Today’s recipe in the Cooking Light Ground Beef Series is Chili-Corn Chip Pie. This recipe is based on the Fritos Chili Pie often seen at county fairs and festivals. Have you ever had a Fritos Chili Pie? The concessionaire slices open the side of a small bag of Fritos, ladles chili on top of the Fritos and allows you to garnish as desired with cheese, sour cream, or onions.

I had my first (and only) Fritos Chili Pie a few years ago at a small county fair. I will admit to you that I was seriously underwhelmed. Thinking back, the problem was that the chili wasn’t great and I let that one experience keep me from ordering another Fritos Chili Pie or attempting to re-create it for my family.

Consequently, I was having a tough time mustering up any enthusiasm. Then I looked at the recipe again and realized that although the chili was simple, the ingredients were flavorful and should make a good-tasting chili. I pulled out my skillet and went to work.

It took me a little over thirty minutes to get on this table and I let everyone fix their own bowls, adding their favorite garnishes. I watched as the kids started eating, curious what their first reactions would be. I think my oldest son’s comments summed it up for all of them, “This is even better than the Chips & Chili they serve at school!”

High praise, indeed.







Chili-Corn Chip Pie
Total time: 40 minutes
Serves 4
 Cooking spray
1 lb. ground sirloin
1 ¼ C. chopped onion
6 garlic cloves, minced
½ tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. ground red pepper
1/8 tsp. kosher salt
1 T. no-salt-added tomato paste
1 C. fat-free, lower-sodium beef broth
1/3 C. water
1 (10 oz.) can diced tomatoes and green chiles, undrained
4 oz. lightly salted corn chips (such as Fritos)
1/3 C. (1 ½ oz.) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
¼ C. fat-free sour cream
½ C. diagonally sliced green onion tops
  1. Heat large skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add beef to pan; sauté 5 minutes, stirring to crumble. Remove beef; drain. Wipe pan clean with paper towels. Add onion to pan; sauté 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in beef, cumin, pepper, and salt.
  2. Stir in tomato paste; cook 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Add broth, 1/3 C. water and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer 15 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
  3. Place 1 ounce chips in each of 4 bowls, and top each serving with about 2/3 cup beef mixture, 2 tablespoons cheese, and 1 tablespoon sour cream. Sprinkle each serving with 2 tablespoons green onions.

I was forced to make two substitutions: I did not have Fritos on hand, nor could I find them at the grocery store in my small town (apparently there was a run on Fritos this week!), so I used regular corn chips instead. And I would have sworn I had green onions, but when I went to get them out of the fridge they were no where to be found. I finally decided to add a little romaine lettuce for the color. Oops!