My Cincinnati Chili and a little time off...

I’m taking a little break.  Instead of chief cook and bottle washer, my temporary new role will be a combo of Florence Nightingale and Clara Barton.

Florence Nightingale was born in Florence, Italy, on May 12, 1820. During the Crimean War (1853-1856), she and a team of nurses improved the unsanitary conditions at a British base hospital, reducing the death count by two-thirds. She gave nursing a highly favourable reputation and became an icon of Victorian culture, especially in the persona of "The Lady with the Lamp" making rounds of wounded soldiers at night.  Her writings sparked worldwide health care reform.

Clarissa "Clara" Harlowe Barton (December 25, 1821 – April 12, 1912) was a pioneering nurse who founded the American Red Cross. She worked as a hospital nurse in the American Civil War (1861-1865), and as a teacher and patent clerk Barton is noteworthy for doing humanitarian work at a time when relatively few women worked outside the home. She had a relationship with John J. Elwell, but never married.

Last week, Bill had knee replacement surgery and I am in charge of bossing him around, woo hoo!   (∗ᵕ̴᷄◡ᵕ̴᷅∗)  making sure he follows doctors’ orders.  And, many thanks to our great son, Bubba,  for helping us out ~ would've been tough without you, and we appreciate all you've done!

In the meantime here's a recipe for the chili we enjoyed before his surgery:
I’m a Buckeye by birth so it doesn’t get much better than Cincinnati Chili!

This was new to Bill:  As in, “Who eats chili with cinnamon and cocoa, over pasta, with cheese sprinkled on top?”  I converted him and made a Cincinnati Chili Believer out of him!

I almost always serve the chili over spaghetti, but naturally, this time when I looked in the cabinet, there was only shell pasta.  It doesn’t make any difference what type pasta is used ~ if you’ve never eaten chili served over hot cooked pasta, you’ve got to try it to see how delicious it is! 

Most chili recipes include tomato sauce and water ~ I swapped V8 juice for them.  I go a little heavy on the chili and garlic powders and add chili beans instead of the traditional kidney beans. 

This is very different from the Southwestern version, and maybe you chili aficionados are doubting, just give it a go to believe it!  

It’s delicious and should there be leftovers, lucky you!

It's perfect for the bitter cold weather we're having now!

Cincinnati Chili, my way
Printable recipe 


2 pounds lean ground beef
2 large onions, chopped
1 (46 ounce) can of V8 juice
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon seasoned pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon red (cayenne) pepper
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa* 
2 (15-ounce) cans chili beans
8 ounces spaghetti, or your favorite pasta
Grated cheddar cheese, for garnish


In a large skillet over medium-high heat, and meat and chop into bite-size pieces.
Add onions and cook until tender and meat is browned.
Tilt skillet and use a baster to remove any accumulated fat. 
In a large pot, add tomato juice and seasonings, stirring well, bringing to a boil.
Reduce heat to medium-low, add meat and beans; cook for 30 minutes, until somewhat thick. 
Meanwhile, cook pasta, according to package directions; drain well.
Divide pasta into 4 bowls, top with chili.
Garnish with cheddar cheese. 
Serve hot with garlic bread or oyster crackers on the side.

*I use Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate Cocoa

This is good eating, ENJOY!



  1. I remember my childhood visits to Cincinnati and the culinary "discussions" that were a part of them. My great uncle, Bob, had his own way of doing things. Chili was one. My mother finally agreed it was delicious but always called it pasta instead of chili. Sometimes for breakfast, he made us toast with a fried egg on top and topped it with ketchup. We loved it. Mother, not so much! Hope Bill has a speedy recovery. Enjoy your "bossy" side!!


    1. Hi Bonnie! That fried egg sounds good to me! My mother's chili was sweet and it was years until I had good hot spicy thick chili. Thanks for Bill's wishes and "bossy" I am. Have a great weekend and keep warm!

  2. I think I like Cincinnati Chili better than regular chili, best of luck and speedy healing!

    1. Thanks Linda! Yes to the chili! Take care

  3. I would definitely put shaped pasta under chili as it makes it easy to eat with a spoon and not have to cut the spaghetti. Good luck to hubby with his knee and speaking from experience - do the therapy. My second one is in two weeks.

    1. Hi Larry! I concur with the shaped pasta, it's definitely easier to eat. And thanks for the wishes and comment therapy! A therapist has been coming to the house 3 days a week and keeps him busy, so he's making great progress and doing well. Thanks again and here's wishing you the best in 2 weeks! Take care

  4. Pam, So Bill is being 'rebuilt' and 'refurbished'! I'm working on the same process...with a hip replacement and 2 carpal tunnel just about 10 days ago. A couple of our friends, (including Big Dude), have just done their knees and you're right. You will have to play nurse, cheerleader and nagging spouse to ensure he does his therapy exercises! As for Cincinnati Chili, sorry...neither my wife or I understand the use of cinnamon in chili. We've tried it in a couple of the highly rated chili parlors in the Cincinnati area and it just didn't work for us. Must be an acquired taste. Take Care and Happy Nursing! Big Daddy Dave

    1. Ha, Dave! Yes, it must be bionic age, new and rebuilt. You have a lot going on too, and good luck with all! He's doing really well and starting to walk with a cane once in a while now. As to the chili, I get it and know a lot of people who agree with you. Bet you're not missing the bitter cold weather here we're having now too. Take care and thanks again!

  5. Mmmmm...chili sounds delicious! I have never seen a recipe that included cocoa....and never served over pasta....but, I am will to have the ole taste buds give it a try!

    1. Thanks, Kate! It's different and we love it. The cocoa just adds to the great flavors.

  6. Hi Pam,
    Hope that your hubby is doing better now that you are there taken care of things...I understand what you are going through I am still taken care of my mom at the rehab and my dad needs looking after as well, so we all have a little of Florence Nightingale and Clara Barton in each one of us. Prayers...
    This recipe is so different, I have never had this type of chili before. What a fabulous idea to put the chili on top of pasta! From V8 Juice and cinnamon wow, this must be a very hearty and warm dish. I must try this one for sure...Copied the recipe and will have to make this when my mom gets home as she loves pasta and chili, so this one has both of her favorites. Thanks for sharing....Rest up as well..
    Hugs Dottie :)

    1. Thanks so much, Dottie! I know you have been one busy lady taking care of your parents, and I wish you the best with it. This recipe is different and really you can adjust the seasonings to your liking. It's hearty and great for this cold weather now, it's all of 2 degrees right now here. Take care and have a great weekend!

  7. Just the fact that's it's on top of one of my fave food groups:) makes it a winner..
    Take care Florence:) And a quick and perfect recovery to your dear husband..I love sons that are so good to us..and daughters..:)

    1. Hi Monique, and thanks! Beyond a shadow of a doubt, I know I'd never make a good nurse, but Bill is progressing well and we're doing fine. Bubba is the best, always there to lend a helping hand!

  8. While I'll never turn down your chili (minus the noodles), I like mine better :)

    And you're very welcome!

    1. Hi son! Yeah, I get the pasta thing! And your chili would wake the dead with all its heat, I think it's great! Thanks again for everything!

  9. My neighbor has been in search of a good Cincinnati chili, I'll have to pass this on to him. Enjoy your nursing duties and remember to take time out for yourself.

    1. Hope it works, Chris! Nurses definitely deserve more credit than they get! You have a great weekend!

  10. Good luck with your surgery Bill. Maybe if you're good she'll make some more chili for you ;) Happy Valentine's Day you two.

    1. He say's "thanks" Sam! Hope things are well your way, and Happy Velentine's Day to you and your hubby!

  11. Family friends used to live in Cincinnati, and the chili on pasta is legendary! Good luck to your patient.

  12. Have fun bossing him around during the convalescence. Great chili. Never thought of serving it with pasta but I always do put cocoa in mine too.

  13. I am always on the lookout for a good chili recipe. Thanks for posting one and good luck with your patient:)

  14. Nursing is hard work! It deserves this chili-which I love by the way. I've got a chili 3,4 or 5 ways on my blog and also a Cincinnati chili, too. So glad you have my back! When I want a change!

  15. I hope Bill has an easy recovery! Will miss you while you're gone, but thanks for this wonderful recipe. Love chili of all kinds, and sometimes make Cincinnati chili. In fact I sometimes borrow the cocoa and cinnamon from this recipe and put it in other types of chili. :-) Never thought to use V-8 juice -- inspired idea. Thanks!

  16. Hope Bill is on the mend. This chili sounds amazing!

  17. This sounds a perfect sauce to me. Hope Bill is doing well and looking forward to your return. Take care Diane

  18. This dish would be perfect for the weather we are having around here today......It's cold and windy outside. Hope Bill is doing well......y'all stay warm

  19. Hope the patient is doing well! I often serve chili over rice, so I know we'd love it over pasta, too :)

  20. Hope he feels better soon!I have never tried chili over pasta...yum!

  21. I hope Bill is recovering nicely and has appreciated all the "bossing around". There was a place in Houston that served Cincinnati chili over spaghetti and I loved it. Thanks for the reminder that I need to make some soon.

  22. Hi Pam:)
    Hope Bill is doing well and you are getting rest too:) Clara Barton, oh my, I played her in a school play once. Gee, I never think about her these days, lol...

    Your Chili looks amazing. Over pasta? Now why didn't I think of that?

    Thanks for sharing, Pam...hope all is well...

  23. Nice chili Pam...sounds and looks very hearty...
    I hope Bill is doing well and wishing him a speedy recovery.
    See you soon :)

  24. Chili is always so good! I hope Bill is feeling much better & you both are enjoying the warmer weather.


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