Friday, May 28, 2010

Easy Slow Cooker Chili

We have been getting sick of salads recently. (Literally. I must have an aversion to slimey lettuce or something. I have had a couple of days when I made a salad for lunch and was so grossed out by it that I couldn't eat it.) So last weekend I made chili to have on-hand for easy lunches.

Chili is a fantastic high protein, high fiber, lo-glycemic meal, and is especially wonderful when cooked in large batches in a slow cooker (crock pot, whatever you want to call it...). This recipe makes a gigantic amount, so I freeze half of it. I like to use ground turkey instead of beef in my chili—all the other flavors are so great, even the heartiest beef eater won't really notice, and it cuts the fat content way down.

Simple Chili
adapted from Les DuLunch on

Servings: 6–10
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 1–4 hours

  • 1 pound Ground Beef (or turkey)**
  • 1 whole Medium Onion, Diced
  • 1 Green Pepper, Diced
  • 2 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 4 cans (14 Oz. Can) Beans (red, black, kidney, chili, pinto, etc. I like variety, so I mix it up)
  • 4 cans (14 Oz. Can) Diced No-salt-added Tomatoes‚—you can always add salt later
  • 4 Tablespoons Chili Powder, to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons Ground Cumin, to taste
  • Optional toppings: Tabasco, salsa, sliced jalapeƱos, non-fat sour cream, shredded white cheddar (white cheeses have less fat than yellow cheese, FYI)

Brown the ground meat with the onions, green peppers, and garlic together till the ground beef is no longer pink; drain (and rinse if you’re worried about fat).

Turn the slow cooker to "high" setting. Drain and rinse the beans well. (This is supposed to help diminish the flatulence factor. Apparently the juices in canned beans causes most of the problem.) Add beans and tomatoes to slow cooker. I don't drain the tomatoes, as some of the liquid cooks off in the process.

Once the meat is cooked and drained, throw it in the slow cooker. Add the chili powder and cumin, and give it a good stir. Set your timer for anywhere from 1 to 4 hours. Pretty much once it's hot, it's ready to eat, but the longer it cooks, the better the flavors, in my opinion.

This chili tolerates variations well. Try adding unsweetened cocoa powder, brown sugar, star anise (remove before serving), cayenne, ground chipotles, beer, or red wine for some unique flavoring.  I haven't tried any of these, but the original author of the recipe suggests them. Adding cocoa, brown sugar, beer, or wine will make this higher glycemic, so add at your own discretion.

Serve with Tabasco, salsa, sliced jalapeƱos, non-fat sour cream, shredded white cheddar, etc.

All Photos © Me

**For a vegetarian version, cut three or four carrots into about a half-inch dice and brown them with the onions, green peppers, and garlic. The carrots make for a sweeter chili, but give the mouth-feel of meat. Maybe try some celery too.


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