year when we started it, I made two crockpots of soups, and everyone just brought some fall snacks. We only needed one table for food. Now, we have between ten and twelve different soups and need two tables just to fit food.

The second year, I came up with the idea of having a soup cook-off, and people vote each year for their favorites, which has definitely become a tradition that everyone enjoys.

This year I started a new tradition that not only do we have the soup cook-off contest, but I added a pie contest now too. So far, we are up to ten pies, and who knows just how many we will end up with.

I love soups. When the weather gets cold, it’s one of the first things I get anxious to make. With the soup cook-off, you just never know what kind of soups will be there. I buy little tiny 3-ounce cups so everyone can sample each soup or get a big bowl of a soup they really love.

I typically make my cheeseburger soup or chicken cordon bleu soup for everyone, but this year I just made a new soup that my family really enjoyed. My husband said that I needed to make it for the hayride. It’s funny because the word chili is in the name of this soup and growing up — I wasn’t a soup lover.

Now, I loved grilled cheese with tomato soup, and of course, my momma’s potato soup on a cold winter’s day. I loved the smell when she had a big pot of potato soup on the stove. It still takes me back to those days when I made it, but one thing I was not a fan of was chili. Back when Chris and I were dating, we would still eat at my house because my mom cooked each night. I got good at asking what was for dinner, and if we didn’t like what she was making, we would just go out to eat. Geeze, how rude was that!? I still apologize to her now that I am cooking each night for my own family and seeing how ignorant that was. We didn’t do it too often, but I remember two things I didn’t stick around for chili and SOS.
OK, OK, so it’s creamed dried beef but whoever made the other name for that was spot on! Seriously, google it. It’s a real thing.

Anyway, I don’t know if the older you get, the more you enjoy soup, but every year I enjoy soup more and more. It’s my big bowl of comfort. I love it! I’m also happy to share that I love me some chili now too. If my momma called me today and told me to come over for some chili and cornbread, I’d be there. You don’t have to ask me twice! The SOS? Ehhhh, so I guess I haven’t adulted enough for that yet and don’t think I ever will. Sorry, Ma. Can’t say you didn’t try!

So, this is me introducing you to a new version of chili, not that I don’t like the normal kind, but when you add cheese and pasta, something magical just happens! This was the first soup I made for the season, and I can’t wait to make it again. I hope some night this month, when you feel that crisp fall air and get the urge to make soup for dinner, that you give this a try.

Happy Fall, Y’all!!!

One Pot Chili Mac n Cheese

Ingredients:
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1/2 green pepper (diced)
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 onion, diced
• 2 lbs ground beef
• 5 cups chicken broth
• 3/4 cup milk
• 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
• 15 ounce canned white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
• 15 ounce canned kidney beans, drained and rinsed
• 2 -1/2 teaspoons chili powder
• 2 teaspoon cumin
• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
• 16 ounces elbow macaroni ( I used Protein Pasta)
• 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
• 5 oz of Velveeta Cheese

Directions:

Heat olive oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add garlic, onion, pepper and ground beef, and cook until browned, about 3-5 minutes, making sure to crumble the beef as it cooks; drain excess fat.

Stir in chicken broth, tomatoes, beans, chili powder and cumin; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bring to a simmer and stir in pasta. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer until pasta is cooked through, about 13-15 minutes. Then add milk and Velveeta, stir until thick and melted.

Remove from heat. Top with sharp cheese and cover until melted.

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