The 2021 Bark Bowl Chili Cook-Off Recipes

Local News

During the WCIA 3 News Bark Bowl, members of the WCIA 3 Staff competed in the Chili Cook-Off at halftime! Chefs included Jen Lask, Christie Battista and Jacob Dickey. Judges were MacLeod Hageman, Jamie Mayes and Bret Behrens.

Jacob’s White Chicken Chili

– 1.5 lbs (2 large) boneless skinless chicken breasts
– 1 large yellow onion, diced
– 4 tbsp garlic, minced
– 32 oz low sodium chicken broth
– 2 (15 oz) cans great Northern Beans, drained and rinsed
– 1 (7 oz) can diced green chiles
– 1 (15 oz) can semi sweet whole kernel corn
– 2 tsp cumin
– 2 tsp oregano
– 1 tsp chili powder
– 1 packet dry ranch dressing mix
– 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
– Salt & Pepper, to taste
– 2 tbsp cilantro
– 8 oz Cream Cheese, softened
– 1/2 c half & half

Optional Toppings:
– sliced jalapenos
– sliced avocados
– sour cream
– parmesan cheese
– minced fresh cilantro
– tortilla strips
– lime juice
– shredded cheese


  1. Place raw chicken breasts in bottom of slow cooker coated in non-stick spray. Top with salt, pepper, cumin, oregano, chili powder, ranch dressing packet and cayenne pepper.
  2. Top with diced onions, minced garlic, great Northern beans, green chilies, corn broth and cilantro. Stir together.
  3. Cover and cook low and slow for at least 8 hours, but up to 16.
  4. Remove chicken from slow cooker and shred in mixing bowl. Return shredded chicken to slow cooker and stir well.
  5. Add cream cheese and half & half, stirring together. Cook on high for at least 30 minutes, potentially up to one hour until your cream cheese dissolves. Stir occasionally.
  6. Before serving, stir well and serve with desired toppings.

Tips and Tricks:

  1. Your cream cheese may separate or curdle in the crock-pot. Stirring occasionally will help it dissolve into the chili.
  2. Add extra broth if your chili is too thick.
  3. You can add extra chili to bring up the heat, or include more cilantro and lime directly into the bowl to bring out more flavor.

Nonni’s Chili by Jen


  • 5 tbs olive oil, divided
  • 1 finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1/4 cup diced green peppers
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2.5 lbs ground beef (lean)
  • 28 ounces diced tomatoes
  • 8 ounces tomato paste
  • 4 tbs chili powder diluted in 2 tbs of water (forms a paste)
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 2 tbs sugar
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp coarse oregano (1/2 tsp if powdered)
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup sliced baby bella mushrooms
  • 28 ounces red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • Shredded cheddar cheese (optional toppings)


Heat 4 tbs of olive oil. Add onions, green peppers and celery. Sauté until golden brown.
Add garlic, stirring it in for roughly 30 seconds.
Add beef, stirring until the meat is lightly browned. Separate large chunks with a fork.
In a different pan, sauté mushrooms in remaining 1 tbs of olive oil. Set aside for later.
Separate and remove fat from beef.
Pour in diced tomatoes and tomato paste. Stir to combine. 
Add chili powder paste.
Add sugar, salt, nutmeg, oregano, pepper and baking soda.
Add sautéed mushrooms to pot. Stir to combine.
Bring mixture to a boil and then reduce heat to low. Let chili simmer. Add kidney beans an hour before serving. NOTE: For extra great flavor, allow chili to marinate overnight after adding all ingredients. Then, reheat chili on the stove before serving the next day. 
Top with cheddar cheese.

Christie’s Black Bean Beer Chili


1 tsp plus 1 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 lb ground beef (I use 2 lbs)
1 large onion chopped
5 garlic cloves minced
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp ground oregano
1 bottle dark beer (I use Oktoberfest)
1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes (optional, I like the chunks)
1 Tbsp minced canned chipotles in adobo, or more to taste
1 Tbsp honey
2 cans (15 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice 


  1.  Heat a tsp of olive oil in a large pot on medium heat. Add the beef and sauté, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until it’s browned, about 5 minutes. Remove the beef from pot with a slotted spoon. Set aside. 
  2. Pour out the remaining liquid from the pot. Add a Tbsp of oil. Add the chopped onion, sauté until soft. Add the garlic, and sauté for another minute. Stir in the chili powder, cumin and oregano. 
  3. Add the beer. Simmer for about 5 minutes. Put the beef back in the pot. Stir. Add the tomatoes, chipotles and honey. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about an hour. Stir every once in a while. Add water if needed. 
  4. Add the beans in the last 5 minutes of cooking just to heat through. Stir in lime juice. 
  5. Serve with your favorite toppings!

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