Recipes to make for the Army-Navy match: Brianna Keilar’s chili macaroni and a cocktail


In this seven-part series, CNN presenters invite viewers into their kitchen, where they share recipes and family traditions with tutorials, tips and personal stories.

In honor of deployed servicemen, CNN’s Brianna Keilar makes Game Day Chili Mac, “The US Army’s Most Popular MRE (Ready-To-Eat),” and Army Football Theme Cocktail -Navy on December 11, she said via email.
“My husband is a Green Beret,” said Keilar, co-host of CNN’s morning show New Day and author of the CNN Politics Home Front column, which aims to bridge the gap between the military and civilians.

“The biggest rivalry, as far as we are concerned, in college football is the Army-Navy match,” she added. “It’s taking over my house. It’s quite a preparation.”

As someone who has experienced Ohio’s dining scene often while traveling for work, Keilar made a Cincinnati-style Skyline Chili restaurant-inspired dish that includes spices you might not associate with. not usually chili, like cinnamon, cloves, and allspice, which create a more complex flavor, Keilar said.

“Don’t be offended, the version we make is a significant upgrade from the food bag version, even though this chili mac doesn’t have a three and a half year shelf life,” Keilar said.

Chili isn’t only good for game day, but you’ll need something in your stomach if you’re going to drink during the game, Keilar said.

That’s where the Army & Navy cocktail comes in, a classic drink created at least 73 years ago to celebrate the football game.

Keilar used the blog’s version of Moody Mixologist recipes, which balances “the acidity of fresh lemon juice” with sweet, creamy barley syrup and Angostura bitters which impart depth and complexity, according to Moody Mixologist.

Below are the ingredients, instructions, and tips recommended by Keilar and Amy Traynor (the Moody Mixologist) for both recipes.

Game Day Chili Mac

Makes 4 servings


  • 2 pounds of ground beef
  • 1 medium Vidalia onion, chopped + 1 more for garnish, chopped (optional)
  • 5 cups of beef broth
  • 8 ounces of tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons of chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 ½ tablespoons of cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (or red pepper flakes)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • teaspoon of ground cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pound of spaghetti (1 package)
  • Lots of grated medium cheddar cheese


1. In a Dutch oven or large saucepan, brown the ground beef and 1 chopped onion, about 10 minutes. Brianna likes the ground beef to be more broken up, so she used a hand potato masher or pastry blender to separate the pieces (you can also do this with a spatula).

2. Drain the fat if necessary.

3. Add the beef broth, then simmer for 10 minutes.

4. Add the tomato paste, chili powder, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, cocoa powder, garlic powder, cinnamon, cumin, cayenne pepper, chili pepper. Jamaica, cloves and bay leaf. Simmer – uncovered so that the chili reduces – for 1 hour.

5. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the spaghetti until al dente.

6. Remove the bay leaf from the pepper. Use a spoon to scoop out the fat if necessary.

7. Serve the chili over spaghetti. Top with cheese and, if you prefer, 1 chopped onion.

Army & Navy Cocktail

Make this cocktail to add a little sparkle to your meal.

Makes 2 servings


  • ¾ ounce of lemon juice, fresh or bottled (if using fresh, you need 1 or 2 lemons, depending on the size) + 1 lemon to make twists for garnish (optional)
  • 2 ounces of gin
  • ½ ounce of barley syrup
  • 1 dash of Angostura bitter (can replace other bitters like chocolate or cherry)
  • Edible flowers for decoration (optional)


1. If you are using fresh lemon, squeeze it into a small bowl.

2. Fill your shaker three-quarters full with ice cubes.

Enhance your cocktail with these carts and bar accessories (CNN underlined)

3. Add the gin, lemon juice, barley syrup and bitters to the shaker. If you are using a jigger, pour and measure each ingredient into the jigger one by one, then add it to the shaker.

4. Stir until cool and combine, then filter into cups.

5. Garnish with lemon zest and edible flowers if desired.

Stay tuned for the next edition of this series, in which CNN presenters reveal cooking tips and personal cooking stories.


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