There are some interesting and strange food combinations out there. But there is one that really took social media by storm last year that really made the Midwest seem, odd. If you don't remember, the duo of cinnamon rolls and chili was a subject of debate online in 2021, but this Quad Cities radio DJ is ready to challenge you to swap out that cinnamon roll for a different but local breakfast treat.

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In case you still can't believe it, cinnamon rolls with chili is a strong Midwest food combination. Actually, sources trace the birth of the combination to a school cook who put these two food items on one tray back at a school in Iowa back in the 1940s.

According to the Des Moines RegisterMarietta Abarr took a job as a school cook in Clearfield, IA in 1944. She cooked there for over 30 years and made most of her meals from scratch which made her a local legend in Clearfield. Abarr and her food were so popular, they celebrated "Marietta Abarr Day" in 1987 in Clearfield. Abarr's most popular dish was her combination of cinnamon rolls and chili.

Experts and historians who spoke with the Des Moines Register said the popular Midwest combination that most of us get the pleasure of eating in elementary school comes from the fact that school cooks needed to make cost-effective meals and the combination was delicious. In 2019, Ann Feilmann, who retired from the Iowa Department of Education as the chief of the Bureau of Nutrition and Health Services, told the Des Moines Register,

“Students liked dunking the cinnamon roll in the chili, so that is one reason they were served together. Back in the day, the cinnamon rolls were larger with frosting and students liked them, so participation increased on days when this menu was offered."

You can now find restaurants, cafes, and other food establishments across Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, and other Midwestern and even Southern states selling the iconic cinnamon roll and chili combo.

Now that you know the history of the sweet and savory combination of cinnamon rolls and chili came from, here is where this Iowa-native and Quad Cities radio DJ is telling you how to make it even more local and maybe even tastier.

My name is Connor Kenney, the aforementioned Quad Cities radio DJ, and I can tell you right now, I have never had cinnamon rolls and chili together.

For the longest time, it sounded disgusting and outrageous. But on a cold Saturday in January, my wife and I whipped up a batch of my parent's famous "bar chili" from a bar they owned in Clinton back in the day.

Connor Kenney/Townsquare Media Quad Cities
Connor Kenney/Townsquare Media Quad Cities
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The day before, I bought a half-dozen of Kwik Star's Glazers Donuts for breakfast because they sounded good. Naturally, I had two donuts for breakfast that Saturday morning which meant it was time to make chili.

When the chili finished cooking around lunchtime, my wife and I filled up two bowls and sat down for lunch. As we eat lunch at the dinner table with the half-filled box of Glazers Donuts in front of us, I told my wife, "I've never had cinnamon rolls and chili because it sounds disgusting. Do you think donuts would be the same thing or better?" She told me to try it and let me tell you, it has changed my life.

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Connor Kenney/Townsquare Media Quad Cities
Connor Kenney/Townsquare Media Quad Cities
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Even though I've never had cinnamon rolls and chili before (because I've avoided it like the plague), I have a feeling that Glazers Donuts and chili are a better combination.

Unlike Marietta Abarr, I don't bake or have the time to make homemade cinnamon rolls or donuts. I know you can buy the tubes, but you still have to bake them. I think I make a mean chili, and it's easy to buy Glazers Donuts at the Kwik Star a half-mile away from my house (plus, Glazers are cheap or always on sale).

Connor Kenney/Townsquare Media Quad Cities
Connor Kenney/Townsquare Media Quad Cities
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It's time to get rid of the old trend of cinnamon rolls and chili. That was so 1940s to 2021.

The new trend: Kwik Star's Glazers Donuts and chili.

Below is a quick list of ingredients and step-by-step directions on how to make a delicious homemade chili. For Glazers Donuts, head to your nearest Kwik Star (or Kwik Trip).

How To Make Homemade Chili With ingredients

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    Mild Chili Powder

    1x .65oz container of mild chili powder

    Price = $1.39

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    Ro*Tel Chili Fixin's

    1x 10oz can of Ro*Tel Chili Fixin's

    Price = $1.48

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    Mrs. Grimes Original Chili Beans in Chili Sauce

    1x 30oz Mrs. Grimes Original Chili Beans in Chili Sauce

    Price = $1.99

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    Ground Beef

    2lb of 85% lean, 15% fat ground beef

    Price = $5.99 per lb.

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    Medium Yellow Onion

    1x medium yellow onion

    Price = $1.01 

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    Diced Tomatoes

    1x 28oz can of diced tomatoes

    Price = $1.98 (substitute with extra can of tomato sauce if you don't want a lot of tomatoes)

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    Tomato Sauce

    1x 29oz can of tomato sauce

    Price = $1.98 (or 2x if you aren't using diced tomatoes)

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    Tomato Paste

    1x 12oz can of tomato paste

    Price = $1.49

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    Chop Yellow Onion

    Chop yellow onion to sauté and cook with the ground beef

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    Cook Beef And Onion

    Grab a sauté pan. Turn your burn to medium heat. Drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil when hot and immediately put onion and ground beef in the pan.

    Season with salt and pepper and cook through.

    Break up ground beef into small pieces while cooking.

    Should take 8-10 minutes

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    Add Tomato Paste

    When ground beef and onion is fully cooked, add all 12oz of tomato paste to beef and onion pan.

    Cook for roughly 5 more minutes or until tomato paste is fully incorporated and most of the grease from the beef has been absorbed.

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    Sauce, Tomatoes, Beans, Powder

    While the beef and onion are cooking, get a large pot and put it on a burner. Turn the heat to a medium to low heat.

    Combine the can of Ro*Tel tomatoes, can of diced tomatoes, all of the mild chili powder, can of tomato sauce, and chili beans.

    Stir until fully combined.

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    Add Beef And Onion To Pot

    When tomato paste is fully combined with the beef and onion and most of the grease has been absorbed, add the beef and onion mixture to the large pot with the beans, sauce, tomatoes, and powder.

    Stir until fully combine.

    Let the chili cook for a minimum of 1 hour on a medium-low heat.

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    Connor Kenney/Townsquare Media Quad Cities
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    Enjoy!

    After a minimum of 1 hour of cooking, put the chili in a bowl, grab a Kwik Star Glazers Donut to dunk, and enjoy!

    Be careful, the chili will be hot!