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mini chili and cheese bowls

by Jackie Newgent  |  March 2, 2015  |  0 Comments

mini chili and cheese bowls

Every year I create a new chili recipe. This year I decided to have extra fun with it and make a party-friendly chili. The recipe is served up in personal-sized sourdough bread bowls. And yes, you can and should eat the bowl!

The chili is a good-for-you bean lovers’ version along with my signature additions of cinnamon and fresh herbs. The bowls are topped with luscious cheese— Sargento® Deli Style Sliced Natural Sharp Cheddar Cheese, that is. To entertain in style, serve each of these cheese-laced “edible” chili bowls topped with Greek yogurt or sour cream. Don’t forget some jalapeño slices for a kick in the palate, too.

Calories saved: 85

Did you know? Pasteurized Process Cheese Food, sometimes known as American singles, is only required to contain 51% real cheese. Sargento slices are 100% real, natural cheese. I made this chili recipe with Sargento® Deli Style Sliced Natural Sharp Cheddar Cheese. Choose sharp Cheddar, like I did, or pick your favorite variety. (Hint: Sargento has 30 delicious sliced varieties.)

Disclosure Note: I teamed up as a paid spokesperson with Sargento Foods to provide you this blog post. The recipe and opinions expressed in this post are my own.

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mini chili and cheese bowls

  • Yield: 12 servings 1x


Units Scale
  • 12 (2 1/2- to 3-ounce) sourdough rolls, preferably whole grain
  • 1 tablespoon unrefined peanut or grapeseed oil
  • 1 large red onion, finely diced
  • 1 small jalapeño, with some seeds, minced
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans kidney beans, drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro or flat-leaf parsley
  • 12 slices Sargento® Deli Style Sliced Natural Sharp Cheddar Cheese, quartered diagonally to make 48 pieces (divided use)


  1. Cut 1/2-inch portion off the top of each roll; set tops aside. Pinch out doughy portion of the rolls; set “bowls” aside. Reserve doughy portion for other use, such as making breadcrumbs.
  2. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and jalapeño and sauté until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomatoes, broth, vinegar, chili powder, and cinnamon, increase heat to high, and bring to a boil for 1 minute. Stir in the beans and salt and return to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cilantro. (Makes 4 cups chili.)
  3. Preheat the broiler. Place one piece of cheese into each bread “bowl”; ladle in the chili (about 1/3 cup each); top with the remaining cheese (3 pieces each); place “bowls” on a baking sheet. Broil (without bread roll tops) until the cheese is bubbly, about 1 1/2 minutes.
  4. Add toppings of choice, if desired, and serve with bread roll tops on the side.


Per serving: 275 calories, 10g total fat, 5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 25mg cholesterol, 530mg sodium, 32g total carbohydrate, 7g dietary fiber, 6g sugars, 15g protein


  • Serving Size: 1 bowl

The “Before” Version

Inspired by all-american chili bowl
Makes 8 servings

1 tablespoon butter or extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/4 pounds ground beef or turkey
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 (15-ounce) cans kidney beans (with liquid)
2 (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes (with liquid)
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
8 (3/4-ounce) slices pasteurized process cheese food (American singles), halved

Melt the butter in a Dutch oven or extra-large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the beef, bell pepper, and onion and sauté until the beef is cooked through and browned, about 12 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the beans, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, chili powder, salt, and black pepper and cook while stirring until the chili mixture reaches a full boil, about 12 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the flavors are well combined and chili is desired consistency, about 35 minutes. Ladle into individual bowls, top each with a cheese half, and serve.

Per serving: 360 calories, 17g total fat, 8g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 65mg cholesterol, 1280mg sodium, 28g total carbohydrate, 8g dietary fiber, 8g sugars, 24g protein


Tasteover Tips

  • Skip pasteurized process cheese food; always use natural cheese for great taste and quality nutrition
  • Pick a sharp cheese for higher flavor
  • For flavor intrigue, add a sweet spice, such as cinnamon, to chili
  • For a pop of freshness, stir fresh herbs into chili at the end of the cooking process
  • For extra fun, serve cheesy chili in personal-sized bread bowls – we do eat with our eyes!

mini chili and cheese bowls

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