Straight From the Wagontrain: Sunday Night Chili


Did you ever wonder where chili comes from? Whether you have the 4 alarm chili that leaves you eyes watering and your hands frantically searching for the milk, or a mellower blend of vegetables, meat, beans and delicate seasoning, almost everyone enjoys a good bowl of chili.

Maybe if we were eating the same chili as the cowboy trails of the American west where this popular dish originated we wouldn’t be so quick to fill our bowls! Chili peppers were mashed together with whatever meat was available, beans and whatever other herbs were available and cooked overnight. The chili peppers could mask the taste of meat which was a little past it’s prime.

Check out the recipe below for a secret ingredient, ginger, for a delicate warmth on a cold winter night.

Sunday Night Chili

5 lb ground round or 95% lean ground beef

1/2 red pepper

1/2 sweet onion

1/2 green pepper

3 T chili powder

1 T garlic powder

1/4 t ginger

1 small can diced tomatos

1 large can tomato sauce

1 small can dark red kidney beans

1 small can hominy

Brown the meat with diced pepper and onion, add spices, then tomatoes and beans. Cook on low for an hour. Serve with rice or elbow macaroni. Mix up some cornbread to round out the meal.


1 c flour

1 c cornmeal

1 t salt

3 t baking powder

1/4 c suger

1 egg

3 T oil

1 1/2 c milk

Mix sugar, oil, egg. Sift together and mix with previous ingredients. Stir in milk. Bake 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees, until a toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.


About Frances Wiedenhoeft

Over the first 22 years of my military career I served with the 44th General Hospital in Lanstuhl Germany for Operation Desert Storm, and with the 452nd CSH in Bagram Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom, supporting the efforts of the 101st Airborne Division and the 10th Mountain Division. Nothing prepared me for the brutality I encountered on my deployment as anesthesia support to the 1872nd Head and Neck Surgical Team of the 332nd EMDG at the Ballad Airbase Hospital in Balad, Iraq. Out of the hundreds of critically ill and injured patients I cared for over my career the number and severity of injuries in Iraq, especially against civilians, were the most brutal and devastating war could inflict. For most of both wars the Balad Airbase Hospital was the busiest trauma center in the combat zone. When not deployed I honed my skills at Wisconsin's Level I Trauma Center, the University of Wisconsin Hospital. (1994-2009) While there, in addition to a full anesthesia caseload I performed my own original clinical research on Single Dose Epidural Morphine in Gynecologic Oncology Surgery which was published in American Association of Nurse Anesthetists Journal 1999. I hold a Certification in Nurse Anesthesia from the Minneapolis VA School of Anesthesia (1994), a MA in Human Resource Development from the University of St. Thomas (1994) and a BS in Nursing from the University of Wisconsin (1984). I completed military education through Command and General Staff College. Since retiring from anesthesia in 2009 I attended Madison College where I studied Journalism and creative writing. I write in a variety of genres. I have published academic articles Staphylococcus Aureus Peritoneal Dialysis Catheter Related Infections: A Cause of Catheter Loss and Peritonitis in Peritoneal Dialysis International, Phentolamine as a Diagnostic tool in Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy in Anesthesia and Analgesia and Single Dose Epidural Morphine in Gynecologic Oncology Surgery in the Journal of American Association of Nurse Anesthetists. My journalistic writing includes 20 years of guest editorials for The Wisconsin State Journal such as Return land to Ho-Chunk, Tribes seeking cooperation with the state and Honor a veteran; give of yourself. I worked as a staff writer for The Clarion while completing my journalism certificate contributing such articles as Candidates and your financial aid, A face in Wisconsin’s Electoral College: Fred Risser, and Dedicated to her game. I have published poetry related to her combat service online at and in print in the 2015 Ariel Anthology. I hold memberships in the National Writers Union, the Academy of American Poets, the Wisconsin Writers Association and the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets. I have a passion for exploring social issues such as; the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the environment particularly water use and conservation, and healthy hearts and minds which I share online through my blog My enthusiasm for cooking and baking led me to create Bubbe’s Nightly Feast: For Cooks Who Are Afraid of Their Kitchens at where I share simple healthy recipes designed for people short on cooking experience. I am also a regular photographic contributor to

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