Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Slow Cooker Chili

The weather is finally starting to get cold where we live, so I decided it was the perfect time to make (and share with you) my favorite chili recipe. It's just delicious and super simple. It cooks all day in the slow cooker, and it is very easy to throw together. Here's how you do it! 

Start off by making your chili seasoning mix. This can be made the night before to save time in the morning. Also note that this makes a very large batch, so you will have enough seasoning mix leftover to make chili a few more times, which will make this even quicker to make in the future! Truth be told, I cut the seasoning recipe in half this time because I was a little short on chili powder, and it still made more than enough seasoning for this pot of chili. I always make my own chili and taco seasonings. I keep a very well-stocked spice cabinet, so the ingredients are things I always have on hand. 

For the seasoning mix, mix together 4 Tablespoons of chili powder, 2 1/2 teaspoons of ground coriander, 2 1/2 teaspoons of ground cumin, 1 1/2 teaspoons of garlic powder, 1 teaspoon of oregano, and 1/2 teaspoon of ground cayenne pepper. Set this aside for now. 

Next gather up the ingredients for your chili. 

Now you need to brown the meat. You can use 1 to 1.5 pounds of ground beef or turkey. I usually use 1 pound and it is meaty enough for us. There is enough to feed all 4 of us with a lot of leftovers. Also, beef and turkey are equally good in this recipe. I use them interchangeably, and I am someone who does not always enjoy the taste of ground turkey. So if you think you don't like turkey chili, give this one a try! I used ground beef this time because that's what I had, and if you have been following my blog for very long you know how much I like using items I already have on hand. I used ground chuck, so I started it in a dry skillet and drained most of the fat from the pan after the beef was browned. If you use ground turkey or a leaner ground beef, you will want to brown your meat in a drizzle of oil. 

After your meat is nice and brown, add in a chopped onion and cook until it is translucent. Season with some salt to taste. 

Next add in 1 Tablespoon of your chili seasoning mix  and let it cook with the meat and onion in the pan for a couple of minutes. I usually taste the meat for seasoning at this point just to make sure the meat tastes great. 

Put the meat and onion mixture into your crock pot. 

Now you will add your remaining ingredients to the crock pot: a can of diced tomatoes, a large can (or two regular cans) of crushed tomatoes, 2 cans of rinsed and drained beans, 2 more teaspoons of chili seasoning, some more salt, and a little sugar. If you have another type of canned tomatoes (whole tomatoes, tomato sauce, stewed tomatoes, etc.) on hand, feel free to use them instead! You can also use whatever beans you like. I usually use two different kinds of beans and they are typically either kidney beans, pinto beans, or black beans. This time I used one can of kidney beans and one can of black beans. If you are using canned beans, you will need to rinse them and drain them. Also if you have home-cooked beans you may use those as well! I often will make chili later in the week if I have made a large pot of beans a few days before. It is a good way to use up the beans and to eat them in a completely different way. I usually use an empty tomato can to measure out how many home-cooked beans to use. I do not rinse home-cooked beans, but i do drain the liquid off of them. 

If you like your chili spicy, add in 1 or 2 chipotle peppers in adobo with some sauce very finely chopped. This is totally optional, but I find that the chipotle in adobo adds a great spicy and smoky flavor to the chili that is just amazing! I freeze chipotle in adobo in freezer bags, then pull it out and cut off an inch or so and chop it up and add it to the chili. Since I was feeding this chili to my two young children, I only used a small amount of this as it is very spicy. The chili is still delicious without it, but if you like spice, I encourage you to give the chipotle in adobo a try! 

Next give everything a gentle stir and set your crock pot to low for 6 or more hours. I usually cook mine somewhere between 8 and 9 hours. I find that it gets thicker and even more flavorful as it continues to cook. I took some pictures every few hours to show you how the chili really transforms from some ingredients thrown into a crock pot into a really great pot of chili! 

This is a great meal to throw together in the morning and by dinner time you will have delicious homemade chili! You could even put this in your slow cooker and let it cook over night while you sleep. This smells so good while cooking, you will probably have chili dreams and wake up wanting chili for breakfast! 

We like our chili topped with cheese and served with corn or tortilla chips or cheese quesadillas on the side. I decided to make quesadillas this time because I knew the kids would enjoy those. I just filled them with cheese since there is a lot going on in the chili and I don't want to take away from that. I have previously shared my love of quesadillas and how to make them here, so check it out if you need a refresher. I was pretty hungry after smelling this chili all day and I completely forgot to get a picture of my bowl of chili with the cheese melted all nice and pretty on top. I stirred it all up and was about to take a bite when I realized I had forgotten to take a picture of the finished product. Oops! 

If you haven't tried quesadillas as a side with your chili, you should! It is delicious dunked into the chili! 

Slow Cooker Chili 
Recipe adapted from

Chili Seasoning Mix: 
4 tablespoons chili powder
2 1⁄2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 1⁄2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1⁄2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon oregano
1⁄2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 to 1 1⁄2 lbs ground beef or turkey
1 onion, finely chopped
5 teaspoons chili seasoning, divided 
Salt, to taste
1 teaspoon sugar (or to taste) 
1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 (15 ounce) cans kidney beans, pinto beans, or black beans (or a mix!) 
1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo and some sauce (optional - leave out if you don't like it extra spicy!) 

1.  Mix together seasoning mix ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
2. In a skillet, brown the ground beef. Drain excess fat. 
3. Add onion to skillet and cook until translucent. Season with salt. 
4. Add in 3 tsp chili seasoning and cook for a minute or two. 
5. Add meat and onion mixture to crock pot. 
6. Add remaining ingredients to crock pot and season with a little more salt. 
7. Stir gently and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.


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