November 20, 2017

Squirrels Chili Cook-off 2017: The Dethroning of “The Jons”

It seemed impossible to do. Who possessed the chili-making skill that could FINALLY dethrone the “Jons,” and take on the Chili Champion title?


During our fifth annual Squirrels Chili Cook-off, it happened. Connal Kelly, a Squirrels account executive, came out victorious with her chili, Ezekiel Peppers Direct. This is Connal’s first win and her first chili cook-off appearance. Ezekiel Peppers Direct is a simple, yet highly delectable chili with a spicy kick that’s sure to satisfy your taste buds. The full recipe is below. 

When asked what the secret to her success was, she responded, “There were a lot of ingredients.”

Her chili rendition consisted of 27 total ingredients including Bell’s Amber Ale, ground beef, Anaheim chilies and Italian sausage.

Here’s the complete Ezekiel Peppers Direct recipe:


  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 4 Anaheim chili peppers, roasted, peeled and diced
  • 4 Poblano chili peppers, roasted, peeled and diced
  • 2 red bell peppers, diced jalapeno chili peppers, minced
  • 2 yellow onions, diced
  • 1 head of garlic, minced
  • 2 lbs. ground beef
  • 1 lb. bulk Italian sausage
  • 1 lb. bulk hot sausage
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons granulated garlic
  • 2 teaspoons granulated onion
  • 2 teaspoons hot paprika
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 cup tomato paste
  • 12 oz. Bell’s Amber Ale
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 16 oz. can kidney beans
  • 1 16oz can pinto beans
  • 2 tablespoons of cornstarch
  • ½ cup water


  1. Add the olive oil and butter to a large stockpot over medium high heat.
  2. Add the Anaheim chilies, poblano chilies, red bell peppers, jalapeno chilies and onions, and cook until caramelized, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and sauté 1 minute longer. Remove vegetables and set aside.
  4. Add the ground beef and sausage to the stockpot and cook until the meat is browned and cooked through, 7 to 10 minutes.
  5. Add the chili powder, cayenne, coriander, cumin, granulated garlic, granulated onion, paprika, salt and black pepper, and cook for 5 minutes.
  6. Stir in the beer and cook for another 3 minutes.
  7. Add the tomato sauce, tomato paste and stock; cook about 5 minutes.
  8. Add the kidney and pinto beans; lower the heat and simmer, about 2 hours.
  9. After 2 hours if you would like a thicker chili, mix together 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and ½ cup of water in a bowl, combine.
  10. Stir into chili and simmer for another 15 minutes.


Five other members of the Squirrels team also entered their chili into the contest with hopes to get their name engraved on our chili trophy. We couldn’t have made this day happen without the rest of the amazing chilies that are all winners in our hearts (in order from 2nd – 4th place): El Caribe (Nate Wendell), Coup De Grace (Jon Bishop) and Bourbon N’ Bacon (Becky Shiring). Rabbit Food (Mike Bruin) and #NotMyChili (Kyle Gritzan and Jessica Chevalier) tied for 5th.

In addition to the delicious chili, we also enjoyed Fireball Sangria, cornbread, pumpkin chocolate chip cookie dough cups, pumpkin trifle and apple crisp.

Note: The Fireball Sangria tied for third place with Coup De Grace. Yeah, it was that good!

If you try out the Ezekiel Peppers Direct recipe, tell us what you think in the comments below! Enjoy!

November 23, 2016

Where's the Beef?

Squirrels Chili Cook-off

If there is one thing you should know about us, it’s that we take chili very seriously.

Squirrels celebrated its fourth annual chili cook-off last Friday. Seven unique employee-made chilis were entered into the contest. We’re just now coming out of the food coma, and we have absolutely no regrets about the amount of food we consumed. We’ve learned that it’s best to view the chili cook-off as Thanksgiving preparation. Although it was 70 degrees and sunny outside, that didn’t stop us from enjoying the chili utopia and copious amounts of deserts that employees graciously made for the day.

Also, we are forever thankful to whoever provided the cornbread.

After sampling all of the goodness and tallying up votes, the “Jons” continued their Squirrels chili cook-off dominance.  Reigning champion Jon Bishop was crowned the winner once again with his “Cornquistador” chili. Cornquistador is a thick, spicy pork and corn chili with a cheesy base and a lasting–but bearable–heat. It contains three types of meat (bacon, chorizo and ground pork), six different spices and six kinds of veggies, all sliced to perfection.

Here’s the complete recipe:

1 yellow onion, diced small
1 bag of small sweet peppers (yellow and red), deseeded, diced small
1 shallot, minced as finely as possible (it’ll basically dissolve overnight)
4 jalapeños, chopped, seeds in
2 serrano chili peppers, thinly sliced

Veggies go into the crockpot first.

1lb. of ground pork, browned in Sriracha, salt and pepper
1lb. of chorizo, crumbled, browned in the same skillet
9 strips of thick-cut bacon, cut into bits, drizzled in honey and seared in the same skillet

Throw all of that into a bowl, drain the fat. Add to chili after the veggies and before the sauce and spice.

1 can of Campbell’s Cheddar Cheese sauce
1 6oz can of tomato paste
1 can of Rotel diced tomatoes with lime and cilantro

1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
Spread the sauces over the meat, add spice and stir. Cook on low for 6 hours.

2 cans of corn, drained
2 extra jalapeños, chopped
1 extra Serrano chili, thinly sliced
1.5 packages of tex mex shredded cheese
The juice of 1 lime
Season to taste (I added a little extra salt, paprika and chili powder)

This is Jon’s second consecutive win, following two-time champ Jon Zelasko. Will anyone ever dethrone the “Jons?”

Sam Coffman came in second with her “Give Thanks” chili, which was an all turkey, Thanksgiving-inspired recipe. This sure gave us all the warm, cozy feels with Thanksgiving just days away.

Squirrels Chili Cook-off

Although only one chili was crowned champion, we couldn’t have made this day happen without the rest of the amazing chilis that are all winners in our hearts: Coco B. Crisp (Ashley Swinehart), Wine Chili (Andrea Sommers), Chili – by name only (Mike Bruin), Burnt Nose (Aaron Rinier) and Membabeans N’ Meat (Jessica Chevalier and Kyle Gritzan).

Squirrels Chili Cook-off Winner


November 19, 2015

2015 Squirrels Chili Cook-off dethrones two-time defending champion

Every November, Squirrels employees spend hours crafting their perfect chili for a chance to be the next reigning chili champion. This year, two-time champ Jon Z. handed the trophy off to a fellow Jon—Jon B. The winning chili, “1-800-THREEMEATBLING,” was a mix of ground beef, chorizo, steak, red and green pepper, onion and more.

“I wanted to make a chili as spicy as Drake’s dance moves," Jon B. said. “There’s not much of my chili left in there, so that’s pretty good."


Ashley S. came in second with her rendition of chili appropriately titled “Chipotle.”

“’Chipotle’ paid homage to the smoky heat that is chipotle chili peppers,” she said.

Marinated in Southern Tier Warlock, the beef chili gave the fast food chain a run for its money.

The chili cook-off, now in its third year, saw nine submissions. Chiles of all types were submitted—from sans beans and meatless to Mexican-inspired and multi-meat dishes. Some who didn’t enter the chili cook-off added to the fun with supporting dishes and sweets—cornbread, pumpkin pie and puppy chow to name a few.

Pumpkin Pie

As we digest today, we’re already looking forward to next year’s cook-off.

Jon Bishop Winner

November 13, 2014

Squirrels Gets Chili AND Chilly

The 2nd Annual Squirrels Chili Cook-off was held this afternoon, just in time for the first snow of the year!

With lots of cornbread, Fritos and cheese at our disposal, the whole company sampled each chili and voted on a favorite. Despite strong efforts from Meghan, Nate, Aaron, Matt B., Mike and Heather, Jon Z.’s “Stout and Spicy” chili took home the trophy… for the second year in a row!

Congrats to our reigning chili champ. Check out some pictures from our afternoon! 








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Squirrels is a software development company based in North Canton, Ohio. We create high-quality, budget-friendly screen mirroring and device management software that’s compatible with today’s most popular devices. To date, our software can be found in hundreds of thousands of classrooms, businesses and homes. Follow our blog for all the latest product updates, Squirrels news and technology insight!