Chili, Dinner

Skyline Chili – my version


Disclaimer: I forgot my new camera’s memory card in a bag at work – so I had to use my old camera. So….pics are limited and pretty blah. Next time I make this I’ll take new pics…

Yeah, I had completely planned on making a roast chicken yesterday. That was the plan for the past few days…until the day before, when I thought of making my version of skyline chili and now that’s all I can think about. Goodbye roast chicken – maybe I’ll make you tomorrow. Skyline chili – hello lover.

My mom makes a mean skyline chili – like, it might be one of my favorite foods she makes. Poured over noodles, with cheddar cheese and tons of red hot sauce – oh boy….so good. If you’ve never had skyline chili – here’s a little background. It’s also called Cincinnati chili – b/c it was created in Cincinnati – clever! Ha! Anyways, it’s a ground beef chili without beans – it’s thinner than most traditional chili’s and it contains sweeter spices like cinnamon, cloves, and allspice. Traditionally served on top of spaghetti noodles – it’s topped with one or all of the following: cheddar cheese, hot sauce, diced onions, kidney beans, and oyster crackers.

I have made this a few times for myself and Naaman – and even though it makes enough for 8 people, we eat large quantities of it for a few days and don’t get sick of it. In an attempt to make this healthy and low carb enough for me to eat with my diet – I am making this with 93% lean ground beef and instead of the traditional spaghetti noodles I am using spaghetti squash as an alternative. Which I’m not even sad about – because they’re pretty good. And I can eat a cup and a half of these “noddle’s” – and it only has 15 carbs. Not bad at all.

First things first….here are the ingredients you’ll need for this recipe. There are a lot of spices – but that’s not something I’m afraid of – and you shouldn’t be either. And you’ll see there’s some unsweetened cocoa powder there – that may seem weird….but if you’ve ever tasted unsweetened cocoa – you know that it won’t make the chili sweet – it will give it depth of flavor…big time. I forgot to put the allspice and cloves in the picture – whoops.

Using a Dutch oven, break up the beef in the pan with the water – you basically will have a ground beef soup, which will look pretty gross, but it’s a necessary step. You want the pieces of beef in the skyline chili to be very small….not big chunks. Using a wooden spoon keep breaking up the pieces until you have an even consistency. Should take about 20 minutes or so. If you notice that you have large pieces remaining in the mixture – take the back of your spoon and crush the chunks against the side of the pan – do this over and over until it looks right. I read online someone took the beef out of the pan and put into a food processor – that seems a little extreme….so for your own sanity – I suggest simply using a spoon!

Now you can add the rest of the ingredients – I used my food processor and chopped up the onions very small – because while I love the flavor they add, you don’t want big pieces of onion in this chili. You can grate the onion on a cheese grater as well if you don’t feel like bringing out the big guns. Let the skyline chili simmer over medium heat for a while – like an hour and half. Most recipes say 3 hours – but – I don’t think you need it that long. Stir the chili every 20 -25 minutes or so to make sure it’s not sticking to the bottom – and add more water if it’s starting to get too thick. You want it to be thick enough that it will stick to spaghetti – but not like a soup.

While that’s cooking– I will start on the spaghetti squash. I cook this really simply – slice it in half, remove the seeds. Poke the outside of the skin with a fork 5-6 times – put on a microwaveable plate and microwave for 10 minutes – or until you can put your fork through the entire thing easily.

Take the squash and using a fork, simply scrape the inside and it will create noodle-like pieces of the squash. Before serving – make sure you drain the water out of the squash with towels – or else your dish will be too watery. The sauce will stick better to the noodles now.

Meanwhile – I’m also going to cook up a few portions of regular spaghetti for Naaman to eat with it. Lucky. No, I have to keep reiterating that spaghetti squash is just as good….or else I’ll be jealous. And P.S. it really is just as good. The flavor of the squash isn’t strong so it doesn’t overpower the chili flavor. It goes very nicely with it!

Now finally it’s time to eat! Put a serving of the noodles in a bowl – be smart and choose a large bowl – believe me, you’ll thank me later. Then ladle out 2 big scoops of the chili on top. Put any topping you’d like on top….I only like sharp cheddar cheese and lots and lots of red hot sauce. Naaman likes cheese, Tabasco, and diced white onions. Really, it’s however you ‘d like it! Enjoy!

Skyline Chili – my version

Serves 6-8

Click here for recipe.

1 quart cold water
2 lbs. ground beef – I used 93% lean beef, can substitute ground turkey or chicken
1 cup crushed tomato
3 T. tomato paste
1 medium white onion – grated or pureed
1 t. garlic powder
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 T. unsweetened cocoa
¼ c. chili powder
1 t. cayenne
2 t. ground cumin
2 T. cider vinegar
1 whole bay leaf
1/8 t. ground cloves
1/8 t. allspice
1 t. cinnamon
1 T. salt
1 t. pepper

Spaghetti squash, cooked and shredded
Spaghetti noodles
Sharp cheddar cheese
Diced white onions
Kidney beans
Oyster crackers
Hot sauce – any variety


  1. Add beef and water to a Dutch oven. Bring to a simmer while stirring until the ground beef is in very small pieces. Simmer for 20-30 minutes.
  2. Dice or puree onion. And add to the pot
  3. Add all the rest of the ingredients.
  4. Simmer on low, uncovered, for 1 hours. Stir every 10 minutes and add water as needed if the chili becomes too thick.
  5. Serve over noodles, spaghetti squash and top with anything you’d like!



  1. OMG – It’s only 10 am and I could eat this now. Delish!

  2. I love skyline too! But I like it over s hot dog with cheese and onions—

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