Cincinnati Chili: Cheer for the Bengals when you whip up the regional chili for your love. | Melissa Elsmo/Food Editor

A homecooked meal is a fine way to show  the love in your life how much you care and these recipes give a nod to the big game. Be sure to shop locally for the ingredients for use in these recipes. Cheers!

Cheer for Cincinnati!

Cincinnati-style chili is undeniably special and altogether crave-worthy — the sweet-spice laden dish is a regional specialty and perfect gameday fare for the sweetie in your life.  Since the city’s football team is headed to the Big Game next weekend try whipping up a batch of this customizable chili to show your favorite fan how much you love them! Be sure to begin preparing this dish the day before you plan to serve it.

Cincinnati Chili (serves 10)

6 Cups of water
2 pounds of ground chuck
8 garlic cloves, smashed and minced
1 large onion finely chopped
2 ½ Tablespoons cider vinegar
1 ½ Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 14.5-ounce can of tomato sauce
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
¾ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoons ground cloves
2 bay leaves
1-ounce of baking chocolate, grated

Garnishes: cooked spaghetti, grated sharp cheddar cheese, diced white onion, and dark red kidney beans, hot sauce, oyster crackers and mini hot dogs in buns.

Bring the water to a boil. Whisk in the raw meat taking care to break it up well. Lower the heat to a simmer and add the garlic, onion, vinegar and Worcestershire sauce and tomato sauce. Stir in all the spices, bay leaves and chocolate. Simmer the soup on low, uncovered for 3 hours, stirring occasionally. Add more water ½ cup at a time if the mixture becomes too thick as it cooks. Remove the bay leaves, cool the chili and refrigerate overnight. To serve, discard the fat from the top of the cooled chili. Reheat the chili and serve over spaghetti noodles with desired garnishes. 

Avocado Toast: Cheer for the Rams when you serve avocado egg toast to your Valentine. | Melissa Elsmo/Food Editor

Kick it California Style!

Rooting for the Rams can be downright delicious! Bring a brunch vibe to your game day menu with avocado toast — the dish has been quintessential California fare since the 1800s and it manages to feel modern to this day. You’ll feel like a Sunshine State champion when you show the breakfast fan in your life a little love! Visit and search avocado toast to learn how to poach an egg.

Avocado Egg Toast (serving two)

2 slices of wheat bread, toasted
1 ripe avocado, thinly sliced
4 (1/4 thick) slices of red ripe heirloom tomato
2 eggs, poached or sunny side up
2 slices of thick cut bacon, cooked and crumbled (optional)
Shavings from a block of Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/2 Cup of baby arugula leaves
1 sliced yellow or orange grape tomato (optional)
2 teaspoon olive oil

Place the toast on two plates. Fan the sliced avocado on top of the toast and sprinkle it with a pinch of salt and pepper.  Place the tomato slices on the avocado and season lightly with salt and pepper.  Sprinkle the tomato with half the crumbled bacon if using and 1-2 shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano. Assemble the toast to this point and then cook your egg. Place the egg over the tomato in the center of the toast.  Sprinkle the egg lightly with salt and pepper and top with the baby arugula leaves. Drizzle the olive oil over the arugula, sprinkle the toast with the remaining bacon and a few more Pamigiano-Reggiano shavings. Tuck a few slices of yellow grape tomato on the toast to add a contrast of color if desired.

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